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The Peaceful Runner Newsletter #15 - December 6, 2011 - The Science behind Barefoot Running
December 06, 2011
Welcome to the December edition of The Peaceful Runner Newsletter - your free monthly resource for tips, inspirational quotes, recipes and the latest news and trends in running.
In this issue:
1) Quote of the month
Quote of the Month:
"You must do the things you think you cannot do."
-- Eleanor Roosevelt
The Science behind Barefoot Running
The running shoe debate continues...minimalist vs. traditional running shoes. It has become a confusion for many runners whether to switch to a minimal shoe or continue running in a traditional shoe. At the moment, it comes down to personal choice as there have been no clinical trials that definitively prove either one is better at reducing or preventing injuries. However, there is a lot of scientific information available that may help you decide what shoes you want to wear while running.
The following video presents some interesting scientific information regarding the minimalist vs. traditional debate. This presentation by Blaise Dubois was given prior to a formal debate organized by Kmag magazine at La Grande Bibliothèque de Montréal. It was originally presented in French, but this version of the video has English subtitles and slides.
In the video Blaise presents numerous scientific facts and then summarizes with the following conclusion:
- There is no scientific reason to prescribe bulky running shoes to anyone, including: developing children, beginning runners, overweight runners and heel strikers. Here is the full video:
When making a drastic change to your running shoes, you must go slowly to avoid injury. I have recently read an article that recommends a different approach to transitioning. This article suggests wearing your new shoes the "maximum of one extra minute" at the beginning of each run and then switching back to your regular shoes for the remainder of the run.
The article also states that if you are feeling new pain, it means that you are progressing too fast. Taking this approach means that you will have to carry an extra pair of shoes with you for a while, but it may be worthwhile as you can ease into your new shoes and continue to maintain your weekly mileage.
My Transition to Barefoot Running
I am pleased to say that my transition to barefoot running is going well. Currently, I am using my New Balance Minimus Trail shoes for all my runs. To date, my longest run in them has been 16 kms and I am continuing to increase my weekly mileage. Most importantly I am not feeling any pain. My calves still get tight after running, but it is usually gone by the next day.
It is essential to maintain a good running form to ensure you receive all the benefits of running in a minimalist shoe. Landing on your forefoot, having your foot land underneath you, having a short stride and landing gently are important aspects of an effective and efficient running form.
The chart included in this article: Barefoot Running Form really helped me ensure that I was running efficiently. It feels different from the way I used to run, but it feels right and I know I am landing on my forefoot. I am also running faster as my strides are shorter and I have a quicker turnover. Click on the chart in the article for a larger view.
There is also an exercise discussed in the article called the 100-up. It has been recommended by Christopher McDougall as a "fool-proof way to run perfectly." It's a great way to practice good running form at home.
Read the article here: Barefoot Running Form
Secrets of Marathon Success
I recently interviewed Jill Bruyere. Jill is a personal trainer, running coach, motivational speaker and author of RunWithJill.com, a fitness blog in which she shares her secrets of marathon success. Jill is an inspiration to all who want to run better and live healthier.
Check it out here: Marathon Success - Jill Bruyere Interview
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Keep peaceful and keep running injury free,
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