Sunday, May 16, 2010

Barefoot running - is it a fad or really good?

I hate fads and when something new comes along I rarely jump on the bandwagon right off the bat. Most fads are short lived and don't have much merit to them. Just like this new fad of shoes that tone up your legs and butt called sketcher tone-ups or something like that. What a joke and if your reading this please don't buy those. Donate the 100 dollars to a charity or something. The money will be much better off. I can't believe people buy into the myth that they can lose weight by wearing a pair of shoes. The other fad that annoys me is this new HGH diet fad. Apparently you can take this injection and suddenly lose weight. Oh wait you ONLY get to eat 500 calories a day! Well anyone should know that if you eat 500 calories a day you will lose weight. You will also regain it right back when you start eating normal again.

There is one fad however that I am beginning to think does have some merit to it. It actually became popular last year when the best selling book Born To Run came out. Leslie, one of my clients at the time bought me the book. It was an amazing read and turned me on to the idea of barefoot running. I waited until I heard more about it before embarking on this trend. I wanted to see and talk to more people that were doing it. In fact it was not until recently when I started incorporating a little of it into my training. You might ask me why I thought this fad was worth trying out? There is little or no research saying it is beneficial. So keep in mind what I am saying is just my opinion based on my knowledge of fitness and training. In the book they make the point that because we wear shoes that provide so much support we are not using the muscles, ligaments, tendons in our feet. This is making them very weak and more susceptible to injury. They also talk about a tribe in Mexico that runs with these sandal like shoes (they run hundreds of miles) and have very low incidence of injuries.

I was talking with another trainer at the gym. He wears the Vibram Five Fingers when he trains people and is on his feet all day. The Vibrams are basically shoes that only have a little amount of rubber on the bottom and no support. You can see them at He said before he started wearing them he had very flat feet. He said since he started wearing these he has developed a little bit of an arch. Sound crazy? Not really because when you wear shoes with all that support you are not using any of the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in your foot. Your arch should work like a bridge and be able to support and handle a lot of stress. It becomes weak when it is not used and not able to work like it is supposed to.

So how should you incorporate barefoot running in your training? Incorporate a very small amount into your training slowly. If you are on your feet at work and want to start wearing the Vibrams at work then only do it for about 20 minutes at first. If you want to incorporate it into your training you can do it slowly as well. I have started doing 10 minutes of drills and easy jogging before or after some of my runs. I am not sure I will ever do more than a few miles with my Vibrams at any one time. I have not read any expert say you should run long miles barefoot. It just does not make sense. Take it slow and don't be over zealous. If you start out too fast you will likely get injured. If you are smart and take it slow it may strengthen your foot, arches, ligaments, and tendons. This will lessen your chance for injuries associated with the foot, ankles, calves, and knees.

I wanted to touch on my last blog post about the Mdot tattoo. Wow, I got a lot of emails about that one. It clearly was a subject that sparked some controversy on both ends. I am sad to report that

my friends Christian and Jimmy did get the tattoo yesterday! Here is a picture of Christians lovely tattoo! He did not take ANY of my advice. It is big and on his calf. Oh well better that it is on his calf and not mine.

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