I think barefoot runners are largely self-righteous douchebags. Not all of them by any means, but many of them. I'm basing that mostly on my understanding of the Runner's World web forum on barefoot running - clearly a representative sample. Also? The Springsteen song (Born to Run) gets on my nerves, and it reminds me of barefoot runners because of the book of the same name and all.
That's my stand on barefoot runners. What's my stance on barefoot running itself?
Now, for the record, I'm sort of the Brian Fellow of running physiology. In other words, I have no educated basis at all for what I'm about to say. Remember: I didn't even learn how to stretch until a few months ago.
I read Born to Run and I bought it, hook line and sinker. I was moved. I imagined myself as a persistence hunter, running and running and running. I bored my friends with TOTALLY AWESOME facts about how our lungs don't get compressed as we run, you see, so we can breathe independently of our footstrike and run forever if we need to. I own Vibrams, Nike Frees, MBTs, Vivo Barefoot, Kigos. I get the barefoot thing and I think there's something to it.
I also believe that it is possible to be injured by too much shoe. Getting fitted for running shoes isn't rocket science, but there is something to it. I tried to push my beloved Asics on to a running friend years ago, and she started getting cramps in her side - above the waist - every time she wore them. Something was pulling on something and it gave her an abdominal muscle cramp. So shoe fit isn't rocket science - worse, it's magic.
Personally, I'm enough of a conspiracy theorist to even see Nike as basically a big drug company, luring us in with more and more expensive shoes and convincing us we need the best there is. "Oh, you like that offering? We have this other shoe, over here... even softer... yet more stable... and in better colors... only $20 more... Just follow me into this dark, loud store over here under the 'Niketown' sign..."
Now. That said. We're starting to see an anti-barefoot backlash. People are getting injured from doing too much too soon. People are getting injured from not paying attention and switching from one form to the other - barefoot shoes today, cushioned tomorrow, etc. Your form is different from barefoot to shod. Go back and forth and you're confusing yourself.
Running is the stuff of repetition. It's inherently monotonous. We learn muscle memory through running, again and again. One foot in front of the other until it becomes rote.
|I probably have at least a dozen pictures of me at DQ.|
What's next in the back-to-nature movement? I really hope it's the squat toilet. I cannot tell you how much I would love to see the Turkish Toilet installed throughout America.