You are on page 1of 140

Summer 2013 Issue 09 FREE

How to contact us
Barefoot Running Magazine TRC Publishing Limited 21 Lyric Mews, Silverdale, London SE26 4TD United Kingdom ISSN 2050-9022 email: website: tel: Overseas: info@bfrm.co.uk www.bfrm.co.uk +44 (0) 845 226 7301 +44 (0) 208 659 0269

Cover picture: Liz Yelling Insert picture: Ida Keeling(95 years) and her daughter Shelley Keeling(60)

Find us at:
www.facebook.com/BarefootRunningMagazine

www.trcpublishinguk.co.uk/bfrm

@BareFootRunMag

The health and fitness information presented in this magazine is intended as an educational resource and is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Consult your doctor before attempting any of the exercises in this magazine or any other exercise programme, particularly if you are pregnant, elderly or have chronic or recurring medical conditions. Do not attempt any of the exercises while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Discontinue any exercise that causes you pain or discomfort and consult a medical expert. Neither the author of the information nor the producer nor the distributors make any warranty of any kind in regard to the content of the information presented in this magazine.

Anna Toombs
Movement therapist, Pilates instructor, running coach & author anna.toombs@bfrm.co.uk @ToombsAnna

Well, we’ve finally finished this issue, despite some technical hitches, including one broken laptop! As usual, we have had some wonderful contributions from enthusiastic runners and fitness professionals. John Woodward of Natural Running has provided us with a tantalizing introduction to the Alexander Technique and how it relates to running and will be providing more in-depth info in our Autumn issue. Leigh Rogers has some great tips for healthy nutrition whilst her partner, Togo Keynes, explains in detail how to set up your bicycle for safety and performance. I interviewed the lovely Liz Yelling and found out just what’s involved when training at Olympic level. The usual crowd have tested various footwear items and products and kindly reported back, whilst David has been in his lab finding out just what goes into “Energy Drinks” (it’s pretty scary!). David and I have been up to Scotland to teach a workshop and explored the beautiful city of Edinburgh. We’ve both been doing yoga on a daily basis too, which definitely helped us stay ‘Zen’ when technology failed us at the crucial moment. There’s plenty more on top of this, so get stuck in and enjoy! Run Strong Run Free!

David Robinson
Movement therapist, sports performance specialist & author david.robinson@bfrm.co.uk @barefootdrrob

Leigh Rogers
Holistic sports nutritionist, health & wellness coach leigh.rogers@bfrm.co.uk www.meorganic.co.uk

Steven Sashen
Creator of the Xero Shoe & sprinter steven.sashen@bfrm.co.uk www.xeroshoes.com

Dr Steve Gangemi
(A.K.A Sock Doc) Chiropractic physician & MovNat coach steve.gangemi@bfrm.co.uk www.sock-doc.com

Gareth Underhill
Personal trainer, sports scientist (Biomechanist/Physiologist) gareth.underhill@bfrm.co.uk www.outfitgroup.co.uk

Togo Keynes
Cycling Coach, Sky Ride Leader, Spinning Instructor, Personal Trainer, Holistic Health Coach & Nutritionist www.njingacycling.com

Chris Fielding
Blogging enthusiast & barefoot runner. Founder of Barefoot Beginner chris.fielding@bfrm.co.uk www.barefootbeginner.com

Aranya Gardens
Avid barefoot runner & Permaculturist

Ian Hicks
Barefoot running enthusiast ian.hicks@bfrm.co.uk

www.aranyagardens.co.uk

John Woodward
Alexander Technique Teacher and Natural Running coach www.naturalrunning.co.uk

Jonathan Mackintosh
Keen ultrarunner & blogger jonathan.mackintosh@bfrm.co.uk www.pixelscotland.com

Sébastien Noël
Proponent of the Paleo diet and nutrition, fitness and healthy lifestyle enthusiast www.paleodietlifestyle.com

Ricardo D’Ash
Avid barefoot runner & co-founder of the Maidstone Barefoot Dashers Ricardod’ash@bfrm.co.uk

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 5

Main feature
Monkeying around in the UK with Barefoot Ted

8 14

In focus
The Ultra-cool Jenn Shelton

David’s laboratory
Behind the “Energy” in Energy Drinks

22 32

Book review
The Cool Impossible by Eric Orton
(reviewed by Aranya Gardens)

Injury corner
The Least of Your Concerns: Height, Weight, and Length

40

Technical tip
Arms - They matter too!

44

Nutritional nugget
A Case Study: From Flagging to Fighting Fit in 9 Months

48

A conversation with...
Former Olympian, Liz Yelling

54

The Green Room
Barefoot Running and the Alexander Technique – Part One

64

Try this at home
Balancing act: Core strength through balance

76

Picture from the past
Gordon Pirie

80

How to:
Set up your bike to reduce injury and increase performance

82

Write back at you
Why Cavemen Didn’t Actually Die Young by Sébastien Noël

88

Club directory
Find a club near you

132

Web directory
For products and services

134

International News National news On track On track International news
Page 6 Summer 2013

74 56 96 72 98
Barefoot Running Magazine

Outside the lab
Other peoples’ labs

30 36 38

Questions & answers
Your questions answered

Season in pictures
What you have been up to?

Caught in the web
Internet snippets

51 52 72 92 4 100 8 104

Events
Stuff that’s going on

Assorted goodies
Products worth a look

What’s on The Season in pictures 2013/4 events and race calendar
The Asics Uksem debate

Clubhouse Barefoot Running calendar UK
The latest from Barefoot etc. Events and workshops Running UK

It’s your letters
Your stories and thoughts

The society pages
What’s happening within the Barefoot Runners Society

106 110 131

Product reviews and results Next Issue
What’s coming Autumn 2013

Anna’s pause for thought
Tips and general musings

20 60 68 124 136

Chris Fielding
Roving Barefoot Reporter

Sashen speaks
The Death Of Barefoot Running

The “Gadget” Gareth
Minimal shoes & off-road running

Backchat
David Robinson’s latest

The Dashing Ricardo
Flipped out over flip-flops

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 7

Main feature
Monkeying around in the UK with Barefoot Ted

Page 8

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

n a lovely summer’s evening, I make my way to Run and Become in Victoria to join dozens of others who are looking forward to hearing some inspiring words from legendary barefoot runner, Ted McDonald. Whilst waiting, I recognize a few faces, including that of a lady Anna and I had trained a few months previously, so I was able to catch up on her progress. Ted arrived at 6.30pm and after an introduction by the shop owner, Ted began to speak. Some of you will have heard one of Ted’s presentations, either in person or online. In Born to Run, Chris McDougall describes the way he talks as, “…the way Charlie Parker played the sax: he’d pick up any cue and cut loose with a truly astonishing torrent of improvisation…” which happens to be an entirely accurate description! Ted is so passionate about barefoot running and life in general, it’s as though he’s overflowing with words. For, he is not short on vocabulary and once you learn how to follow what he’s saying, he can really bring his thoughts and beliefs to life. Ted first explains the reason for his visit - primarily as a result of the success of Born to Run - and his belief that human beings are just that: evolved to be great endurance runners. If you take all the mammals on the planet and add heat,

distance and time to the equation, says Ted, humans are, hands down, at the top of the tree. Ted’s own journey towards barefoot running began with his realization that trainers got in the way of him tapping into this primal movement pattern. [Ted is about to begin the story when Matt Walden from Primal Lifestyle hands him a cup of coffee. “Ooh, fuel”, he says, checking the cup and causing a twitter amongst the audience when he remarks, “good, it’s not Starbucks!”] He grew up in California in the surf and skate culture. During those years, being barefoot and being on a skateboard went hand in hand.

There was no weirdness to it, nothing strange about it. It’s what everybody did. Ted tells us that all his clothes were a brand called “Hang Ten”, all of which sported the company’s logo: two golden, embroidered bare feet. Skateboarding back then wasn’t fast. Indeed, occasionally you’d find the rhythm but often you were more of a, “Gyrating, vibrating disaster”, as Ted puts it. However, this all changed when a new type of wheel was invented. Suddenly, speed was a real possibility and with that came the need for some protection and grip for the feet. In other words, skateboarders needed tools. Fairly quickly, a local store began to manufacture them

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 9

on site. “Suddenly we needed a tool and there they were”. The skateboarding youngsters enjoyed creating their custom made shoes and Ted, “…observed a barefoot sport that required you to be barefoot, suddenly requiring us to have something a little bit more.” Ted’s whole lifestyle in his teens and twenties was predominantly barefoot inclined. Ted is a very spiritual man and he’s experimented with both yoga and martial arts. Even when he ran in college, there was little padding in shoes; it was all about the style! Most of us know the next bit: that Ted decided to try and run a marathon before he was forty and tried out many different shoes, strangely forgetting his heritage and believing he needed a properly structured running shoe. It was only when Ted bought the Kangu shoes, basically shoes with huge springs, thinking he’d become, “The living embodiment of Tigger” only to find they made things worse, that he

re-discovered his own two feet. The next part of Ted’s story is an important one and something we try to get across to our clients. Ted took to barefoot running instantly; it was like coming home. But he points out that this is because he’d more or less had a lifetime of it. Ted has a useful analogy to explain this point – that each person will adapt at their own pace according to what’s gone before. He asks the group to imagine an island with its own unique language. If one of us was to go there with no knowledge of that language, it would take us maybe a year to be able to speak it to any coherent level. He then asks: what if you’ve already had ten or fifteen year’s worth of prior experience with the language, but you just haven’t spoken it in a while? You might initially be a little rusty but you’ll pick it up much quicker than someone for whom it’s entirely new. The important message is this: don’t have unrealistic expectations. If you’ve worn shoes all your life, you

won’t suddenly take them off and run like Barefoot Ted! He is a sensational runner, relaxed and flowing, able to run mile after effortless mile. But his whole life has been steeped in the concept of connecting with the earth. He’s learnt flexibility and strength through martial arts and yoga as well as becoming a more spiritual, deep thinking human being. Those mental aspects are very relevant too. However, Ted is adamant that we should all run, no matter our background. “Running is fundamentally human”, he believes, “If you want to explore what it really means to be human, you should run”. Just be aware of where you’re starting from though! Many of us sit down all day and when we travel, it’s not often under our own steam. Ted makes us all laugh with his valid point, “The only other mammal that sits and moves is a dog with a scratchy butt”. This is not how we’re designed of course

Page 10

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

– we’re creatures of movement. Sad, but true, is Ted’s observation that if you make a human being sit down all day, every day, they will be neither healthy nor happy. “Learning how to re-connect with your body is worth the effort. Do a little something everyday”, is his very wise advice. Despite Ted’s love of running barefoot, he recognizes, as do most of us, that in certain circumstances, footwear is required. “Running barefoot down a rocky mountain road at night with a time limit to get where you need to be with worn out feet isn’t a fun experience”. Some years ago, with this in mind, Ted began studying the natural selection of footwear in different cultures and this search led him to the simple sandal. “The sandal represents the first human invention”, he informs us with authority, before admitting, “I choose to believe that, there’s no proof!” The idea is a sensible one though. If human beings have been running for thousands of years – and running was synonymous with survival – foot protection over rocky ground was essential. Ted particularly looked at one of the tribes in South Africa, Japanese Monks and the infamous Tarahumara. At this point in his talk, he relates the now familiar story of how he discovered Vibram Five Fingers, “…I thought I’d found the best running shoe in the history of the world. Vibram were kind of happy to hear that!” Ted headed to the Copper Canyons to test the Vibrams further in the great Ultra organized by Caballo Blanco and realized that on rocky, dusty ground, the Vibrams needed something extra. He reported back to the company: “You guys need to develop a shoe that keeps s**t out!”…and the KSO was born (Keep Stuff Out!). Ted tells us that his trip was life changing. In his quest to create the ultimate running sandal, he feels very lucky to have met Manuel Luna, one of the most accomplished runners of the Tarahumara, who explained to Ted exactly how the tribe put their sandals together. Ted returned the following year to race again, this time in sandals he made himself and documented via his website how well the project went.

Soon, Ted was receiving requests to make sandals for other people, so he began doing this based out of his garage. He got more and more busy, to the point where he stopped taking orders because there were too many! Not long after that, he and some friends got together and the Luna Sandal company was born. Ted explains that all the sandals are based on the original, simple design but they have some variation according to what’s required. He likens it to surf boards – a standard board is just that: a board. But there are longer ones, shorter ones, thicker, thinner, different colours…etc. Essentially though, his sandals are just, “…a piece of portable ground”. Now, either Ted is a really good salesman, or he genuinely is less interested in selling a product and rather, is trying to make the world a better place. In other words, his passion makes you want to buy a pair of Luna sandals, but really he wants people to understand something bigger. “It’s not just a running shoe, an adventure shoe or everyday shoe…it’s become a symbol of what it is that I’m trying to tell the world”. He expands on this point: “The Tarahumara don’t need anything from us. We can learn more from

them than they can from us.” There seems to be a developing belief that this tribe need some kind of help, that they are somehow a bit behind and need to catch up to the rest of society. On the contrary, Ted explains, “…we’re not denying their culture but validating it, celebrating it”. Their simple lifestyle is something we can all take heed of and learn from. “…more is not necessarily better”, is Ted’s valid point. And he is blatantly on a mission to try and encourage this way of thinking. His latest project (he always seems to have one on the go!) is geared towards saving the world’s energy. He really has the hump with the road-users in Istanbul, where he stayed for a while. He calls them, “pathetic”. They were stressed out, travelling inside their hot, stuffy tin boxes on wheels struggling to get to places on time and growing rude and impatient as a result. This got Ted thinking. How can one travel without inflicting this on other people and the environment? Soon, Ted found the answer. He was on a Turkish island and spotted someone running on the horizon. Or, at least, he thought they were running. Upright, smooth, core engaged. However, it turns out

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 11

jealous! Ted is keen to show us his solo wheel in action but takes some questions first. Somebody asks about the rumoured ‘Born to Run’ film about which Ted doesn’t know the details but suspects it will happen at some point. Apparently, the original director wanted to emphasize the racing aspects of the book, whereas Ted’s own desire is to make it much more about a, “celebration of being human”. He’s also glad for the film’s delay from a business point of view; Luna Sandals are now ready for the increased demand that the film will initiate, with over 57 outlets in Japan alone now selling the brand. Before we head out for our run (a little 3 mile jaunt in the sun, with Ted cruising on his solo wheel) he leaves us with this thought: “I want to create a new affluence. It’s a self-experimentation request and simplifying is the goal”. that this guy was actually travelling on a ‘solo wheel’. An electrically powered wheel with foot rests on either side. In order to ride it, you adopt the same principles as running – good posture, balance, slight lean into the movement. Ted quickly got hold of one himself and now uses it all the time (when he’s not running!). He gives us the impression that he’d like everyone to ditch their cars and get themselves a solo wheel – economic, good exercise out in the fresh air and less space required for storage! Maybe one day it’ll happen! Ted comes across as someone at peace with himself and very content. And why not? “I’m lucky enough to have been told by the people I work with that my job is to be me…you’ve got to be the best at being yourself, there’s no one else who can do it better…it’s not going to get outsourced any time soon”. As he made this point, I think we were all just a little bit Such is his passion and conviction, I’ve now doubt some people went home and had a good clear out of all their unnecessary possessions! A thoroughly inspiring, talkative yet spiritual man. If you get the chance to meet him and listen to him speak, I advise you to take that opportunity.

Running fact 6. The record for most marathons run on consecutive days was set by Belgian runner Stefaan Engels, a.k.a ‘Marathon Man’ in 2011. At the age 49 he completed 365 days!

Did you know

Running fact 7. The fastest mile ever run was by Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco in 3:43:13, at Rome 1999. Interestingly, the second fastest record time was set by Noah Ngeny (who came 2nd place) in the same race!

Page 12

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

Barefoot Running Magazine August 2011 Volume 1 Issue 2 Page 13

Summer 2013

Page 13

In Focus

Page 14

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

enn Shelton, born in 1983 in Virginia Beach, was a mere 23 years old when she embarked on the running adventure that unfolds in the pages of Chris McDougall’s Born to Run. In the book, she is portrayed as a fun-loving party animal who also happens to be an incredible runner. She gets drunk in the book on several occasions but always bounces back with boundless energy, coming fifth in the gruelling 50km race that takes place within the heat and challenging terrain of the Copper Canyons in Mexico. Despite the fact that Shelton comes across as someone who would be great company, she is not entirely happy about her portrayal of her character, although she admits that all the crazy events are in fact true. “You follow any 20 something to Mexico and see what comes out”, she tells an interviewer on her local radio station.” .” Probably what she finds more annoying is that, as far as the book is concerned, she will always be the drunken party girl. This is the nature of any book – they suspend the characters in time forever. Listening to Shelton chat to the interviewer and reading about her accomplishments, she is clearly no longer just living in the moment but has a serious side with some tough goals on her running agenda for the coming years. That said, the emphasis is still on having fun; when asked if she’ll be running when she’s forty or fifty she says, “it depends if it’s still fun!” Shelton appears to have quite a passion for nature and the environment. Her forté is trail running and she lives near the mountains, typically running for two to three hours a day. She is also a Global Ambassador for Patagonia – an outdoor clothing/equipment company which has strong ethics as regards sustainability, aiming to limit their impact on the environment. Perhaps another reason why she’s particularly successful in ultras is her mental attitude towards running; she’s hardcore! “…trails are beautiful and I love them, goddam I love them. But a crazy, fool-hearted effort where you run so hard you puke is also a thing of beauty that can be attained anywhere, beautiful trails or not.” So what else, apart from mental strength, makes Shelton a good runner? She obviously has a natural athletic ability, taking part in rugby and gymnastics at school. She wasn’t particularly drawn to running, but the story goes that her and a few of her fellow gymnasts were pulled out of the gymnasium to try out the new pole vaulting equipment at school. They were trying to use poles built for people twice their size and weight which didn’t really work out, so the running coach decided to get her to run instead. And the rest is history, as they say. Shelton isn’t a typical elite runner, although she’s ranked up there with the best and last year won the Pine to Palm 100, setting a new course record of 22:24:24. Elite runners often follow strict training and nutrition plans; Shelton’s favourite pre-race meal, however, is a cheese and mayo sandwich, “…which I’ve seen again later in the race so I don’t know how good an idea it is!” In the book, she fuelled on anything that was available, including some questionable ‘water’ that her and her friend Billy were forced to consume to avoid severe dehydration. Most of you will know that a big part of the book focuses on running technique and barefoot running. McDougall claims that one of the reasons the Mexican tribe of runners featured in the book are so good at running is that they run without cushioned, conventional trainers and are quite often barefoot. Shelton slightly disagrees with the way McDougall romanticizes the people however; her belief is that if they had the opportunity,

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 15

Page 16

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

these people would choose to wear shoes - they just don’t have the necessary wealth and resources. She feels that they probably felt their privacy had been invaded by the group that she was travelling with and says that, “…to be able to gain their trust and run with them was really cool.” Shelton herself runs in racing flats but points out that it took her years to build enough strength to be able to wear them. In our interview with Liz Yelling (also in this issue), Liz spoke about the lack of female role models for girls. Sadly, ultrarunners don’t often get the recognition, or at least the publicity, they deserve. I bet if more girls knew about Jenn Shelton, running would suddenly become ‘ultra’ cool. Sources www.patagonia.com www.espn.go.com www.ustream.tv/recorded/8612469 www.chrismcdougall.com www.ultrarunnerpodcast.com www.hyundaihopeonwheels.org Born to Run ~ Christopher McDougall

©TRC Publishing UK

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 17

“I never really discussed this with anyone because it sounds pretentious, but I started running ultras to become a better person. I thought if you could run one hundred miles, you’d be in this Zen state. You’d be the f***ing Buddha, bringing peace and a smile to the world. It didn’t work in my case - I’m the same old punk-ass as before - but there’s always hope that it will turn you into the person you want to be, a better, more peaceful person.” “When I’m out on a long run, the only thing in life that matters is finishing the run. For once, my brain isn’t going bleh-bleh-bleh all the time. Everything quiets down, and the only thing going on is pure flow. It’s just me and the movement and the motion. That’s what I love - just being a barbarian, running through the woods.” Jenn ‘Mookie’ Shelton
(Born to Run)

Page 18

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 19

was out the other day for a walk, barefoot. It was the weekend, the sun was out and I had nothing pressing to do. Perfect. As I walked along the footpath, a lady on the other side of the road called out to me. “Excuse me”, she said, “I’m looking for the swimming pool, I think it’s around here somewhere”. We then had a discussion about where this pool might be; she didn’t mean the local leisure centre, which I knew of, but some other pool that was supposed to be behind the nearby school. I didn’t know of its whereabouts, so I apologised for not being able to help her further and began to walk off. She then said, “Can I ask why you’re barefoot?” I explained to her that I was strengthening my feet and liked the feel of the ground underfoot – you know, the standard answer that you tend to use after you’ve been asked several times. She proceeded to warn me that I might step on something, in something or catch

some nasty disease...again, all the things that strangers think you may not have considered. She allowed me enough time to explain that I’d been doing it for five years and that I also run barefoot, then she continued her list of dangerous scenarios in a slow, clear manner as though she was speaking to a child. I’m often told that my thoughts are always clearly displayed on my face and I think I may have had an expression of impatience mixed with amusement (because that’s how I was beginning to feel!) because she became slightly less chatty and began to verge on argumentative. Her argument – and you may have heard this before – was that yes, bare feet may have been natural years ago, but nowadays all the surfaces are man-made and we need support for our weak arches. In response, I encouraged her to flip that thought on its head – why support a weak arch? Why not strengthen it instead? I think she understood my point

because she then changed topic, asking me if I had any more thoughts on well-being (I’d explained that I was a movement therapist/personal trainer). I said the simplest way to improve health is just to look at nature and try to live as close to that as is feasibly possible. The best thing to try and do, for most people, is to achieve more balance. I was going to continue to use diet as an example (too much processed food = more stress on the body, etc.) but she interrupted me: “Do you have a mobile phone?” “Yes, not on me, but yes I do”. “And do you have a car?” Again, I answered, “yes”.

“Well”, she retorted, “you may have bare feet but there’s no balance there”. And she walked off!
Now, my initial reaction was astonishment. What a cheek! This

Page 20

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

complete stranger thought she had me summed up in less than five minutes! And what’s more, I wasn’t trying to make any statement by being barefoot. I simply prefer it and felt like a walk on that particular day. I had been really enjoying it and she’d ruined it by judging me. As I made my way back home, I played the conversation over and over in my mind, each time feeling a surge of indignant outrage: how dare she?! However, a nagging feeling at the back of my mind began to develop a little voice. It said, “Well, she does have a point”. And, grudgingly, I had to admit that she did. I still maintain that her judgment was rude and unnecessary – especially as I’d been trying to help her - but I couldn’t, hand on heart, say that my life is balanced. It is something I’ve addressed in recent years, sparked by barefoot running and it’s something I encourage in my clients too. But it’s tough. When I told David about my encounter, he said, “what does having a car and mobile phone have to do with balance? You need them for work!” And this is true, I do. Some people would probably suggest that I could manage my

business without either of these, but my job involves travelling to people’s houses, often far apart, several times a day. Public transport is simply not accessible enough to get me where I need to be, on time. I mainly use my phone for work too – clients text or call to reschedule appointments, potential new clients phone with questions. If they didn’t phone, they would email, which is another ‘unnatural’ channel of communication. The key really is to take a look at your life and identify areas that could be more balanced, but without the pursuit of said balance making you even more stressed out than before! For example, I wouldn’t remain calm for long if I was trying to cycle, walk, jog or get the bus to each client and with no way to contact them. I’d likely arrive late, in a sweaty mess! BUT I could walk to local shops instead of drive to the supermarket and not use my phone for anything other than calls or texts (rather than facebook or twitter). Balance means something different to everyone. I actually use my phone very little compared to many others – but I’ve always struggled with getting enough rest days into my exercise regime. For others, finding a work/life balance may be the challenge, leaving for work at

the crack of dawn and getting home with just enough time to throw some food down their neck before a few hours sleep, then starting all over again. Taking off my shoes doesn’t immediately transform me into a calm, serene, balanced person floating through life on a cloud of angels. However, it does help me to feel more centred, both in mind and body. It doesn’t fix all my woes, but it’s a start. In fact, that’s exactly what it is, a start. Taking off my shoes several years ago marked the beginning of something different for me. I know that everyone else who’s done the same will know what I mean. And for most, it wasn’t an instant transformation – “I used to be this person, now I’m that person” - it’s a continuous, evolving journey. We’re all on one of those anyway but you’ll know that, if you’ve taken your shoes off, you are definitely making your way down a road less travelled. So, like all of you who’ve dared to tread bare, you will always come up against resistance and judgement, but I think we can all take it. It’s worth it.

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 21

David’s laboratory
Behind the “Energy” in Energy Drinks

Page 22

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

hilst leading their seemingly hectic lifestyle in today’s world, most people don’t get the correct amount of sleep, consume the right types, or correct amounts, of food and therefore lack many of the essential vitamins and minerals to keep themselves healthy and vitalized. As a consequence, most will feel tired and run down after only getting through a few hours of the day. Now, the logical solution would be to go to sleep earlier (perhaps even having a siesta), eat more fruit and vegetables on a daily basis and exercise regularly, but with this believed high pace society comes the reliance on instant fixes, resulting in the huge increase in popularity of energy drinks. Energy drinks are not by any means a new creation, however. In 1962, Japanese pharmaceutical company, Taisho, released Lipovitan D, which was designed to help employees work harder. Lipovitan D was one of the first to contain the ingredient taurine, which is a common ingredient in today's energy drinks. By the mid-1980s in Europe and mid1990s in the USA, popularity began to increase as recognized by Pat Thomas, author of the “Behind the Label” article. He states: “The global energy drink market is now the fastest growing market in the soft drinks industry, doubling in size every year since it was first identified, reaching 1.5 billion sales in 2006.” It is estimated that the industry is enjoying a 55% annual growth rate per year, due to their great marketing strategy aimed towards

teens and young adults, particularly young men. This boom in popularity has lead to over 500 separate brands being on the market today; amongst the most popular are: Red Bull, Monster, Relentless, Hype, Boost and Full Throttle. But do these drinks have a place in sport or, for that matter, a place in normal living? Firstly, let’s establish what qualifies as an energy drink.

for this article we will focus on the most common ingredients and their effects. Caffeine The most obvious is caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant used by people all over the world and because of its availability and widespread use, it is easily forgotten that caffeine is in fact a drug and should be approached as such. It should also be noted that some energy drinks do not list “caffeine” as an ingredient but instead, add guarana or yerba mate to their drink labels which are naturally occurring caffeine-containing substances, possibly containing as much as 40mg of caffeine per gram. Actually, the average energy drink may contain as much as 75-150mg of caffeine per serving in containers that may hold 1-3 servings, resulting in some products containing over 450mg of caffeine per can. Compare this to one serving (one 8fl oz/235ml) of other caffeinated drinks, such as brewed coffee (129199mg of caffeine), tea (58-129mg of caffeine) and mainstream cola (16-26 mg of caffeine), and you can see that some energy drinks contain approximately three times the amount of caffeine than a regular cola drink! Jenna Hogan, author of the article, “What You Need to Know about Energy Drinks” believes, “In comparison, an average 8-ounce serving of a soft drink and a cup of

What is an energy drink?
There is no clear definition of what an energy drink is, not even from food regulatory bodies, because "energy drink" is a marketing term coined by the food industry. Normally, the term "energy drink" refers to any beverage that stimulates the consumer physically or mentally by the use of stimulants, chiefly caffeine. They do not have to be carbonated, but generally contain large amounts of caffeine in combination with other ingredients such as taurine, B vitamins, various herbs, along with high percentages of glucose (sugar) or other sweeteners, herbal extracts and amino acids. And it is these ingredients and their levels that bring energy drinks under so much criticism. What is in an energy drink? Due to the wide variety of products and their combination of ingredients,

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 23

[instant ]coffee contains 24 to 85mg respectively. This means that one 8-ounce energy drink can have as much caffeine as 14 colas!” To be frank, the amount of caffeine found in a single energy drink is probably not harmful for most healthy adults; a recent literature review determined that, “Consumption of 400 mg of caffeine daily by healthy adults is not associated with adverse effects”. However, the same cannot be said for children (under 16 years).[1] The American Academy of Paediatrics prescribes no more than 45 mg/day for children aged 4-6 years, 62.5 mg/ day for 7-9 years, and 85 mg/day for children 10-12 years. Adolescents (13 16) should limit caffeine consumption as well and consume less than 100 mg daily, as greater levels have been associated with negative long-term health issues, mainly high blood pressure.[2] Children and adolescents are not the only groups that should monitor their caffeine consumption. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should consume less than 300mg per day, as higher amounts of caffeine have been linked to abnormal foetuses and infant development.[3] Looking at the average caffeine content of the beverages previously mentioned, it is easy to see how a person can increase their daily caffeine intake to an unhealthy level, even with only one energy drink in addition to a morning and evening cup of coffee. This high consumption of caffeine can be linked to multiple adverse side effects, such as disrupted sleep/ sleeplessness, nervousness, irritability, dehydration, kidney damage, seizures, strokes, high blood pressure, decreased bone mass, polyuria (increased urination) and abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmia).[4] An author at the New York Times, Jane Brody, wrote in her article: Scientists see dangers in energy drinks “It has been documented that four cases of caffeine-related deaths have been reported, as well as five separate cases of seizures associated with the consumption of energy/power drinks.” Sugar In addition to caffeine, another drug found in high concentrations in energy drinks is sugar. With levels ranging from 21g to 34g per 8 oz

and mainly sourced from sucrose, glucose, or high fructose corn syrup, it’s added to alter blood sugar levels. The human body has an effective way of managing blood sugar through the action of two peptide hormones, insulin and glucagon.[5] When the body’s blood sugar levels rise after consuming a stimuli (in this case high fructose corn syrup), the pancreas releases insulin to restore blood glucose back to normal levels.[6] Note: During activity, the pancreas releases glucagon that, in turn, stimulates the release of stored sugars into the bloodstream, increasing its blood sugar level to meet the body's demand for energy. This mechanism is called a negative feedback system.[7] So by consuming high levels of sugar, and increasing the body’s blood sugar levels through exercise, it is possible to bypass the normal feedback system.[8] So by combining sugar with caffeine and/or other stimulants, the body is fooled into thinking it is in a fight-or-flight type situation.[9] In response to this, the body will trigger the release of adrenalin allowing blood to flow more easily to the body’s muscles, which, in turn, supplies more oxygen to the muscle cells and ensures adequate energy availability while inhibiting the release of growth hormones. This cycle of reactions depresses the immune system, increasing the risk of illness.[10] The

last thing an athlete wants! However, is 21g to 34g per 8 oz an acceptable amount of sugar to consume in one drink? Well, according to the UK National Health Service, “Added sugars shouldn’t make up more than 10% of the energy (calorie intake) you get from food and drink each day. This is about 70g for men and 50g for women but it varies depending on your size, age and activeness”.[11] The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) advises adults who eat a 2,000-calorie diet to limit sugar intake to about 40g (10 teaspoons) of added sugar per day.[12] So, as you can see, if an adult consumes two energy drinks daily (taking in 42g to 64g of sugar), they are, without taking into consideration any other added sugars in their diet, consuming twice their recommended daily intake. That equates to 10 to 15 teaspoons of sugar within energy drinks alone! We only have to take a look at the "Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010" to see the extent of the problem. The guidelines estimate that sweetened beverages, including energy drinks, make up to 35% of the daily consumption of added sugars in the typical American diet.[13] These added sugars offer little or no nutritional value (empty calories), but do carry serious health risks to blood sugar management. Two studies from Harvard School of

Page 24

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

Public Health showed just that: they found consumption of sweetened beverages increased the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in women (2004)[14] and similarly among men (2010).[15] Taurine Another popular ingredient in energy drinks is Taurine. On average, an 8oz serving can contain as much as 1g of taurine. So what is Taurine and how can it be beneficial? Taurine (L-Taurin) is an amino acid that our body is able to produce naturally and can be found in fish, eggs, meats and dairy products. It is considered to be the second most abundant amino acid in the body's muscle after glutamine and its role is to transit minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sodium throughout the cells, helping nerve impulse generation.[17] However, new research has led scientists to think that taurine is the most abundant in the Type II (fast twitch) muscle fibres[18] and is associated with an increase in muscle mass, muscle strength and muscle power, while reducing

muscle damage caused by exercise, leading to accelerated recovery between workouts. Some energy drinks companies even go as far to claim that taurine not only makes you more alert, but can aid in lowering blood pressure and amazingly limit the risk the of developing diabetes and epilepsy.[19] While there is limited research in this field, a six week study of taurine supplementation by Kohashi et al did conclude that 6g of taurine a day reduced systolic, diastolic and mean blood pressure in subjects with hypertension, backing up this claim of an insulin-like effect in the body aiding to lower blood pressure.[20] There is, however, no sufficient clinical evidence to show its effectiveness in treating diabetes or epilepsy, but a study did reveal that when tested on guinea pigs and rats, they developed liver dysfunction.[21] Probably, the critical function of taurine is its ability to act similarly to creatine, in that it expands the body's cells by aiding the muscle cell to hold more water, thus creating increased cell volume[22],

helping protein synthesis and therefore muscle hypertrophy, while enhancing structural contractile capabilities.[23] There have been multiple studies performed on taurine in regards to supplementation and performance. In a study by Yatabe et al. it is believed that oral supplementation of taurine was effective at maintaining proper levels of taurine in the body compared with that of other control groups. The two week study involved methods of taurine depletion, such as intensive exercise, and those in the taurine group did not have any depletion of the amino acid compared to the control groups, indicating a potential long-term benefit when associated with endurance training.[24] Another study by Hamilton et al. investigating the benefits of taurine supplementation examined its effects on depleted muscles and found that normal to slightly higher levels of taurine increased force production in skeletal muscle, while levels fell during exercise. Their conclusion: A decrease in taurine levels equalled a decreased force

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 25

output.[25] Therefore, a conclusion based on these studies might suggest that by supplementing with taurine, an individual can increase/ maintain optimal taurine levels, enhancing performance and muscular power optimization. There have also been several studies examining the effects of taurine supplementation on endurance athletes. Baum and Weib found that left ventricular contractility was increased resulting in lower heart rates at sub-maximal intensities[26], while Geiss et al. concluded that this may be one of the main reasons that energy drinks may improve maximal aerobic, anaerobic, and mental performance. [27] Finally, taurine has been connected to enhanced attention, cognitive performance, and feelings of well being. Kleiner’s study investigated the effects on mental cognition by having their subjects supplement with caffeine and taurine. It was found that these ingredients combined had a positive effect on mental performance and mood. However, this study used a combination of substances and could not qualify how much taurine contributed to its outcome.[28] Glucuronolactone Next on the list is glucuronolactone. Glucuronolactone or D-Glucurono -γ-lactone compound is a natural metabolite of glucose generated by the liver and regulates the formation of glycogen. It is a naturally occurring component found in animal connective and fibrous tissue, and plant gums[29], as well as in small trace amounts in one of my favourite beverages – wine! Approximately 20mg/l in fact, compared to the average in energy drinks of 2000-2400mg/l.[30] More recently, its popularity in energy drink production as part of the product’s "energy components” has accelerated its adoption into the supplement world, typically in multiple ingredient performance enhancing or pre-workout products. But what does the research say? The answer is: Not much! Data on glucuronolactone is limited, which has led to a lack of awareness of

its effects and even misinformation about its usage in the health community. A Japanese study has suggested that glucuronolactone may decrease exercise fatigue[31], but more research is needed to form a definite conclusion, as published by Higgins in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings Journal: “Unfortunately, little research has been done in humans, and the current body of knowledge on this substance is scant. Therefore, conclusions on whether this compound is harmful or beneficial cannot be made.”[32] So have safe levels been established? It seems not! Researchers are still debating this fact. A Red bull sponsored research project suggested that glucuronolactone has quick absorption rates (due to being water-soluble) and will metabolize and be excreted as Saccharic acid, the sugar alcohol xylitol and the sugar compound L-xylulose in the body’s urine.[30] This evidence, they suggest, confirms the safeness of Red Bull and, in fact, all supplemental dosages of approximately 5003,000 mg/l, as the compound is only active short-term within the body. But one sponsored paper, for me, is not enough!

B Vitamins B vitamins are an essential part of a healthy diet and are key in breaking down fats, proteins and carbohydrates into glucose to provide energy and, like glucuronolactone, are water-soluble, meaning that when more are consumed than the body needs, a minute amount is stored in body tissue, while the excess is excreted via the urinary process.[33] Some of the most common B vitamins used in energy drinks are niacin (B3), riboflavin (B2), folate (B9), cyanocobalamin (B12) and pyridoxine hydrochloride (B6), and can be found in quantities of 120500% of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) in a 250ml can of Red Bull – the highest two being B6 at 250% (5mg) and B12 coming in at 500% RDA (5mcg). There are even more excessive amounts in one single 1.93 fl oz serving of ‘5 Hour Energy’ - an astonishing 2000% (40mg) of B6 and 8333% (500mcg) of B12 (see below), and it is these extremely high levels that are causing debate as they could pose major health problems. The Chinese study published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology 2010 examined the role of excess nicotinamide (B3) in glucose metabolism. Results

Page 26

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

problems - and so this study was not conducted in people with dementia or Alzheimer's disease.” Ercoli went on to say, “We found that using ginkgo for six months improved memory. We also found that for all persons in this study, better memory was associated with increased brain functioning”.[35] A 1991 study, however, conducted by Warot et al. researched the effect of administering a dose of 600 mg of ginkgo biloba on the psychomotor and memory performance of normal, healthy subjects. The subjects were tested 1 hour before and after dosing and the results showed no significance between a dose of ginkgo biloba extract and a placebo.[36] suggested that excess niacin intake can lead to insulin resistance and hypoglycemia in the late phase, and could be a primary cause for the increased appetite that leads to obesity.[34] Dr. Jane Higdon of the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University revealed her concern that higher doses of niacin may cause negative side effects by stating, “The daily recommended dietary allowance of niacin for boys aged 14 to 18 is 16mg, while girls in the same age range need 14mg. Adult males 19 and older should get 16mg of niacin every day, and adult women in that age range should get 14mg. Most healthy people can tolerate somewhat more, however! An average adult over 19 can tolerate up to 35mg of niacin a day with no adverse reactions. Teens 14 to 18 may consume up to 30 mg of niacin daily, while intake for children 9 to 13 shouldn't surpass 20mg daily. Doses higher than these may cause side effects!” Interestingly, a single 1.93 fl oz serving of 5 Hour Energy contains 30mg, approximately 187.5% of the highest (Adult man) Recommended Daily Allowance. Hope Barkoukis, an associate professor of nutrition at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and chairwoman of Sports, Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutritionists is in total agreement with Dr. Jane Higdon, stating, "It's brilliant marketing...but it doesn't have any [scientific] basis. There is no evidence to suggest that B vitamins increase energy levels via supplementation. They also do not appear to promote athletic performance!” “It's true that the vitamins help unlock the energy in foods”, Barkoukis says, “but weary office workers can't expect to get a jolt from extra B vitamins in any form. The fact is most people consume more than their daily B vitamin requirement in their normal diet. For example, a person could get the full recommended dietary allowance of B6 with a single bowl of fortified cereal or a chicken breast with a baked potato. Likewise, just 3 ounces of beef or a couple of dairy products each day provide the RDA for B12.” Herbs This leads me on to herbs. Many energy drinks contain herbs, such as ginseng, ginkgo biloba and echinacea. These popular herbs have been associated with health benefit claims. However, is there evidence to support these claims? Let’s look at ginkgo biloba. Ginkgo biloba is a Chinese herb frequently used as a dietary supplement in the treatment of memory loss. Multiple clinical trials have been conducted on ginkgo biloba's effects with conflicting conclusions. A UCLA study led by Linda Ercoli, Assistant Clinical Professor of UCLA's Neuropsychiatric Institute, found that ginkgo biloba significantly improved the verbal recall of people with ageassociated memory impairment. Ercoli explained, “We were interested in conducting a preliminary study to look at the long-term effects of ginkgo, not only on cognition but also on brain metabolism in people with normal, age-related memory These studies seem to be consistent with other external papers. Short term exposure will probably not have much effect, while long-term exposure, say six months, as in the UCLA study, has an accumulating effect. Synthetic flavourings The final component for review is the synthetic flavourings. The two most commonly used are caramel flavouring and the already mentioned riboflavin (B2). They are essential in the production process as they give the product an appealing colour and taste. However, some researchers and authors have concerns that the drive for an appealing product could be damaging our health. Author, Pat Thomas, stated that, “There is evidence that it [riboflavin] may damage genes, slow down growth, cause enlargement of the intestines, destroy vitamin B and cause hyperactivity”[37], but is there any proof that this may be the case? Like all other B vitamins, Riboflavin is water-soluble and is available in green leafy vegetables, peanuts, whole grains, dairy products, eggs and certain offal, aiding energy metabolism in the body and has been used as a migraine preventative treatment for some time. Researchers have proposed that the brain cells of some people with migraines may have a mitochondrial dysfunction resulting in impaired oxygen metabolism and that riboflavin could increase the mitochondrial efficiency, improving the way oxygen is metabolised in the brain.[38]

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 27

A three month study in Belgium in 1994 compared a group of migraine sufferers who were administered 400 mg (over 250 times the normal recommended daily intake for an adult) of riboflavin with a control group of migraine sufferers who were given a placebo. 59% of the patients receiving riboflavin reported a 50% reduction in migraine attacks (compared with only 15% in the control group). These subjects showed statistically significant reductions both in their migraine frequency and in the duration of episodes with minimal side-effects. In the same study, 6.5% of the subjects experienced diarrhoea and/or polyuria (sometimes fluorescent yellow in colour), whilst 4.5% in the control group experienced abdominal cramps. It was felt none of these side effects were serious and researchers suggest that, because of the low level of side-effects and its potential efficacy and low cost, riboflavin is a feasible option for migraine prophylaxis. As with all compounds, more research is required, but at the moment there seems to be little or no concerns, as long as riboflavin is not heavy consumed. In conclusion Firstly, “energy drinks” contain high concentrations of caffeine, sugar, taurine and B vitamins, many exceeding the recommended daily allowance, and are marketed mainly towards the youth (31% 12 - 17 years, 34% 18 – 24 years). [39] As the American Academy of Paediatrics concluded, "caffeine and other stimulant substances contained in energy drinks have no place in the diets of children and adolescents."[3] (The RDA being no more than 100mg of caffeine or the amount in a single serving of instant coffee). It is also worth noting that estimating the correct amount of caffeine in a serving of any “energy drink” is very difficult. Companies may include natural caffeine enriched ingredients separately such as guarana, yerba mate and cacao, amongst others. Secondly, whilst there is evidence to

support the use of certain individual compounds within most energy drinks, there is little to no research evidence to indicate any beneficial effects of the combinations and quantities the drink manufactures use. However, as these drinks are considered dietary supplements, they are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and there is no limit to the amount of caffeine they can potentially contain. For many, “energy drinks” can present a safety concern. In particular, the quantities of caffeine, sugar/glucose and B vitamins present are known to cause a variety of adverse side effects, with the belief that excesses of their recommended daily amounts via the usage of “energy drinks” has been implicated in seizures, obesity, disrupted sleep/sleeplessness, nervousness, irritability, dehydration, kidney damage, strokes, high blood pressure, decreased bone mass, polyuria and arrhythmia.[4, 34] But this may all change soon as back in March this year (2013) the New York Times reported that Monster Beverage, the manufacturer of many energy drinks, including Monster Energy, has decided to start marketing its products as beverages rather than dietary supplements.[40] Barry Meier, reporter for the Times, said this, “will bring significant changes in how [the drink] is regulated. Among them: Monster Beverage, the nation’s biggest seller of energy drinks, will no longer be required to tell federal

regulators about reports potentially linking its products to deaths and injuries.” Meier also said a spokesperson for Monster Beverage offered two reasons for the supplement-tobeverage switch: “One was to stop what he described as ‘misguided criticism’ that the company was selling its energy drinks as dietary supplements because of the belief that such products were more lightly regulated than beverages. Another consideration, he said, was that consumers can use governmentsubsidized food stamps to buy beverages." I think you should draw your own conclusion from that! What I will say is that, through my research into “energy drinks”, several concerns have arisen. Firstly, anything in large amounts will be bad for you, from sunshine to lazy days on the sofa. The mantra “everything in moderation” is a key component to a healthier lifestyle and in my opinion these forms of beverages are very far removed from this. As I stated at the beginning of the article, with the correct amount of sleep and rest, a balanced diet with minimal to no refined foods on a daily basis and regular exercise, you should find that your energy levels become more constant and longer lasting. Just remember that all the compounds in these drinks can be sourced in their raw - and therefore healthier - forms.

Page 28

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

References
1. Ellison RC, Singer MR, More LL, Nguyen US, Garrahie EJ, Marmor, JK. Current caffeine intake of young children: amount and sources. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 1995;95, 802 –804 UK Gov National Health Service. High blood pressure (hypertension) – Prevention; 2012 Fenster L, Eskenazi B, Windham GC, Swan SH. Caffeine consumption during pregnancy and foetal growth. American Journal of Public Health, 1991;81, 458–461 Nawrot P, S. Jordan S, Eastwood J, Rotstein J, Hugenholtz A, Feeley M. Effects of caffeine on human health. Food Additives and Contaminants. Vol. 20, No. 1, 1–30; 2003 Wilmore JH, Costill DL. Physiology of Sport and Exercise, 3rd Ed 3rd Ed. Human Kinetics Publishers; 2005. Curry DL, Bennett LL, Grodsky GM. Dynamics of Insulin Secretion by the Perfused Rat Pancreas, Endocrinology. 1968;83: 572-584 Weir GC, Knowlton SD, Martin DB. Glucagon Secretion from the Perfused Rat Pancreas: Studies with glucose and catecholamines. J Clin Invest. 54(6): 1403–1412; Dec 1974 Saladin, Kenneth S. Anatomy & Physiology: The Unity of Form and Function, 2nd Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill; 2001. Stedmans Medical Dictionary. 27th Ed; 2000 Kent M. Oxford Dictionary of Sports Science and Medicine: 2nd Ed; 2005 UK Gov National Health Service. How much sugar is good for me? ;2013 United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Dietary Guidelines for Americans; 2005 United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Dietary Guidelines for Americans; 2010 Schulze MB, Manson JE, Ludwig DS, Colditz GA, Stampfer MJ, Willett WC, Hu FB. Sugar-sweetened beverages, weight gain, and incidence of type 2 diabetes in young and middle-aged women. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2004;292:927-934. Malik VS, Popkin BM, Bray GA, Despres J, Willett WC, Hu FB. Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Risk of Metabolic Syndrome and Type 2 Diabetes: Diabetes Care, vol. 33, no. 11, online Oct. 27, 2010

2. 3.

4.

5. 6. 7.

8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.

15.

16. Lima L, Obregon F, Cubillos S, Fazzino F, Jaimes I. Taurine as a micronutrient in development and regeneration of the central nervous system. Nutr Neurosci. 2001;4(6):439-43 17. Bratman S. Taurine. Natural Health Bible. 2000;420-421 18. Bakker AJ, Berg HM. Effect of taurine on sarcoplasmic reticulum function and force in skinned fast-twitch skeletal muscle fibres of the rat. J Physiol.;538(Pt 1): 185-94; 1 Jan 2002 19. Birdsall TC. Therapeutic applications of taurine. Altern Med Rev 1998;3:128-36. 20. Kohashi N, Katori R. Decrease of urinary taurine in essential hypertension. Prog. Clin. Bio. Med. 1983; 125, 73; 21. Hilgier W, Olson JE, Albrecht J. Relation of taurine transport and brain oedema in rats with simple hyperammonemia or liver failure Journal of Neuroscience Research. Vol 45, Issue 1; 1 July 1996 22. Schousboe A, Pasantes-Morales H. Role of taurine in neural cell volume regulation. Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology. 1992;70(S1): S356-S361, 10.1139/y92-283 23. Pierno S, DeLuca A, Camerino C, Huxtable R, Conte Camerio D. Chronic Administration of Taurine to Aged Rats Improves the Electrical and Contractile Properties of Skeletal Muscle Fibres. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics Vol. 286, No. 3. May 8, 1998 24. Yatabe Y, Miyakawa S, Miyazaki T, Matsuzaki Y, Ochiai N. Effects of taurine administration in rat skeletal muscles on exercise. J Orthop Sci. 2003;8(3): 415-9 25. Hamilton EJ, Berg HM, Easton CJ, Bakker AJ. The effect of taurine depletion on the contractile properties and fatigue in fast-twitch skeletal muscle of the mouse. Amino Acids. 2006 Oct; 31(3): 273-8. Epub Apr 2006. 26. Baum M, Weib M. The influence of a taurinecontaining drink on cardiac parameters before and after exercise measured by echocardiography. Amino Acids. 2001;20, 75 27. Geiss KR, Jester I, Falke W, Hamm M, Waag KL. The effect of a taurine-containing drink on performance in ten endurance athletes. Amino Acids. 1994;7, 45 28. Kleiner S. Taurine: Power Eating. 2007;179-180 29. Merck Index. Encyclopaedia of chemicals, drugs and biological. 15th Ed. April 2013

30. The Evaluation of the Health Aspects of D-Glucurono -g -lactone as a Food Ingredient. Arendt Fox Kintner Plotkin and Kahn, Washington DC, USA, for Red Bull GmbH, Austria. November 8, 1996. 31. Tamura S, Tomizawa S, Tsutsumi S, Suguro N, Kizu K. Metabolism of glucuronic acid in fatigue due to physical exercise. Japanese Journal of Pharmacology. 1966;16(2), 138–56. 32. Higgins, J. P., Tuttle, T. D., & Higgins, C. L. (2010). Energy beverages: Content and safety. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 86(9), 1033–1041. doi: 10.4065/ mcp.2010.0381 33. Spruce N, Titchenal Ph.D. A. An Evaluation of Popular Fitness-Enhancing Supplements: A Fitness Professional’s Desk Reference. 1st Ed;2001 34. Li D, Sun WP, Zhou YM, Liu QG, Zhou SS, Luo N, Bian FN, Zhao ZG, Guo M. Chronic niacin overload may be involved in the increased prevalence of obesity in US children. World Journal of Gastroenterology, 2010; 16 (19): 2378 DOI: 10.3748/wjg.v16.i19.2378 35. Champeau R. UCLA Newsroom. UCLA Researchers Find Gingko Biloba May Help Improve Memory. www.npi.ucla.edu. 36. Warot D, Lacomblez L, Danjou P, Weiller E, Payan C, Puech AJ. Comparative effects of ginkgo biloba extracts on psychomotor performances and memory in healthy subjects. Therapie, 46(1) Jan-Feb, 33-6; 1991. 37. Thomas P. Red Bull: Science Reference Center Mar. 2007: 5. EBSCOhost. Web. 19 Apr. 2011. 38. Schoenen J, Lenaerts M, Bastings E. High doseriboflavin as a prophylactic treatment of migraine: results of an open pilot study. Cephalagia 1994;14:328-329 39. Simon M, Mosher J. Alcohol, Energy Drinks, and Youth: A Dangerous Mix. Marin Institute / Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation. www.alcoholjustice.org/ images/stories/EnergyDrinkReport.pdf; 2007 40. Meier B. In a New Aisle, Energy Drinks Sidestep Some Rules. The New York Times: New York Ed; 20th March 2013

Running and Biomechanics Specialists
Workshops and individual tuition to help improve running performance and reduce injury. Visit the website or contact us for more details. www.barefootrunninguk.com info@barefootrunninguk.com 0845 226 7302
Ba erfe ofo n ig Ma in in er 20 /1 13 3 Bra oto R tu Rn un ni n ng Mg aa gza z ie n eW S utm m2 e0 r 12 Pa ag ge e 2 79 3 P

Outside the lab
esearchers in Norway have recently been examining the effects of yoga practice on the genes of individuals participating in their study. They were investigating claims that instant changes can actually occur on a genetic level after a session of yoga. The volunteers attended a week long retreat, firstly doing a two hour yoga session for two days and then for the next two days, spending the same amount of time walking in nature followed by listening to jazz or some other relaxing genre of music. Immediately after each exercise session, blood samples were taken and analyzed, with the focus on cells involved in the immune system. The results showed that there were changes to 38 genes associated with the immune system after the walk and relaxing music, but a huge 111 genes showed a change after the yoga, indicating positive health benefits linked particularly to the movements, breathing and meditation associated with the practice of yoga. There were only ten participants in the study so some might argue that it doesn’t prove anything, but those who practice yoga will all attest to their own health improvements. Roll out that mat!

team of researchers at the University of Bedfordshire, UK, have been using stem cell research to help them identify which elements of a single brain cell are responsible for the development of Parkinson’s Disease. Affected cells of sufferers are no longer able to deal with toxins and eventually die, causing problems with motor control. The current research is geared towards finding out how to protect these cells from death. Project leader at the University, Dr Ahmed, says that they have found out much more than originally expected through this latest study and describes it as a, “great leap forward” into finding a cure.

Page 30

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

he latest research into the effects of exercise on sleep concludes this: exercise can help those with insomnia but it may take up to four months for the benefits to kick in. Most studies prior to this one have looked at the effects of exercise on healthy sleepers; this particular research focused on individuals with insomnia. The research team leader at North-western University in the US, Dr Baron, made the decision to carry out the study after her insomniac patients claimed that exercise was not helping them to sleep. It seems that regular exercise is helpful however, but only after a persistent and consistent practice is maintained over a period of weeks. Dr Baron also notes that it can be difficult to achieve because those who have insomnia and are therefore tired, often don’t feel like exercising. Her message is that sufferers should persevere and that, over time, their sleep patterns will improve.

esearchers at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School have discovered that increased caffeine intake may help reduce fatty liver in people with Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD). Many people who are obese and/or Type II Diabetic have excess fat around their liver. A fatty liver is commonly associated with alcoholism but can be caused by poor diet and lifestyle as well as other medical disorders. The team of researchers, led by Paul Yen, M.D., studied the effects of caffeine on mice that had been fed a high fat diet. They found that caffeine stimulates the metabolization of lipids stored in liver cells, a result which could lead to the development of new treatments that are able to make use of the benefits of caffeine without the usual negative side effects associated with the drug.

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 31

Book review
The Cool Impossible by Eric Orton (reviewed by Aranya Gardens)

Page 32

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

orn to Run’, one of the mostread running books of the last decade, really got us thinking about our amazing human ability to run long distance and the importance of good biomechanics. In it these themes are woven around the story of author Chris McDougall’s own participation in an epic fifty mile race through Copper Canyon in Mexico with those amazing natural runners the Tarahumara Indians. Chris however, at 6 foot 4 and 240 pounds, had suffered many running injuries over the years and considered completing such an epic run extremely unlikely. Until he met Eric Orton. Unlike Chris, Eric is still an unfamiliar name to many of us in the UK, though I hope that through his new book that will soon change. Eric coached Chris to achieve his ‘Cool Impossible’ - the thing he really wanted to do, but in his wildest dreams didn’t think was achievable. Eric completed that run too and the first chapter of his new book tells the story from his own perspective. Then his writing style changes to one where he guides you as the reader through a training week with him at his home in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Eric talks you through his different sessions at his favourite training spots, an approach that worked for me sometimes, but at others didn’t. The first question he poses is, “what is your own Cool Impossible?” He suggests that we forget all the reasons why we think we can’t do something and just dare to dream. Then he focuses on the essence of what we need to develop to get us there – strength and equilibrium. He encourages us to view strength in a new way, to consider it, “the ability to use stored-up energy in our muscles, to create power, to propel and stabilize movement as efficiently as possible. Integral to this idea of strength is equilibrium”. By this, Eric means getting away from ‘big muscle dominance’ by utilizing the smaller stabilizing muscles that often go underutilized. The first exercise he offers up is simply to try and balance on each forefoot in turn for 30 seconds each. Most folks he says can’t do this. As a long term barefooter with what I’ve always assumed to be strong feet, I was shocked at how challenging it was for me too. OK, so it seems I have well-spread feet.

Right there he’d got me hooked! Eric then goes on to describe a set of drills designed to build strength and stability in the whole body. The first set look deceptively simple and are evolutions of that first balancing exercise, but with simple props like slant and wobble boards. Needless to say, they are much harder than they look, at least to start with. The second set focuses on the upper body and core muscles and utilizes a fitball. Eric offers a good progression of difficulty from beginner’s drills right through to his advanced exercises for top athletes. Then Eric takes us out to the track where he shows us proper running form. Now for those of us who’ve been learning about barefoot running for some time there’s nothing new here, apart from (for me at least) him pointing out that running is basically just jumping but moving forwards. So by practising jumping

(skipping is good) we develop good form in take-off and landing. Now it’s worth mentioning that Eric doesn’t advocate barefoot running all the time (I guess that where he runs there are plenty of hazards), but he does tell us to do all the drills barefoot and to only run in zero-drop shoes. Now, I didn’t have a slant or wobble board at home and looking more closely I couldn’t find any available in the UK like those that Eric was using (small, forefoot-sized). So I decided to purchase his strength training kits from his website in the US (there are two: Level 1 and then Level 2 / 3). The postage was around $70, but the kits themselves (which include 3 DVDs) were, it seems, a good price for what they included. They arrived quickly too and with no customs fees to pay (they put a value of $5 on the form). The kits seem well made and the three hour-long DVDs professionally produced. Good value I reckon, though I’ve only been

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 33

using them for a few days. I was told too that they are looking for a distributor in the UK, so they should hopefully be easier to source here soon. But back to the book itself. The sixty pages of part three gets us into the heart of the book – the foundation training program. Eric first offers a transition phase to adapt to minimalist shoes where there is a strong focus on the strength training drills and developing proper form. This is followed by a preparation phase of building up to four runs a week and then his ‘strategic running foundation’, a five month training program designed to get us ready for any distance we’d like to tackle. This program uses heart rate and speed zones to adapt it to different fitness levels, Eric outlining a couple of test runs to help us determine the level from which we each need to start. I haven’t had the book long enough to get to the main program, but it looks detailed. After this Eric looks at diet and shares his own experiences. He suggests we try both a 20 day sugar detox and whole food challenge and see for ourselves how much better we feel when we run. Eric finishes off by giving some tips on coaching ourselves by recognizing the kind of mind set

each of us has in relation to training. The last few pages bring us back to our own Cool Impossible, reminding us that it is there for the taking with the right attitude. Perhaps that Pennine Way in 7 days (a run I aborted after 100 miles in my early thirties) could still be achievable after all? So should you buy the book? Well, at around a tenner I think it’s a nobrainer. Try that forefoot balancing exercise and think about how much better your running form will be having awakened those currently underused stabilizing muscles. And the kit? Well, you could make the boards yourself. That said, the wobble board is small for a reason and the slant board has a balance element to it as well. They weren’t that expensive and the DVDs are a great support in learning the drills. And Eric’s Cool Impossible? To have a runner in every household in the country. I like that…

Aranya discovered how much he loved running at an early age and as a result regularly won distance races at school. He joined his local running club, Worthing Harriers, when he was twelve and ran competitively right through to finishing at University, especially enjoying cross- country. Like many others though who wore those cushioned shoes, injuries were common and knee problems caused him to give up running in his early twenties. The occasional charity run brought him out of retirement a few times, but the last in 1993, an attempt to run the 270 miles of the Pennine Way in 7 days, ended after just 100 with both knees swollen & locked out. Obviously his body wasn’t designed for running… Soon afterwards he became a barefooter and discovered permaculture, which he now teaches full time. Then a few years ago he learned about POSE, then Chi, then barefoot running which, with their focus on the importance of biomechanics, made so much sense. These movements have helped him in rediscovering the joy of running he felt as a child. All he needs now is to find some other barefoot/minimalist folks who live on the East Devon coast…

The Cool Impossible: The Coach from "Born to Run" Shows How to Get the Most from Your Miles-And From Yourself By Eric Orton Paperback: £9.99 $26.95 Language English Publisher: PAL Hardcover (May13) Hardcover: 272 pages IISBN-10: 0451416333 ISBN-13: 978-0307985910

Page 34

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 35

Questions & answers 123456789987653212

a kind of moving meditation and yoga practitioners will also practise breath control and meditation separately. The original name for Pilates was ‘Contrology’. Joseph Pilates (who devised the system) also encouraged his students to use the mind to control the body. The breath pattern is also important in this system, although the breath is focused in the rib cage in Pilates and into the abdomen in yoga. There are a number of different forms of yoga, some more physical and flowing and others more gentle, with long periods of holding stretches. Pilates is just one system but has a whole set of equipment that can be used to take it to another level. The idea of Pilates is to maintain a fluid, continuous cycle of movement, controlled by the rhythm of the breath. There’s a lot of focus on the ‘core’ or ‘powerhouse’ in Pilates, although most of the yoga postures build core strength too. It’s perhaps a little easier to modify Pilates to a very basic level which is why it’s become popular in the rehab world. The focus on the health of the spine means that it can be very useful for those with back problems. In terms of running, both Pilates and yoga are beneficial and for most people, a mix of the two is ideal. On a more individual level, some will find that they take to one regime more than the other – one may just suit their body more. Both systems will help you maintain your strength, flexibility and improve your breathing – all very useful for running!

My suggestion would be to try both (make sure the instructor is well qualified and experienced) and see what feels best. All the best Anna Hello, My back has started twinging suddenly, low down on the right hand side. What could it be? I exercise at low intensity a few times a week and haven’t changed my regime or diet. (Jacqui, London) Hi Jacqui I would suggest that you look at other areas of your life that might be affecting your posture. Here are a few suggestions, based on what I’ve seen with clients over the years:

Send your running questions to Anna & David and they will endeavour to answer them for you: letters@bfrm.co.uk
What’s the difference between Pilates and yoga and which is best for running? (Chrissy, Edinburgh) Hello Chrissy There are many differences and similarities between these two systems. Michael King, who taught me to teach Pilates, told me that the fundamental difference is that yoga has a spiritual element whilst Pilates does not. Yoga has been around for a lot longer than Pilates and is not just an exercise system but a way of life. Yoga practitioners will quite often be vegetarian or vegan, respecting other life forms on the planet. They are, in simple terms, trying to become better people and also seeking what is known as ‘enlightenment’. The postures and movement flows in yoga are

 Driving a different car  Driving for longer periods than  A different workstation set up  Carrying a heavy bag or  New shoes (especially heels)  Sleeping on a mattress that
hasn’t been turned for a while or is very old  Tripping up – sometimes not painful when it happens but pain develops later If it last longer than a couple of weeks, or becomes very troublesome, it might be worth seeing a fitness professional to make sure you’re doing your exercises correctly and to check your general movement and dragging a suitcase usual

Yoga
The literal meaning of the word ‘yoga’ is ‘union’. The practice of yoga involves working towards connecting the mind and body, developing an awareness of ‘self’ that goes beyond the physical body. The postures or ‘asanas’ are an essential aspect of the practice but must be combined with an awareness and control of the breath as well as meditation. Following a regular yoga practice helps to strengthen and realign the body as well as calm the mind, allowing the yogi to develop a certain distance or detachment from the intricacies of life.

Page 36

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

The latest National news

Back pain
Back pain is a very common complaint. According to the Mayo Clinic, USA, approximately 80% of all Americans will have low back pain at least once in their lives. Back pain is a common reason for absence from work, or visiting the doctor's. According to the NHS (National Health Service), UK, back pain is the largest cause of work-related absence within the British population. It is significantly more common among adults aged between 35 and 55 years.

alignment. Although it may feel like a ‘sudden’ onset, it may be an imbalance that’s been getting progressively worse over time. Hope that helps

slow as you need to and give yourself very small goals, such as a slow jog between two lampposts before walking again. There are no rules about how far or how fast you should go. If your first outing is five minutes of mostly walking, so be it. You don’t have to start out like Paula Radcliffe! Practise breathing on its own too. Learn to feel in control of it, learn to use as much of your lungs as possible and mobilize your rib cage. Again, a qualified trainer can help you with this. I promise you’ll learn to enjoy it, just take your time. All the best

I want to start running because although I do strength and flexibility exercises, I have no cardiovascular fitness. The trouble is I panic as soon as I start to lose control over my breathing and have to stop. It sounds silly, but it actually makes me tearful! Do you have any suggestions? Alison (Derby) Hi Alison This isn’t as uncommon as you think, so don’t feel embarrassed. If you’re not used to it, then it can certainly feel disconcerting feeling your heart rate increase and losing control of your breathing. However, it is definitely something that you can overcome. Unless you’ve been diagnosed with a specific medical disorder, it’s unlikely that there is any physical reason that you’re feeling this way which means it’s a case of learning to move through it. I would strongly suggest that you begin your running journey with an experienced fitness coach; someone who is familiar with this kind of problem who can talk you calmly through it. If you’re apprehensive about running, that probably means that when you’ve tried it in the past, you’ve been going too fast (in an effort to get it over and done with!). Slow down – go as

lose the weight at a faster rate, you may end up with a significant amount of loose skin and the tendency to gain weight again. Your weight loss methods must include a change in lifestyle and a change in how you approach food and it takes time to unravel existing food-related issues and develop new eating patterns. In terms of running, it’s difficult to give you exact advice without seeing you but if you’ve had a check up at the GP and are given the ‘okay’ then running at some point can definitely become part of your regime. However, walking might be the best place to start, wearing as minimal shoes as possible so that your feet begin to strengthen along with the rest of your body. It is advisable to seek some guidance from a trainer, particularly if you haven’t exercised before. The key is to find a gradually progressive, consistent exercise regime and tackle your eating issues as an ongoing discovery resulting in lasting change and better overall health. Good luck!

Questions & answers

Hi BFRM, I am 22 years old and weigh 26 stone. I am giving myself a year to lose 9 stone. Is this a safe amount of weight to lose and can I use running to help me? (James, London) The general recommended ‘safe’ rate of weight loss is 1 to 2 lbs per week, which over the year would give you a loss of between 3.7 stone and 7.4 stone. However, this obviously depends on individual circumstances and you may find that at the beginning, you lose more than the 2 lbs per week. A goal of 9 stone is therefore reasonable. Just be aware that you shouldn’t aim to lose the weight quickly. Slow weight loss tends to result in a permanent loss, whereas if you

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 37

Season in pictures
A showcase of what you have been up to for the past 3 months

The Wiltshire Barefoot Runners out on one of their regular runs together

Ken Bob Saxton and Lou Rantin - barefoot of course!

Page 38

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

Barefoot Boise encouraging runners to try barefoot running and join their annual race for charity

Georg Schirmer sporting his Xero Shoes during a race

Ricardo D’Ash & Raneesh barefoot at Medway 10K

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 39

Injury Corner
The Least of Your Concerns: Height, Weight, and Length by Sock Doc

Page 40

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

f you’ve ever been injured you may have been advised by your physician or therapist that your condition was in some part due to some physical imbalance or attribute. How important are some of these physical characteristics in regards to the actual injury? Most are completely irrelevant, though so many want to make some correlation between their presence and the complaint. Yet although there is no science to back up the treatment or advice, many still buy into certain ideas behind injury correction and prevention based off assumptions. Heavy patients are often told that their weight either caused an injury or is contributing to their inability to heal. This is very common for those with low back, hip, and knee problems. Additionally, these overweight patients are told they need more shock absorption in their footwear. For those who have a foot or ankle injury, the physician will often make a strong correlation between the height, or lack thereof, of the arch and its relationship to the injury. And for anyone who has ever been to a chiropractor, physical therapist, or other body specialist, they most likely were told that the length of their legs had something to do with their pain or injury. Developing a rehabilitation and treatment program around such issues often works out very unfavorably for the patient. Let’s learn why!

ARCH TYPE

FOOT ALIGNMENT

SHOE TYPE

CUSHIONED SHOE

high arch

supinator

STABILITY SHOE

normal arch

neutral

MOTION CONTROL SHOE
flatfoot pronator

of the arch resulting in further weakening of the arch and other areas of the foot. There are two types of flat feet, rigid flat feet (RFF) and flexible flat feet (FFF). An individual with RFF has no arch at any time – weight or non-weight bearing. RFF is usually caused by some underlying pathology, which I will not discuss here as it’s not applicable to the content. (If you have RFF then you should be investigating the pathological problem.) An individual with an arch non-weight bearing which fatigues or collapses when they stand or the foot is stressed is said to have FFF. FFF is most often due to ligament laxity (the ligaments connecting the bones together have weakened) or due to muscle or tendon weakness. The tibialis posterior muscle has a major impact on the medial longitudinal arch as it provides much of its support. Therefore, a problem with this muscle can result in FFF as well as other problems associated with tibialis posterior dysfunction – shin splints, plantar fasciitis, and injuries associated with overpronation. FFF, or some loss of the arch of the foot, is common in athletes who

have foot and lower leg injuries. However, if the complete or partial loss of the arch has been present for some time, the athlete may not be able to redevelop this arch. But that doesn’t mean that the injury can’t be fully healed. Regardless of the regaining of the arch, full function can be achieved. In 2009, Pediatrics published a study of 218 kids aged 11 to 15 and found “no disadvantages in sport performance originating from flat feet”. The kids who had flat feet accomplished all 17 motor skills as well as the group with “normal” feet. Another study of 246 US Army recruits found that trainees with low or flat arches actually had a lower risk of injury than those trainees with high arches during their 12-week infantry training. So again, you can’t make a correlation between arch height and function or even injury rates. To strengthen your feet and lower legs to not just help prevent an injury but also naturally support your arches, follow the guidelines I describe in the article “Lose Your Shoes” and also check out the Sock Doc video on “Foot Strength & Rehab” (see www.sock-doc.com).

Arch Height: Overrated.
The height or length of the foot arch is rarely an issue when it comes to how well the foot functions and its susceptibility to injury. The base of support of the foot is much more important than whether the main arch of the foot, (the longitudinal arch), is high or low. The support system is naturally built into the foot, with the heel at one end of the arch and the forefoot and toes at the other end. An injured athlete many have lost the natural strength of their foot and perhaps some, or all, of the arch. So they are prescribed support devices such as arch supports and orthotics which unfortunately do nothing to actually strengthen the arch but rather ‘support’ the middle

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 41

Body Weight: Weigh More, Think Less.
Physicians and therapists love to tell their patients that either the reason they became injured or are not healing properly is because of their body weight. That means you’re fat and there’s supposedly “too much stress on your joints.” This is also common when a heavy person is advised on footwear; they’re told they need a heavily cushioned shoe to absorb their mighty impact. Both weight related issues actually have no weight. That pun is weak. Most people who are fat often tend to be carrying around a lot of inflammation as they are body fat. So there is a correlation between the two. An over fat person is most likely to become injured and more likely to have trouble healing. And someone who is over fat most likely will have poor joint function too, from both this inflammation and from lack of proper muscle function. So yes, losing weight (fat) will help, but not because there is less stress on the joint. Simply consider someone who is as heavy but very muscular – isn’t there as much weight stress on their joints? Whether it’s fat above your torso or muscle above that same area, they’re both going to

contribute to the same weight ‘stress’ to your injured knee or foot. And let’s not forget the relationship between body fat, estrogen, and ligament health – it’s a big deal when it comes to healing joints. How about more cushin’ (in your shoe) when you’re pushin’ (the miles)? The answer to this is not only definitely no, but actually less cushion. Yes, the Sock Doc may have a habit of saying the opposite of the conventional ‘wisdom’ but there is always a valid explanation why; at least I think so. Peak forces while running actually occur in midstance, not when the heel hits the ground, where the shoe cushion is often most added. Joint torque and stress is highest when the foot is fully planted, with or without shoes. Cushioned shoes cause joints to work harder in midstance and this cushion response is out of sync with the natural increase and decrease of bodyweight through the gait cycle. It just doesn’t work. So ideally the heavier the runner, the better gait there needs to be

to decrease their chance of injury. Often thick, high-heeled, and cushioned shoes disrupt gait. In addition to a good gait, there needs to be less impact through the joints which will only occur if there is not a lot of cushion between the foot and the ground. So if you weigh too much you might want to think too little.

Leg Length: Short Side or Long?

The right leg is longer, for now.

Page 42

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

Leg length is commonly evaluated by doctors and therapists who focus on structure. Chiropractors will often report to their patient that one leg may be longer than the other and it is a cause of some of their hip, lower back, or other area of pain. Physical therapists often will tell their patients that one side of their pelvis/hip is rotated anterior (forward) and this rotation is the root of their problem. The rotated pelvis will cause the leg to appear short and often the finding of a short leg has to do with a musculoskeletal imbalance of the pelvis. Many of these therapists spend much, if not their entire treatment trying to equal out the leg length discrepancy, whether it’s a few millimeters or even several centimeters. They feel this is an abnormality that must be corrected as people should be symmetrical human beings. Now of course you don’t want your pelvis shifted to the point where you’re off by a great amount, and thus your leg appears ‘shortened’ by a centimeter or two. But achieving perfect balance of the legs alone often does not correlate with an improvement in symptoms, or rate of injury. These leg length (and pelvis) imbalances are due to muscle imbalances, and the muscle imbalances are due to anything and everything that can negatively affect the nervous system. I’m talking about the physical, chemical/ nutritional, and emotional stress that is discussed throughout the SockDoc site in relationship to poor health and injury. This is the cause of the problem, resulting in the symptom – in this case the sign, the perceived short leg of the injured athlete. It’s a correlation. There is no need for us to be perfectly symmetrical to function optimally and be one-hundredpercent pain free. But again, I don’t want you to think a great asymmetry is necessarily okay; far from it. But there is too much focus put in the leg length discrepancy as well as the high or anterior rotated pelvis. Plus, it’s a very objective finding and can vary based simply upon how the patient is lying on the table or even differences in anatomical landmarks from left to right. Of course if their shoes are left on then that’s a

factor too. One last point on the leg length assessment is the infamous “heel lift”. Many docs and therapists use this to equal-out the leg or pelvis imbalance. Heel lifts make me cringe as much as orthotics. Now if someone truly has an anatomical leg length discrepancy due to an osseous (bone) disease during their growth years or they suffered some accident resulting in the actual loss of bone length, I can understand the use of a lift – sometimes. It depends on the situation. But most people are prescribed a heel lift for the above mentioned musculoskeletal imbalances and of course the heel lift is like putting a muzzle on a barking dog while you’re jumping on its tail. Some therapists will put the lift under the ‘short’ leg to make up the difference. Problem here is that the short leg is the side of the high pelvis, if you can picture that. If the lift is put under the longer leg, that would be the side of the lower pelvis, effectively raising the pelvis on that side to more even, but also providing a longer contact with the ground. Either way, they still do not correct the problem and often cause more imbalances and compensations. So the lessons of this article are simple: Otherwise known as the ‘Sock Doc’ because he advocates being barefoot whenever possible and socks as the next best thing, Steve Gangemi is a highly experienced physician and coach. He is a chiropractic physician and has training in functional neurology, biochemistry, acupressure meridian therapies, applied kinesiology and dietary and lifestyle modification methods. Steve is also a certified MovNat coach. His approach with his clients is holistic, addressing the whole body when looking at movement function, as well as taking into account lifestyle and nutritional habits. Steve practises what he preaches which is evident in his admirable athletic achievements, including 20 Ironman competitions and numerous triathlons. Steve runs a busy clinic in the US as well as generously offering many fantastic articles and insights through his website. www.sock-doc.com

 Keep your body within a healthy
weight to reduce inflammation on your joints and improve healing  Consider less shoe especially if you’re packing on the pounds  Don’t worry about the height of your arch but take note if it’s failing or falling  Don’t fret over a short leg or long leg being the cause of your injury but rather why you may have an imbalance somewhere in your body.

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 43

Technical tip
Arms - they matter too! by Anna Toombs

Page 44

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

hen runners think about improving their running technique, they tend to look at ways to improve leg strength and power, increase their cardiovascular abilities, or perhaps investigate methods of strengthening their ‘core’. Indeed, if you search on the internet for information about running, there’s a great deal of emphasis on what’s happening in the lower half of the body; cadence, stride length and where/how your foot lands are considered essential elements of optimum running form. However, important as these aspects are, running is a whole body movement and this includes your arms! So many people that we work with think that their running restrictions lie in their legs but when we watch them run, we can see things going on further up in the body. Typically, this is what we notice:

see what feels most comfortable. When running for distance, there is no power specifically coming from your arms. Yes, they form part of the overall movement, but unlike sprinting, they are not helping propel you forwards. They’re more involved with maintaining the running cycle and with balance. In terms of how they move, we encourage clients to feel the arm movement coming from their spine, noticing the relationship between the shoulder girdle and the pelvis. On a subtle level, they counter rotate, with the left pelvis coming forward along with the right shoulder and vice versa. However, we also ask clients to sense the movements as circular rather than linear; the arms don’t usually just move forward and back and neither does the pelvis. We’ve found that the use of the term “oscillating” works quite well. The shoulders almost circle as they rotate and the hands move in a similar fashion as a result. One of David’s favourite tips is “nipple circling”; circling the hands around the nipples. This works quite well for men or ‘smaller’ women but perhaps not for those women who

are more substantially endowed! It does give you quite a good idea of the overall movement, however. Another useful exercise is to watch footage of some different elite runners. Even if they’re all running the same distance, you’ll notice small differences in arm positioning. Have a look at sprinters too and then some long jumpers and triple jumpers; the arms are important! Fluidity and freedom of movement is essential. In terms of how you hold your hands, most runners know not to clench them into a fist. Common hand hints include imagining you’re holding an egg shell in each hand and being careful not to crush it. Or a butterfly – you’re giving it the space to flutter about whilst keeping it within your hand. The main goal is to keep tension at bay. As with all other elements of good running form and fluid movement in general, it’s never just a case of understanding what’s required and then executing it. You need to have the physical capability. So, if you know that your shoulders are restricted in their movement, this will

 Tightness in the neck and
shoulders from sitting for long periods at the computer or driving Restriction in the movement of the shoulders and shoulder girdle due to the above, which is often exacerbated by the runner also wearing a rucksack on a regular basis Along with this tightness comes an excessive rotation of the spine, or side bending action Tightness can be either causing or resulting from a dysfunctional breathing pattern Overuse of the arms Pinning the arms to the sides of the body and limiting their movement.

   

As with all our suggestions for ‘correct’ positioning, we encourage clients to experiment and modify, learning what works best for them. A general rule with arms is that they need to have a significant bend at the elbow; if they’re held too straight, this will disrupt the entire movement of the body (just try standing on the spot and moving your arms as though running; the straighter you have them, the harder you have to work to remain in position!). Conversely, if you have too much of a bend in your elbows, it may cause you to lift your shoulders, bringing tension into your neck. So, we recommend having at least a 90 degree bend and from there,

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 45

be something to address. Seek out a movement therapist or trainer who can devise a mobility programme for you and also remember to keep as mobile as possible throughout the day. Exercise and movement systems such as Pilates and yoga can improve your overall movement as well as addressing any breathing issues you have that could be causing you to hold unnecessary tension in your upper body. Think about your everyday activities. If you run to work, is there any way of planning your day so that you can run with a pack around your waist rather than a rucksack? If not, make it as light as possible and ensure it disrupts your movement as little as possible. If it’s too tight, it’ll be restrictive, but if it’s too loose, it’ll jump about and pull you out of alignment. If you run with a heavy rucksack just for fitness then stop! There are other ways to do this, so unless you’re specifically training for a run that requires a heavy back pack, it’s not worth the unnecessary stress on your body. In fact, limit what you carry as much as you can. We often work with people who have one arm moving freely and the other held rigid. It usually transpires that the rigid arm is the side that holds the water bottle, or the one on which is strapped a big ipod. If you don’t need it, don’t bring it! Above all, stay as relaxed as possible!

Running fact 8. A study by the University of Bern in Switzerland analyzed 4,358 runners and found that runners whose shoes cost more than $95 were more than twice as likely to get injured as those whose shoes that cost less than $40.

Did you know

Later studies have revealed similar results, with research published in Medicine & Science In Sports & Exercise showing runners who wore expensive shoes with additional features such as extra cushioning were significantly more likely to get injured.

Running fact 9. South Africa hosts the world’s oldest and largest ultramarathon, the 90 km Comrades Marathon. Approximately 12,000 runners complete Comrades each year, with over 24,500 competing in 2000.

Page 46

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

A comprehensive guide into the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of barefoot running. The book explains the theory behind running barefoot as well as providing practical advice, drills and exercises to help readers improve their running technique. Although the emphasis is on barefoot running, this book is useful for any level of runner, whether barefoot or not.

Available direct from www.trcpublishinguk.com

Barefoot Running Magazine

Winter 2012/13

Page 47

Nutritional nugget
A Case Study: From Flagging to Fighting Fit in 9 Months

Page 48

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

e often find in our practice that for a number of our clients, coming to us to address their diet and lifestyle is a last resort. They have often tried numerous other practitioners, doctors or services but frustratingly are still not able to get to the root cause of their issue. I am only too familiar with this myself as prior to getting into the health and wellness industry I too struggled for years with numerous health complaints, moving from doctor to doctor in search of the answers. Instead I was given a temporary solution, a band aid to keep the issues at bay but not really resolve them. It was only after visiting a naturopath in NYC that I began to understand the true power of food and the impact it has on our bodies. My issues were not some unknown, un-diagnosable or generic virus as so many of the specialists had touted; I had a food intolerance which wreaked havoc on my immune system, digestion and skin. By cutting out dairy and refined sugars and replacing them with whole foods my body started to heal itself and within a few months I felt my best ever. All this after 5 years of fruitless visits to doctor’s rooms, multiple tests and wasted money. The reality is most doctors fail to see the connection between diet and illness and it’s often when their patient is on the brink of giving up that they find us. This is exactly what happened with my client Ellie (41). Our first session was back in October 2012. Tearful and clearly frustrated with the medical system, she had just come back from an appointment with a neurosurgeon earlier that week. Her debilitating headaches, sinus issues and earache had once again been undiagnosed. She was given some pain killers and told to slow down. This was on top of all her other issues as she had also recently been diagnosed with reoccurring Epstein Barr virus resulting in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and had been struggling with the below symptoms since 2008:

     

Non refreshing sleep Anxiety Nausea Cold hands Weak brittle nails and hair Joint pain, etc.

This was a young woman and mother who simply could not function properly, when, given her age, she should have been in her prime. Previously active and a successful business woman she had lost all her confidence and motivation and could not even enter the gym without feeling physically exhausted. In our first session we took a comprehensive health history covering her diet and lifestyle in detail, understanding her sources of stress, what her concerns were and what her ideal goals were. Together we then built a 4 month bespoke programme for her to follow. Given these were issues she had been struggling with for years it was going to take some time to adjust and work through. Our bespoke programmes are designed to provide not only a deeper learning of your body so you can take action for your own health but to do it in a practical

and supportive setting. With Ellie it was clear she had a food intolerance and we spent the first few weeks eliminating what I suspected was the main culprit gluten ( the protein in wheat), which was causing an immune response every time she ate it. Often this is a very daunting change for most people to introduce because their primary food source is wheat. Think toast, sandwiches, pasta, pastries and most cereals. However, we helped Ellie through the transition with as much advice and support as she needed. We did cooking classes, supermarket discovery sessions, new product recommendations and made her keep a food diary to monitor her progress. The key thing is while we were limiting her diet on one front we were also introducing a range of new foods that she certainly had not tried before and in some cases never even heard of. As the programme continued we looked at other areas of her life that were out of balance and introduced techniques to help her reduce her stress levels and try get her back into doing a form of regular exercise that her body would allow. Within 6 weeks Ellie started to see ,

 She had reactive lymph glands  Regular bouts of tonsillitis  Repeated chest infections  Digestive issues and loss of
appetite in her neck

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 49

a difference and she was beginning to feel her old self. She was able to do a session of gym once a week and had started to really enjoy her food again; her appetite had come back and her headaches and digestion were no longer a daily concern. The biggest shift was seeing how excited she had become over all the new foods she was eating, she hardly missed gluten and wheat at all and was enjoying experimenting with the healthier alternatives we had introduced her to. I was getting pictures sent to me of her latest dinner that she cooked and an amazing gluten free cake she had baked for her husband for Valentine's day. She had made a huge turn around due to our regular sessions. Our bi weekly sessions came to an end in January when I thought she had made the hardest changes and was well equipped to continue

the journey on her own with all the tools and knowledge we had taught her. She still was not completely sorted but it would take some time for her body to adjust. Fast forward a few months and last week we had our 6 month check in session. To say she was a new person was an understatement. She looked amazing, her confidence was back and she had started volunteering for a charity. She was now doing an exercise session every day and had so much energy both her daughter and husband commented on her changes. For someone who was in a doctor’s room at least every 3 weeks, she had now not seen hers since December. No infections, no headaches, no nausea. She was sleeping better and she no longer felt anxious and frustrated. In her own words, "You have gotten

me back on track, well more than that, you have changed my life." So in 9 months we had done what no doctor was able to help her with in nearly 5 years. We can't take all the credit as Ellie was an amazing, focused and diligent client who was open to trying anything and determined to stay on track. Don't underestimate the power of food and what one slight tweak could do for you. As Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. If you have any niggling concerns or ongoing health issues that you would like to talk to us about, drop us an email or call us (overseas clients welcome) as we would love to help you get back to your fighting fit self. We are also offering all Barefoot Running Magazine readers 10% off our Programmes. Quote BFR0813.

me organic is a holistic health and wellness
business based in Richmond, London. We focus on transforming the health and fitness of our clients through 1to1 nutrition programmes, personal training, cycling coaching, health workshops and more. Contact us for your FREE session and receive 10% off all our programmes for all Barefoot Running Magazine readers. Plus 10% off all workshops, using code: barefoot12. Visit www.meorganic.co.uk for more info.

Page 40

Winter 2012/13

Barefoot Running Magazine

Caught in the web
www.caughtintheweb.com/summer2013/09/page51

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 51

Stuff that’s going on
his will be the second year running of the event, which is based on the New York City Barefoot Run, sharing the same aim of just getting people together to run, to learn and to have fun for free.

Events

It will be held on Saturday 14th September in Edinburgh, beginning with a 5.25 mile route that takes in all the best Edinburgh sights, followed by lunch and a conference involving some well-respected runners in the barefoot running community. Drinks at the Golf Tavern will finish the day in style. For more information, visit the facebook group (search: Scottish Barefoot Run & Conference).

his event is being organized by Adventure Tour Time (www.adventuretourtime.com) and Latvian Barefoot Running Society. It is taking place on Saturday 28th September in Latvia, with three race distances available: 53km, 32km and 11km. The aim of the race is to promote barefoot running in Latvia but shod runners can also join in as a separate group. The terrain is barefoot friendly, along a coastline of sandy beaches and without any pebbled surfaces. It sounds like a great event and will hopefully continue on an annual basis. For more information, visit this link: http://pabaso.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/ nolikums_eng1.pdf or emall: baiba@adventuretourtime.com

Page 52

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

Stuff that’s going on

nce again, Michael King and his team of experienced Pilates practitioners and therapists bring you two full days of movement and education. This annual event is being held this year on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th September at the Royal Over-Seas League in London. The convention is for anyone interested in Pilates and gives Pilates teachers a chance to take off the ‘teaching hat’ and become students for the weekend! To book your place on this popular and valuable experience, visit: www.michaelkingpilates.com

Events
his event has taken place annually in New Zealand for the past ten years. There are numerous seminars taking place over the two days, covering a huge range of topics such as life coaching, meditation, chiropractic, yoga and much more. There are also stalls to visit, with an abundance of health-related products on sale. The Natural Health Expo will be held at Hamilton Gardens Pavillion on Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th October and entry is a very reasonable $9. For more information, visit: www.naturalhealthexpo.co.nz

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 53

A conversation with…
Former Olympian, Liz Yelling

Page 54

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

was lucky enough to have a chat with former Olympic athlete, Liz Yelling, about her running career, her thoughts on barefoot running and what she’s up to now that she’s hung up her racing shoes. Here’s what we discussed!

Instinctive passion for running
The obvious first question to ask Liz was how she became interested in running. “My mum ran”, she tells me. “I remember cheering her on in races all over the country”. As a young girl, Liz was already taking ballet classes, had tried her hand at karate and thinks she might even have been a ‘Brownie’ as well. But obviously, seeing her mum compete, she was keen to give it a go and asked her mum to take her out on a run. Contrary to her mum’s predictions (she expected Liz to try it a few times and move on to something else), Liz fell under the spell of running and after several sessions without any hint of wanting to give it up, her mum took her to her local club, Bedford and County, where she

met the man who was ultimately to coach her throughout her entire career. His name is Alex Stanton and Liz speaks very highly of him, expressing how lucky she was to meet him when she did. “I was lucky that I landed on my feet with such an amazing coach”. She ran under his and his wife’s (Rosemary) guidance through many successful years of racing. Incidentally, Paula Radcliffe attended the same club and the two of them, Liz and Paula, were training buddies for years. I asked Liz at what point she decided she wanted to become a professional athlete and I get the sense that it wasn’t a sudden decision but something that evolved over time due to her consistency, talent and passion for running. She had her first taste of international competition at age 14 and never really looked back. I wondered how Liz managed to fit the running into her life in those early years. She tells me that the running was extracurricular: “I was a regular schoolgirl, went to a normal school…” In those days, she would attend the club once a week and train, but still went to school and joined in all the P.E. classes as well.

When the time came to go to University, she chose to go to De Montford University in Bedford so that she could continue coaching sessions with Alex. She studied P.E. and art at University and after graduating, was able to take teaching contracts which allowed her to work part time and continue to focus on training. In 2001, lottery funding became available and Liz qualified for this by finishing within the top 20 at the World Cross Country Championships. She was able to become a full-time athlete and really focus on running as a career.

Training
Whilst Liz was still at Bedford and County, the number of training sessions she was doing increased to 2 – 3 times per week. They included a lot of intervals, hills and Fartlek work: “We came from that philosophy of quality rather than quantity”, Liz explains. In fact, Liz’s early training could be described as ‘cross training’ – they also did something called “zig zags” which involved skipping, lunges and as the name suggests, running in zig zag patterns. All good stuff, as

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 55

we know – plus, it’s fun! Once Liz had qualified for lottery funding, she went to live in Loughborough and attended the Running Performance Centre there. This is where she began to incorporate some upper body work and had a packed out training schedule. I asked Liz what a typical week looked like back then and wow, it sounds tough: Monday: 8 mile run in the morning, another 6 mile run in the evening Tuesday: 6 mile run in the morning, interval training at the track (for example, 1,000m, 800m, 600m x 3), a tempo run and one hour weights workout Wednesday: 70 minute run in the morning, 6 mile run in the evening Thursday: Road intervals for 12 – 15 miles, one hour weights workout, 4 – 6 mile run in the evening Friday: Day off! Saturday: Hill session and evening run Sunday: Long run plus drills and strides

Liz found it quite difficult to find a balance with training. This level of intensity is tough and in 2005 she was forced to take 3 months off after experiencing symptoms of over training. Liz’s philosophy, though, is that it’s ok to push your body. Not always and not forever, but in a progressive way. “Running is about finding your boundaries”, says Liz. “When you have an injury or illness, you have to learn from that. Training is where you test the boundaries so that you’re able to push safely in racing”. Elite athletes do take things to the limit because that’s ultimately how they win.

and use them to power her forward. And that was it, as far as technique was concerned. Liz mentions Paula Radcliffe’s infamous ‘head nod’ and tells me that the coaches wanted to eliminate that, but it was part of Paula’s own style and would just happen when she got tired. Stretching is currently a controversial topic too. Static stretching has practically been demonized, especially pre-run static stretching. I asked Liz what her stretching regime was and whether it changed over her career as more research was carried out. “Pre-race, I liked doing those static stretches. It really loosened me out and helped me stride out well…I think it’s about finding what works for you. Research has its place and is useful, but take it with a pinch of salt and use common sense too!” I think most of us would agree with that – I know I do! What about barefoot running? Liz loves the philosophy behind it and tells me that her daughter runs much better when she’s barefoot and spends much of her time at home out of shoes. The downside to barefoot running is really to do with people’s approach towards it, rather than the act itself. “Runners are a very impatient breed of people”,

Running Technique
Along with the barefoot running boom has come a slight obsession with ‘correct running technique’. Liz has obviously had professional training through her career, so I asked her whether there was much emphasis on the technical side of running in her coaching sessions. The answer? Hardly any. “We just ran” she says. The only thing her coach told her to do was use her arms more – she used to run with her arms behind her so he told her to bend her elbows to 90 degrees

Page 56

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

says Liz and we both agree that the repeated mistake of doing too much too soon is the reason why barefoot running has not been the ‘miracle, cure-all’ answer for some people’s running woes. Liz herself runs in a racing flat – she prefers a lighter, more flexible shoe but would probably not run barefoot as she would rather protect the soles of her feet.

Nutrition
Liz tells me that it’s a bit of a myth that elite athletes spend their time eating huge platefuls of pasta. “People used to say to me, ‘wow, you’re doing 120 miles a week, you must eat loads.’ And, ok, I ate regularly but I wouldn’t say I ate a lot. You do need carbs when you’re doing high mileage, but you do need a balance and you can get your carb sources from vegetables too…it’s more about focused sources of carbs at the right times”. Nutrition was far less scientific when Liz first started running. “I lived with my dad and if Alex said I needed more iron, I’d get half a cabbage on my plate at dinner time and under there somewhere would be a lamb chop and some potatoes. My dad still tries to haunt me with cabbage sometimes!” When Liz went to Loughborough, she learnt more about different food groups and nutrients, what helps or hinders the absorption of those nutrients, etc. She was vegetarian for a time at University and became anaemic so that’s something she needs to be aware of. For Liz and other athletes, it’s about eating sensibly and limiting the ‘empty’ calories.

Beijing Challenge
Many of you will have heard Liz’s heroic story of the Olympic marathon in 2008, or even watched it on tv. She was in the greatest shape of her life and had a real shot at running a competitive race. It started well and Liz was running comfortably in the pack at the front. Then the blue line suddenly disappeared under the railings and the whole group swerved over, around 30 or 40 runners. Liz was clipped from behind and fell over. She says she thought she had landed

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 57

safely on her side, but when she reached for her drink a few moments later, she felt an excruciating pain. Breathing was painful, so that each time she sped up and her breath deepened, she’d be in so much pain that she’d need to slow down again. Liz had to re-assess her goals. It was no longer about competing against the others, but about reaching the finish line. She tells me how upset she was and that it was a, “missed opportunity”; she still finished the race in 2:33 though with, you guessed it, a broken rib! She was taken off to hospital after the race and had to have the rib, “popped back in”. She slept sitting up for three nights post-race because lying down was too painful. If you’ve ever broken a rib, or know someone who has, you’ll know how painful it is and that breathing, especially, is almost unbearable. Imagine trying to run 6 minute miles at the same time! I asked Liz if she had thought about stopping. “No, never. I’d dreamt about finishing in that Bird’s Nest Stadium for two or three years. There was nothing that was going to get in the way of me completing that marathon on that day”. In fact, Liz has only ever had one DNF and that was because she physically could not run any further.

At the time of the Beijing disappointment, Liz was “gutted”. Several years later, she can look back on it with some sense of achievement, even if it didn’t pan out the way she wanted. She still gave it everything she had and demonstrated the drive, determination and passion that gave her an Olympic status. A race never to forget, that’s for sure!

and have just returned from a great trip to Lake Annecy with a group of running clients. As well as teaching groups, Yelling Performance offers online training packages for your chosen event (different levels available), both Liz and Martin write for various fitness media publications and Martin also has a popular podcast, Marathon Talk. Do check out their website for more details: www.yellingperformance.com

Yelling Performance
Liz retired from competitive running in 2012, after the London Marathon. She’s currently pregnant with twins and the regular running has become regular walking as she grows bigger! She and her husband, Martin, are continuing to develop their company, Yelling Performance, which is an endurance sport consultancy for individual and corporate training. Martin, as many of you will know, is also highly experienced in the world of elite sport, having started as a competitive steeplechaser and moving into Duathlons and subsequently, Ironmans. He last competed at the Ironman Championships in Hawaii in 2007, after which he retired from the sport. Liz and Martin hold running retreats

Kids and running
Liz and Martin also organize events locally where they live, down in the very South of England. They’ve also done some coaching in the local schools. At a time when obesity is on the increase and interest in physical activity appears to be decreasing amongst youngsters, I asked Liz what changes could be made in schools to encourage kids to enjoy exercise. One of the problems that Liz sees is that teaching is always geared towards performance. She tells me that when she was teaching, she’d try to set up clubs that allowed children to just enjoy moving, rather than making them compete. Historically, P.E. lessons suit kids that

Page 58

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

are naturally sporty but are miserable times for those for whom sport does not come naturally. Another main flaw in the way things are done, particularly running, is that the pupils will have several weeks off school over the summer holidays and are lacking fitness when they return. “There needs to be a build up to cross country season”, Liz suggests. “The kids often haven’t done any running for months and then they’re told to run a mile and a half – off you go!” I told Liz that when David and I run barefoot, we tend to hear positive comments from the boys, such as, “Wow, they must be athletes”, but from the girls we hear, “ugh, dirty feet”, plus lots of giggling. It used to be ‘cool’ to be good at sport when I was at school – now the girls seem very ‘anti’. Liz thinks that perhaps there’s a lack of role models for women in sport and she has a point. Luckily, things seem to be slowly changing as we are seeing more coverage of women’s sport on television and there are currently some fantastic, successful British female athletes.

Yelling Performance is a sports coaching
consultancy established by Olympian and Commonwealth Games medallist, Liz Yelling and husband Martin Yelling. We offer a range of coaching and consultancy services to individuals, groups, organisations, events, corporate and charities.
       

Future plans
Liz will soon have her hands full with two new babies on the scene but I asked her what she has planned for later on. Her 6-8 year plan is for her and Martin to run an ultra – maybe the UTMB (Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc). Liz loves to run off-road and enjoys many coastal runs where she lives, so she likes the idea of an adventure in the mountains, once the kids are a bit older. She’s also done a couple of stints for Sky and BBC in a commentating role which she thoroughly enjoyed. She’d love to do a bit more of that, although she knows it’s a tough job, researching and remembering the details of all the competitors! After an hour of chat, we wrapped things up and I let Liz get on with her busy day. We’d like to thank her for her time and also for being such an inspiring, strong and determined athlete. We wish her all the best for the future and look forward to reading about her ultramarathon debut!

Bespoke personal coaching Corporate team coaching Charity team coaching Writing, presenting and media School 'be inspired' visits After dinner speaking Club coaching workshops Running and triathlon training days for individuals and groups

Get in touch and see how we can help you
info@yellingperformance.com w ww. ye l li ngpe rf orm a nc e. c om
"Liz Yelling single-handedly took me from being a naive novice jogger to being a confident and capable runner with her patience, understanding, expertise and generally down to earth and practical coaching. To run my first marathon in around eight months with a time of 4.10 is testament to Liz's ability to find the running skills and capabilities in anyone, whatever their level or natural talent. I have since gone on to begin my English Athletics Coaching qualifications and inspire and motivate others to achieve their best through running. Thank you Liz for changing my world!"

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 59

5 years ago, Dougie Tobutt was told by a surgeon that he would never run again. He didn’t accept the prognosis and as we fast forward to 2013, he has now completed 120 marathons and is still going strong. He uses Nordic Walking as a regular part of his training. So what is it about this unusual activity that Dougie finds so beneficial and could it help me in my quest to become an injury free runner? I met him on a rainy morning in the West Pennine Moors to find out. To be honest, when Anna asked me to meet Dougie and learn about Nordic walking, I was sceptical. I am a barefoot runner committed to stripping things back to basics and Nordic walking seems to be the antithesis of that. I wasn’t sure why I would want to make walking any more complicated than the natural activity it is. It simply wasn’t

something that I thought I would enjoy. However, if nothing else, I am a pragmatist. If something can help me be injury free then it has to be worth a go and as I met him in the early morning mist, Dougie’s enthusiasm was infectious. This is no flash in the pan fad for him. He has been using Nordic walking as part of his weekly sessions for the past 9 years and his passion for the subject was obvious. No messing about here. We said our hellos, had a quick lesson in the car park and pretty soon we were off into the moors. Striding out beside me, Dougie explained that Nordic Walking enjoys mass participation in certain parts of the world. This is certainly not the norm in the UK where Nordic walking is in its infancy. He recently ran a course for a party of German

Page 60

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

women only to find that they were all experts and regular Nordic Walkers back home. Its origins are reported to hark back to off-season training for cross-country skiers. Over the years it has been through a few incarnations and eventually has become a recognized sport in its own right. 25 years ago, after being diagnosed with arthritis in his hips and chronic back problems, Dougie’s surgeon advised him to give up running or face a double hip replacement within 3 years. He wasn’t satisfied with that prognosis and embarked on a self-education programme that bordered on the obsessive. He took a holistic approach to his hip and back problem, studied for over 20 diplomas in health and fitness and became his own guinea pig. Nordic walking is one of a range of activities that have become staples in his schedule and Dougie is convinced that it gives a far better whole body conditioning workout than simply walking or running. He is currently training for his 121st marathon (Tokyo) and was moving along at a fair old pace. I wasn’t about to argue. I found the technique intuitive and the poles were quickly feeling like extensions to my arms. Even as a complete novice, I could see that getting the right poles is the key to success. They differ from normal trekking poles at both ends. The straps feel very secure and let the poles hang from your grip when needed and the ends have specially designed rubber feet. During one cycle, the rubber feet are both dragged behind and then provide the solid purchase needed to propel the walker forward. Dougie kept checking my technique as we climbed the flank of Winter Hill overlooking the area where he now runs his Good Health Centre in a suite of rooms above Tobutt Sports. He has developed the centre since handing over the running of the shop to daughter Mandy who is the 4th generation to take the helm of the business started by Dougie’s grandfather in 1923. 90 years on and Tobutt Sports claim to be the oldest running shop in the UK. Dougie was proving to be a good teacher and as we continued to climb, I was getting the hang of the technique. The poles angled behind

me with their rubber feet resting on the floor. I gripped the handle and gently propelled myself forward and then let go of the handle as I pulled the pole back through. It was much more dynamic and natural than I expected. It felt smooth and I could feel my arms and upper body joining in. It just seemed to work. This whole body workout is what drew Dougie to Nordic walking. He believes in conditioning and in addition to playing racketball twice a week, he uses resistance bands and a Swiss ball for core work. He is regularly asked to talk to groups about the benefits of whole body exercise and this aspect of his work is growing steadily. Within his Good Health Centre, he

is best known for his Medistones massage therapy. He provides a deep tissue massage using hot and cold stones. His clients range from competitive athletes to elderly patients referred by doctors. He treats all manner of ailments and has recently seen an upturn in the number of referrals he is receiving for plantar fasciitis as word has spread on the effectiveness of his approach. The Good Health Centre is always busy and he is booked up well in advance. Even on his day off, Dougie treats a couple of clients starting at 5.30am. It was still very early as we approached the summit of Winter Hill. The poles were hardly noticeable and the handstraps were comfortable and easy to use. I was working my

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 61

whole body but it was definitely low impact. I can see how you could add a long session into your week without too much worry about overdoing things. The most obvious comparison is the elliptical cross training machines popular in gyms. As an injured runner, I knew those machines well. Both activities utilize the upper body but the comparison ends there. Nordic walking felt much more natural and I was certainly smiling a whole lot more than I did at the gym. I slipped off my Luna Sandals and descended Winter Hill barefoot and as we dropped back down to our starting point, I reflected on my initial misgivings about Nordic walking. It was not what I had been expecting. I had thoroughly enjoyed my time with Dougie and it was with some reluctance that I handed the poles back to him. I could see the appeal and I wanted another go. It was easy to learn and a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours in the hills. As a low impact way to compliment running, I will definitely be trying it again. Dougie is a classic example of someone who refused to give up.

He found a way to experiment and do the thing he loves. For him, Nordic Walking is part of that. He uses himself as a guinea pig, helps other people and the parallels with barefooting are clear. Many of us found barefoot running as a response to chronic injury and are passionate about passing on the message. Dougie’s path has been different but the mindset is the same. We find a way. Now, where can I get hold of some poles? To book a session with Dougie and find out more about his Good Heath Centre visit http://dougietobutt.com. You can find out more about Nordic walking by visiting the website of the International Nordic Walking Association at http://inwa-nordicwalking.com

Photos by Blake Wardle and Mick Stone of Egertonian Photography

Page 62

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

Barefoot Running Magazine

Winter 2012/13

Page 39

The Green Room
Barefoot Running and the Alexander Technique – Part One: First Steps

Page 64

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

oin the growing number who are trying this and kick your shoes off for the first time. The chances are you will be filled with some trepidation. Your foot feels so vulnerable. Let's say you overcome these fears enough to chance taking that first step. You find yourself taking a lot more care in how you pick up your foot and how you put it down! But there are further challenges. The body sense (sometimes also called the proprioceptive sense) has somehow gone to sleep; it is just not used to working at the high-level demand that involves a constant monitoring and adaptation of the foot to the ground. This core-sense has become dumbed-down and numbed-down. At some level your brain knows this. This adds to the feeling of vulnerability and danger. As if all this wasn't enough to ensure that you scurry back into the protection of your shoes there is now an awareness that your gait has adapted and compensated to the restriction of protective shoes and as one step leads to another there is a whole raft of concerns about just how your foot is striking the ground. Your heel pounding into the ground in a heel strike is the first of a whole host of habitual patterns that are going to have to be overhauled. It soon becomes clear that you are taking on a lot more than you had bargained for! However, a growing number of people these days are prepared to take on these radical challenges and a lot more individuals overcome these difficulties and are creating a culture of barefoot running and training. I am part of this culture. For 30 years I have been teaching the principles that can ensure that these explorations are enjoyable, safe and injury free. Up until recently the whole raison d'être of the shoe industry was solidly built around the foundation of protecting a foot that is considered to be inherently vulnerable - inadequate to the point of sometimes even being referred to as “insufficiently evolved”. These assumptions are now being robustly challenged as many individuals have a go at barefootin' or start to explore minimalist shoes. They will confront multiple levels of disconnection as they open up to this exploration. It's not just the sole of the shoe that separates the foot from the ground; the head has in

many ways become disconnected from the body and a vital sense modality. The body sense has been dumbed down in the process. Just as the head becomes disconnected from the feet we have become more and more cut off from our origins as natural runners. There are, in fact, a whole series of 'layers of the onion' to continually peel back. As one layer of disconnection is eased away it reveals the next layer and then the next. It is a process that will eventually reveal a natural stride. In the following text, I want to pick up on those two features that are present in those first barefoot steps: Becoming more careful or mindful and reawakening the body sense. I will explore how they can be refined and developed with the help of the Alexander Technique.

MINDFUL RUNNING AND MECHANICAL RUNNING
The feeling of vulnerability that overwhelms the first time barefooter turns out to be its very strength! This vulnerability needs to be embraced. As it functions more fully your foot will open up to become more responsive and agile. Contrary to what people think, the secret is not in making the foot hard and tough but in allowing it to be more soft, open, light but above all, responsive. We have become so accustomed to running mechanically that we still want to run habitually and repetitively, like a machine. To take off your shoes and to run in the same old habitual mechanical way is to court disaster. By providing the cushioning and protection, the shoe promotes a repetitive mechanical action that is

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 65

not particularly responsive to the changing terrain underfoot. Clearly this makes the foot less self-reliant and more 'needy’ and it may well form a key part of the process that degrades the functioning of the foot and leaves the foot so injury prone for a beginning barefooter. That bewildering extra care you take at first can form the basis for the radical shift to a Mindful Running action. The Alexander Technique can be a huge help in this wise move. A defining feature of Mechanical Running is that it is goal-driven. Mindful Running involves a qualitative shift: It is process driven. When the foot and the whole head-to-toe structure start to adapt to the ever changing demands of the terrain we enter into the Present Moment and into the Thinking-in-Action that is the essence of Mindfulness and Process Thinking. Mindfulness is not a state of mind but a way into responsive action. To make the most of the experience of barefoot running it is vital, right at the outset, to ease the aim or goal from out of the driving seat in order to allow the Process to drive the ongoing action. The Alexander Technique is an established and proven method or way of achieving this. This does not mean that we cease to have aims and goals. It does mean that these goals and aims steer the action as opposed to driving the action.

Think of the swimmer swimming toward the distant island: If he or she is in-process then the occasional glance toward the distant island is sufficient to make the necessary slight adjustments to keep on track, while at the same time, staying very much in the process of moving responsively and efficiently through the water. In a mechanical mindset the action of getting to the goal are seen as a necessary nuisance. Then the swimmer can't take their eyes off the distant island and they thrash away at the water inefficiently, desperately trying to get there as quickly as possible. Just kicking off your shoes will invite and, at times, demand Mindfulness and Process Thinking. It is a huge help and support if this major shift into Process Thinking is given the appropriate attention right at the outset, as a first concern. In this way, the Alexander Technique can then help to overhaul and shape the way you use the mechanisms of the body (bio-mechanics) and aid with the complex process of changing habits in the way you use yourself. It is a massive undertaking but hugely worth the effort. Mindfulness has a further powerful psycho-spiritual dimension in which moving effortlessly over beautiful terrain becomes a way of celebrating a sense of belonging and inter-connectedness.

PROPRIOCEPTIVE PROWESS: “Get smart before you get strong”
What happens with that first step is that you take more care as you discover, painfully, that the sole of your foot is very sensitive. In fact there are almost as many nerve endings in the sole of the foot as there are in the most sensitive areas of the body like the lips. They are so richly endowed to create that vital link that connects the foot to the ground. Engaging the barefoot with the ground for the first time will immediately enrich the flow of proprioceptive information to the brain. Eventually this flows into key areas of the brain like the cerebellum, which houses the body's gyroscope and compass. This proprioceptive enrichment will eventually improve balance and co-ordination. However, if a process that consciously refines and develops the skill of working with the proprioceptive sense partners this enrichment, then it in fact becomes very like opening an inner eye. There is real wisdom and insight to developing this and it links beautifully into the special efforts of Mindfulness that we have considered above. I refer to this aspect of Process Thinking as developing Proprioceptive Prowess the powerful skill of working with the kinaesthetic sense.

Page 66

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

Your brain and body form a unified team. Your mind works to direct how you use your self. We acknowledge a certain right order of things in the way we use a term such as “neuro-muscular patterning”. We do not call it “musculo-neural.” Locked as we are into a mechanical mindset, we are happy to give lots of attention to the 'meat-machinery' as we warm up muscles and exert energy to make them stronger. Rarely, if ever, do we consider warming-up the nervous system! And yet the 'neuro-' side of things comes first and should lead the 'muscular'. Amongst other things, the body sense mediates the connections between brain and muscle action and it modulates the various 'settings' as to how much exertion a muscle can undertake before the action begins. Developing the 'neuro' side of things by refining Proprioceptive Prowess turns out to be a very smart move indeed. In fact, it needs to be addressed as a primary concern. Clearly the brain leads the way and when it does we can follow a key Natural Running Course maxim: 'Get smart before you exert yourself' or 'Wise-up before you strengthen up'. We rarely do this as we force and push, try and strain, striving to achieve our goals. Opening up the inner eye of the proprioceptive sense is a first concern that engages the process of easing the mechanical goal-driven action out of the driving seat in order to let the Process drive the action and to enable the goal to steer the ongoing action. This is the process of the inner eye opening to allow Mindfulness to guide action. There is a major challenge here because Proprioceptive Prowess opens up only when you hold back from initially exerting your energies. The Alexander Technique teaches you to hold back from ‘muscling it’. This effort of attention is called Inhibition. What is so smart about this effort to hold back the action is that it enables the inner eye to open to achieve two important and related things: 1. It opens and prepares the way ahead to ensure that your impending action does not involve unnecessary tension ensuring that you do not work against yourelf. In this way the action becomes more mindful and responsive.

2. It goes on to guide and ensure that the resulting action follows the Laws of Least Effort. The proprioceptive sense evolved to achieve this energy conserving economy of effort. It is a sense modality that is perfected and complete. All that needs to happen is that it awakens as the inner eye opens. Our entire culture has become very mechanical and so our action is mostly mechanical in nature. What this means is that right at the outset of the action we are intent on striving, pushing, forcing, asserting. This always involves putting out muscular effort and energy as a first thing. This only ensures that the inner eye remains closed tight shut. Only when it opens can the skill of developing economy in mindful action begin to be developed. There is enormous power to be unlocked in developing Proprioceptive Process and it all happens BEFORE muscles are engaged. One key change that takes place as you develop Proprioceptive Process is a sense of lightness. As Proprioceptive Prowess develops, lightness comes to be used like the bubble in a spirit level: You use it constantly to monitor and check that things remain aligned and in a state of integrity. This makes a huge difference, for example, to the way that the foot leaves the ground and the way it reconnects with it. The footfall becomes light, responsive and agile and that ancient prowess of stealth, the silent footfall of a natural stride, reveals itself. Yet another connection is made to our origins. The growing number of individuals exploring barefoot running has recently attracted scientific interest. In a recent experiment 77 committed barefoot or minimalist shoe runners were put through a series of tests. Every one of these participants thought that they were forefoot or midfoot striking. Tests showed that only 53% of them were. This neatly encapsulates a difficulty with changing habits. What you think you do and what you actually do don’t always match! In the next article I want to present how the Alexander Technique works to help with the Art of Changing and how Mindfulness and Proprioceptive Prowess create micro-detailed ways to fast track the foot to full competence.

John Woodward is a long established Alexander Technique Teacher and coach of Natural Running. He runs a full time teaching centre in Bashful Alley Lancaster and runs courses from his purpose built centre: La’ ‘l Barn, overlooking the Duddon Estuary in the Lake District. John trained initially in research psychology and went on to research into human movement at Nottingham University. For a period, John played and taught classical guitar before training as an Alexander Technique teacher in the early 1980s. Since the first Natural Running course in the late 1980s, John has been refining and developing the work of applying the principles of the Alexander Technique to running form. John has walked and run barefoot for well over 30 years and lists among his barefoot feats:

 A barefoot walk around the Lake  A 60 mile run from Ulverston to  A barefoot ascent of Scafell (an
ultimate barefoot challenge if ever there was one!)  Ulverston to Lancaster barefoot  80 miles barefoot in one day (on my 65th birthday) You can find out more here: www.naturalrunning.co.uk, including dates for upcoming courses. John is completing his book: “Crossing The Line” and is about to release a DVD entitled: “The Natural Running Foot Competence Program”. Whitehaven barefoot in one day District

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 67

magine for a moment that you did extensive research into something, only to conclude that you need more research before you could make a meaningful statement about that something. Is that news? I don’t think so. Would any newspaper publish a headline: Scientists discover: We’re not sure yet! Nope. No news is not news. So, I’m once again dumbstruck by the latest article from the New York Times, “Is Barefoot-Style Running Best? New Studies Cast Doubt” Let’s cut to the end of the article first, where it says: None of this new science, of course, proves that barefoot-style running is inadvisable or disadvantageous for all runners; it proves only that the question of whether barefoot is best

is not easily answered. In other words, “Studies show we need more studies!” Who are barefoot runners hurting? To be fair, I’m okay with “Studies show we need more studies. ” It’s not news, but it’s accurate. So let me ask this: Why take what is essentially a barefoot bashing tack in the headline with “New Studies Cast Doubt?” Sure, some people will argue that the headline is simply saying “Hey, we’re not sure. ” But, is it really? The clear implication is that there was proof that barefoot was great for you, and now science says, Not so fast! This is like asking, “Do you know if your neighbour is a thief?” It’s not saying that your neighbour IS a thief,

but it suddenly plants the doubt in your mind. So, why the need for the mildly sensational and misleading headline? If you’ve been reading this blog, you’ll know this is a pattern: Some small, constrained, or poorly-designed study suggests that we need to do more research into barefoot Vs. shod running, and the headline says “Running Barefoot might ruin your credit and lead to bad hair days!” It’s like: “All you people who think barefoot is cool… well maybe you’re wrong. ” Even if that’s true… Argh. Analyzing the barefoot analysis Now before we jump back to the end of the article, which says something I agree with — more study is necessary, let’s look at a couple of points in the article itself.

Page 68

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

First, it comments on “the most definitive” of the new studies that says, in essence, “Landing on your forefoot is not as metabolically efficient as heel striking in RACING FLATS!” Oy. Where to begin? First, is the idea that barefoot running = landing on your forefoot. That’s a straw man argument. Talk to those of us who’ve worked with thousands of barefoot runners and we’ll tell you that: 1. There are MANY ways to land when running barefoot. Forefoot landing is only one of them. 2. There are many ways to land on your forefoot, and not all of them are the same. For example, how high is your heel off the ground when you land? Does your heel ever touch the ground? If so, when, and for how long? 3. It’s possible to have your heel touch the ground first, but still be a “mid-foot striker” (that is, your heel makes contact, but there’s practically no force on the ground until your mid foot touches down). In other words, how they’ve defined “barefoot-style” for the sake of research isn’t how “barefoot-style” is defined by most of us who actually run barefoot and teach barefoot running (and who’ve given it a lot of thought). You heels! Next, the study has the runners switch from forefoot to heel striking, or vice versa, to compare efficiency… while wearing RACING FLATS. While this maybe an interesting bit of info about heel-striking in shoes, Vs. forefoot landing in shoes: a. What does this have to do with BAREFOOT RUNNING? b. The argument from barefoot runners is not that heel-striking is more or less efficient, it’s that heel striking can INJURE YOU. This was the thrust of Daniel Lieberman’s research at Harvard: landing on your heel, even in a padded shoe, sends an “impact transient” spike of force through your joints, whereas a forefoot landing eliminates that force through your joints… IF… If it’s done correctly. Once again, the study doesn’t mention whether the runners were over striding or not, regardless of whether they were heel-striking or forefoot striking. In other words, not all heel-striking is the same. It’s possible, as I mentioned above, to land heel first, but with your foot properly positioned under your body in a way that doesn’t cause that impact transient force spike. In short, the variables (heel-striking Vs. forefoot striking) and the measurement of them were too limited to come to a definitive conclusion… oh, right, that’s what it says at the END of the article, after suggesting in this section that barefoot is bogus. But wait, there’s more… Next, the article says that 5 studies showed that switching to minimalist, barefoot-style footwear did not improve efficiency. a. How many times do I have to say this: Barefoot-style and minimalist are not the same as barefoot! Most of the minimalist/barefoot shoes that are available are about as close to barefoot as a pair of stilts. Just because a product SAYS it’s “barefoot” doesn’t mean it is. b. Xero Shoes are consistently rated as the closest thing to barefoot (we were not tested in these studies)… and even our “barefoot sandals” are not the exact same as barefoot, because you feel the same sensation — the rubber sole — rather than the myriad of varied sensations you get when you’re totally skin-to-the-ground. c. What’s the big deal about efficiency? As one commenter pointed out, there are more than a few world champion runners who forefoot strike. Clearly their lack of efficiency hasn’t hurt them! Honestly officer, I’m not drunk Then the article adds, “The news on injury prevention and barefoot-style running is likewise sobering.”

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 69

Again, the implication is that here’s some big news that’s about to tell you that running barefoot will kill you in some way. But what’s the “sobering” news? It’s the BYU study that we previously ripped apart, and an informal poll where 1/3 of the participants at the annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine had “tried barefoot-style shoes” and 1/3 of them had “suffered injuries” that they ATTRIBUTED to the new footwear. So, now it’s not barefoot-style running, it’s the footwear itself that caused the problems? Make up your mind. Or, better, THINK a little FIFTY PERCENT of runners get injured every year. Almost 80% of marathoners get injured every year. If only 1/3 of the people who went minimalist got injured… THAT’S BETTER than the average! And what about the happy barefoot runners? I’m the first one to say that anecdotes are not the same as data. A story is not the same as research. (Unless, of course, you’re at the ACSM meeting, where a poll of people who claim that barefoot running hurt them — even though most of them probably never put their bare skin on the ground — counts as something worth publishing). But that doesn’t mean one should ignore the thousands of stories — we get at least one every day — from people who took off their shoes and were able to run painfree for the first time in years. Further, there are many reasons to get out of your shoes beyond being able to run fast, or run efficiently, or even to run at all. Why is running touted as the barometer for all things barefoot? And, speaking as a sprinter — I don’t even like to go around the turns on a track, let alone do a 5k for the charity du jour — why is distance running the be-all-andend-all of running?

Follow the barefoot money! Finally, here’s a question I’ve never heard anyone ask: Who is paying for all this “sobering” research that, when push comes to shove, is only saying, “we need more research”? We know there’s a bias when labs are funded by companies with a vested interest in the outcome. When a lab studies Product X, and that same lab receives money from Product X’s manufacturer, a disproportionate percentage of the results endorse Product X. When the same studies are done at labs that don’t receive funding from Product X’s manufacturer, WAY less frequently do the studies endorse Product X. The media is usually fast to point out when a drug study came from a lab that receives significant funding by the company that manufactures the drug in question. I’ve seen none of that reported in the “barefoot is EVIL!” articles. Do we think reality is any different when we’re talking about feet and not pharmaceuticals? I know of more than a few labs that have received significant amounts of revenue from Nike, Adidas, and Reebok. Do we actually think that running studies are less influenced by money from “Big Shoe”? I’m a scientist at heart. I’m interested in the facts. If I saw a GOOD study that said running or walking barefoot will decrease your Donkey Kong scores and cause hair to grow on your knuckles, I wouldn’t argue. I’d weigh the value of video games and hirsute hands against the fun and freedom I feel when I’m out of shoes and either barefoot or in Xero Shoes. Until then, I guess I’m destined to rant about studies with bad or no controls, and reporters who get all hyperbolic just to get readers, when all they have to say is, “Wouldn’t it be great to do more research into this barefoot running thing?”

Page 70

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

Barefoot Running Magazine

S W pi r ni t ne gr 2 20 01 13 2/1 P3 a gP ea 7 g3 e 71

Assorted goodies
Products worth a look

Page 72

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

1.

Vibram EL-X. This is one of the latest offerings from Vibram, described as a “perfect introduction to FiveFingers” on their website. Snazzy colour and very thin sole for ultimate barefoot feel. Only available for men though! Visit: www.vibramfivefingers.com

2.

Wahoo Fitness KICKR Power Trainer. This is the world’s first iphone powered bike trainer. Just remove the back wheel of your bike and connect it to the KickR Power Trainer for a smooth indoor riding experience plus all the technology you can handle! Retails at €1,199.00. Visit: www.wahoofitness.com

3.

Jawbone Up device. A neat little wristband that helps you keep track of your health in everyday life, monitoring sleep, activity and nutrition. All in a stylish bracelet, available in a variety of colours. Retails at around £99. Visit: www.jawbone.com

4.

Brooks PureDrift. This is Brooks take on the minimalist shoe with its lightweight build and wider toe box. It also has a removable inner sole for those who prefer less support and comes in a number of bright colour combinations. This shoe retails at around £80. Visit: www.brooksrunning.com

5.

Gill Quick Drying Towel. This is an ultra absorbent, anti odour, anti bacterial gem that comes in its own carry bag. It absorbs 6 times its own weight in water and dries 3 times quicker than a standard towel. Aimed at sailing enthusiasts, it might also be useful after a sweaty run! Retails at £25 Visit: www.gillmarine.com

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 73

The latest national news

he UK Department of Health has allocated £124 million towards research into long term illnesses, such as Diabetes, dementia and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). Several research projects will be carried out over 5 years by a team of specialist, looking particularly at how exercise can help reduce the risks of developing these types of disorders. It is also hoped that the funding may lead to a reduction on the pressure on A & E services as a result of better management of out-of-hospital care.

National news

he charity ‘Homeless FA’, set up in 2012, has been awarded a ‘Big Society Award’ by British Prime Minister, David Cameron. The charity uses football as a means of improving the lives of the homeless in England. Their work includes 5 day training programmes at Homeless FA Training Centres, delivered in partnership with several professional football clubs. The charity also supports many other community football projects being run by hostels or day centres, for example. Being part of the Homeless FA Community can offer lots of benefits for these projects including discounts on kit, pitch hire, etc. The charity was personally selected by Mr Cameron, who stated, "I was very impressed by the work Homeless FA does in partnership with community groups, businesses and sports clubs." For more info on the charity, visit: www.homelessfa.org

British double amputee, Richard Whitehead, is running 40 marathons in 40 days to raise money for Scope and cancer charity, Sarcoma

Famous British chef, Jamie Oliver, sparks controversy, claiming that parents are buying cheap, fast food to offset their expensive techno toys

Page 74

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

The latest national news

small part of the UK is beginning to recognize and respond to the health problems associated with energy drinks. Trelawney stores in Plymouth, Devon, have made it their policy not to sell energy drinks to children under 16, following requests from concerned parents. The shop’s owner, Paul Gentle, refers to this as, “responsible retailing” although they have had one instance where a parent returned with their child to purchase a drink that the child had previously been refused. Some of the local schools are not allowing energy drinks on the premises and the shop is keen to support this effort to promote a more healthy diet. Currently, there is no law against selling energy drinks to children but new legislation in December 2014 will call for new labelling guidelines for drinks that are highly caffeinated with the aim of having a physiological effect on the consumer.

National news

ecently, the Times newspaper published a letter from Danish researchers that suggested the free health checks in the UK are a waste of time and money. This health check scheme, started in 2009, offers ‘MOT’s’ to adults aged between 40 and 74, taking basic measurements such as height, weight, blood pressure and cholesterol with the aim of identifying those at risk of developing problems associated with these factors. Those against the scheme suggest that it attracts the wrong people; those who are health conscious and therefore are unlikely to be at risk tend to be the ones who take advantage of the scheme whilst those who are at risk stay away. Advocates of the scheme believe it is very useful, particularly for those who are at risk of Type II Diabetes which is increasing dramatically in the UK. The expensive scheme (£300 million) could therefore save money in the long run. The scheme will continue to be reviewed by Public Health England.

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 75

Try this at home

Page 76

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

ne physical attribute that’s talked about very much in relation to running, is ‘core strength’. Search for this on the internet and you’ll find hundreds, thousands of exercises that you can do to work those deep muscles that help support your spine. When we wrote our book, we deliberated about which exercises to include and had a long debate about whether we would include floor exercises for ‘core’ work. The reason for our discussion was that although it is very beneficial to do exercises such as the plank and other abdominal/back strengthening exercises, the ‘core’ really comes into its own when it’s working as part of an integrated system that helps support the entire body when it’s upright and moving. We had limited space to include exercises, so decided instead to focus on standing exercises that do challenge the ‘core’ but in a more functional way. So, which exercises can do that? Well, hopefully most of you can stand upright without too much of a problem. However, if you were to stand on one leg, you would find

this more challenging. If you were then to lean, sway, or add other movements in whilst on one leg, it would be even harder. These types of exercises will work your ‘core’ in an integrated manner. The other important thing to remember is that your ‘core’ doesn’t just relate to your abdominals and back. All the muscles associated with stabilizing your pelvis and lower back also constitute part of your ‘core’. With balance work, you tap into that stabilizing system and it challenges the whole mechanism that is designed to keep you stable when faced with gravitational forces. One more thing: if you think about running, it’s just a series of one leg balances in quick succession. If you’re not very good at stabilizing on one leg, then doing it several thousand times during a run at speed may lead to injury woes and none of us want that! When you practise balance exercises, you won’t feel any ‘burn’ in your abdominals like you would doing a hundred ab crunches, but your deeper abdominal muscles will certainly be switched on. You may well feel a burn in your calf muscles

as quite often the lower legs and feet aren’t working quite as efficiently as they should. Your lower legs may also overwork to compensate for dysfunction further up your body – having weak gluts and tight hip flexors is a common problem that can result in poor stabilization. So, it is important to proceed gradually so that you don’t overdo things. There are numerous ways to challenge your balance and once you feel confident, you can start to experiment and make up your own. Here are three ideas to get you started. Of course, if you have any injuries at the moment or haven’t done any balance exercises before, it’s best to attempt them under the guidance and supervision of a qualified, experienced fitness professional. Finally, you don’t have to be a runner to benefit from balance exercises. Balance is a key aspect of general health and a skill that tends to diminish as you get older unless you continue to develop and maintain it. Use it or lose it!

Side lunge to balance
1. Begin by lifting your right leg off the floor, knee bent, with hands on hips. (A) 2. Lunge your right leg out to the side, keeping your left leg straight. Hinge your torso slightly forward. (B) 3. Push back off the right foot to lift back up to the starting position. Repeat 6 times and then swap sides, completing another 6 on the left leg.

A

B

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 77

Swing through balance
1. Begin with feet hip distance apart, arms by sides. 2. Reach your arms up in the air, (A) then fold over your legs, rounding your spine and relaxing your neck. (B) 3. Lift back up, bringing your arms up and raising your right leg. (C) 4. Fold back over your legs as your lifted foot goes back down. 5. Lift back up, this time lifting your left leg. 6. Continue with this movement, alternating the leg that you lift each time. Repeat a total of 12 times (6 each side).

A

B

C

Page 78

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

The Hinge
1. 2. Shift your weight to your right leg and lift your left foot slightly off the floor. (A) Hinge your body forwards from your right hip joint, allowing your arms to drop down in front of you. Allow your left leg to lift behind you. You’re aiming to get the left leg and torso parallel to the floor. The standing leg can be slightly bent. (B) Lift back up to the starting position then repeat the movement, completing a total of 6 times before doing the same on the other leg.

A

3.

B

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 79

Picture from the past

Page 80

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

Exercise and Movement Therapy is about re-educating your body to move as it was designed to move. It’s about releasing your body from restrictions that result from past injuries, emotional issues, tension and stress. Imagine how a dancer moves; with elegance, grace and control. Using physical exercises, visualization and breathing techniques, Exercise and Movement Therapy teaches you to move naturally, with more agility, balance and coordination. We use variations of this technique with all of our clients – everyone benefits, whether they are sports people, people in pain or those who just generally would like to feel better. Rather than traditional “gym” training where movements are very one dimensional, we teach you more natural, spiralling movements, often put together into sequences to encourage whole body, multi-directional movement patterns, similar to how you move through your daily life.

Website: www.trbalance.com

tel: 0845 226 7303

email: info@trbalance.com

Barefoot Running Magazine

Winter 2012/13

Page 69

How to

Page 82

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

f you’ve been riding for a while you’ll know just how important it is to have a good bike set up. Not only does it make your ride more enjoyable but there are several other benefits to consider. 1. Comfort – being able to ride without any niggles or discomfort can make a major difference, especially to endurance road cycling athletes who are often in the saddle anywhere from 4-10 hours. 2. Increase in Performance – riding pain free can reduce additional stress on the body and divert energy to improving your cycling performance by dramatically improving your power and overall speed. 3. More Energy Efficient –you will utilize less valuable glycogen stores to achieve your optimum performance allowing you the ability to train longer and harder. 4. Reduce Injury – minimize your potential risk of muscular injury. 5. Modification Options – ability to tailor the bike set up to the type of cycling training or event you are participating in to achieve the best balance of efficiency and comfort. In endurance races, riders usually opt for a slightly less aerodynamic position to improve comfort, whereas for a short time trial or sprint triathlon, the tightest possible aerodynamic position and lowest trunk position will deliver the maximum speed advantage. You can therefore see that the correct bike set-up is crucial for any cyclist, but very few recreational road cyclists are aware of its overall importance. You just have to go out on the weekend around Richmond Park and you will notice many cyclists with their seats set too low or too high or their handle bars too far away from their saddle or their knees grossly deviating left and right. So let's get started. A few simple bike set up tips to improve your overall performance are as follows: 1. Ideal Seat Height (up or down movement) – generally speaking you can stand next to your bike and measure the height of the saddle against your hip height (see picture above) to get a rough idea but this is simply not enough. A few extra millimetres here or there can make all the difference so when doing a biomechanical set up, we recommend you use the following equation: Ideal Seat Height = 0.98 x (Lower Limb Leg Length + Cleat Thickness).

 Lower Limb Leg Length = highest
point of the knob-like bump of your hip (Greater Trochanter, GT), to the floor. Using a tape

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 83

measure, take a vertical measurement from base of foot to GT. Make sure you take this measurement without road cycling shoes on and have your feet approximately pedal width apart with equal weight bearing pressure on each leg. If a cyclist has one leg longer than the other then it's better to measure off the shorter leg to avoid any unnecessary discomfort later.

(particularly those muscles needed for cycling like hip flexors, hamstrings, quads, etc.) as well as decent mobility in the limbs without any restricted movement from current or past injuries. ii. If using this equation, then practically speaking instead of using 0.98 to start, use a slightly lower number like 0.96 first so you can get used to the new height level (particularly if you are increasing the height quite a bit). Once you have ridden at this height for a while then you can increase it after 3-4 weeks using 0.98 in the equation. This will allow your muscles (like the hamstrings & calves as well as the greater hip flexion) to get gradually used to the new height without causing any unnecessary tension or injury to the muscles. It’s also best to avoid a hard training session or climbing steep hills straight away as your muscles are going to be put under more stress in your new position. I would recommend riding an

Cleat Thickness – given road cycling shoes can vary in cleat size from 10-40mm, it's best to take your measurement of the cleat when it’s not attached to the shoe.

easy recovery pace for at least 2 weeks to get the muscles accustomed to the new height. If seat height was very low to start with then it would be advisable to move the seat up in 10mm increments every few weeks as many cyclists are very sensitive to joint angle and muscle length changes. Particularly, avoid making drastic changes to seat height just before race day. See picture above for ideal seat height. How do you know if your seat height is not right? Well below ideal height: Generally cyclists will have hip restriction, IT Band or knee issues due to compressive forces being increased with increased knee flexion when riding. This is the most common issue I see when I first meet new riders who join Team Njinga's beginner cycle training programme. Well above ideal height: Generally cyclists will have back pain, sciatic

An example of an ideal seat height would be 0.98 x (98mm + 19mm) = 114.6mm Key Considerations: i. It’s important to be aware this equation is only ideal for cyclists who have a good level of core stability and muscular flexibility

Page 84

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

nerve irritation and, when riding, hips will have excessive side to side movement. Sometimes cyclists will also experience neck or upper body neural issues from being in an over stretched position. In my experience this is not as common in road cyclists, I see it more when I teach spinning classes, especially to non-cyclists. 2. Ideal Seat Position (forward or backwards movement): After the above step has been sorted, you would then look at the position of the seat in relation to the pedals. By clipping in your feet (or inserting into the toe clips) and bringing the crank arms parallel to the floor (in the 3 & 9 O’clock position), drop a plumb line (or string with a fishing weight on the end) vertically down with ideally a spirit level so you don’t get the angle wrong from the knee. In the indentation next to the patella (knee cap) - it should bisect the pedal spindle. Adjust the saddle forward/backward to ensure that the knee is over the pedal spindle (see adjacent picture). Depending on your cycling goal you may wish to move this seat position or ideally cleat position to get either more power over shorter distances or better comfort over longer endurance rides. 3. Handle Bar Adjustment - The handle bars can move forwards or backwards depending on the cyclist’s natural torso length and ideal level of comfort versus maximum performance. Many cyclists rarely get the stem at the ideal stem length when purchasing a regular non-customized road bike as bike manufacturers work on average stem lengths for the frame size of the bike, which can be anything from 90mm to 120mm. The handle bars can also move up or down depending on the cycling goal or cyclist’s level of flexibility. Generally speaking, the lower the handle bars, the more aerodynamic the position, which is generally adopted by road racers, time trialists and triathletes. Also the geometry of some road bikes (like Specialized Tarmac, Cannondale Supersix, Trek Madone, etc.) can assist cyclists with a naturally more aggressive riding position to improve speed, whereas an endurance set up with the stem

or bars slightly higher (like Trek Domane, Specialized Roubaixor Cannondale Synapse, etc.) would not be as aerodynamic as longer distances in the saddle would ideally require a less aggressive approach to allow for a more relaxed position to promote comfort first. Hence, if you are struggling to reach the hoods (overstretching) and unable to bend the elbow after all the above saddle adjustments then you should consider a shorter stem length. Vice versa, if you have a large bend in the elbows and you’ve made all the above adjustments then you should consider a longer stem length unless you are specifically looking for a more aggressive approach.

The ideal position should be a slight bend in your elbows when holding the hoods, especially for endurance riders. This should feel comfortable with no tension in the upper back or shoulders. See fig. 4, page 86, for a comfortable road riding position, which is generally adopted by endurance road cyclists. Incorrect handle bar position is something I see often with beginner road cyclists who buy their bikes online or from general sports shops as opposed to specific road cycling stores. The majority of the time their handle bars are simply too far away from them because of the stem being too long, resulting in them having to stretch so far forward to put their hands on the hoods that they are unable

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 85

to bend their elbows. This often causes back pain or they overcompensate by putting their seat too far forward, causing knee issues and restricting compression force to the pedals resulting in less power. Equipment You Need Bike set-up can be assisted greatly with the following small pieces of equipment:

 Forefoot varus wedges placed
between the cleat and shoe will correct knee alignment by allowing the foot to operate in its normal position. Specific cycling orthotics are also commonly used. Professional Bike Fit The interaction between an athlete’s body and sporting equipment for cycling can be highly complex and influenced by so many variables that it’s highly advisable to get a proper bike fitting to take into account all these differences if you are going to be doing long sessions in the saddle. See picture below.

left legs

 Plumb Line or Laser with spirit  Full shoe-length leg raises
level to assist with seat height compensate for the slight differences in length commonly found between our right and

Togo Keynes is a Cycling Coach, Sky Ride Leader, Spinning Instructor, Personal Trainer, Holistic Health Coach & Nutritionist and runs NjingaCycle Tours and Training. Njinga offers cycling weekends and training programmes with a difference. They focus on getting the best out of their clients by not only focusing on improving cycling through exceptional coaching and training but providing the nutritional support and focus needed to drive optimal performance. They work with beginner and intermediate road cyclists looking to have fun, get fit and complete their first endurance road cycling challenge. Contact Njinga and receive 10% off their 1-1 cycle coaching sessions. Visit www.njingacycling.com for more info.

Page 86

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

The Barefoot... PLUS! sandal for running, walking, hiking, yoga, gym-going, and fun! Feel The World TM!
Original Barefootware

A high-tech upgrade of the Tarahumara huaraches.

"Best of test 2011 & 2012" Barefoot Running Magazine

Enjoy the fun and freedom of natural barefoot movement, with protection, style… and a 5,000 mile warranty.

Winner "Best Huaraches Sandals" 2011 Grovie Awards

Prices start at $19.95 USD
As almost barefoot feel with protection. It's so light you hardly feel it. - Los Angeles Times

Write back at you
Why Cavemen Didn’t Actually Die Young by Sébastien Noël

f you’ve ever tried to explain Paleo to a sceptic, you’ve probably encountered this argument. It’s not usually the first objection, but somewhere after, “…not even whole wheat?” and, “but doesn’t saturated fat give you heart disease?” comes, “and didn’t cavemen all die when they were 25? Why would you want to eat like that?”

Statistics 101: Average vs. Mode
The argument that the Paleo diet must be unhealthy because, “the average caveman only lived to be 25” is a perfect example of how easy it is to draw false conclusions from true statistics. Consider the two statements below. 1. The average caveman lived to be 25. 2. The average age of death for cavemen was 25. The first sentence describes a cultural norm, using average to mean ‘normal’ or ‘typical.’

According to the first statement, Joe Caveman born during the Palaeolithic period could reasonably plan on living to be 25, but not much older. The second statement also uses the word “average,” but with a very different meaning. Here, the word describes a mathematical formula: you find the average of a group of numbers by adding all the numbers up and dividing by the number of numbers. For example, if Joe Caveman lived to be 45, but his brother Jim Caveman got tetanus and died at age 5, you can find the average lifespan of the two brothers (fig.1): Notice how the average lifespan of the two brothers isn’t even close to the actual lifespan of either of them. Many people have a false understanding of actual Palaeolithic life expectancy because they confuse these two meanings of the word ‘average.’ In the cultural sense, meaning ‘normal’ or ‘typical,’ the word ‘average’ means something close to the mathematical definition of mode, or the most common number in a set. This leads many people to read statistics about

fig.1 the ‘average’ and think it means the mode. But this can be very misleading: the mathematical average of a set of numbers can be the same as the mode, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be – as Joe and Jim Caveman above demonstrate. In a mathematical sense, as in the second statement, the average life expectancy of Palaeolithic humans might well have been 25. However, this does not necessarily mean that the mode of the lifespan was 25. To illustrate the difference, the charts below show the life expectancy patterns that each of the two sentences above describe, projected onto a theoretical group of 20 cavemen.

Page 88

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

had access to some modern medical technology). Children were especially vulnerable to all kinds of diseases and infections that we can now prevent with vaccines or cure with antibiotics: due to the incredible advances in modern medicine, the child mortality rate in the United States today is 0.639%. Palaeolithic child mortality is almost unimaginable to us. This high infant mortality rate pulls down the “average age of death,” making it a largely meaningless statistic for anyone trying to figure out what life was actually like in the Palaeolithic period. One “average” number is convenient to quote at dinner-table arguments, but breaking down the population into age groups provides a much clearer and more accurate picture. So what were the mortality patterns of prehistoric humans? From studying the remains of Palaeolithic cultures and the life patterns of modern hunter-gatherers, researchers have concluded that human mortality fitted to a U-shaped curve. Infancy and childhood were dangerous, but if you survived to 15, you could expect a reasonable lifespan: mortality rates started to increase again at around 40, doubling at 60 and again at 70. Gurven and Kaplan found that the modal (most common) age of death for hunter-gatherers who survived past 15 was 72. Taking out the infant mortality rate, Stephen Guyenet found that the average lifespan of one Inuit group was 43.5, with 25% of the population living past 60. One study on the Hazda exhaustively ruled out all modern circumstances as significantly

fig.2 In fig.2, most cavemen are dying at around 25 – there are a couple of outliers, but Joe Caveman born into this group could expect to live around 25 years. The mode (most common) age at death is the age 20-25 group. The mathematical average (found by adding up all the ages at death and dividing by 20) is also close to 25. Taking the mathematical average of the ages at death of all the cavemen in this group would yield a number around 25, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that most of them – or even any of them – actually died at 25. The mode, in other words, is not necessarily the same as the average: in this graph, the average is around 25, but the mode is the age 0-5 group, and the range of lifespan varies widely with two different ‘typical’ patterns: death in childhood, or survival into middle age. If Joe Caveman born into this tribe survives to his 10th birthday, he has a fighting chance of living to meet his grandchildren. Fig.3 is close to what anthropologists mean when they talk about the, “average life expectancy” of prehistoric humans being 25. This is why ‘average’ as a mathematical concept can be so misleading: a heavy bias to one end of the data set can distort the average so dramatically that it no longer tells us anything meaningful about the lives of actual Palaeolithic humans. This is difficult to determine using records from actual Palaeolithic populations. While researchers have attempted to determine the age at death of Palaeolithic humans by analyzing bone remains, these procedures measure Palaeolithic bones against modern bones, not necessarily a relevant comparison since Palaeolithic humans got much more Vitamin D than modern humans and, while their food supply was not as abundant, it was also uncontaminated by modern chemical toxins. Evidence from the Palaeolithic period is patchy enough that research on modern hunter-gatherers probably provides more accurate estimates: one study found that 30-40% of hunter-gatherer children die before age 15, most of those before age 5. Another study reached an even more depressing conclusion: about 43% of modern hunter-gatherer children never reached their 15th birthday (although the rates of survival were higher among forager-horticulturalists and acculturated hunter-gatherers, who

Infant Mortality and the Palaeolithic Lifespan
The factor skewing the ‘average’ data and giving rise to the false assumption that cavemen died very young is the infant mortality rate.

fig.3

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page

89

influencing mortality and concluded that humans evolved for a post reproductive lifespan of around 20 years. While the specific estimates vary, none of these estimates come close to 25 as the typical age at death. Also interesting are the causes of death among modern hunter-gatherer populations. Few people suffer from diabetes, heart disease and other degenerative diseases of the modern world; the most common killers are diseases that modern medicine has rendered much less dangerous, especially gastrointestinal and respiratory diseases. The basic pattern of Palaeolithic mortality was probably close to these observed patterns in modern hunter-gatherer societies: a shockingly high infant mortality rate, but a relatively high life expectancy for those who survived to reach puberty, with most deaths caused by diseases that pose relatively little threat to people in modern societies.

where increased food intake and better nutrition have been steadily lowering the age of menarche since the 19th century. The average age at menarche for modern hunter-gatherers seems a much more accurate estimation for a Palaeolithic woman). This means that the average woman would have Child 1 at 19, Child 2 at 22 and Child 3 at 25 – and then, according to the “cavemen died young” theory, she would die. But this is a completely unsustainable population pattern. Statistically, if 30-40% of children died in infancy, at least one of these children would die no matter what the mother did. Say that child is Child 1. The woman is now left with 2 children, but if she dies when Child 3 is a newborn, Child 3 will never get the benefits of her breast milk and nurture and is therefore very unlikely to survive. Child 2 might stand a chance of living to adulthood, but if only one child per woman survived to reproduce, the human population would quickly die out. Moreover, a woman very possibly might have not become pregnant with each successive child as soon as she was finished breastfeeding the last one. She may have chosen not to have sex, or a scarcity of food might have triggered her body into starvation mode, shutting down her reproductive system and suppressing fertility. If a woman only managed to bear 2 children before age 25, the population model gets even more dismal. On top of the mathematical improbability of this view, evolutionary biology presents another obstacle in the form of menopause. Nothing evolves without some purpose. Humans would not randomly start to grow horns or to see in the ultraviolet spectrum without some pressing environmental need for those features. Likewise, we wouldn’t have evolved to go through menopause unless it brought some evolutionary advantage. The

“grandmother hypothesis” proposes that older women, who are more likely to die in childbirth and have babies with birth defects, provide more benefit to their family group by investing their time and energy in the children they already have. Menopause protects older women from pregnancies they can’t physically handle, so that they can continue to support their offspring and ensure the survival of their genetic line. But menopause never would have evolved if women in the Palaeolithic were dying at 25: there would be no evolutionary pressure for a change that occurs between 40 and 50.

Conclusion
The evolution of menopause and the mathematical impossibility of population growth are two gaping holes in the hypothesis that Palaeolithic humans died at 25. Available data from modern hunter-gatherer societies also contradict the hypothesis that prehistoric humans all died very young: members of these groups who live to reach puberty have life expectancies between 60 and 70 years. Many people misunderstand these patterns because they only look at the ‘average’ lifespan. The mathematical average of the ages at death of everyone in a Palaeolithic group might have been 25, but breaking down this number by age reveals a very high infant mortality rate bringing down the group average: either you died at 3, or you lived to be 60. The much higher average life expectancies of the modern world are largely due to modern medical technology dramatically decreasing the rate of death in children under 10. Comparing the ‘average’ life expectancies definitively proves that modern medicine is better than Palaeolithic medicine – but it doesn’t tell us anything about diet.

Reproduction and Population Growth
This argument is not simply a set of statistics derived from studies on modern hunter-gatherers and extrapolated to our Palaeolithic ancestors on the assumption that living conditions would be essentially similar. It also has a basis in human biology, specifically reproductive biology. Assuming that a Palaeolithic woman wanted to maximize her baby’s chance for survival, she probably would have breastfed it for at least 2 years. This means that children would have been spaced at least 3 years apart: 2 years of breastfeeding plus 9 months of pregnancy. Studies on modern hunter-gatherers show women reaching menarche at an average age of 16 and giving birth to their first child around 19 (Hoggan uses 13, but this age is common only among modern industrial societies,

Learn more about the Paleo recipe book at www.paleorecipebook.com

Page 90

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

of emails asking us if we know of barefoot runners in a particular area and we always direct them to the facebook group where they’re bound to find someone. With this in mind, as the group continues to grow and other groups keep sprouting up across the UK, we’ve decided to sponsor a ‘Club Directory’ within Barefoot Running Magazine. This

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 91

What’s On

Saturday 14th Saturday 14th

Scottish Barefoot Run & Conference Barefoot Boise Fun Run

Edinburgh. Scotland, UK Boise, Idaho, USA Putney - Henley, UK Gateshead, Newcastle, UK Brighton, East Sussex, UK London, UK Chipping Campden, UK Montreal, Canada Chicago, Illinois, USA Berlin, Germany Cambridge, UK Sheffield City Centre, UK Loch Ness, Scotland, UK

www.scottishbarefootrun.org www.barefootboise.com www.thamespathchallenge.com www.greatrun.org See page 103 for more information www.greatgorillarun.org www.cotswoldrunning.co.uk www.ca.competitor.com/montreal www.pilates.com www.berlin-marathon.com See page 103 for more information www.greatrun.org www.lochnessmarathon.com

Saturday 14-15th Thames Path Challenge (100k) Saturday 14-15th BUPA Great North Run Sunday 15th Saturday 21st Saturday 21st Sunday 22th Friday 27-29th Sunday 29th Sunday 29th Sunday 29th Sunday 29th BFR UK Group Run Great Gorilla Run The Cotswold Way Centuries Rock ‘n’ Roll de Montréal Marathon Balanced Body Pilates on Tour Berlin Marathon BFR UK Group Run BUPA Great Yorkshire Run Baxters Loch Ness Marathon

Thursday 3 -12th Sunday 6th Sunday 6h Sunday 6th Sunday 6th Sunday 13th Sunday 13th Saturday 19th Sunday 20th

UVU Jungle Marathon Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run Royal Parks Half Marathon Rock ‘n’ Roll Lisbon Marathon & ½ MBNA Chester Marathon BFR UK Group Run GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon Run Richmond Riverside 10K BUPA Great Birmingham Run

Brazil Glasgow, Lanarkshire, UK Hyde Park, London, UK Lisbon, Portugal City of Chester, UK London Wall, City of London Victoria, Canada London, UK Birmingham, UK Southsea, Portsmouth, UK Norwich, UK Dublin, Ireland

www.junglemarathon.com www.runglasgow.org www.royalparkshalf.com www.pt.competitor.com/portugal www.chestermarathon.co.uk See page 103 for more information www.runvictoriamarathon.com www.thefixevents.com www.greatrun.org www.greatrun.org www.muckyraces.co.uk www.dublinmarathon.ie

Saturday 26-27th BUPA Great South Run Sunday 27th Monday 28th Steeplechase Dublin Marathon

Page 92

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

Sunday 3rd Sunday 3rd Sunday 3rd Saturday 9th Saturday 9th Saturday 16th Monday 18th Saturday 20th

BFR UK Group Run Lancaster Half Marathon ING New York Marathon Run Strong • Run Free workshop London Spartan Beast Anthem Richmond Marathon Conwy Half Marathon Antarctic Ice Marathon

Richmond Park, London, UK City of Lancaster, UK New York, USA www

See page 103 for more information www.shoestringresults.com www.ingnycmarathon.org See page 103 for more information www.spartanrace.com www.richmondmarathon.com www.runwales.com www.icemarathon.com www.therunningshow.co.uk www.cityofnorwichhalfmarathon.com www.greatrun.org www.icemarathon.com www.asdmol.it

Bacon’s College, London Pippingford, East Sussex, UK Richmond, Virginia Conwy Quayside, Wales, UK Ellsworth Mountains Sandown Park, Surrey, UK Norwich, Norfolk, UK Addis Ababa , Ethiopia Ellsworth Mountains Palermo, Sicily

Saturday 23-24th The Running Show Sunday 24th Sunday 24th Saturday 20th Saturday 30th Norwich Half Marathon BUPA Great Ethiopian Run Antarctic Ice Marathon 24 Ore Del Sol

Sunday 1st Sunday 1st Saturday 7th Saturday 7th Sunday 8th Sunday 8th Saturday 14th Saturday 14th Thursday 19th Thursday 19th Thursday 26th Thursday 26th

Grim Challenge (2 Day) BFR UK Group Run Aspen PE City Marathon Winter Sun 10K Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio Marathon BCS Marathon and Half Marathon Santa’s Scamper DAM Jingle Bell 10K/5K Dash Patagonia Running Adventure Urban Jungle Mdina 2 Spinola Mdina, Cockleroy Chaser Sønndersø Rundt

Aldershot, Hampshire, UK Clapham Common, London Port Elizabeth, South Africa Moab, Utah, USA San Antonio , Texas, USA College Station , Texas, USA Calne, Wiltshire, UK Orinda, California, USA Patagonia, Chile Malta Cockleroy, West Lothian, UK Vaerloese, Denmark

www.grimchallenge.co.uk See page 103 for more information www.crusaders-athletic-club.com www.moabhalfmarathon.com www.runrocknrollcompetitor.com www.bcsmarathon.com www.calneleisure.co.uk www.wolfpackevents.com www.andesadventures.com www.maltamarathon.com www.lothianrunningclub.co.uk www.puls96.dk

Wednesday 1st Wednesday 1st Saturday 4th Saturday 4th Sunday 5th Saturday 11th Saturday 11th Saturday 11th Saturday 11th Sunday 12th

Hardmoors 30 Brooks New Year's Day 10k Salem Lakeshore Frosty Fifty Brooks HellRunner: Hell down South BFR UK Group Run Country to Capital 45 Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge Avalon Benefit 50 Mile Run BUPA Great Winter Run Thanet Mountain Bike Duathlon

Whitby, UK London, UK North Carolina, U.S.A Longmoor, Hampshire, UK Richmond Park, London, UK Wendover, UK Epcot®, Walt Disney World® California, U.S.A Edinburgh, UK Birchington, UK Hawaii, U.S.A Preston, UK Gran Canaria, Spain

www.hardmoors110.org.uk www.serpentine.org.uk www.twincitytc.org www.hellrunner.co.uk See page 103 for more information www.gobeyondultra.co.uk www.rundisney.com www.avalon50.com www.greatrun.org www.thanetroadrunners.org.uk www.hurt100trailrace.com www.northernrunningguide.com www.grancanariamaraton.com

Saturday 18-19th HURT 100 Mile Endurance Run Sunday 19th Sunday 26th Inskip Derby Arms Half Marathon Gran Canaria Marathon

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 93

Saturday 1st Saturday 1st Sunday 2nd Friday 14th Saturday 15th Saturday 15-16th Sunday 16th Sunday 16th Sunday 16th Sunday 16th Sunday 23rd Sunday 23rd Friday 24th

Run Eton Death Valley Marathon BFR UK Group Run The Ice Ultra Hog Wild Mud Run Clonakilty Back 2 Back Marathon Brighton Half Marathon Rock ‘n’ Roll Nice du Carnaval Mercedes-Benz Marathon Barcelona Half Marathon Land Rover Malta Marathon & ½ Tokyo Marathon PEAK Snowshoe 100 Mile Race

Windsor, United Kingdom California, USA Clapham Common, UK Lapland, Arctic, Sweden Tampa, Florida. USA West County Cork, Ireland Brighton, East Sussex Nice, France Alabama, USA Barcelona, Spain Mdina, Malta Tokyo, Japan Vermont, New England, USA

www.votwo.co.uk www.envirosports.com See page 103 for more information www.beyondtheultimate.co.uk www.hogwildmudrun.com
www.clonakiltyback2backmarathons.com

www.brightonhalfmarathon.com www.runrocknroll.competitor.com www.mercedesmarathon.com www.barcelona.de www.maltamarathon.com www.tokyo42195.org www.peakraces.peak.com

Saturday 1st Saturday 1st Saturday 1st Sunday 2nd Saturday 8th Sunday 9th Friday 14th Saturday 15th Saturday 15th Sunday 16th Saturday 22-23rd Sunday 23rd Saturday 29th

Run Eton The Green Man Ultra Trail de Vulcain - 72 km BFR UK Group Run Run Strong • Run Free workshop Asics LA Marathon Sharm El Sheikh Half Marathon Te Houtaewa Challenge 60 km
Rock ‘n’ Roll Washington DC Marathon

Windsor, United Kingdom Bristol, United Kingdom Volvic, France Maidstone, Kent, UK See Bacon’s College, London Los Angeles, USA Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt Far North, New Zealand Washington DC, USA Barcelona, Spain Linwood, United Kingdom Rome, Italy Ueckermünde, Germany

www.votwo.co.uk www.ultrarunningltd.co.uk www.trail-de-vulcain.fr page 103 for more information See page 103 for more information www.lamarathon.com www.egyptianmarathon.net www.newzealand-marathon.co.nz www.runrocknroll.competitor.com www.barcelona.de www.nakedstrength.co.uk www.maratonadiroma.it www.haffmarathon.de

Barcelona Marathon The New Forest Running Festival Maratona della città di Roma Ueckermünder Haffmarathon

Friday 4-15th Saturday 5th Sunday 6th Sunday 6th Sunday 6th Sunday 6th Sunday 13th Sunday 13th Monday 21st Monday 21-23rd Friday 25th Saturday 26th Sunday 27th

Marathon des Sables Run Eton BFR UK Group Run SPAR Great Ireland Run Brighton Marathon Marathon de Paris Virgin London Marathon Hapalua Hawaii's Half Marathon Boston Marathon Jurassic Coast Challenge Annapurna Mandala Trail Lost Worlds 50/100K Great Manchester Marathon

Sahara Desert, Morocco Windsor, United Kingdom Milton Keynes, UK Dublin, Ireland Brighton, East Sussex, UK Paris, France London, United Kingdom Honolulu, Hawaii, USA Boston, Massachusetts Cornwall, United Kingdom Annapurna, Nepal Tuscany Crossing, Italy Manchester, UK

www.marathondessables.co.uk www.votwo.co.uk See page 103 for more information www.greatrun.org www.brightonmarathon.co.uk www.parismarathon.com www.virginlondonmarathon.com www.thehapalua.com www.baa.org www.votwo.co.uk www.leschevaliersduvent.fr www.lostworldsracing.com www.greatermanchestermarathon.com

Page 94

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

Saturday 3rd Saturday 3rd Sunday 4th Monday 5th Saturday 17th Saturday 17th Sunday 18th Sunday 18th Saturday 24th

Lost Worlds 50/100K Malvern Hills 83 Mile Ultra Genève Half Marathon for Unicef Belfast City Marathon Born to Run 50K Trail Run Bielersee Ultra-Marathon BUPA Great Manchester Run Copenhagen Marathon The Jungle Marathon

Causeway Crossing, UK Holt Heath, UK Geneva, Switzerland Belfast, UK California, USA Berne, Switzerland Manchester City Centre, UK Copenhagen, Denmark Manu National Park, Peru Richmond Upon Thames, UK Edinburgh, UK London, UK Prague, Czech Republic

www.lostworldsracing.com www.ultrarunningltd.co.uk www.genevemarathon.org www.belfastcitymarathon.com www.marathons.ahotu.com www.ultrabielersee.ch www.greatrun.org www.sparta.dk www.beyondtheultimate.co.uk www.london2brightonchallenge.com www.edinburgh-marathon.com www.ndcschallenges.org.uk www.praguemarathon.com

Saturday 24-25th London 2 Brighton Challenge Sunday 25th Monday 26th TBC Edinburgh Marathon London 10,000 Prague Marathon

Sunday 1st Monday 2nd Sunday 8th Saturday 7th Saturday 7th Sunday 8th Saturday 14th Tuesday 17-24th

Gobi March Ram Run Wild Run – Midlands Jättelångt Spitsbergen Marathon Aspen Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Hull 10K Prueba de Gran Fondo por montaña Festival of Running

Gobi Desert, China Kenilworth, UK Grisslehamn, Sweden Longyearbyen, Norway Cusco, Peru Hull City Centre, UK Ondategi, Spain St Helena Island Tanzania, Africa Box Hill, Mickleham, UK Edinburgh, Scotland, UK Redhill, Surrey, UK

www.4deserts.com www.muddyrace.co.uk www.jattelangt.se www.svalbard.net www.andesadventures.com www.forallevents.co.uk www.hiruhaundiak.com www.sthelenatourism.com www.scope.org.uk www.trionium.com www.runrocknroll.competitor.com www.muddyrace.co.uk

Thursday 19-29th Kilimanjaro Trek: Rongai Route Saturday 21st Sunday 22nd Monday 23rd Picnic Marathon Rock ‘n’ Roll Edinburgh ½ Marathon Back 2 the Trenches

Saturday 12th

The Great Bull Run

Chicago, USA Glasgow, UK Bexley, UK Castrocontrigo, Spain

www.thegreatbullrun.com www.glasgow2014.com www.mariecurie.org.uk www.marathons.ahotu.com

Wednesday 23rd XX Commonwealth Games Thursday 24th Friday 25th London to Paris Cycle Challenge Tilenus Xtreme Ultra Trail

Barefoot Running Magazine

Spring 2013

Page 95

News from the sporting arena

On track

amaican sprinter, Asafa Powell and American sprinter, Tyson Gay, both tested positive in July for banned substances. Powell, former World Champion and former Jamaican 100m record holder, failed a drug test at June’s Jamaican Championships. Fellow Jamaican athlete, Sherone Simpson, also failed a drug test at the same event. Powell claims to be innocent as further investigation continues.

Gay – the fastest man so far in 2013 (9.75 seconds for a win at the US World Championship Trials) – has withdrawn from further competition whilst he is also investigated further. Gay has produced some stunning performances this year, including a win in the 100m Diamond League race in Lausanne with a time of 9.79. Gay also protests his innocence and hints at being let down by someone he trusted.

ritish 400m runner, Christine Ohuruogo, has won gold at the Moscow Athletics World Championships, finishing in a record time of 49.41 seconds. As has become her trademark, Ohuruogo was behind the race leader right until the last moment and it took a photo finish to establish that she crossed the line just in front of silver medallist, Amantle Montsho, by four thousandths of a second. Ohuruogo has also just been signed up as part of the Virgin Media advertising campaign, joining Mo Farah and Usain Bolt. Well done Christine!

Page 96

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

News from the sporting arena

On track

ritish rider, Chris Froome, has won this year’s Tour de France in amazing style. He dominated the Tour throughout, with exceptional back up from his fellow Sky team members. His winning speech was calm and measured, in stark contrast to Wiggin’s laid back, ad-libbed words the previous year. Froome was quick to mention his gratitude to his team members and dedicated the win to his mother, who sadly passed away from cancer in 2008. Congratulations to Chris and the Sky team!

Newly-wed Jessica Ennis-Hill misses out on World Championships with Achilles injury

French rally driver, Sebastien Loeb, sets new record of 8 mins, 13.878 s at Pikes Peak International Hill Climb

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 97

International news

The latest international news
here are increasing concerns about the Winter Olympic Games, due to be held in Russia in 2014, amidst increasing prejudice against homosexuality in the country. Gay British actor/writer, Stephen Fry, has written to the British government, calling for the games to be banned after a law was passed in Russia stating that those spreading information about homosexuality will be fined. Britain’s Clare Balding, due to present coverage for the BBC at the Games, has been urged to openly celebrate her own status as a lesbian woman in support of gay individuals in Russia. Others have called for the Games to be moved to Vancouver in Canada, with over 50,000 people signing an online petition in support of this idea.

he latest fitness craze to take off in America is “SoulCycle” – a new take on the classic, hardcore indoor cycling classes often known as “Spin”. Not only do you work up a sweat, cycling along with a lot of other hot bodies in a confined space, but you are also required to do crunches, press ups and other upper body exercises using resistance bands that hang down from the ceiling. This class is being taught in 40 different studios in the States, with up to a total of 6,000 riders per day. Look out for this sweat fest in your local gym in the not too distant future and try it if you dare!

Page 98

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

young Chinese woman has died after contracting Bird Flu H7N9 whilst caring for her father who also died from the same disease. This is the first identified case of human to human transmission of this particular strain of Bird Flu which, identified in March this year, had claimed 37 lives by the end of May. Officials state that most sufferers have contracted the virus at live animal markets but do concede that occasional cases of human to human transmission do occur. Residents in affected countries such as China and Taiwan are advised to wear face masks to reduce their risk of infection.

The latest international news

International news

fifteen year old boy has died of the bubonic plague in Kyrgyzstan. The disease is carried by fleas living on rodents and can then be transferred to human beings if they are bitten. His body was cremated and special precautions were taken to avoid any further infection to others. A government official has given assurances that this is a one-off case and that it will not be necessary to close the borders. However, 105 individuals who came in contact with the victim have been hospitalized and isolated and antibiotics are also being distributed in the area. The bubonic plague, once a serious epidemic, is now apparently extremely rare in humans; the last known case in Kyrgyzstan was thirty years ago.

Author and notorious barefoot runner, Michael Sandler, is on the mend from a serious accident. Find out more about his ordeal and incredible strength here: www.indiegogo.com and search ‘breathe love’

Scientists in Austria have managed to grow “mini human brains” with a view to discovering more about neurological diseases and improving treatment

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 99

Barefoot Running UK
The latest from Barefoot Running UK

ack in June, David and I headed up to Scotland to teach our ‘Run Strong•Run Free’ workshop. Keeping our fingers crossed did not stop the Land Rover from breaking down after about 45 minutes of travel. However, David is learning lots of little tricks and after some tweaks to the engine, we continued on our journey. We stopped over night on the way and reached Edinburgh on the Friday, the day before the workshop. We were staying and teaching at the same place which was handy. It was an old convent with still a strict air of religion to it – no televisions in the room, which was actually quite a nice change! Edinburgh is beautiful. We spent Saturday teaching (most of the outside work was in the rain but we carried on regardless!) and then much of Sunday at Footworks, chatting to owner Colin McPhail about all things running related. We spent Monday seeing the sights of Edinburgh and climbing up Arthur’s Seat. The laces on my Xero Shoes finally gave out half way down (after we’d decided to descend ‘off piste’). Oops, oh well. Another set on them now and good as new. We travelled back all in one go on Tuesday and back to work on Wednesday. Bit of a whirlwind visit but we met some great people and talked about running the whole time so we were happy!

Page 100

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

few weeks back, Caity McCardell who hosts ‘Run Barefoot Girl’ contacted us to see if we’d mind her reading out some of our book on one of her podcasts. Of course not! We were honoured and she did a fantastic job, presenting Chapters 6 and 7 (Technique and Transitions) in that calm, smooth voice of hers! We highly recommend that you visit her website and take some time to listen to the great range of interviews and book readings that she has produced. Visit: www.runbarefootgirl.com

e recently met with a book distributor who is now helping to introduce our book into his network of sports shops. We’re pleased to announce that it’s now available at: Up & Running in York, Footworks in Edinburgh, Barefoot Britain in Brighton, London City Runner and Pure Running in Belfast! Of course, it’s still available online at: www.trcpublishinguk.com and www.barefootbeginner.com

Barefoot Running Magazine

Spring 2013

Page 101

avid has, like me, has begun a regular yoga practice. He hasn’t had much experience with yoga before, so has started by following a 30 minute DVD and establishing an everyday practice which he will progress gradually. He has also been doing a huge amount of work on our Land Rover. Anyone who owns one will know that it’s a constant work in progress – it’s never actually finished! However, he’s working towards making it more economical and sturdy so that we can take it off road for some fun cross country running and cycling. He’s continuing to put the MMA group through their paces and helping to coach Joey Sanchez for his World Title fight in November.

or the last 55 days, I’ve been following Travis Eliot’s Ultimate Yogi programme. It’s a 108 day schedule consisting of 12 different yoga classes, most of which are power/flow yoga and quite physical. There are guidelines for eating “clean” – basically, no sugar, processed food or stimulants. The programme is put together in three 36 day phases, at the end of which there is a detox. I’ve been vigilant with the exercises. I’ve not been quite so vigilant with the meditation or nutrition, although I’m getting there! I have learnt a lot already and the benefits have been both mental and physical. There is a facebook group for everyone doing the programme and there’s lots of humour and support. The main things that I’ve noticed are: I actually enjoy doing yoga at 5am! In fact, it’s my favourite time to do it, before the rest of the world is awake. My flexibility and strength have improved. I’m much more aware of my breathing and this is helping in my running and swimming. I’m also more toned! Mentally, I’m beginning to assess and deal with stressful situations differently, in a calmer manner. I’ve been blogging about my experience with it, so if you’d like to know more, visit my page: www.yoga108journey.blogspot.co.uk. There’s info on the DVDs here: www.theultimateyogi.com

Page 102

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

September 2013
Sunday 15th
BFR UK Group Run
11.00 am Brighton, East Sussex - East pier

January 2014
Sunday 5th
BFR UK Group Run
11.00 am West London - Richmond Park Priory Lane Entrance Car Park

Group Run
Most club runs are between 5 and 8 miles, around 9 minute per mile pace. Any footwear is fine! Please email us prior to a run if you’re planning to attend. info@barefootrunninguk.com

Sunday 29th
BFR UK Group Run
11.00 am Cambridge, King’s Parade

February 2014
Sunday 2nd
BFR UK Group Run
11.00 am Clapham Common , London The Bandstand

October 2013
Sunday 13th
BFR UK Group Run
11.00 am London Wall - Tate Modern

Workshop bookings
All the workshops are available for booking online so please visit the website. If you’d like to attend a workshop but can’t make any of the dates, please email us as we’ll be adding more dates and venues according to demand.

March 2014
Sunday 2nd
BFR UK Group Run
11.00 am Maidstone - Mote Park

November 2013
Sunday 3rd
BFR UK Group Run
11.00 am West London - Richmond Park Priory Lane Entrance Car Park

Saturday 8th
Run Strong•Run Free:
An introduction to the science and art of barefoot running. with the same title

Bespoke talks and workshops
If you would like to organize your own talk/workshop for your running club, please call or email us to set something up.

Saturday 9th A running workshop based on our book
Run Strong•Run Free:
An introduction to the science and art of barefoot running. A running workshop based on our book with the same title Bacon’s College - London Bacon’s College - London

April 2014
Sunday 6th
BFR UK Group Run
11.00 am Milton Keynes- Location TBC

UK tel: 0845 226 7302 barefootrunninguk.com Overseas tel: email: info@barefootrunninguk.com website: www.barefootrunninguk.com youtube: youtube.com/bfruk facebook: barefootrunninguk/facebook +44 (0) 208 659 0269

December 2013
Sunday 1st
BFR UK Group Run
11.00 am Clapham Common , London The Bandstand

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 103

It’s your letters

The latest international news
an the Canterbury Half Marathon this morning with Raneesh. Heat again, hard course with steep hills in places, very rough roads near the start and finish in particular, not very barefoot friendly as quite sharp. Other parts of the course were in contrast like cream for a barefooter. So just over 10 miles totally barefoot but sensibly wore my Zero shoes from Barefoot Britain for the last three just as the last steep hill with sharp surface was nearing. Ironically, same time as Dartford Half of 2 hrs and 7 mins. As usual the normal type of comments but one in particular: some rude women who called me a nutter. I just turned around whilst continuing to run and called back, “How Rude!” That shut her up! (Ricardo, Maidstone)

Page 104

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

The latest international news

At last I'm back running again... Have decided to come back from MT stress fracture and go fully barefoot now and get my endurance kicks by mixing up training with cycling and swimming as well. Am up to 5k barefoot now but with no pain. Happy chappy Something that might make you laugh - just returned from annual vacation. We went to Benidorm and visited a theme park called Terra Mitica. I was barefoot for most of the day and was really pleased to see how barefooting was accepted. Many of the rides the staff tell you to remove your flip flops and shoes - look at the Terra Mitica brochure and advertising posters and you will see a man riding a roller coaster in the front seats totally barefoot. So there I was quite happy and content and went on one of the water rides, basically a log flume. As I got in the log one of the attendants called to me that I must wear something on my feet! Er, it is a water ride, you get wet savvy? Long story short, it was clear this jobsworth wasn't going to let me ride without something on my feet so I wore my flip flops that had been in the bag for over 6 hours. Funny thing was a different water ride we went on shortly after that fiasco the staff didn't bat an eyelid that I was in my bare feet. Oh dear - some people! (Ricky, Kent) (Llew, via facebook)

Well, I did my first 'event', the Killerton parkrun 5k, and it went fine. The first mile and the last half mile were grass and woodland mud tracks, which I ran barefoot, but the bit in the middle was quite rough gravelled or stony track, for which I was glad I had taken my Sockwas. They were super-easy to put off and on, and did fine on the stone and gravel, though a bit slippery on a muddy bit. I got a few comments along the lines of “you're brave” from my fellow bringers-up of the rear. No comment from any of the faster people!

I've been in barefoot shoes for about 18mths now. In and out to be more accurate as I had a metatarsal stress fracture last summer after standing on two fir cones in succession in my Merrells!! Finally transitioned back into barefoot and have been in Vivos for the past month now and well along the road of 100k Ultra training mainly on trails. Ah, it's good to feel the ground again, it's so much easier to react to the surface before you've fully committed your weight. I was hoping you guys might have a little more knowledge of the best shoe for trails and long distance as cushioning is still important with the mileage I'm doing (Cheryl, via facebook)

I was more concerned to finish in good order and not actually last than to push it, so I think another time I could improve on the time, but I was quite pleased with what my watch recorded as 40m16s (official times out this evening probably). My trial at the distance a few days ago was about 48m, and I definitely ran more and walked less today than in my usual runs - next time I need to turn off the beep on my watch that tells me I'm exceeding my target heart rate because that got quite annoying! I managed to beat the speed-walker and the woman with the 5 year old boy anyway (though he and I changed places a few times on the downhills) and had energy left to sprint the last bit which was fun. Lovely weather, and rather nice running in the morning for a change, though here I am half way through the afternoon with no outing to look forward to!

It’s your letters

Had a great evening with Barefoot Ted. Blimey he can talk fast, great guy really enjoyed listening to him. I love the way he signed the book with his footprint! (Ian, Wiltshire)

Seven months ago I was the woman on the left who had both a weight and a PF problem. Now I'm the barefooter on the right! I'm feeling so proud of all I've achieved and wanted to share. (Robyn, via facebook)

(Karen, via facebook)

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 105

The society pages
What’s happening within the Barefoot Runners Society
efore the race: breakthrough I was hoping for. I was doing a 2 hour session on the track and decided to try something which I have been instructed to do in yoga classes over the years whilst static, but haven’t really thought to try whilst running before: I scanned my body for tightness and focused my attention on relaxing any areas that seemed tense. There’s nothing too technical about this, it’s really just another form of proprioception over and above the stuff us barefooters are familiar doing with the feet. I scanned through my gait and it was apparent that I could relax my quads somewhat, whilst still maintaining my running form. Furthermore, this seemed to reduce the load on my inner-ankle tendon (the Posterior Tibial Tendon to be precise). This came as a surprise as I had been under the impression that the adaptation to barefoot running had “fixed” my gait. The reality was in fact a little more complex: I had consciously improved my gait in order to be able to run barefoot; the (proprioceptive) sensations from my bare feet had further refined this gait, but it wasn't enough for me to just sit back and enjoy the ride from hereon in. There was valuable feedback that my body was broadcasting to me from areas other than my feet, and whilst out on the track that day I had just managed to tune into a bit more of it. At the time it felt a little risky taking a gait change with only limited testing into a 24-hour race, but with only two of these 24-hour track races a year in Australia I felt it was worth a shot… During the race: The first half of the race was all as expected really. It might sound flippant to say that the first 11 hours felt like the warm up, but if you want to get through a whole 24 hours of

After running 166km barefoot in my first 24 hour race last June, emotions were high; I had just run a distance that only a year before had seemed inconceivable. Physically, however, I wasn’t feeling quite so flash. I distinctly recall saying at the end of the race that, "I don't currently have any desire to do that again." No bloody wonder, my feet were visibly swollen and bruised, and the inside of my ankles were very sore. I'm not exactly sure how it feels to be a human piñata, but I reckon I was pretty close there for about three days. Thankfully I have a poor memory and an excitable nature; within a couple of weeks I had forgotten the physical discomfort and was making noises about wanting to do a similar race again. So in February this year I had another crack at the 100km barefoot record, on a road surface this time, and was able to shave an hour and a half off my previous time. After the 100km race however, I was still feeling the soreness on the inside of the ankles that I got after the 24hr race. It was possible that such soreness was inevitable after running in excess of 9 hours, but I held on to the belief that it could be avoided somehow. Adapting my gait in preparation for learning to run barefoot had been my Gait lesson #1; I learned that by not overstriding I could avoid sore hamstrings and run more efficiently. In the back of my mind I thought that a similar lesson could lay in wait to avoid this inner-ankle soreness in long races. I tried remedial massage, self-massage, got an ultrasound and did more strength work in bare feet to try to remedy it, but still it lingered. Not significant enough to interfere with my training and racing schedule, but certainly enough to make me think that I was getting feedback from my body that I needed to respond to somehow. Then this April, about 2 weeks before the Coburg 24hr (my next target race, and host race for the Australian 24-hour championships), I got the

Page 106

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

running then it really helps to be able to trivialize large chunks of time like this in your head. The twelfth hour however was straight out of the warm-up, bypass the frying pan and straight into the fire. It was my worst hour, psychologically, of the whole 24. I had started losing my pace, in fact I was now behind the pace at the same point in my previous 24 hour race, and my mate who was also racing had overtaken me. I felt like I was going backwards, yet I still had 12+ hours to go. I am an optimistic person, but within the in the highs and lows of a 24-hour cycle there’s just too much opportunity for the wheels to come off at some point. And when it comes, if quitting isn’t an option then all you can do is endure the low whilst you try and find a solution, like some wretched soul scratching around in the dirt, looking for a lost key. As I entertained bleak thoughts about the race over that hour, a ‘key’ eventually was forthcoming when I made an executive decision. Rather than plough on stoically like I had done in the previous 24 hour race, I was instead going to invest some time in sorting myself out. I took an ibuprofen (the only one I took in the race), a large helping of microwave noodles and a cup of sugary Earl Grey tea. I then sought some release for my hip flexors, which were accumulating tightness. This probably took about half an hour all up, the thought of which wasn't exactly encouraging to my chances of improving on my PB. What happened next, however, changed all that: I got back out onto the track and the world seemed a much better place. I actually ran 10km in that next hour, which at this stage of the race was a pretty darn healthy pace. I was sitting on the shoulder of the race leader for a couple of laps before he stepped to one side to let me pass, the ‘low’ was officially over! As soon as that speedy hour was up I had to ease back a bit; I had been proving a point to myself but it had worked. The realization that I could feel as crap as I did in the previous hour and then come back like that was all I needed to get me through the next 11 hours. It was as simple as that. To feel that good

after having felt so bad meant that I didn’t have to worry anymore about any low spots that might be waiting. And so it was, I continued through the night in a positive mood; my run was ground down to a walk in the last couple of hours, but my self-imposed target of 180km was in sight and after 24 hours I finished up with a total of 454 laps and 1m, equal to 181.601 km. The gait change had worked, there was no soreness on the inner ankles and my feet weren’t swollen and bruised like after the previous 24-hour race. In fact I felt pretty darn good by comparison. After the race: Alongside the personal challenge and the sensory experience, the other joy us barefoot runners get to experience is in the ‘representing’. To this end I was stoked to receive the Race Directors’ Endurance Award, and with it the following positive recognition for barefoot

running in the Race Directors’ Report: “And all through this unfolding drama, barefoot runner Rob Knowles just kept at it, padding along lightly with his economical and relaxed technique - his final distance of 181.601km saw him break his own Guinness Book of Records 24 Hour distance by 15km. Interestingly, of all the competitors, he was by far the freshest at the presentations with no signs of blisters or sore feet or any obvious discomfort. Food for thought indeed!” The barefoot journey is proving a very rewarding experience, but there’s still a long way to go. Gait lesson #3 is waiting for me, and I’ve worked out what it is I need to fix – my hips. I’m still running with a slight anterior pelvic tilt (i.e. my pelvis dips forward slightly). I haven’t figured out the solution yet, but I know if I can then I’ll be better able to absorb the loading of these longer races and go farther & faster.

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 107

ood to Coast is a 2 day, 198 mile relay race that first began in 1982. The course begins in the majestic Cascade mountain range and ends at the perfect party place - the beach! There are 1,050 total teams of 12 runners each, a total of 12,600 runners, and is the largest relay of this kind in the world! Each runner will run three non-consecutive legs during the relay, and each team must finish the entire race within 32.5 hours. Our team is comprised of an assortment of runners, primarily barefoot and minimalist, as well as a few shod members. The majority of our team members have run multiple marathons, ultramarathons, and/or relays and for a few, this will be their first competitive race. We have had a couple of meet-andgreet gatherings, primarily to get to know each other. With multiple schedules - family, work, and college - it is impossible for all 12 team members to train together, and, in fact, some team members

will be meeting for the first time on race day. Most of us are members of the Barefoot Runner’s Society and were excited that we will be the first team representing barefoot running at Hood to Coast! I am frequently asked, “Is your team going to run the entire course, completely barefoot?” As captain, my number one concern is safety and all runners are required to carry foot protection with them, including Soft Stars, huarache sandals, FiveFinger shoes, etc., and use them as they deem appropriate. The race needs to be safe, pain-free, and fun! As this is our first year, though Hood to Coast is notoriously costumeladen, we are just wearing t-shirts in order to easily display the Barefoot Runner’s Society’s logo as well as our sponsor, Soft Star shoes. If we get to run again next year, be on the look-out for some crazy costumes!!! By Jennifer DeLeon, Oregon Chapter President

Page 108

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

Run Barefoot Girl is a podcast celebrating women who run barefoot - and encouraging more women to join the fun. This podcast is certainly for men as much as it is for women!

www.runbarefootgirl.com
Barefoot Running Magazine Summer 2013 Page 109

Product Review Testers

111

Minimal review
PaleoBarefoots® Pronativ

112

Minimal review
dailymile Application

116

Minimal review
Merrell Vapor Glove

120 128

Long-term review
Our final review of the Vibram FiveFinger Sprint & KSO

Minimal review results

130

Product review index
We are an independent magazine and unaffiliated with any particular brand or product. This means that our reviews are honest and unbiased, written by enthusiasts for enthusiasts!

Page 110

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

Name: David Robinson Preferred footwear: Barefoot Preferred terrain: Multi-terrain Tester initials: DRR

Appalling. Not worth unpacking. The box is probably of more use. Very poor. Under performs in every area. Significantly flawed. Poor. Under performs in nearly all areas. Not recommended. Off the pace. Below average in nearly every area. Acceptable. Average in most areas but has its disappointments. Good. Above average in some areas but very average in others. Very Good. Recommended in all areas. Excellent. Highly recommended in all areas. Fantastic. Almost flawless. A must have.

Name: Anna Toombs Preferred footwear: Barefoot Preferred terrain: Multi-terrain Tester initials: ALT

Name: Gareth “Gadget” Underhill Preferred footwear: Minimal Preferred terrain: Tester initials: GGU

Product review testers

Name: Jonathan Mackintosh Preferred footwear: Minimal Preferred terrain: Trail Tester initials: JM

Name: Ian Hicks Preferred footwear: Barefoot Preferred terrain: Trail Tester initials: IH

Name: Preferred footwear: Preferred terrain: Tester initials: -

h nbbkjbb

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 111

Minimal review
WEIGHT (UK11) 209g / 7.37 oz SOLE
Compound Stainless steel mesh

PaleoBarefoots® Pronativ

FOOTBED 1.4 mm UPPER
Compound Stainless steel mesh

DIFFERENTIAL 0 mm LINING N/A US-M 4-15

MIDSOLE N/A GENDER Unisex US-W 4-15

UK 2-14½ (inc ½)
Page 112 Summer 2013

EU 34-50

Barefoot Running Magazine

PaleoBarefoots® Pronativ

y first impressions were: The shoe is well designed, interesting and I can’t wait to try it. They have a kind of medieval knight look about them. They really are in their own category and can’t easily be compared to conventional ‘barefoot’ shoes. Just out of the box, my first impression was the weight - they feel heavy for a minimal shoe. They are far softer than I imagined and extremely flexible - more flexible than a sock if that is possible. They come in a very nice tin box and are supplied with a pair of Lining Socks and a pair of Ankle Socks. There is an option for the Running Socks as well. In addition, a user guide is included which basically tells you to take things slowly if you are not used to being barefoot, which is very good advice. Trying them on and walking around the home – carpet and laminate flooring - was disappointing, but they are not intended as a house slipper! They are for use outside and on natural surfaces, not hard, smooth, polished surfaces. Once I tried them on my local trail, my feelings towards them changed quite considerably to those of sheer pleasure and enjoyment. One particular thing I like about them is each pair of PaleoBarefoots® Pronativ come with a serial number stamped into a plate which is attached on the outside of the shoe. As the company website stresses, these have been designed and manufactured to be used on natural surfaces. They are not suited to hard smooth surfaces; they are not intended for road running. As such my review has been primarily based on running trails, with only a small amount of testing done on the road.

of the looks!

Fit
The overall fit is good. The quick release lacing system is excellent and works very well. To wear them, just loosen the lacing and slip them on. Pull the lace tight and use the toggle at the back to lock the lace in place. The lock works very well and after several hours of wearing does not come loose. I found I preferred to keep them tight so they felt more secure, but this is my personal preference. As they are so flexible there is no problem with them restricting your foot’s natural mechanics. The two different styles of socks that are supplied with them can be worn if you are worried about rubbing and looking for a bit of comfort, but I don’t think they are necessary. The manufacturers may be worried about rubbing around the ankle and top of foot and therefore included the socks to add more comfort. I was concerned about this - metal against skin just sounds a bad idea, but my fears were unfounded as I was surprised at how comfortable they were. Also, there was no rubbing which I had expected to happen! After a run of about 2

hours I was left with a slight red indent – possibly from having them too tight, but this soon wore off and caused me no concern. They do feel tight across the toes and after much adjusting of the lace, this did not improve. This maybe because I’m not used to wearing shoes. Once out running I did feel - and could see - my toes spreading through the mesh and there was no feeling of tightness. Generally, the feel and fit around the toes is strange at first, as well as the tight feel round the top of the toes, while at the same time the front has a loose feel. I think this is because the mesh is so flexible that you notice it - it is unlike any other shoe. I wonder if they would benefit from separate toe compartments like Vibram FiveFingers (VFFs)? But once running, this is not really a problem. I have Morton’s toe – my second toe is longer than my big toe. On one run, I developed a small blood blister on the end of my second toe, only on one foot. It caused no problem and it has not happened since. A note about size: I take a size UK 12. I was sent two sizes (11 and 12)

Minimal review

Styling
Pronativ are unique. I think they are like Marmite - you either love or hate the look! I personally love them. They are certainly different to anything I have worn before. I was not conscious of them looking unusual, although as a barefoot runner I generally take no notice

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 113

PaleoBarefoots® Pronativ

and I found the 12 to the better fit. I could wear the 11, I just had the lacing a little looser.

After doing about 100 miles in them on very rough trail runs, there is hardly a mark on them. I have been treating them very hard and can find nothing wrong with the build.

from them while running. Once running the forest trails this turned out not to be the case. This is because the mesh is far softer than it looks.

Build
The quality of these shoes lives up to what you would expect from German manufacturing. They are of a very high standard, the Audi of the minimal shoe market! The mesh that is used in the construction of these shoes is made from stainless steel wire with a diameter of 0.55mm. The outside diameter of each ring is 4mm. There are about 134,700 rings per m². It has a very smooth finish, far smoother than I imagined. Each ring is able to move individually. I was sent a sample of the mesh in the form of a keyring. So I decided to conduct an experiment to see how strong they really are. I placed the sample on a sharp stone and hit it several times – hard - with a heavy hammer until I broke through! I was able to break a few rings in the mesh. I can reliably inform you that the mesh did not unravel, but only made a small hole. This would have been very severe for the foot if I had been wearing them! The kind of force it took to break it would not happen while running - if it did, your foot would shatter before the mesh would. I now have complete confidence in the strength and durability and I’m confident these will outlast any shoe by many years, if used on natural surfaces, which is what they are designed for.

Performance
Performance, the fun bit. Minimal shoes have to be as light as possible. The lighter the shoe, the more efficient the running will be. Does this take into account how flexible the shoe is? The Pronativ are very flexible and I found that they did not hinder my gait in any way. And once wearing them, I did not notice the weight. In muddy conditions they performed very well. They provide good grip and I experienced hardly any slipping. The company state on their website that they give good grip on ice and snow. I have not had the opportunity to test them on snow and ice, so no comment can be made. A note on maintenance: After a run, to clean them, there are several options. Wash them under a tap with soap. They can go in the dishwasher. Also, they can go into the washing machine if they are put in a wash bag. I tried all these methods and they all work very well. I hang them to dry next to my boiler. The metal does oxidize and turns grey but as they are so easy to clean this is not a problem. I was expecting a fair bit of noise

Barefoot Simulation
This is where they really excel. You can feel everything as if barefoot. As it is a mesh and not a solid covering you are able to feel the ground: Hot, cold, wet, rough and smooth through the soles of your feet. Running through water is a great experience. Without the fear of hitting something very sharp that you would not see through the water, you are able to completely relax and enjoy the experience and, of course, the water runs straight through them. Pronativ are very near barefoot, they gave me confidence to run along very rough terrain. I’m able to run with a very relaxed posture, which is very important when running. I’m can look around more and enjoy nature and my surroundings instead of looking two feet in front of me. They give very good feedback, every detail on the trail can be felt, but the Pronativ just take the edge off, making my runs very enjoyable; I have the barefoot simulation but without the fear of hitting anything that would cause too much harm to my feet.

Minimal review

Price
This is a hard one! The price, which was taken from their website on 13th June 2013, was €191.60 (excluding 19% VAT and shipping) which at first glance is quite shocking. After taking a few things into consideration, though, the cost is actually quite good. Firstly, the cost of the mesh is around €500 per m². Secondly, there is a considerable amount of time taken to manufacture the shoes into the finished item. Thirdly, the quality of the build is excellent. Finally, I see no reason why these should not last a lifetime if they are used on natural terrain as intended. My running friends have joked with me that I can write them into my will so I can pass them down to my son!

Page 114

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

PaleoBarefoots® Pronativ

Overall
As you can probably tell, I’m very taken with the Pronativ and would highly recommend them. For all barefoot trail runners these are a must. The combination of excellent barefoot simulation and being very flexible make these perfect for trail running - as near to barefoot as you can get. I would urge you all to try them they really are a very well thought out shoe by somebody who clearly understands barefoot running. I find it hard to find much wrong with them. They do oxidize and become covered in a grey soot which does rub of onto the foot, but it is easily washed off the skin with soap and water. Cleaning the Pronativ is just as easy. The Pronativ would suit VFF users as they cover the whole foot. They would also appeal to Xeros/ Luna users as you get the open foot feel. The weight will be an issue for some people, as I thought it would for me, but having run in them, I found this not to be a problem at all. They are not like any other minimal shoe which you can tuck into your shorts for emergency use; they are more for wearing for the whole of the

run. You can carry them, one in each hand, but this is not ideal. If an accessory was produced that could attach the Pronativ securely to running shorts, that would be very useful. I have thoroughly enjoyed reviewing these PaleoBarefoots® Pronativ. They are a great deal of fun and I will certainly be using them for occasions when the ground is too rough for barefoot and when there is a lot of mud, for the extra grip they give. I’m sure this company will be a big player in the barefoot/minimal shoe market - with a product like the Pronativ I have no doubt. Tested by Ian Hicks

Should last a lifetime Extremely flexible Very easy to clean Excellent barefoot feel

Minimal review

Only available in one colour! Not easily tucked into shorts

Styling Fit Build quality Performance Barefoot simulation Price Overall rating

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 115

dailymile application

f you’ve never come across this app (and let’s face it, there’s so many fitness apps out there, it’s a bit of a minefield) it’s definitely worth investigating if you enjoy keeping track of your exercise habits, socializing with other fitness bods and giving/receiving motivation. To look at and to use, dailymile has a very ‘facebook-y’ feel about it. You can update your status, comment on other people’s statuses as well as post photos and videos. I’ve been using dailymile for around two years. I must admit, I’m not what you might call an avid user, but I’ve found it very useful and can understand what an important role it plays in people’s pursuit – and maintenance of – a fit, healthy lifestyle.

be interested. Everyone on dailymile is interested – all status reports are health related, which is the whole idea of course: for the exercise enthusiasts to high five each other and offer a sense of community and support. Another great thing about the routes is that you can share them – or not. If you’d rather keep them private, you can, or if you’ve found a great route that you know others will enjoy, you can make it public.

(covered in mud or knee deep in water) just for a bit of fun. Visuals are very much a part of social media these days and uploading them is simple.

Motivation
We all know that however much we love our exercise, it’s always nice to receive a little bit of encouragement. The people who designed dailymile have recognized this and come up with some variations on the facebook ‘like’. Not only can you ‘like’ someone’s status (a thumbs up sign) but you can also wish them, ‘get well soon’ (a steaming hot cup of tea) or congratulate them on their great performance (a little figure of someone running very dynamically!). It might sound a bit self-centred but it does add to the experience if you receive a little round of applause at the end (or a comforting clap on the shoulder if you’re not feeling your best!).

Photos and videos
The dailymile news feed is full of pictures – both still and moving! Many of my fellow dailymile members love to keep us informed about what they’re having to eat. This can be mouthwateringly distracting if you’re hungry but there’s lots of useful discussion too about recipes and different nutritional ideas. In the past, I’ve supplemented my posts with the odd photo or video

Minimal review

Routes
This is my primary use for dailymile. It allows me to accurately plan my running routes in advance (which I sometimes do for our regular group runs), or map and record a run after I’ve finished. It lets me know my mileage and speed and allows me to name and store the route for future reference. When I was using it on a regular basis, it felt good to be able to come home and document the run, commenting on how it went, such as, “fun trail run, barefoot in the snow!” Just like facebook, I would then receive comments and ‘likes’, questions and feedback. Of course, I could have done this on facebook but many of my friends are not fitness fanatics and wouldn’t

Page 116

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

dailymile application

An app for all
Another advantage of this app is that you don’t have to be a runner to use it. The name implies running, I think, but you can also chart your walking, swimming, cycling, weight lifting and even yoga. Every little bit of exercise counts. As I said, I don’t really use it on a regular basis but for someone who is following a strict regime with an event (perhaps a triathlon) in mind, they can keep a track of their workouts to ensure they’re maintaining a balance and getting enough rest. Your ‘Home page’ shows your mileage and activity for the week. This is perhaps both good and bad – your ‘friends’ (as per facebook) can either be impressed by what you’ve done or give you a kick up the behind if you’ve been slacking off. Not that they do – it’s really a very positive, supportive place to hang out. My only reservation would be that members may get a little obsessed about beating last week’s activity or that of a fellow dailymiler. That being said, this would happen in the absence of any app, so on the whole I would recommend it as a useful, user-friendly way to keep a track of your fitness and stay motivated. Tested by DRR

Able to plot routes Receive motivation & tips Logs your activity

Focuses on mileage & speed Possibly too competitive Time-consuming

Minimal review

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 117

INOV8 Bare-X™ 200

ince its minimal review back in September 2012 I have definitely put these through their paces. Out in all weathers and on various terrains covering approximately 800 walk/run miles (40 miles per week), they have not come up wanting.

etc. and they have suited all these activities. They were even used as a substitute for motor racing boots on a rally driving lesson! Again, I had no problems with them and, in fact, due to their thinness of sole, the feel of the car pedals was superb.

Build Quality
Build quality is outstanding. I have put them through hell over the past six months and except for the loss of the whiteness, they are still solid with no signs of excessive wear.

Maintenance
Maintenance has been a doddle! They have not needed much in the way of care. The most I have done is throw them into the washing machine on a 40º wash probably four or five times over the last half year with only a single threaded lace to show for it.

Functionality
Functionality did however let the side down somewhat. On asphalt and grass trails they perform well, but the lack of grip on wet trails did at points get slightly hairy! That being said, the same terrains when barefoot can often create the same scenario.

Performance
I actually think that these shoes are even better than they were when new as they’ve become more supple and grippy.

Durability
Along with run/walk sessions I have used them while instructing my MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) guys at the ‘Shack Dojo’ in both conditioning (cross training) and the technical aspects of kicking

Overall
I stand by my first test results. The INOV-8 Bare 200 is a fine minimalist shoe and is recommended not only for running but also everyday wear. DRR

Long-term review

Page 118

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

Swiss Barefoot Company Protection Sock

Jonathan runs the running related www.pixelscotland.com website and writes and reviews regularly for www.therunningbug.co.uk where he authors the ‘Aim High – Anything Is Possible’ blog. A former avoider of anything remotely exercise related, he now lists running ultramarathons as his hobby and lists his completion of seven ultramarathons in 2012, including the 95 mile West Highland Way Race, as his greatest running achievement to date. After the birth of his son Harris in February of this year, the challenges ahead are somewhat different to that of the previous year but he still hopes to complete at least four ultras in 2013, including a return to the West Highland Way Race. A self confessed trainer and gear addict, Jonathan loves nothing more than testing out trainers, particularly those of a minimalist nature, and is constantly on the search for the perfect ultramarathon backpack. His twitter feed (@jonmackintosh) best describes his running: ‘Born to run, just not very fast!’

London City’s First Specialist Health and Fitness Shop Functional Footwear Fitness Equipment Supplementation

Tester profiles

11 Artillery Lane, London, E1 7LP

www.trainingshoplondon.co.uk

Minimalist shoes • Supplements • Books • Huarache kits • Vitamins

Barefoot Running Magazine

Spring 2013

Page 101

www.barefootbritain.co.uk

ar re ef fo oo ot t RRu un nn ni in ng gM Ma ag ga azzi in ne e W Su m m r 02 BBa in te r e2 10 21 /3 13 Pa Pg ae g e1 2 31 3

Minimal review
WEIGHT (UK8) 141g / 5OZ SOLE
Integrated microfiber footbed treated with Aegis®

Merrell Vapor Glove

FOOTBED 5.5 mm UPPER Nylon mesh EU 38 - 51 (inc ½)

DIFFERENTIAL 0 mm LINING Synthetic US-M 8 - 16 (inc ½)

MIDSOLE EVA GENDER Unisex US-W 7½ - 13½ (inc ½)

UK 5 - 15 (inc ½)
Page 120 Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

Merrell Vapor Glove

ccasionally you will come across a shoe that you just have to own. For me, back in November 2012, this was the Merrell Vapor Glove, the purest, most minimal offering from Merrell so far. It took a good few months before I actually got my hands on a pair but boy was it worth the wait, and it would appear that I am not alone in my adulation of the shoe. Justin Owings of birthdayshoes.com writes: “When I first pulled the sample pair out of the box Merrell sent me, I thought ‘Whoa’ followed immediately by ‘Finally!’” (http:// birthdayshoes.com/vapor-glovemerrell-barefoot-initial-review) Further, the Vapor Glove, caused one reviewer (http:// www.barefootjosh.com/?p=3429) to declare that this was his last ever shoe review, because no shoe could improve on perfection! So what’s all the fuss about? Well, basically, the Merrell Vapor Glove ticks all the boxes when it comes to a minimalist shoe, from that barely there, glove like fit, through to the supremely flexible sole. It’s like you are wearing nothing on your feet, but with the assurances that you are and that this affords at least a degree of protection from the terrain underfoot. With a total stack height of 5.5mm (3.5mm sole, 2mm insole cushioning) the Vapor Glove offers a considerable amount of ground feel. With one hand, I was

easily able to fold the shoe, from heel to toe, and from side to side. The shoe offers no resistance and, with this considerable flexibility, accommodates whatever is underfoot in exactly the same way that the naked foot would. You just don’t experience the kind of resistance that you would find in a thicker, less flexible sole. "Give your feet a breath of fresh air on the run with the barefoot breathability of our Vapor Glove. Zero drop cushioning lands your foot pancake flat for full ground contact, merged with its all mesh upper (washable!) that moulds to your foot while ventilating heat and moisture."(http:// www.merrell.com/US/en-us/ Product.mvc.aspx/30843M/74389/ Mens/Barefoot-Run-Vapor-Glove)

approach from your minimalist footwear. Vapor Glove fans in the US can choose from considerably more colour variations than are available here in the UK. Hopefully some more will make their way over here before too long.

Fit
Just as the name suggests, the Vapor Gloves fit ‘like a glove’, providing a comfortable fit straight out of the box. As someone who has wide feet, I quite often have problems with shoes being too narrow but this was not the case with the Vapor Glove. The breathable mesh upper, practically see through when held up to the light, gently hugs the foot. The toe box is spacious, without being overly roomy, providing plenty of room for toe splay. A sturdy toe bumper extends out from the sole and serves the dual purpose of providing structure to the shoe and also protecting the toes. There is an external TPU heel sling towards the rear of the shoe, the only overlay on the upper, and this helps to keep the shoe secure on the foot. The lacing system employed on the Vapor Gloves tightens and slackens easily when required, making it an easy shoe to slip on or off and a heel loop assists with this.

Styling
When I first saw the Vapor Glove, I did a quick double take at the fabric used as, coupled with the orange and green/yellow colour schemes, it results in an almost reptilian appearance to the shoe. I generally opt for subtle styling and you certainly can’t accuse the Vapor Glove of falling into this category, but there’s just something so aesthetically pleasing about the look of the Vapor Glove, especially in the orange and green/yellow colour variations. There is, however, a more sedate black version if you are looking for a more subtle

Minimal review

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 121

Merrell Vapor Glove

However, I have to admit to replacing the provided laces with a nicely colour coordinated pair of Nathan Lock Laces for absolute ease. My Vapor Gloves arrived literally 10 minutes before I set off for a trip to the Cairngorms and were on my feet before the car left the driveway. I spent the entire duration of that long weekend running and walking the trails in absolute comfort, with no problems whatsoever and with a greater appreciation of what lay underfoot.

Build Quality
I’ve come to expect a high build quality from Merrell and the Vapor Gloves were no different. The design of the shoe is simplistic, with only a single overlap on the upper, and, as such, stitching and gluing are kept to a minimum. The material upper, though thin, appears tough and flexible. The Vibram rubber outsole, although thin, shows no sign of degradation after weeks of continued use.

Performance
The Vapor Gloves are perfect for going barefoot but work just as well with socks, should the need arise. I have used them for running, hiking, and, extensively, for everyday use. The breathable upper results in an airy feel which keeps the feet fresh. The tread pattern on the Vibram rubber outsole hints at this being more of a road shoe. However, testing suggests that the shoe is just as happy on compacted trails. You should, however, expect to feel a bit more of the terrain underfoot than you might otherwise be used to. Some reviewers have mentioned that the Vapor Gloves offer less traction in the wet but I have yet to experience that (thanks in no small part to the extended period of sunny weather that we have been blessed with this Summer!). Unlike many minimalist shoes, there are no reinforced areas on the sole. However, this could be cited as a positive as it means that more foot strike patterns are accommodated. All too often reinforced areas assume a perfect foot strike and manufacturers focus on strengthening those spots when the reality is that many of us have far from perfect form. The only potential issue could be on wet days, as the breathable upper material does not keep the foot dry. Having said that, if you happen to hit a puddle, any water that does enter the shoe, drains out again just as quickly.

Minimal review

Colour variations for both men and women

Page 122

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

Merrell Vapor Glove

Tested by: JM

Barefoot Simulation
This is arguably as close to running barefoot as it gets whilst still wearing a shoe. Ideally, you really need to employ the correct form when running in the Vapor Gloves as there’s no cushioning at all to protect you in the event of any heel striking.

same affinity to the Vapor Gloves as I have had with my Merrell Trail Gloves. I like that they are equally as comfortable both with or without socks and, given my preference for going sans socks, that I can throw the Vapor Gloves in the washing machine without having to worry about any degradation of the shoes. Note that the Vapor Glove does come with an integrated microfiber footbed treated with Aegis® and, thus, your Vapor Gloves shouldn’t need to spend too much time in the washing machine. The only question is ‘how can Merrell top this?’

Lightweight & Highly flexible Portable (easily roll up) Machine washable

Minimal review

Minimal protection from terrain More suited for road than trails Not weatherproof

Price
The Vapor Glove retails for £70.00

Overall Rating
Whilst the sole is versatile enough to work well on road or trail, the level of protection afforded by the Vapor Gloves is relatively low and, thus, if you are looking for a minimalist shoe to tackle more technical, rocky, rooty trails, you might be better advised to opt for the more robust Merrell Trail Glove, with its thicker sole and more robust toe guard. That aside, this is a shoe that you just don’t want to take off. I can see the Vapor Glove being part of my footwear rotation for some time to come. There’s just nothing to fault about these shoes and I can see me developing the

Styling Fit Build quality Performance Barefoot simulation Price Overall rating

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 123

ver the last couple of years I have found that off road running and the most minimal of shoes were not as compatible as I had expected or hoped for. The problem with minimalism as opposed to being barefoot is that your sensory perception is still quite dulled. Don’t get me wrong; in comparison to traditional shoes it’s a sensation revelation! But in comparison to your bare feet, it’s akin to wearing gloves. Have you tried to do something that required dexterity or feel whilst wearing gloves? It’s pretty tough, and if you managed it, what you might not have realized is that you were probably concentrating very hard on visual cues. You were relying heavily on your sense of sight to make up for the lack of sense of feel. It’s because of this that I found that most minimalist shoes didn’t work for me off road. I started my journey

with Vibram FiveFinger classics and KSOs, and a pair of Inov8 Bare-X 200’s. I had specifically chosen these because they had the least amount of shoe between me and the floor. This was great, and I love

sense of feel. Obviously your feet don’t create a huge amount of traction in wet mud, but you can feel what’s happening instantly and you don’t get that in even the most minimal of shoe. Over time, I came to the conclusion that in minimalist footwear there has to be compromise for the best off road experience; you must have good traction in the shoe to floor interface. So I decided what was most important in ‘minimalism’:

“The problem with minimalism as opposed to being barefoot is that your sensory perception is still quite dulled.
those shoes - that was until it came to running off road. There are two interfaces when you wear a shoe; your foot and the shoe, and your shoe and the floor. Both have to work well in a condition for it to feel right. The problem was a lack of traction combined with a dulled

 Zero drop – a totally flat shoe
allowing for natural ankle range of motion  Highly flexible – allowing as good foot mechanics as possible in a shoe  Roomy toe box – as above, but specifically allowing the forefoot to splay It’s with those things in mind that I recommend the following shoes:

Page 124

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

Inov8 F-Lite 232
One of Inov8’s most popular shoes, this was always a good shoe, but had a racing flat heritage. It was a narrow shoe with a 3mm drop, so wouldn’t have justified a place on this list, but they have revamped the range and brought out a range of zero drop versions and ones with a wider toe box. This one has both! Despite not really being an off road shoe it has surprisingly good traction in all sorts of conditions and the range has always been a staple of the adventure race scene. It is not the most minimal as there is a thin EVA midsole between you and the floor, but it is a supremely comfortable and very flexible shoe. Best for: Those who want all the benefits of minimalism with some of the creature comforts of a normal trainer. The ultimate compromise.

Inov8 TrailRoc 150/235
Inov8’s TrailRoc sole is probably their ultimate minimal off road sole. Relatively similar to the Neo/Breatho Trail from Vivo Barefoot and the Vibram FiveFingers Spyridon in terms of lug laden design, but my personal impression is that the Inov8’s create the most traction as the lugs are slightly more pronounced. Both the 150 and the 235 are totally flat, but the heavier 235 has slightly more between you and the floor (6mm as opposed to 3mm) and heavier materials are used in the construction of the upper. Best for: Those wanting ‘proper’ off road lugs on a minimal shoe. Offers huge versatility.

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 125

Merrell Trail Glove
With its Vibram outsole, think of this as being like the FiveFingers, but without the separate toes. The outsole set up is very similar to that of the Vibram FiveFinger Treksport. The toe box is beautifully roomy, whilst the mid and rear foot fit is quite tight. It took me a while to get used to these as it almost felt like it had arch support. It doesn’t, they are just very snug. I really like these now and they tend to be what I use casually, when I don’t want the attention the FiveFingers get! Just like the FiveFingers, it has a 4mm midsole with varying depth of outsole. Best for: Those who like the FiveFingers concept, but can’t stomach the look of the separate toes or the unsavoury attention that comes with wearing them.

Vibram Fivefingers Treksport/ Speed XC
Both of these shoes sit on the same sole design, they just have differently designed uppers. In fact there is also a Speed XC Lite, with a more lightweight upper, but I’ve not tried these out yet. The Speed XC’s have a lace up upper whereas the Treksport is a mesh upper with strapping. The Treksport is now my FiveFinger of choice. Although not as minimal as the KSO, it is far more usable outside for most conditions, so it tends to be the one I find on my foot! It has a 4mm midsole and at the height of the lugs another 4mm of outsole. Best for: Those who want the FiveFinger experience with all weather abilities.

Page 126

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

Vibram Fivefingers Spyridon
I was pleasantly surprised by the Spyridons. When I first saw them I thought they had moved so far from their minimalist roots that they would be pointless. I was wrong they are still lightweight and flexible. Although I haven’t given them a full outdoors test run yet, they are supremely comfortable and the lugs will no doubt give more grip than the TrekSports. They may suffer somewhat in terms of versatility as a consequence though. They come in closed mesh with strapping and lace up varieties. Best for: Those who want a dedicated pair of off road Vibrams and who run another pair for on road and casual conditions.

Vivo Barefoot Breatho Trail/Neo Trail
Both these shoes sit on the same outsole; an interesting hollowed hexagonal lug pattern. They provide fantastic grip generally, the only fall down being that in very wet and muddy conditions the lugs sometimes fill up with mud and traction is reduced. This limitation is reached around the same time as the Inov8 F-Lites and maybe a little later than the Vibram Fivefinger TrekSport for comparisons sake. Vivo Barefoot always make broad shoes, so they are plenty roomy and very comfortable. They have Kevlar in the soles and claim to be puncture proof. If that’s important to you, it may give them the edge, but I can’t say I’ve had anything come through the sole of any of my other shoes! Best for: Those who like the broader fit and most minimalist sole in this category. Also possess more traditional styling options.

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 127

Vibram FiveFinger Sprint & KSO

Lasting build All rounder Low maintenance

Been discontinued Noisy on ground contact Smell like arse!

Long-term review

ad news! Vibram are to discontinue their most successful FiveFingers to date – the ‘Sprint’ and the ‘KSO’. These popular versions of the now very diverse range of FiveFingers were, for many, the first step towards a change in their approach to running and I feel it would not be right to allow them to just fade away without a fitting, final longer term test.

Durability
Both of these FiveFinger models have been worn in all weathers and on all terrains, and to be honest, cannot be faulted. A true, all purpose minimalist shoe!

Maintenance
There’s good and bad. It’s good that you are able to wash them both at low temperatures in a washing machine, but as Jason Robillard correctly put it: “They smell like arse!” and so have to be washed on a regular basis. This can mean that for up to 50% of your wearing time, your shoes are actually either being washed or are hanging up somewhere to dry. but there’s still a bit of mileage left in my KSO’s. When they finally fall apart, I will need to find a suitable replacement and I think that may take some time. Both the Sprints and KSO’s were pretty good shoes and will certainly be missed! Tested by DRR

Build Quality
What can I say! I first purchased my sprints in March 2009 and my KSO’s six months later. In four years I have had to re-glue the sprint’s big toe sole once and stitched up a hole on the second digit (probably from it rubbing with the big toe). The KSO has had a much harder time. I have worn my second pair (my first pair being eaten by a fox – don’t ask!) regularly as an everyday shoe, even to several weddings and two funerals and, just like the sprints, they needed re-gluing three years in but other than that, have been done very well.

Performance
Like so many of the best minimalist shoes out there, the longer you have them the better they get as they bed in.

Build quality Functionality Durability Maintenance Performance Overall rating

Overall
I will really miss these simple minimalist shoes. Occasionally, I still notice small children pointing at them but on the whole, their reasonably minimal design and basic colours allow them to fit well into the everyday environment. I no longer wear my Sprints because my feet have changed shape so much and

Functionality
Due to their design they both work very well in most gym environments. If I had to say anything it would be that sometimes they can be quite “grippy”, not allowing for much foot spinning and sliding on the dance floor at the post-wedding party!

Page 128

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

Parts & servicing Race preparation Modifications Custom builds

Expert advice from a friendly team 82 High Street London SE20 7HB

Page 104

Winter 2012/13

Barefoot Running Magazine Barefoot Running Magazine

Spring 2013

Page 125

Out-of-the-box Trail test results

Minimal review results
Out-of-the-box trail test results
GO ST Barefoot PaleoBarefoots®
(08/2013)

IH

Human Foot My Foot
DRR

INOV8 Bare X 200™
(01/2013)

DRR

Kigo Drive
(06/2012)

DRR

Merrell

Minimal review results

Trail Glove Vapor Glove New Balance Ozark Mizuno Sandals EVO Cursoris

(06/2011)

DRR JM

(08/2013)

(04/2013)

JM

Ozark Sandals Tri Black
(11/2012)

ALT

Swiss Barefoot Company. The Protection Sock (05/2013)
ALT

Vibram FiveFingers Classic Sprint KSO VivoBarefoot
(05/2013) (01/2012)

DRR DRR

(02/2010)

Xero Shoe

4mm Xero Shoe 6mm Xero Shoe

(12/2011)

ALT DRR

(12/2011)

Page 130

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 131

United Kingdom

United States

Europe

www.facebook.com/MaidstoneBarefootDashers

Boulder, CO www.runBARE.com

Club Directory

www.barefootbeginner.com

lenaweebarefoot.runningclub@facebook.com

Austin Barefoot Running Club
ianhicks1000@gmail.com
www.meetup.com/Austin-Barefoot-Running

www.meetup.com/New-England-Barefoot-Runners

Asia

www.barefootnyc.com

www.facebook.com/BangkokBarefootRun

www.facebook.com/pages/Barefoot-Running-Group-of-Grand-Rapids

Page 132

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

Minimal review results

Out-of-the-box Trail test results

individual / group running tuition info@barefootrunninguk.com www.barefootrunninguk.com
www.meorganic.co.uk info@meorganic.co.uk

info@barefootosteopath.com www.barefootosteopath.com

info@yellingperformance.com www.yellingperformance.com

Web Directory

www.se20cycles.com

U NI T 1 , BE AVE R T RADE P ARK QUARRY LANE CHICHESTER WEST SUSSEX PO19 8NY

www.coreresults.co.uk info@coreresults.co.uk

www.footworks-uk.com

Page 134

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

ow, anyone that knows or has worked with me over the years recognizes that I have a passion for everything scientific, especially when it comes to the living form. Mammal, reptile, fish, insect; if it moves I want to know the ‘hows’ and the ‘whys’, from the multidimensional myofascial web that binds us together, right down to the microscopic mitochondria that help power our very existence. The function of everything around me has been of the deepest interest since I was a child. I was one of those annoying children that had to know how everything worked and, if I didn’t, I would dismantle it to find out. To be honest, I still do! Luckily most of the time I could put it back together, much to the relief of my parents, even if there was a collection of what I believed to be unnecessary screws left in an obsessively neat pile on the kitchen table.

But even though I’m fascinated by science, I have lately found myself questioning the extent to which we focus on it when it comes to running - or in fact any form of exercise. While it is interesting to know that when studying joint loading during shod running, the “sagittal plane ankle movement consistently shows significant correlations with talocrural joint excursions, while movement about the subtalar joint shows moderate to high correlations to movement in the frontal and transverse planes in some cases, yet in non-neutral shoe conditions this relationship is inverted...” (or something along those lines), how does it help the average runner out there enjoy their running more, either through decreased injury rates or improved performance? The answer is: it doesn’t! The problem with going too deeply

into the science of movement is that for the average runner the micro theories only distract and confuse the issue, causing them, in many cases, to get obsessed with one or two particular details. Take the 180 strides per minute cadence as an example. I have come across many a runner with what can only be termed as an “unnatural cadence rate”, due to their fixation on hitting exactly 180 regardless of their own physical makeup or route considerations, such as the terrain etc. To aid them in their goal they’re accompanied by their trusty metronome on every run, believing that the key to perfect running technique will be achieved, yet they have no awareness of their very easily corrected mistakes that don’t really carry any scientific evidence - the “no brainers”, such as keeping relaxed and breathing with control.

Page 136 Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

However, the amateur runner is not the only one to fall foul - experts often make the same mistakes! Take a few years ago, for example, when I attended a running convention, where one of the features was a debate about barefooting and whether or not we should be doing it. The panel was made up of experts from throughout the running industry, of which two were barefoot advocates. Now, I know the initial question was loaded to create a bit of controversy but it sparked off a 45 minute debate about the forces through the feet and ankles, and how in lab conditions this power spike was recorded, and how that force was detected, but at no point did they call upon their own experiences or any barefoot runner (and there were a good few in the audience) to find out how they had managed to follow their pursuit without breaking bones or shredding their feet to pieces. But if any of the panel had submitted anecdotal evidence, it would have probably been pooh-poohed by the others as “unproven”, due to it not being documented in controlled laboratory conditions, probably with subjects with minimal or no barefooting walking – less running - experience. I’m not saying that science doesn’t have its worth, of course it does! In our book, Anna and I often use many theories from physics to aid in understanding quick cadence or finding the correct stride length, but these theories must be a ‘loose fit’. What I mean by this is that they should encourage better form without altering the core of the individual’s natural mechanics and this is at the heart of my concern. While the data acquired through laboratory experiments maybe interesting - and to a degree, helpful - the problem is that using this data in essence confirms that there is only one correct way to run and therefore we’ll all probably end up as clones – little barefoot robots all landing in exactly the same place, arms at the only position allowed and all striding to the same beat like little regimented soldiers.

That’s not my idea of running naturally! We need to listen less to others and hear more from our own feet… Run strong and run forever free.

“the problem is that using this data in essence confirms that there is only one correct way to run and therefore we’ll all probably end up as clones – little barefoot robots all landing in exactly the same place”

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 137

Page 138

Summer 2013

Barefoot Running Magazine

Barefoot Running Magazine

Summer 2013

Page 139

100k Ultra 50k Ultra

Individuals or team relay
BarB ea fo re of t oR ou t nR nu ing nin Mg ag Ma azg in ae z i nW e i nS tp er i n 2g 0 12 20 /1 13 3 P Pa ag ge e 1 12 11 7

Limited spaces at World Heritage sites