Barefoot running and conventional wisdom 'rant'
So I have a friend who I've 'got into running' ... just the occasional 5k, nothing too serious...
anyway... he has shin splint issues (even after 7 months of weeklyish training) and complains all the time...
He's tried numerous different inserts and shoes and yadda yadda... the latest is different podiatrists and sports doctors who keep pointing him towards custom orthotics...
Now granted I don't have much proof... but... I'm a pretty firm believer in barefoot running... especially when it comes to training your foot to be strong and functional
anyway... He goes on about on and on about wah wah wah and I keep suggestion he at least tries a little barefoot running... ...
he counters with something about how the world is covered in broken glass and hyperdermic needles (a typical response when people learn I run barefoot) so I eventually find a local football field we could run in that he would agree is manicured enough to be 'safe'... but then the reason is... 'it would be booooring'... *sigh*...
so custom orthodics cost like 500$ or something and instead of even trying tor run barefoot just to see if it might help he is mulling over a 500$ purchase trying to justify it with stuff like 'if it lasts for 3 years they really aren't that bad if they actually let me run'... ...
*sigh*... ... I just don't understand why he won't even try some barefoot work...even once... ....
I tore up my foot bare foot running. I wouldn't jump into it that quickly. It takes awhile to build the foot up so its strong enough to run that way. Maybe you gain calluses after awhile that make it easier? Its easier to run on softer surfaces though.
It does take a little bit to build your foot strength to running strength...but just playing around barefoot in a football field for a little bit wouldn't be bad and give his foot a taste of freedom
The skin on your foot will get thicker as you run more and more (on different terrain) but it still takes time... as of now I can only run a few miles on concrete/sidewalk/asphalt before my feet need to rest/heal
Or he can begin with a minimalistic type shoe. . . I know even walking / slight jogging in my VFF's my arch has been hurting a bit, it takes a while to adjust i suppose.
From my experiences trying to "convert" my peers to barefoot running, I find that the social factors are a big hump for people trying it out. To the general public, the thought of someone walking around barefoot anywhere besides a pool, beach, or shower just screams "f***ing hippie". My peers don't want to be seen as hippies or people too poor to afford shoes.
Maybe some Nike Free's could be a baby step towards stronger feet instead of expensive orthotics
Suggest he google "minimalist shoe kevlar sole"
Originally Posted by Fatkid
There's not much that will go through kevlar even when it's only a few millimetres thick.
You might also try to wake him up by printing off some information on the damage most shoes do to people's feet.
Here's a note on a cross-cultural study by two academics at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa:
Here's a great PDF by one of America's best-known podiatrists, entitled "Why Shoes Make Normal Gait Impossible":
I will walk barefoot on grass at times, but when your feet are sufficiently hardened, it's possible to run on surfaces like Barefoot Ted is here:
I guess people underestimate just what's possible.
The Zulus used to wear sandals until Shaka became king. He'd discarded his, because he'd found he could move faster without them when in combat. When he became king he made the whole army do the same. He heard rumours of grumbling, so he gathered the regiments together in a kraal strewed it with thorns - ones that always had a spine up whichever way they fell - and told them to stamp them in. Anyone who did so less than enthusiastically was dispatched by Shaka's attendant "Slayers". The troops soon got the message, and set too with plenty of verve. Shaka led the activity himself - his feet were already hardened, so it was nothing to him.
The things dictators can get away with!
I had all but givin up on running until I read "Born To Run". I love that book, it reads like a novel, you can't wait to see what happens at the big race at the end of the book. But it also talks about the history of running in America and the what happend with running injurys as the running shoe industry boomed.
I'm not a marathoner by any means but I love running 5k's and want to eventually build up to half marathons.
My first pair of VFFs should arrive today! I'm so excited I can't wait to get them on my feet. After running in them for a while I want to do more barefoot running.
Good luck to you and your friend!
Ask your friend to try this unconventional "fix"...now Im not crazy here ....when he is running he has to focus on his lower leg muscles. Try to relax the lower leg until he begins to feel his feet flopping around. Not so much as to lose control but very relaxed. When I was running 30 or so miles each week I got occasional shin splints and the only thing that fixed the problem pronto is focus and relaxing exercises that I did while running. The idea is to untense the lower legs....it worked well for me.