There’s been a lot of hype recently about running naturally, the way the human body did when we were trying to catch prey (or, more likely, to keep from becoming prey).
(They’re taking a midterm right now, in which they’re writing blog posts on deadline about niche journalism on Twitter. I’ve decided to write my own post, even though I’m not writing about a breaking news story; that I do everyday.)
Just today an article called, “Barefoot running takes off,” was published in the Highlands Ranch Herald, a community newspaper in Colorado. It drew me in with its lead: a man gave up running in his 40s because of chronic pain.
That same man, now in his 70s, is able to run again, he says, because he ditched his shoes.
But just because he jumped off the proverbial bridge, it doesn’t mean I should, too. Does it?
The facts outlined by the article:
“The human foot contains 26 bones (one-quarter of the bones in the body are in the feet) 33 joints and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments. Proponents of barefoot running say it helps strengthen and realign those muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments, thereby reducing injuries. Cushy running shoes make feet weak and limit their natural movement, they say.
“Running barefoot also eliminates heel-striking, which some say is a cause of injuries, in favor of landing on the ball of the foot.”
Scientific American recently published an article that touted the benefits of running barefoot based on research that showed how different a “natural” runner’s strike is compared with those who lace up.
Countless other publications and blogs have come to the same conclusion.
So… is it good for you or not?
I’m particularly interested because I’ve had not one (plantar fasciitis), not two (stress fracture), not three (another stress fracture), but more than four foot (bursitis) injuries in the last three years. You could argue here, that maybe running isn’t for me (and to that end, I’ve taken up swimming just in case), but this new fad sure does make me wonder: How would my feet do without shoes?
Some people seem to like it, others prefer the Vibram five fingers shoes:
I’m not sure that running barefoot would be good for me.
Apparently it’s supposed to support your heel and arches more and allow you to strike with your forefoot. I have forefoot issues — my toes hyper-extend and pull back the fatty tissue on the ball of my foot that protects the bones — that leave my foot bones exposed to a hell of a pounding.
Regardless, I’ll ask the doctor when I see him next week — and hopefully, when I get the all-clear to hit the pavement again.
In the mean time, what do you think about running barefoot? Have you tried it? Do you think it’s awesome? Crazy? Let me know.