Friday, April 1, 2011

How you evolved

I can barely walk.

Maybe I need to take these shoes even slower.

As I said before, my stride is completely changing thanks to my new Vibram FiveFingers. I have already had less knee, foot and back pain but I also haven't been running very far.

The only problem is adapting. Because I am using so many different muscles to stabilize myself in the shoes, they are SO SORE. I can barely walk. It's not sharp pain or anything. Just over-worked pain. Which is crazy because I have run a total of 3 miles in the shoes.

For any of you runners, I highly recommend looking into running barefoot or in minimal shoes. The more I read about it, the more it makes sense. The modern running shoe fits the foot like a cast. What happens when you put your leg in a cast? Sure, it supports the weight bearing, but it causes the muscles to atrophy because they are not being used. The same is true for the modern running shoe. Our feet are not building up the strength they need to so the rest of the body has to do unnecessary and improper work to compensate. This is the major cause of running related injuries.

There is also too much cushioning. When we run, our feet are trying to find solid ground. The more cushioning we have in our shoes, the harder we have to land to find solid ground. This puts unnecessary stress on the body having to come down so hard. Pounding the Pavement becomes very literal.

It is strange how when I run in my Vibrams, rather than landing hard on each heel to gain my footing and make it to the next stride, I am using all the muscles in my legs and core to stabilize myself as I use my stride to lift myself off of the ground and propel myself forward. More like the way quadrupeds move. Look at the way a cheetah runs. Or even a Kenyan who has never worn shoes. It is a much more graceful and less harmful movement. There is no pounding of the heel of the foot into the ground.

As for the fancy arch supports? Do you know what happens when you support an architectural arch from the bottom? It collapses. it must be supported from it's ends, precisely how our feet are designed. As you run without shoes, you build up the muscles of the foot, which support the arch of the foot. In many studies, people who run barefoot often decrease their shoes size as the arch of the foot increases with the increase in its strength.

Many college and professional running coaches buy their athletes "low-end" running shoes for this very reason. It is not that they are trying to be cheap (as the often are accused) but that when they buy the expensive "high-end" shoes with all of the arch supports and cushioning they see a drastic increase in the team's injuries.

As for Nike, guess what. They have known this all along. Their company makes a lot of money making over-priced shoes designed to correct the problems they have created.
Like the Nike Free running sneaker? I wouldn't suggest purchasing it. It is as cheap as it looks. At $85 you are getting a lightweight piece of rubber that you could get in a much less expensive pair of shoes.

Here is a little clip to give you an idea of what I am talking about

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