Saturday, 21 September 2013

Barefoot running and 100 up

Hunter gatherers run barefoot as they do not wear shoes. Space age paleo practitioners run barefoot wearing a thing layer of protection ("barefoot" running shoes such as Vibram fivefingers etc). This provides some protection against sharp objects which helps to prevent laceration injury.

Barefoot running is best done on grass or a similar natural surface to reduce excessive impact from a hard surface.  If you are new to this then practice walking barefoot first to slowly condition your feet ie to let them adapt. Build up the distances slowly over a few weeks, or months, till you can comfortably barefoot walk 3+ kilometres.

Next is something a little more vigorous which could be a walk-run regime eg walk40paces then run10paces then walk 40. after a week or 2 or 3 then next week (or 2) run 20 walk 20 run20 etc etc

Another variant is to use the 100 up exercise. Starting with 10 or 20up and slowly building it up from there. Luckily the original text of the 100 up exercise is now available on line. Click here for The 100-UP Exercise book->

Also available is a chapter in a book which is on the 100up exercise.

The thing about running on earth or grass versus concrete is that the repetitive impact from concrete may accumulate over time and result in feet/knee\hip\back injuries. At present there is a massive experiment under way and in 10+ years we will know for sure if most barefoot runners can manage on these harder surfaces or not. Till then I'd run on grass or similar. Of course if you start off with existing health issues or do too much too soon then even grass will see you "run"into problems.

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