A few years ago, I was your typical office-worker: stressed out, uneven energy, overweight, and inconsistent complexion. Now I'm just your typical 28-year old urban hunter-gatherer on a quest to be healthy, and having a few adventures along the way. See my full bio.
Mr. Wade also started running on the beach this summer. "Running on the sand strengthens your quads and calf muscles," he says. He adds that he used to avoid running because it gave him shin splints, but running barefoot in the sand has helped him avoid that.
His diet appears to avoid some industrial foods, but seems to adhere to low-fat diet dogma.
Mr. Wade says he always avoided vegetables until he turned 30. "I hated all of them," he says. But "I knew it would help me in the long run both mentally and physically" to start eating them. His solution was to have his personal chef turn them into juice.
He now starts the day with a juice that might include celery, carrots and beets. His chef sticks to healthy, low-fat, high-protein meals that often include grilled chicken and rice. He doesn't splurge often, but when he does he has a burger, fries and a Coke. "That is heaven to me. I have a favorite burger spot in nearly every city. Sometimes I might even order two."
Full article here, including the addition of yoga and pilates to his workout regimen.
Sketchers is, hands down, the stupidest shoe company in the world. A dog in running shoes should make us question why we need running shoes in the first place, not make us buy more of them. If you see someone wearing a pair of Sketchers running shoes or shape-ups, feel free to make fun of them.
Dan Lieberman recently published two new papers on running. Here's a good Wired article summarizing the findings. I should note that these papers aren't about barefoot running so much as forefoot and rearfoot striking, plus minimalist footwear in the first paper.
I was a data point in the first study, Effects of Footwear and Strike Type on Running Economy. It was fun. They hooked me up to a breathing tube to measure my oxygen usage, which took a little getting used to. I had to run with a forefoot strike in VFFs as well as conventional sneakers, and then do the same with a rear-foot strike. Let me tell you, it's seriously unpleasant to run with a rearfoot strike in minimal shoes.
Here are the results and conslusions:
RESULTS: After controlling for stride frequency and shoe mass, runners were 2.41% more economical in the minimal shoe condition when forefoot striking and 3.32% more economical in the minimal shoe condition when rearfoot striking (p<0.05). In contrast, forefoot and rearfoot striking did not differ significantly in cost for either minimal or standard shoe running. Arch strain was not measured in shoes condition but was significantly greater during forefoot than rearfoot striking when barefoot. Plantarflexor force output was significantly higher in forefoot than rearfoot striking, and in barefoot than shod running. Achilles tendon-triceps surae strain and knee flexion were also lower in barefoot than standard shoe running.
CONCLUSIONS: Minimally shod runners are modestly but significantly more economical than traditionally shod runners regardless of strike type, after controlling for shoe mass and stride frequency. The likely cause of this difference is more elastic energy storage and release in the lower extremity during minimal shoe running."
RESULTS: Of the 52 runners studied, 36 (59%) primarily used a rearfoot strike and 16 (31%) primarily used a forefoot strike. Approximately 74% of runners experienced a moderate or severe injury each year, but those who habitually rearfoot strike had approximately twice the rate of repetitive stress injuries than individuals who habitually forefoot strike. Traumatic injury rates were not significantly different between the two groups. A generalized linear model showed that strike type, sex, race distance, and average miles per week each correlate significantly (p<0.01) with repetitive injury rates.
CONCLUSIONS: Competitive cross country runners on a college team incur high injury rates, but runners who habitually rearfoot strike have significantly higher rates of repetitive stress injury than those who mostly forefoot strike. This study does not test the causal bases for this general difference. One hypothesis, which requires further research, is that the absence of a marked impact peak in the ground reaction force during a forefoot strike compared to a rearfoot strike may contribute to lower rates of injuries in habitual forefoot strikers.
A 2X difference in injury rates? That's HUGE. It's only a matter of time until all collegiate cross country programs teach their athletes how to run properly, with a forefoot strike.
Here's a demonstration of the 100-Up Technique that Chris McDougall writes about in his Times Mag piece. It's supposed to help develop good running form, using a light heel-strike. Gonna give it a try today.
This is cool. The upcoming Times Magazine features the New York City Barefoot Run in an article by Christopher McDougall. The article is about people who wear minimalist running shoes, but still run with bad form -- and an old technique to get improve your form.
If everything comes together just right, you’ll be exactly where Larson was one Sunday morning in September: peeking out from behind a tree on Governors Island in New York Harbor, his digital video camera nearly invisible on an ankle-high tripod, as the Second Annual New York City Barefoot Run got under way about a quarter-mile up the road. Hundreds of runners — men and women, young and old, athletic and not so much so, natives from 11 different countries — came pattering down the asphalt straight toward his viewfinder.
But the article makes an enormously important point: running in minimalist shoes doesn't guarantee good form.
“Barefoot-style” shoes are now a $1.7 billion industry. But simply putting something different on your feet doesn’t make you a gliding Tarahumara. The “one best way” isn’t about footwear. It’s about form. Learn to run gently, and you can wear anything. Fail to do so, and no shoe — or lack of shoe — will make a difference.
That’s what Peter Larson discovered when he reviewed his footage after the New York City Barefoot Run. “It amazed me how many people in FiveFingers were still landing on their heels,” he says. They wanted to land lightly on their forefeet, or they wouldn’t be in FiveFingers, but there was a disconnect between their intentions and their actual movements.
This is one of the areas, incidentally, where Vibram has failed on a massive scale. They've sold millions of pairs of FiveFingers, but they've done next to nothing to help those people run with proper form and avoid injury. With every pair of VFFs sold, they should be providing basic instructions on barefoot running form.
We've got to re-wire our nervous system and get rid of the bad habits. McDougall writes about an old training technique he re-discovered that helps people develop the proper form.
I was leafing through the back of an out-of-print book, a collection of runners’ biographies called “The Five Kings of Distance,” when I came across a three-page essay from 1908 titled “W. G. George’s Own Account From the 100-Up Exercise.” According to legend, this single drill turned a 16-year-old with almost no running experience into the foremost racer of his day.
For the actual technique, go read the full article. And don't forget to attend the 3rd Annual New York City Barefoot Run next year.
By now, barefoot running is old news. Running a barefoot marathon is a little passe. Which is why Bob Ewing is running a barefoot marathon...in a tuxedo.
Check out the video below, most of which was shot at the NYCBR this year. Yours truly is in there -- SHIRTLESS -- at 2:15, as well as the very last scene talking about why it's a good idea to wear a tuxedo whenever you're barefoot.
Bob is running for a good cause -- Swab a Check, Save a Life for the bone marrow registry to help lymphoma patients.
56 The tender and delicate woman among you, which would not adventure to set the sole of her foot upon the ground for delicateness and tenderness, her eye shall be evil toward the husband of her bosom, and toward her son, and toward her daughter,
57and toward her young one that cometh out from between her feet, and toward her children which she shall bear: for she shall eat them for want of all things secretly in the siege and straitness, wherewith thine enemy shall distress thee in thy gates.
The lesson is clear. Beware women who say they are too delicate to run barefoot. Beware women who get pedicures all the time.
This ancient wisdom is directly in line with my experience here in New York City.
Update: My Biblical interpretation may be off, as one commenter points out, and may be more along the lines of "This is what happens when you disobey...even the tenderest become evil."
With kids, however, it's easy. And that's the most formative time in the development of the foot. So we should let our kids go around barefoot whenever possible -- on the playground, at home, in the backyard.
"There was another family there who was asking me a ton of questions about how I got my child to be so agile. I told them I take her to the playground about 2x a day and let her go barefoot -- so she can grip better & have better balance.
She got completely soaked in the sprinkler, so I took her pants off -- the family promptly took off their 2 year old's shoes and his pants -- so their son could move freely too. This was the first and only time someone has copied my barefoot parenting tactics -- immediately!
Go figure! It is catching on. Barefoot has gone viral."
Wow, what a weekend. The 2nd Annual NYCBR was a huge success.
We had 405 people register for the run, up from 265 last year. And we had more people come just for the clinics and talks on Saturday. People traveled from 11 different countries around the world: US, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, Mexico, Sweden, Denmark, Spain, Iceland, India, and Belgium. It was the single largest collection of top barefoot runners in the world -- aside from recess at a Kenyan elementary school.
This photo didn't fit close to everyone. You can see the Statue of Liberty directly in back.
Jason Robillard, Maggie Durant, Lee Saxby, Dan Lieberman, Erwan Le Corre, John Durant, Chris McDougall, Barefoot Ken Bob, Barefoot Ted, Michael Sandler. Not pictured: Daniel Howell, Mark Cucuzella, Esther Gokhale
One of the biggest hits of the entire weekend was Barefoot Ted and the Luna Sandal's rickshaw. Custom-built just for the event, it was designed to be put together and taken apart without tools -- a brilliant piece of engineering.
"One hundred and eighteen of those interviewed were rickshaw coolies. Because these men spend very long hours each day on cobblestone or other hard roads pulling their passengers at a run it was of particular interest to survey them. If anything, their feet were more perfect than the others. All of them, however, gave a history of much pain and swelling of the foot and ankle during the first few days of work as a rickshaw puller. But after a rest of two days or a week's more work on their feet, the pain and swelling passed away and never returned again. There is no occupation more strenuous for the feet than trotting a rickshaw on hard pavement for many hours each day yet these men do it without pain or pathology."
We kicked off the run with a special announcement: two of the participants had planned their engagement around the weekend. We put the two of them in the rickshaw, and Barefoot Ted pulled them through a gauntlet of runners to start the race.
The kid's run was awesome. They put on a clinic for us.
The prior night was a blast too. The venue overlooked the Brooklyn Bridge and Governors Island. Merrell really went all out, decorating the place in orange and even making Merrell / NYCBR beer steins for all the participants. All of our sponsors were fantastic: VIVOBAREFOOT ran the running clinics, Injinji sponsored the food during the run, Luna Sandals sponsored the rickshaw fun, Barefoot Wine and Smutty nose contributed wine and beer, JackRabbit Sports was hugely supportive, and Vita Coco had coconut water on hand all weekend.
And thank you to all of our incredible volunteers. Our core team that helped with planning: SanjayAmin, MelissaBybee, JeanneDavis, LindseyGoble, KCGoyer, ChrisHawson, RobMathews, LeeRawlings, and Trey Shelton. And all the volunteers who helped us execute: BeccaAlper, LeaBentzen, JeffBierly, RichardChin, JessicaClarke, BradDodson, ClarkDurant, TaylorDurant, GarethField, LisHolmdahl, MathiasHolmdahl, PaulKoczera, SuzieMarlow, CodyMarsh, AbeMedenilla, MaggieMeehan, ChrisMoffet, JonathanMuhirad, SatchelPaige, BriannaPollock, JimmyRoss, JennaShannon, AmandaShantz, ChrisStokes, NickSweeney, TimTorba, FrancisWerner, JennaWilson-Ashby, and KrisWood. And last but not least, my sister, Maggie Durant, who did far more work than anyone else, including me.
This event wouldn't have happened without you.
Dan Lieberman, as usual, gave the best talk. He spoke about the cause of running injuries. We got a preview of some cool results based on the Harvard Track Team -- expect them to be published soon. Heel-strikers don't fare well. Lieberman's hypothesis: your footwear matters less than your foot-strike. In some cases, minimalist footwear might be even more damaging than running barefoot, because footwear still muffles the pain signal and proprioception that encourages good form (forefoot strike), but doesn't provide any cushioning. Heel-striking in a pair of VFFs ain't a pretty site.
We also heard talks by the other kudus on various barefoot related subjects. One of my favorite moments of the evening was honoring Barefoot Ken Bob and the other long-time barefoot runners who have been doing this long before it was cool. Long before the studies, style section pieces, and the best-sellers, a few crazy people decided to take off their shoes and run barefoot.
Here's to the crazy ones. We'll see you next year.
I just wanted to take a moment and thank the sponsors of this years NYCBR. In each case, we've tried to only work with sponsors who are on board with the spirit of this event and the movement. People who "get it". It would not have been possible without you -- thank you.
Merrell. Merrell has top selling trail shoe right now, the Trail Glove. Jason Robillard has helped Merrell focus on education for people new to minimalist running.
VIVOBAREFOOT. VIVOBAREFOOT has some of the most stylish minimalist shoes for the widest variety of occassions. This is their second year sponsoring, they were the first sponsor last year the first NYCBR, and they approached me about it proactively. Plus, they snapped up Lee Saxby very quickly.
Injinji.THE ORIGINAL PERFORMANCE TOESOCK. (And one my favorite corporate taglines ever.) Injinjitoesocks are terrific for colder weather, for people who seem have naturally stinky feet, and for folks who just like wearing toesocks.
JackRabbit Sports. If you're looking for a running store in NYC (UES, Union Square, UWS, and Brooklyn), look no further than JackRabbit Sports. We may be doing some regular runs out of their store periodically as well.
Vita Coco. What can I say? They hired Rihanna as a spokesperson. I don't drink much sugar water of any kind, but I don't mind some coconut water now and again.
Barefoot Wine. This may have been the biggest sponsorship coup of the entire event -- free booze. Barefoot Wine believes people should kick back, relax, and have fun barefoot. Can you find a more natural fit for an event? We practically have the same logos too.
Smuttynose. Some of the guys at this New Hampshire-based craft brewery are into barefoot running. A delicious beer -- and yes, I've put in a request for a gluten-free variety.
American Airlines has LOST Barefoot Ted's awesome, custom-built rickshaw. They are racing to figure out where it went. I smell foul play. Perhaps a Luna Sandals competitor? AMERICAN AIRLINES AND THE CASE OF THE MISSING RICKSHAW. This is like Where in the World in Carmen San Diego.
Speaking of criminally awesome globe-trotting, tomorrow kicks off the 2nd Annual NYCBR and we have 11 countries represented: the US, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, Mexico, Sweden, Denmark, Spain, Iceland, India, and Belgium.
UPDATE: Carmen Sandiego has been apprehended and the Rickshaw has been returned to safety. Nice job, gumshoe.
Have a running injury? Want Lee Saxby, the best coach in the business, to analyze your form?
As part of the NYCBR Saturday clinics, VIVOBAREFOOT and Lee Saxby are offering ten 1-on-1 coaching sessions focused on runners who have injuries. Each session will be about 30 minutes long. VIVOBAREFOOT will be setting up a generator, treadmill, and computer for playback at the Battery Park Lawn.
It's only for people who have signed up for the run -- if so, you can apply here. Tell VIVOBAREFOOT about your injury. They're accepting applicants through September 15th, so move quickly.