Barefoot running

Ran the 5km from work back home this evening. A bit lacking in energy because I didn’t hang around at work for another snack, but then again I was itching to get out.  Actually, I’m finding these days that I am more uncomfortable just walking and sitting than when I run / gym / cycle, etc.

Also I keep reading about all these increased injuries that occur during pregnancy… Of course I am lying on wood as I say this, but I’ve been pretty lucky so far. In particular people harp on about running, which is meant to be extra harsh on the joints due to the weight gain and ligamentous laxity that accompanies pregnancy.

I attribute my apparent lack of running injuries to my ‘barefoot’ running style. I used to run with the ‘traditional’ heel strike until a mate put me onto ‘Born to Run’, a totally amazing book!

borntorunbook

I’m no expert but in short, it’s a way of running (no, not without shoes, although you can) that has you landing with a fore-/mid-foot strike (rather than a heel strike). The argument is that less force is transmitted to your cartilage, up your lower leg joints, and into your spine, and instead the energy is taken up (and returned back) by your tendons, ligaments, muscles, and foot arch.

You can check out these websites that explain in detail the pros and cons of barefoot running…

I only know it’s really worked for me. I ruptured my right ACL when I was 17 years old playing, you guessed it, netball and even post-reconstruction, have had instability and pain issues since (even with ‘non-twisting’ activities like running). Since I’ve been running barefoot style, I haven’t had any problems (again, fingers and toes crossed!).

These are the road running shoes I wear (it’s hard to mention them without this appearing like a shameless plug) but I heart them and they work for me: New Balance Minimus.  Look at them… so purdy

newbalanceminimus

Just a note of caution: when switching running styles, they advise you to run for no more than a few minutes ‘barefoot style’ to allow your body to adjust. I of course thought these rules applied to other people, ran for 20 minutes, then couldn’t walk for a week (so much pain in my lower leg muscles, tendons, everything!). So I scaled it back and gradually increased running time…  Tip for young players, follow the warnings that come with the ‘barefoot / minimalist / zero drop’ shoes.

Also, if you’re already pregnant, go easy with trying any new exercise or activity, your body many not adapt the same way same as when you are not pregnant. You may also may want to keep in mind that the relaxin produced during pregnancy loosens your connective tissue, including that in your feet.  For this reason, some people even warn against running barefoot-style in pregnancy (I’ve had no problems)… again, use your common sense.

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