Barefoot_Running by pengtt


									Barefoot Running                                                                                                                                lowering of the heel to the ground
                                                                                                                                                increasing the time in which the force is
                                                                                                                                                applied to the body. This has been backed
                                                                                                                                                                                                 Implementing Barefoot
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  periods of barefoot running to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  unconsciously make changes. Longer
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  periods however, may be required for these

The truth behind the hype
                                                                                                                                                                                                 Many runners already regularly train in
                                                                                                                                                up by other research that has found              shoes with very little cushioning (i.e. racing   changes to become permanent once the
                                                                                       Written by Caleb Wegner
                                                                                                                                                midfoot strikers do not have an initial force    flats & spikes) so they may already              stimulus is removed.
                                                                                                                                                peak and have lower overall forces. People       experience conditions suitable to make           The ideal condition may be for a runner to
                                                                                                                               Getty Images
                                                                                                                                                running barefoot also have a greater rate        technique changes and develop additional         make the technique changes that result in
                                                                                                                                                and amount of knee flexion (bending).            foot muscle strength. As mentioned above         lower forces but to wear shoes to increase
                                                                                                                                                This acts as a big shock absorber and            it is the lack of cushioning that is regarded    the time to the initial force peak and to
                                                                                                                                                increases the time in which the force is         as an important factor in implementing           reduce pressure. This enhances the body’s
                                                                                                                                                applied. Runners running without footwear        these changes. However, more flexibility         ability to absorb the forces, and protects
                                                                                                                                                also have a shorter stride length; higher        may be required to enhance foot muscle           the foot from trauma. Theoretically, this
                                                                                                                                                stride frequency (faster turnover) and a         strength. During research studies,               would allow a runner to have the best of
                                                                                                                                                shorter ground contact time. These changes       participants made technique changes with         both worlds.
                                                                                                                                                all assist in the reduction of the force         very limited adaptation time, so a runner
                                                                                                                                                peaks.                                           does not have to be exposed for long
                                                                                                                                                One particularly interesting study
                                                                                                                                                investigating pronation (when the foot rolls
                                                                                                                                                inwards) and other foot motion when               Zola Budd.
                                                                                                                                                barefoot and in shoes was undertaken in
                                                                                                                                                Sweden using bone pin markers. They
                                                                                                                                                found that the motion of the heel and
                                                                                                                                                lower leg bones was not altered by footwear
                                                                                                                                                with support on the inside of the foot. This
                                                                                                                                                has been backed up by other research that
                                                                                                                                                has also found that the speed and total
                                                                                                                                                amount of pronation is lowest while
                                                                                                                                                running barefoot. While the motion of the
                                                                                                                                                bones may not be reduced in footwear, it is
                                                                                                                                                thought that supporting the foot during
                                                                                                                                                this motion may help reduce symptoms
                                                                                                                                                caused from excessive motion.
  One of the most famous barefoot runners
  of recent times, Zola Budd, competing in                                                                                                      Foot Muscle Strength
  the 1986 World Cross Country Champs.                                                                                                          There is limited research into the claims
                                                                                                                                                that barefoot running increases the strength
The benefit of running barefoot has             very hard, standard and soft soles. The         Pressure Changes                                of foot muscles. One study recently funded
recently received a large amount of media       propulsive force experienced in the final       Pressure is a ratio of force per area.
exposure. Much of this media attention has      stages of ground contact when you are                                                           by Nike and undertaken at the University
                                                                                                Therefore, pressure can be low if force is      of Cologne looked at foot muscle strength
resulted from Nike’s recently released          preparing for the fight phase of running is     spread over a large area. In-shoe pressure is
“FREE” a shoe designed to be halfway            also lower while running barefoot. This is                                                      in runners that used the Nike “FREE”
                                                                                                possibly of more interest than force when       while warming up. They found over a five-
between running barefoot and a traditional      the reverse of what would logically be          investigating the cushioning properties of
running shoe. Vin Lananna (USATF,               assumed. The reason behind this is that                                                         month period that the strength of toe and
                                                                                                shoes as it allows for the measurement of       foot muscles was increased by 4-5% but
Athens distance coach) believes “that           runners, while running barefoot, make           loads on specific foot structures. Unlike
athletes that trained barefoot run faster and   consistent changes to their running                                                             not muscles in the calf. This extra foot
                                                                                                force, pressure is considerably decreased in    strength may assist in controlling excessive
have fewer injuries”. Arthur Lydiard the        technique. One theory is that when              running shoes. Running shoes also partially
legendary New Zealand coach preferred his       landing on a soft surface people land                                                           motion in the foot but there is not yet any
                                                                                                absorb the extra pressures created by foot      evidence for this.
athletes to run barefoot. The eccentric         harder to improve their stability.              malalignment (eg high arched feet). This is
Australian coach of Herb Elliot, Percy          Running shoes do however increase the
Cerutty got his athletes to train barefoot in   time taken for the initial force peak to be
                                                                                                important, as high pressure has a direct        Injury Rates
                                                                                                correlation with foot pain. It is understood    The claim that barefoot running results in
the sand dunes of Portsea, Victoria. These      reached. During barefoot running the            that an increase in contact area with the
claims are all well and good, but is there      initial force peak occurs very rapidly,                                                         a reduction in injury rates has legitimate
                                                                                                soft shoe conforming to the foot is             basis. Running injuries are generally
any scientific evidence to support them?        between 4.8 and 14 milliseconds (ms),           responsible for the decrease in pressure
                                                after the foot makes contact with the                                                           categorised into two types, those caused by
                                                                                                rather than a decrease in force, because as
Force Differences                               ground. With shoes, this time is increased      mentioned earlier we know force peaks are
                                                                                                                                                excessive repetitive forces or those caused
It has been stated that the primary aim of      to about 30 ms. This increased time to                                                          by muscles trying to reduce excessive
                                                                                                not reduced by cushioning.                      motion. As shoes do not reduce force or
running shoes should be to reduce impact        peak force is an important function of
                                                                                                                                                motion in the foot, this could theoretically      Before undertaking any
forces following heel strike. However,          cushioning, as the body is better at            Technique Differences                           result in a reduction in injuries for barefoot    barefoot running make
research studies comparing barefoot             compensating for gradually applied forces       While running at the same speed, people
running to running in shoes have found          and it is believed that this increase in time                                                   runners. Unfortunately, there is no               sure, the area is free from
                                                                                                running barefoot have a flatter foot            evidence to support this hypothesis.              any objects that may
that the impact force peak is either equal to   taken to reach the impact force peak is         placement. It is thought this is a
or lower while running barefoot. These          what provides the perception of                                                                 However, an unprotected foot opens up a           cause injury. As with any
                                                                                                mechanism to protect the heel of the foot       completely new type of traumatic injury.          change in your running
results have also been supported by studies     cushioning.                                     and the body from high impact. It also
looking at forces in running shoes with                                                                                                                                                           program, be gradual.                                                        Getty Images
                                                                                                allows the calf muscles to control the
32      Run For Your Life                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Run For Your Life       33

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