Life is like music; it must be composed by ear, feeling, and instinct, not by rule.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Next Phase of the BF & Minimalist Running

It seems to me that we are at a crossroads as it relates to BF/Minimalist running. Without some hard data on injury differences between shod and unshod, I feel we will be at a stalemate (even with that, there are numerous other factors, all of which can't be addressed in a single study). I know Dr. Lieberman is working on it but as it stands, I suspect we will see as many injured unshod runners as shod runners. Even I go back and forth at times. I've stopped telling folks that BF or Minimalist running is the answer and instead encourage them to give it a try. I can't translate my experience to the next runner nor can any of us really. Is it the shoes or is it the form or is it both? I think it's the form first and then shoes make it difficult to run with correct form. If true, then with practice (maybe many years) one should be able to run in shoes without major issues, correct? As does the East Africans. But even the American elites, are they injured because of shoes or because they push so hard to run at ungodly paces for long distances. The more time I spend thinking about it, the more complicated it is, at least in my opinion.

Well I'm going to put it to the test. I have nothing to lose as a recreational runner other than injury but I'm getting good at understanding the earliest signs of an injury so if I head down a bad road, hopefully I can change directions soon enough. To this end, I'm going to try some regular running shoes mixed in with my Evo and BF running. I'm going to start (I can't believe I'm saying this) with the Nike Free 3.0 and do some running in those while I continue the Evo and BF running. It's something I want to do b/c before I can feel good about pushing someone down this road, I need a better personal understanding of the issue.

My form and technique is dramatically better than it was 18 months ago and my speed/pace has increased a lot. I still go back to some of the older former semi-elite runners (60 yrs. and older) I know who have run for 40+ years with major injuries in running shoes . . . why them and not me? It could be the shoes or it could be that they have better running technique, or maybe I have a unique foot type. I don't know but this issue continues to bother me. Maybe both camps are right and the answer is in the middle.


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