(You can read here the article launching and describing the current project.)
Summary: The Pose walking continues. Learning to not break posture when moving has been a bit challenging. The feet continue to feel good.
Details: The challenge this week has been to transition from Pose drills that are static/stationary to dynamic/moving. This was surprisingly challenging and frustrating for me. Essentially the issue was, while I had reasonable posture when standing, when doing a simple two-footed hop I would bend at the hips and break the posture. My sense is that I have been running with a bend in the waist for so long I basically don’t know any other position. Jeremy helped a lot and gave me some exercises/drills to help with this. The one that helped the most was attaching a loop of exercise band (not Thera-Band, but tubing) to a stationary object. I climbed inside and put it around my waist and got into the Pose stance while leaning against the tension of the tubing. It helps you get a better feel for the position, the muscles that help keep you in place, etc.
I tried the exercises again and, ultimately, I think I’ve learned to not bend the hips – and more importantly – learn to feel the feeling when I do bend my hips. Actually, while I thought I was doing the static drills well, as a result of working through this challenge, I noticed in one of the static drills I was not keeping the posture. It was slight but I could see it. So by going back to that drill and absolutely nailing it, I think I’m on the road to get the rest of them right. (I’ll put in a little plug here for a some great freeware software called Kinovea. You can take a video file and do single frame advances, draw lines on the frame to check alignment, etc. It’s really great.)
The feet are doing quite well. I need to wear the Superfeet a couple of hours a day. The feet tend to get a bit of an ache at some point in the day. I’ll wear the Superfeet for an hour or two and it goes away. I did do a bit too much yesterday. It’s Sunday morning and my left heel is talking to me the most it ever has since I got out of the orthotics. I did a lot of stuff around the house yesterday – virtually all of it either barefoot or in the Pose shoes. So today will likely be a much heavier-than-normal Superfeet day.
Barefooting: You may have noticed I wrote a very short article mid-week that contained links to a variety of barefoot running information that hit the press. While the information and science has been fascinating to me, how people and companies are reacting is just as interesting. The various internet forums are quite the buzz.
My take is it’s wise to separate the stories that make it to the news shows from practical issues, science and thought for the mainstream running community. The media is out to make money – and they’ll push what draws attention. A few months back I saw a video clip done by a local news station about a guy who runs barefoot 12 months a year – in a climate that gets a reasonable amount of snow. There were shots of him, with nothing on his feet, running in snow that was up to the middle of his shins. The extremes are appealing to report on – because they’re extreme. “My great grandpa ate 6 eggs and 1/2 lb of bacon every morning of his life. And he lived to be 104!” I’m clearly not a barefooter per se (although I’m really looking forward to warmer weather so I can do some) so I can’t speak with authority, but I think a guy running completely barefoot through powder snow is a few sigma out on the bell curve – even in the barefoot running community. Maybe I’m wrong…………………. The business’ reactions are interesting, too. The CEO of Brooks put out an “open letter” expressing people proceed with caution. A letter from the head of RoadRunner Sports is also getting some attention with a letter that expressed his concern for runners’ health and safety.
Within the running community it’s fun to watch how people react. Some barefoot/minimalist proponents appear to be wanting to convert people. It’s understandable. We’re excited about either what we’ve found or what we’re finding. I’ve seen proponents of conventional running wisdom react surprisingly negatively to the science. One person wrote (paraphrase) “It doesn’t take a study to figure out that running barefoot is a completely idiotic idea!” Even a running expert stated in an interview (again, paraphrase) “The idea our shoes are causing our injuries is completely ridiculous.” Apparently the “You could step on a hypodermic needle.” argument is used to convince people they shouldn’t run barefoot. That’s a pretty comical one. One forum poster made a good point: “How many times have shod runners had to pull a hypodermic needle out of their shoes?”
Setting aside the emotion and raw science, I think it’s undeniable that a minimalist or barefoot approach is the only way that some people can run at all. That is the proof point that is important to me. Our collective goal as runners is to run. What does it matter what is on our feet? I think we can all agree on that. And if I’m running in my minimalist shoes, a barefooter is on my left, and a Brooks Beast wearer is on my right, and we’re all pain free, then we’ve all reached the goal.