Okay, so this is the problem when you do a lot of reading on stuff you get interested in. The problem is, you do a lot of reading. That’s especially a problem when the reading you read contradicts other reading you read. Though you would think I really haven’t read as much as I like to make it look like I have when I use phrases like “reading you read.”
Much of this reading I read — I promise, I’ll quit using that phrase — has to do with injuries, and what you do with your shoes to prevent it. Some reading I… nope, I promised… some of what I read says get the right shoes to correct how your foot is all messed up. Others will say it’s those corrections that are really messing us up. So here I am early on wanting to make sure I’m making the right decisions here.
I do find myself leaning towards the side that suggests that we are better designed for running than we seem to think. When I was 12 and running most of an 18 mile walkathon I didn’t have $100 shoes, or even $20 shoes. When I ran all over creation in high school the same thing was true. And I never got injuries.
Okay, I have to qualify that. There was the time I stepped wrong off the side of a curb and rolled my ankle, putting me out for a week. And I guess there was that time the guy in gym class picked me up and threw me down after I intercepted a pass in flag football (hello, FLAG football?) and I landed wrong and busted my ankle, that probably counts as an injury. I don’t think my Brooks Adrenelaines are going to prevent either of those. But you never heard about IT Band or planter fascism or any of that stuff.
There was a time where the foregone conclusion was that physiologically we were not really well built for running. But as they get a closer look at everything, our bodies are incredibly well designed for just that. No, never for the kind of running that would get us away from some leopard bearing down on us. But, for being able to run and just keep running, yeah, it’s pretty amazing design. And sometimes it looks like maybe what we’re doing is spending a lot of money on shoes and inserts that correct problems that maybe really aren’t there. Or they are problems that we’ve developed over years of not really using our feet the way they were made and thus they’ve gotten a bit weak. Or a lot weak.
So, do I go the barefoot running route? Or get those fancy toe shoes?
You ever see someone wearing those? Kinda freaky. Freaky enough to make me think, I wouldn’t mind giving that a shot.
Not so quick my friend. In more of that reading…. I read that even advocates for barefoot running will say a great way to injure yourself is to dive right into barefoot or minimalist running. (and no, I did not use that phrase because the dots there interrupted it, therefore, promise not broken).
I feel kind of doomed here. I’m staring down the barrel of nagging injuries whether I do the high tech expensive shoes, or I don’t.
Maybe I should give up.
It seems like maybe the injury problems when you just dive into another style come from the fact that while our feet are actually very well designed for all the shock absorption and such, we haven’t really built up the strength to go crazy doing long runs on them, it takes awhile to build up that strength.
Still, what’s a guy to do?
It sounds to me like the first thing is, get the form down right. Learn to run efficiently and lightly. Okay, lightly is not exactly possible at 332 pounds (I know, right? that looks so much better than the 338 I put down not all that long ago). But ligher? If I’m clomping down and landing on my heel, well that’s not how I was designed to run. So that’s a no no. Running straighter, moving my legs more efficiently, things like that will take the stress off the joints no matter what I’m wearing.
And maybe on the side, I start walking, maybe sometime start doing some very short barefoot runs, slowly building up some strength. Then maybe one day I can look cool in toe shoes and not kill myself doing it.