2 Tricks to Running with Soft Barefeet on Hard Concrete

Image via Wikipedia

First of all, I want to stress that the easiest way to damage your lower leg and hurt yourself is to RUN BAREFOOT ON CONCRETE before you’re ready. Running on a hard surfaces SHOULD BE done CAREFULLY AND SLOWLY.

That said, a week or two ago, I posted something about over-pronation (see link at the bottom of this post). But I hadn’t yet had the time to make a iMovie about it. To solve that problem and to contribute to the world’s collection of iMovie transitions and annoying music, I had my lovely wife shoot footage of my sexy legs and dirty feet while I discussed over pronation. After adding a random picture of a trail, my masterpiece was compete. Here is my barefoot over-pronation eradication video. It features my devil tattoo and my lovely sparrow tattoo, which in this video looks like a butterfly. One day I film myself running without a shirt and will my feature my skull tattoo and “ice dice” tattoo and probably by then some other tattoos of spiritual significance. But for now, my video:

The solution to my lower leg problems came in two parts.

First I changed the direction of my feet as seen in the video; second, I corrected the “over stride”. I will have my lovely camera woman take some footage of me running gracefully soon enough. For now, I simply emphasize that is IMPORTANT NOT TO TAKE BIG STEPS. As I have mentioned, the trick to running barefoot on concrete is to ACTIVELY DECREASE impact. The head should be stable and NOT BOB UP AND DOWN.

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Haunted Shoes: The Harm of Over-Pronation

Pronation and below, supination (19DYp12)
Image by sportEX magazines via Flickr

Did you know that:  “Gait is the single most complex motor function of the human body?”

It involves half of the body’s 650 muscles and 200 bones, along with a large share of the joints and ligaments. (Dr. Rossi)

As many of you know I suffered from serious barefoot running injuries when I started running without shoes. I partially ruptured both Achilles tendons, I severely ripped my calf muscle, and I suffered a little top of foot pain.

After some recovery and conscious effort, I have FINALLY DISCOVERED the SOURCE of my Lower Leg Barefoot Running Injuries. In addition to “going to far too fast” a major cause was OVER-pronation.

Yes, I know some pronation is natural and good, but OVER pronation is NOT. It can damage your lower leg.

Here is text-book Runner’s World Explanation of Over-Pronation and the by the book, orthotic fix for it:

The problem I had was the bad habit of walking and running wrong. My shoes had allowed me to walk with klonky unhealthy steps and strides. They allowed me to over-pronate with impunity. However, when I took off my shoes, my body let me know right away that something was wrong.

By trail and error, I discovered the secret to my particular problem. It was to straighten my feet. I tended to angle my feet outward, this put a lot of stress on torn calf. In fact, I can tell right away if I’m falling back into the old stride because my calf will bark at me if let my foot angle out.

This video about Chi running has some practical advice about how to correct over-pronation with better form, rather than with orthotics.

Danny Dreyer describes Chi running form and the use of shoes, but I applied his suggestion to my barefoot form and they have helped tremendously. Pointing my feet straight forward rather than angling them has eased a lot of stress to lower leg. It takes conscious effort, but it’s worth it. In a few days, I will post a video of about this and show some of the other tricks I learned about proper barefoot running form.

The problem with shoes is that simply cover-up the dangers of bad form. It’s like bailing water from a leaky boat instead of fixing the leak. Orthotics will make you bail until the boat finally sinks; going barefoot will put you in a shiny new yacht.