The Barefoot Running Book. Jason Robillard.

Jason is one of the contributors to the Google Minimalist list (http://groups.google.com/group/huaraches/) and when I saw he had a book coming out, even though it is a bit more for beginners, I thought I’d grab a copy.  Over all it is a good read, though it is definitely geared towards the newer barefoot runners out there.  I would definitely recommend it to you if you are in that camp — not withstanding his sense of humor!  ;-)

Quotes that are worth sharing:

  • Leonardo Da Vinci called the human foot “… a work of art, a marvel of engineering…”
  • wearing shoes decreases the runners ability to judge impact… As such, shod runners produce far greater impact forces [... than barefoot/minimalist]  (I can certainly attest to that, as I currently run barefoot, minimalist, and with traditional shoes…  I can definitely feel the difference.)
  • it will become increasingly difficult to run in traditional shoes.  Your feet will feel incredibly heavy and the rest of your body will rebel against the pounding…  (Another thing that I am finding very true…  Traditional shoes no longer feel comfortable to run in, and my shoes are trending more and more minimalist.  Luckily we are on the precipice of a large variety of minimalist options, something that has not been the case until very recently.)
  • “Each of us is an experiment of one – observer and subject making choices, living with them, recording the effects.” — George Sheehan

Thoughts worth sharing:

  • He brings up the analogy of baby formula vs. mother’s milk, and how an entire generation was lead to believe that formula is better.  But then over time that fallacy was proven, and now it is well known mother’s milk is better (as long as that is possible).  Are we witnessing the same thing with running shoes?  I’m a firm believer in the right tool (shoe) for the job (run/terrain), but also that the more minimalist the better!
  • He suggests running on hard surfaces such as pavement before grass and trails.  I am not so sure I agree.  While trails I would definitely say are “advanced,” I found my short 2-3 minute runs on grass a great way to start the foot strengthening process.   Yet at the same time, I do believe that forgiving surfaces will allow you to miss problems with your form and perhaps delay the transition to proper form…  Its also the case that wearing a minimalist shoe before you have good form can be a recipe for disaster.  So I would recommend 100% barefoot, hard surface running early.  But I also think foot strengthening via exercise, walking barefoot and various surfaces, and yes, running on grass, is good in the early stages.  Just be sure to mix in hard surfaces as well!
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