This blog is inspired by Christopher McDougall's book, Born to Run.
Are you as surprised by this news as I was? Here are three truths Born to Run revealed:
1. The best shoes are the worst
A research team run by Dr Bernard Marti analysed 4,358 runners in the Bern Grand Prix, a 9.6 mile road race. A good 45% of these had some sort of foot trouble to report.
The extensive questionnaire asked all manner of questions but one variable stood out: runners in shoes that cost more than $95 were more than twice as likely to get hurt as runners wearing shoes that cost $40 and under. I'll say that again: the more pimped up the shoe, the more likely you are to get some sort of foot damage! Double the price and you get double the pain! Follow up studies have startlingly found similar results.
2. Feet like a good beating
Your feet are just like your lips and hands in that they are engineered to feel a surface and then decide how to react. When you land on something soft, your feet will hit the surface harder in search of solid ground for balance.
The impact with which you hit the ground when you're running is many times your body weight so a bit of cushioning in your shoes won't affect that much at all.
My analogy: ever climbed over rocks in a river - do you ever get that feeling that your shoes are getting in the way? When you take your shoes off you seem to feel your way over the rocks better (except when they're hot). At least now I kind of understand that sensation better.
3. Human beings are designed to run without shoes
When the human body was designed it wasn't designed with shoe wearing in mind. No surprises there. The arch of the foot is structured to cope with pressure. By putting shoes on, you shift all the pressure points and in many ways "disable" your foot's normal function.
Kenyan runners apparently have great elasticity in their feet because they've been running barefoot for well into their teens.
So, should we all dump our shoes and start 'barefooting' it? No, that wouldn't be good advice. From birth, you and I have been wearing shoes and have conditioned our heels and tendons to a heel-down-first sort of movement as opposed to the more natural toes-first manoeuvre. Drastically changing that will lead to injury. Importantly, we're all mostly running on man-made surfaces - hard roads and concretes paths - our feet were not designed for that either.
By wearing shoes for so long and getting used to putting your heel down first, you've turned a structure engineered for running into a walking vehicle that will sputter and fail when made to run.
The most interesting fact I learnt? A human being begins to improve their running speed at age 19 and peaks at 27. From there it's downhill BUT we don't decelerate fast; it takes us until the age of 64 to go back down to the speed reached at 19!
If you want to improve your running style, read up on Chi, Pose and Evolution running methods.
Read my brief review of Born to Run here.
Although your personal finances and your business success are my primary interest, I believe you only operate at peak efficiency when you're fit and healthy. If you feel good, it filters through to your work. To help you with that, click for your free ebook: The Quick Guide to Sexy