A talk by Lee Saxby on barefoot running

This explanation of barefoot running by Lee Saxby from VIVOBAREFOOT is the most succinct and easiest to understand (for non-experts like me) that I’ve heard. He’s eloquent and gets to the point without meandering or trying to sound too academic. Definitely worth the 12 minutes time investment.

 

Healthy Feet e-booklet from NRC

NRC Healthy Feet Book Cover

The Natural Running Center has a free e-booklet on the topic of “Healthy Feet”. It’s 72 pages and full of content. From their own description:

The main attraction of the booklet is an extensive footwear study that appeared in a medical journal from 1905, and which arrived at the unvarnished conclusion that most “modern” shoes are harmful to the health and development of the human foot.

 It’s worth a read. You can download it from here.

Barefoot Running University » Don’t Get Couch Potato Feet

Barefoot Running University » Don’t Get Couch Potato Feet
:

Healthy feet are allowed to move, flex, and explore. They’re given a steady diet of new terrain, plenty of dynamic movements, and lots of time in the open air. These feet grow strong, capable, and independent. They only need shoes for protection from excessive temperatures or rough terrain, or occasionally for running really fast or long.

Using Sand to Analyze Your Running Form | Barefoot Running University

Jason Robillard at Barefoot Running University:

Interestingly, you can also analyze their form by their footprints left in the sand.  This could be useful to you for analyzing your own form.  It could also make for a pretty nifty parlor trick.  You know… to impress the ladies.

This is an interesting article about how to “read” footprints in beach sand to understand the runner’s technique. Not sure about impressing the ladies, though.

“Play Is The Process. Fitness is the Product.” Embrace Play to Revolutionize Your Running, Then Your Life | Barefoot Running University

Jason Robillard at Barefoot Running University:

All too often, we focus exclusively on outcomes.  We care about finishing a distance, doing so in a specific time, or placing in a certain position.  If we DO focus on the process, we tend to obsess over pacing, heart rate, weekly mileage, or worrying about how our run will look when we post in on Facebook using Daily Mile.

His suggestion… running should be play. Good article.

On maintaining motivation

From “11 ways to make running fun” at Running Nut:

Running constantly alternates between good and bad, easy and hard, exhilarating and boring. The average runner experiences long periods of drudgery, interrupted by a brief period of exhilaration. By keeping running fun you can eliminate these long periods of drudgery. You can also increase the duration and intensity of these periods of exhilaration. Perhaps, you can even make running so fun that it all blends into a constant period of exhilaration.

A good article that lists 11 things to do that’ll help you maintain the fun in running. My favourite, of course is number 5:

5. Run With Music

A recommended read.


Running speed = stride rate x stride length

I’ve discussed cadence, or strides per minute, before. I also confessed that my cadence was 151 on a slow run, which now that I’ve read more about it, turns out to be abysmally slow.

According to most articles (here, here, and here, for example), the optimal cadence is 180 strikes per minute. That’s what most elite runners seem to be consistently doing no matter the distance. So, for a 5k race or a marathon, these elite athletes run at a constant cadence of 180. What makes them faster is the stride rate.

This article in corerunning.com indicates that how fast one can run depends on two variables, stride rate and stride length.

Stride rate or cadence is the number of foot strikes per minute while your stride length is simply the distance between one foot strike and the next.

To run faster you need to do one of the following:

1. Increase your cadence.
2. Increase your stride length.
3. Increase both.

Given that my cadence is crap, I think I’ll focus on increasing that first. This article in runningrules.com suggests doing the following drills at least once a week:

  • Intervals – Gradually increase cadence to 180 in 3 to 5 minute intervals separated by walking or jogging slowly.
  • Dorsiflex – Before hitting the ground, pull up the toes towards the shin.
  • Land on you centre of gravity – I understand this a not stretching the legs forward, instead landing the foot at the same level as the hips/torso.

I’ll give these a go.