Ask Coach Stevo!
by Steven M. Ledbetter
1 minute read
“Hey Coach Stevo, what’s with people running in those ridiculous shoes with the toes?”
Ok, so there’s a guy named Christopher McDougall who wrote a book in 2009 called Born to Run. In this book McDougall finds a bunch of native Mexicans called the Tarahumara who like to run a lot. Some of them even run outrageous distances in what are essentially rubber flip-flops. Based on all this science, McDougall declares that shoes are the reason that people get hurt running. And to prove it, he starts running barefoot and doesn’t get hurt! Science!
Yeah, no. While it is true that there is a gait that is pretty close to ideal for most people that has been pushed by many in the industry (it’s called the “ChiRunning” gate, and its pretty good if you’re within biometric norms), there is no magic way to run. And while it’s true that running barefoot pretty much makes you have a midfoot strike (because landing on a bare heel hurts), that might not be all that’s wrong with your gait! You could have tight hip-flexors, inflexible ankles, or valgus collapse. Running in Vibrams is just gonna make all those worse. In fact, running barefoot is only causing new kinds of repetitive stress injuries.
Sadly, the way that runners get fucked up, is by running. It’s really hard on the body and is best done in moderation. I used to run 50+ miles a week. Now I keep it below 12. In Asics DS Trainers. The best advice I have is to work on your flexibility and mobilty, and make the miles you run count!