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Barefoot running and the Kendo relationship

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  • Barefoot running and the Kendo relationship

    Hi folks, sorry I don't get to spend much time on the forum but I thought some members might be interested in my experiences with barefoot training and hiking. I am an older runner/backpacker/kenshi (57) who transitioned to barefoot techniques more than a year ago, which I believe was made much easier because of the footwork experienced in Kendo. I had to adjust my posture, footwork and cadence as a previous heel striking over pronator to a midfoot strike. My background includes marathons, ultras, 25 years of "fastpacking" (trips hiking more than 20 miles per day) and am currently a Kendo Sandan. I invite anyone who is interested in this subject to please visit my latest Vidcast on my blog, entitled "Barefoot Training and Hiking: Observations and Experiences." I do mention Kendo in the discourse and managed to sneak in a few clips.

    Steve

  • #2
    Man,

    I was having this conversation with a Dojo mate recently, I am also transistioning to minimalist footwear (not barefoot), the instant thing was the running we do when warming up were you never heel strike or you stop very quickly because it hurts. This convinced me that there had to be something about the minimalist movement other than the philosophical dabates since I run like that on the Dojo without any instruction when I am barefoot.

    The deciding thing for me was a recent mountain race were I saw the pictures on how I run (like a chimp triping over his shoelaces) and the obvious heel strikes. Pictures of the race leaders showed different form and the vast majority seemed to use the mid and front foot when running. The chi running technique looks interesting and similar.

    Looking forward to reading your blog!

    Comment


    • #3
      Steve, great video.

      I got into running with minimalist shoes a few years ago myself and it has revived my love of running. I used to run quite a bit when I was younger, but it started bothering my right knee. When I went to my doctor (many years ago) and asked him what I could do, he said "Stop running." I said, "That's funny. No really." He said, "Really. Stop running." At the time I took his advice and stopped running, but in retrospect this was pretty lazy advice on his part, but kinda to be expected since he was a general practitioner. What I should have done was get a second opinion from a sports doctor who is used to dealing with athletes. Now I know better.

      I've pretty much transitioned over to being a midfoot-forefoot striker, and since then I really haven't had an issue with my knee. Spending time in the dojo doing kendo may have helped my transition. But I think maybe my kendo benefits from my running more than vice versa. Barefoot-style running is definitely not the cure all, but once I made the switch, I understood why elite runners have the form that they do. Personally, I've sworn off running shoes with large heel-to-toe drops.

      For people who find the Vibram FiveFingers a bit too weird looking, I recommend the Merrell Trail Gloves (Which you also mentioned in your video). It's a regular looking shoe with zero heel-to-toe drop. If anyone wants to try barefoot-style running, my only advice is to start with short runs because your calves will be sore those first few times.

      Comment


      • #4
        I use medium supportive shoes (Brooks Adrenaline GTS) and would like to try minimalist. However, 2 things are keeping me from it. First, I have almost zero problems with running, no pain (other than the occasional blister), nada. The advice I have been given is "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". The other problem is that there are no minimalist shoes that fit me. Like racing flats, they only come in standard widths.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Neil Gendzwill View Post
          The other problem is that there are no minimalist shoes that fit me. Like racing flats, they only come in standard widths.
          You might wanna try the Merrell Trail Gloves. They have a very wide toe box, which I like.

          Strangely enough, after a few years of running in minimalist shoes, my feet seem to have gotten a little bit wider at the metatarsals. I used to be a size 8.5, but lately I have to go to a size 9 to find a comfortable fit, across a number of different manufacturers.

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          • #6
            I'm not running, but I've starting walking with minimalist footwear in part to build foot strength for Kendo. I had an old Achilles injury that never healed right and some bad muscle atrophy from disuse and not walking because it hurt to do so. Over the last year kendo and the minimalist footwear has rebuilt a considerable amount of muscle on that leg and I can walk without pain most of the time now. I still wear a brace while doing kendo, but at this point it is mainly preventative.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Halcyon View Post
              You might wanna try the Merrell Trail Gloves. They have a very wide toe box, which I like.
              Not wide enough.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Neil Gendzwill View Post
                Not wide enough.
                Woah. Someone's got chimp feet.

                Check out this running blog. Very comprehensive introduction to minimalist running and reviews for lots of different models.
                http://www.runblogger.com/2010/07/ru...t-running.html

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Halcyon View Post
                  Woah. Someone's got chimp feet.
                  Yup, I need a 4E running shoe, although my heel is normal or even narrow. In street shoes I can sometimes fit a standard width if I go up a size but it's a recipe for blisters in a running shoe. The Brooks fit me well, so I'm loathe to change. The Merrells aren't really that wide, either - I dont think they're even as wide as a 2E from Brooks or New Balance.

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                  • #10
                    Speaking of New Balance, they have a new line of minimalist shoes called the Minimus. Haven't tried 'em myself, but my office mate has and he loves them. Dunno if they make them in chimp feet sizes though.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The Minimus has been out for a while. Wait, maybe I tried those and not the Merrell? I think the Minimus comes in widths, but that band across the forefoot was too tight in the wider width.

                      Closest I come to minimal is a pair of Saucony Fastwitch flats that I love for racing shorter distances and speedwork. Raced a half in them end ended up with huge blisters on both sides of my feet. Also had a hip issue when I was using them lots which may or may not have been related to the shoe, but went back to my trusty Brooks and was OK. Love the lightness and the low drop of the Sauconys though.

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                      • #12
                        I changed to VFFs for my crossfit workouts (and general summer footwear) at the end of last summer. While it slowed down my running pace, it greatly increased my foot strength, but more importantly, it made managing my old calf injury a lot easier. (Old calf-tear, which still has a lot of scar tissue).
                        I am considering getting the trekking version for the summer hikes.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Halcyon View Post
                          Speaking of New Balance, they have a new line of minimalist shoes called the Minimus. Haven't tried 'em myself, but my office mate has and he loves them. Dunno if they make them in chimp feet sizes though.
                          Buying a pair myself, there are three flavours, from zero drop to 4mm I think, I tried the zero drop trail shoe and felt great (unfortunately the shop had not got my exact size) I was told that new Balance has understimated the demand and stock is running out so I have to buy mine online now since I know which size I need. Would not advice them for Neil because despite a loose toe box they are not the widest.

                          There was a great article on toe dexterity and injuries by Dr. Mark Cucuzzella on the running times last month and some great podcasts on trail running nation

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Another great blog even if you are not a vegetarian, he has got a very impartial view on minimalist footwear worth reading, like everything else is about whatever works for you

                            http://www.nomeatathlete.com/

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