I’m sure by now all of you have heard of the barefoot running craze, made infinitely more popular by Christopher McDougall’s book, Born to Run. I myself, prior to reading this book, had never questioned the proper form of running. I run almost every day, mostly at the gym in the basement at work, where there are giant floor to ceiling mirrors and I focus on posture and little else.
I knew of the Vibram FiveFingers, but thought of them only as something recreational, a novelty. When I heard mention they’re actually better to run in, I thought the idea preposterous. What would absorb the impact of running if not your shoes? People aren’t made to run, hence all the running injuries, and expensive running shoes. Or so I thought.
To those of you unfamiliar with bare foot running, it doesn’t mean literally running outside in the city with no shoes in 30° weather. Although, I’m sure people out there do it. It’s about having proper form, and not propping your feet up in wedged shoes. When you wedge the back of your foot up, you no longer land on the balls of your feet. Your foot is forced to land heel first, putting a lot more pressure on your knees. Shorter strides, knees up, and running on the front of your feet, not your heel, is the way to go— according to Chris McDougall.
Born to Run is not only informative, but entertaining. The stories told in the book are inspiring, sometimes sad, but I know of no other running book that elaborates on drug lords, indians, ultramarathons, and racing shoes. If you like the outdoors, if you’re an athlete, you need to read this book. And if you’re not, maybe this book will inspire you.
After reading McDougall’s book, I’ve changed my mind. I put my faith in evolution, that nature has made us to be running machines, and we’re mucking it up. If the zombie apocalypse does come, your Air Jordans won’t save you.