Personally, a day of productive study and reflection is much more assured if it begins with an early morning run. Today, being the Victoria Day holiday in Canada, we thought there might be a few folks out on the trails but we didn't see anyone. (It was early.) Ahh, too bad, as it's always fun explaining why we're not wearing "normal" shoes. (Having said that, not everyone's interested! Hard to believe, eh?!) It's fun, explaining the footwear, insomuch as it's an opportunity to "wave the flag" of minimalist / barefoot running and share why this is arguably one of the best ways to run further, faster, and without injury. At our age, that's good news as bodies tend to be less forgiving when it comes to injuries. Unnecessary injuries should be seen as particularly frustrating!
Yep, one day the running shoe stores are going to have to admit that they're selling shoes that can actually injure their faithful customers. I know, I was one for many, many years who believed that the more cushioning, the more support, and the more pronation control, the better the shoe - and it didn't matter how much it cost! Willing to do anything to avoid injuries, I would replace shoes when they showed any significant wear and tear, much to the delight I'm sure, of those who manufacture this overly sophisticated and over priced foot wear. The fact is, the more the cushioning of a running shoe is worn down, the better it is. At the risk of sounding as annoying as many who have successfully quit a bad habit, the usual running injuries (which, at one time, I seemed to specialize in) are pretty much a thing of the past. I should say that I still wear a pair of old Salomon trail runners, just to mix things up. They have around 1500 kilometres on them and except for the fact that they have some holes and tears, they are going strong.
The strange thing is that a lot of folks think this movement towards minimalist / barefoot running is a kind of "fringe" thing, preferring to stick with conventional running shoes. As Barefoot Ted McDonald often says, this thinking assumes that our feet are, by nature, broken, and in need of all the corrective technology offered (at high cost) by the manufacturers of traditional running shoes. Millions of years of change and adaptation created the feet that we were born with. We should just use 'em as they are. I will dare to suggest that in the next decade or so, minimalist running will become the norm amongst those who love to run. The smiles on their faces will convince the rest!
One more thought: Don't you find that when you "think outside the box" in matters such as this, you create a new "box"? But it's often an improved box and, more often than not, it's a launch pad for further fresh exploration. I think that's why daring to nurture new perspectives always enriches us and serves to create both interest and opportunity in our lives. Sounds good to me.
Hey, so I got to "wave the flag" after all. :-) Now back to the business of this study week.
Image: A pic during this morning's run. The minimalist "shoes" surrounding my "unbroken" feet are Vibram Fivefingers (Classics) - no cushioning, no support, no pronation control, no bells, no whistles. You feel everything, and that's a good thing. They wear like a "glove", and sure, they look strange. But if you love to run or are tired of injuries and are feeling adventurous, check out the ample material out there on bare foot running technique. Guaranteed to be helpful.