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Saturday, December 20, 2008

More Testimonies of the Hand Print of the Living God at Work in Our Lives

This was sent to me by a new Ultra Marathon friend of mine named Marc.

I couldn't resist sharing his story as I am beginning to hear such storys again and again as I have taken the leap of faith in putting my own story out there to show others that God is a Living God and is active, listening and responding to our prayers.

Read on....

Hey Erskien,

I posted a comment recently on Lisa Smith-Batchens blog about Plantar Fasciitis. You posted a comment below mine and I was completely blown away by your response.

I have been on this path recently where I have been wanting to improve and heal my body. My previous doctor advised me to quit running. So I changed doctors.

I am a long distance runner/adventure racer and I am 49 years old. I am planning to do the Sahara Race in Oct./09.

So, with that, I sought out a trainer who I felt could help me. He encouraged me to go barefoot in the gym and then eventually on the road. He advised me that the path to better biomechanics and spinal health was barefoot training.

It's been 6 weeks and what a difference!

I did some research and discovered Vibram FiveFingers technology. I pointed it out to my trainer and we both now have a pair.

It is funny how the Lord puts you on the proper path when you ask him. He guided me to Lisa, who inspires me daily, to a doctor who respects me and my opinions/questions, a trainer who educates me, and now you. I plan to read all your articles and gain more knowledge.


Thank you! Marc

Erskien Lenier Replying to Marc


I love it when God shows up so boldly!

My story unfolded in a very similar fashion! I ran back in my teen years (the 1970's) and got side tracked into bicycle road racing.

I had a huge engine (heart, lungs and capillary beds) to go really far and pretty fast but took a while to learn tactics and and specialization in training.

I found myself over trained and lost motivation about 2 yrs into it and returned to running for a mental break.

Being young and dumb I invested all of 2 months and went out and ran my first marathon (St. Louis) in 2:32:30 thinking maybe I'd qualify for Boston and head in a new direction from cycling.

3 weeks later I did the Heart of America marathon in Columbia, MO and began to see signs that something was wrong with my right knee.

Long story short the knee self distructed and the MD's (after Arthroscopic examination) told me it was so bad I'd need a new knee in a matter of years.

I tried speed skating... That eventually proved to aggravate the knee too. I returned to cycling because it was the aerobic activity I that allowed me to express my need for high intencity endurance sports that I thrived on.

Fast forward a couple of decades later and after breaking just about every exotic material used in modern road racing bikes and becoming disillusioned that a better bike would complete me....

I finally asked God to guide me in the healing of my knee so I could return to running and no longer need machines to move across the land. I longed for simplicity, unedited simplicity.

In less than 30 days he guided me to Tucker Sharp in Newport Beach, CA He is a practioner of a form of deep tissue muscle and its surrounding facia or sheath release called Heller Work http://www.balanceme.com/

He helped undo a lot of the cork screw like twisting of my spine and identified extreme tenstion differences in my hip muscles and ligaments.

Tucker took me miles from the debilitating contortion I came to realize my body have lived under. I went from 10-20 miles per week to 50-60 miles per week just while working with him.

He eventually saw that the more refined details of what was still needing to be done with my posture would be better addresses by another modality called the Egoscue Method and turned me onto Charlie Reid who is Pete Egoscue trained body worker @ www.egoscue.com

Charlie helped me see other areas of how twisted up my body was still and the need for more subtle yet precise work to unlock it.

He provided me with simple sequential stretches and strengthening exercises to unlock the dysfunctional adaptations my body had distorted itself into to deal with bad form I had adopted from my teen years of running in shoes, the various injuries I'd sustained and the odd cants, leans, twist and shifts I'd subtly made to run and ride around sore spots and injuries.

After all this body work I began to notice that as my milage per week moved up beyond 50 and even touching 65 miles per week I was developing shin splints, loosing toe nails, getting blister in different spots and some times in as early as 4 miles into a run and going from shoe model to shoe model looking for a shoe that would fix all this. I track out finances in Microsoft Money and it helped me realize I was spending over $120 a month on running shoes! And the other thing that really bothered me is all of them were wearing out at that the outer corner of the heal long before the rest of the shoe showed any sign of wear at all! The tops and the front of the shoe looked brand new 30 days out and the heals were worn through!
As I studied all the information on every shoe companies site and read all the reviews on running forums my head began to spin with conflicting "facts" about each show, what they were supposed to do or offer and then I came upon a forum at www.runnersworld.com that was all about the injuries runners sustain and one on shoes and I realized the carnage centered around the feet! The feet and knees were getting hammered and no one was stopping to ask why? And is there something we are missing here?

I googled "Running Injuries" to try to find out what others had found as solutions to what I was haunted by.

That's when I came upon Barefoot Running. Someone has a posting that spoke of turning to Barefoot Running and all their feet and leg problems went away! That person was Barefoot Rick at www.BarefootRunner.org He described having had most of the same symptoms I am a bazillion other runners posted on runnerworlds forum. And he was running marathons barefoot now and his legs and feet were fine!


God had revealed to me that shoes were somehow a part of the problem and were not as important as marketing and the market hyped them to be.

On his site I found contact info for a local Barefooter...

Barefoot Ken Bob Saxton of Huntington Beach, CA he said something in our email exchange that forever changed the way I viewed the valued feet: "Barefoot Running forces correct biomechanics".

Having been a world class cyclist for decades and having worked as a Master Frame Builder in the off season had taught me how importan things like alignment of the bike frames and fittings were to the wear, tear, effeciency and longevity of the attached components.

I'd just never held the human bodys biomechanics up to the same understanding! Nor did I understand beyond it's biochemistry how the human body was so naturally designed to be self balancing in regard to the tension and movement of its structural components.

I was so facinated that here I was crossing the 50 yr mark in life and God had allowed me travel this far from my teen years just to wear down my ego enough that I would simply turn to him and ask for guidance! I spent decades attempting to fix my ailments with my own will and as your about to learn he fixed decades of ignorance in moments! The key is I had to become humble enough to acknowledge the source of my own life force and of coarse the source of all wisdom. He is known as Jesus <>< The Fisher of Men.... He caught... And he taught me....

One night he woke me from a sound sleep woke me up at 1:30 AM.

I had the feeling I was supposed to go for a run.

I put on my Camel Bak as I had no idea how far I would feel like going, scribbled a note that I had my phone with me and kissed my sleeping wife on the cheek then headed out the door.

Two steps out and I heard as surely as someone was standing next to me; "Take off your shoes."

I stopped and looked around.... I heard it again...

I could not tell what direction it came from... It sounded like it was coming from everywhere and from within. I complied. I put my shoes in my Camel Bak and set out.

3 miles later and way out in Norco, CA on gravally dark roads (with tender feet mind you) I was giddy with laughter and so happy it was beyond explanation!

I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God was teaching me! That he loved me and I told him there on that spot that if he would be my coach for all things running and beyond running I would dedicate my every effort to bringing glory to his message and his agenda which is that we are forgiven! There is grace. God sent his only begotten son of a virgin birth to be crucified and perish only to rise again as a means to pay the price of all of mankinds sins. We are free! Free to live as Godly a life as we can listen and follow.

Well that was 15 months ago.... 3400 miles later here I am! My right knee is perfect! No crunchies, no inflammation, no ticking or clicking and I feel so truly blessed that God has given me back what was stolen 100 times over.

No my feet are not calloused over and no I don't worry about glass or any other thing in my many paths of adventure across the concrete and asphalt land I live in. Gods taught me like life... To land softly. Be alert yet relaxed, move with momentun and allow gravity to not just hold you to this Earth but to actually move you across it. (That's another lesson you will learn if you decide to unmute your ability to feel the Earth beneath your feet.)

My mission is to share the good news with everyone who will listen.

Two BareFoot Soles at a Time!

Erskien Lenier
Corona, CA

Thursday, December 18, 2008

What You Say vs What God Says.

You say: "It's impossible" God says: All things are possible (Luke 18:27)

You say: "I'm too tired" God says: I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28-30)

You say: "Nobody really loves me" God says: I love you (John 3:16 & John 3:34 )

You say: "I can't go on" God says: My grace is sufficient (II Corinthians 12:9 & Psalm 91:15)

You say: "I can't figure things out" God says: I will direct your steps (Proverbs 3:5-6)

You say: "I can't do it" God says: You can do all things (Philippians 4:13) You say: "I'm not able" God says: I am able (II Corinthians 9:8)

You say: "It's not worth it" God says: It will be worth it (Roman 8:28 )

You say: "I can't forgive myself" God says: I Forgive you (I John 1:9 & Romans 8:1)

You say: "I can't manage" God says: I will supply all your needs (Philippians 4:19)

You say: "I'm afraid" God says: I have not given you a spirit of fear (II Timothy 1:7)

You say: "I'm always worried and frustrated" God says: Cast all your cares on ME (I Peter 5:7)

You say: "I'm not smart enough" God says: I give you wisdom (I Corinthians 1:30)

You say: "I feel all alone" God says: I will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5)

Bad Biomechanics?

This topic is from my friend Barefoot Ken's blog and I think it is a brilliant and accurate observation of the deeper truth about barefoot running, biomechanics and how running injuries happen. You can always count on Ken to give you the bare bones truth about barefoot running!

Bad Biomechanics? (2004 September 23) Saxton
September 23rd, 2004
A salesperson said I have bad biomechanics and should not run without special shoes, which cost an arm and a leg?
I am often told, “how lucky you are, that you have perfect biomechanics which allow you to run barefoot.”
My reply is, “I don’t have good enough biomechanics to be able to run well woth shoes blockign my ability to feel the ground beneath my feet, and respond appropriately by correcting my, otherwise, sloppy biomechanics.”
Are our “Biomechanical Problems”, simply mechanical defects in the human design, which cannot be repaired, and can only be patched or corrected by adding cushioning, motion control, support, etc., provided by wearing modern hi-tech running shoes and orthotic devices?
Do we really have “Biomechanical Problems” with our feet, our legs, our hips, etc., or do shoes actually cause it to appear that we have biomechanical issues, by depriving us of an essential component in the design of the human running “machine”, depriving us of the one thing that might help us learn to run “biomechanically” correct?
I believe that actual genetic bad biomechanics are very rare. Most of us are born to run well. It’s in our genes. When someone says we have “bad biomechanics”, they often mean that we run with bad technique. The assumption is that we are born with our running technique, instead of my presumption, that we learn how to run as we grow up.
When we learn to run WITHOUT feedback from the soles of our feet, as they touch the ground, we often learn to run badly, just as a deaf or hard-of-hearing person has trouble learning to pronounce sounds they cannot perceive.
The best runners in the world come from areas of the world where they learn to run barefoot. Good running technique in these areas is taken for granted. In fact, it is in our genes as well. The problem is, shoes often get in the way of the natural advantage a barefooter has, in learning how to run the way we are designed to run.
Even such seemingly severe problems such as seeming leg-length discrepencies, well, I suspect that most, perhaps nearly all, asymmetry issues; leg length, uneven wear on your shoes, etc., are the result of learning, practicing, and adapting unsymmetrical postural habits. The right leg might appear longer than the left leg, if we, for example, spend a lot of time standing with our weight on one leg, with the other leg stretched out to the side. This may not result in bone-length differences, but the asymmetrical posture, when it becomes habitual (you may not even be aware you are standing that way), will result in asymmetrical strengths and weaknesses of the muscles, tendons, ligaments, etc..
In such cases, the cure is NOT to add a shim to the bottom of the sole, which would only reinforce the leg-length discrepancy by pushing the “short” leg even shorter! The cure is to exercise, and stretch, and practice symmetry in your day-to-day posture, movements, and other physical habits - to, in short, make symmetry a habit, over the long run.
Most of our bad habits are learned because we aren’t aware, either that the practice is bad, or that we are doing something in a particular way. Awareness is key in developing good biomechanical habits. Shoes block awareness.
We can continue to depend on sales people and shoes to control the way we run, with the underlying, and obviously wrong, assumption that humans were designed to run with shoes blocking valuable sensory information about how we are running.
Or we can learn to improve HOW we run - starting by listening to and paying attention to what we learn from our bare feet.Sphere: Related ContentFiled under: Biomechanics
More posts by: Barefoot Ken BobRunning Barefoot
Search more posts for: Bad Biomechanics? (2004 September 23) Saxton
-->http://runningbarefoot.org/?p=415

 https://www.facebook.com/LandSurfingFrugan

Bad Biomechanics?

This topic is from my friend Barefoot Ken's blog and I think it is a brilliant and accurate observation of the deeper truth about barefoot running, biomechanics and how running injuries happen. You can always count on Ken to give you the bare bones truth about barefoot running!

Bad Biomechanics? (2004 September 23) Saxton
September 23rd, 2004
A salesperson said I have bad biomechanics and should not run without special shoes, which cost an arm and a leg?
I am often told, “how lucky you are, that you have perfect biomechanics which allow you to run barefoot.”
My reply is, “I don’t have good enough biomechanics to be able to run well woth shoes blockign my ability to feel the ground beneath my feet, and respond appropriately by correcting my, otherwise, sloppy biomechanics.”
Are our “Biomechanical Problems”, simply mechanical defects in the human design, which cannot be repaired, and can only be patched or corrected by adding cushioning, motion control, support, etc., provided by wearing modern hi-tech running shoes and orthotic devices?
Do we really have “Biomechanical Problems” with our feet, our legs, our hips, etc., or do shoes actually cause it to appear that we have biomechanical issues, by depriving us of an essential component in the design of the human running “machine”, depriving us of the one thing that might help us learn to run “biomechanically” correct?
I believe that actual genetic bad biomechanics are very rare. Most of us are born to run well. It’s in our genes. When someone says we have “bad biomechanics”, they often mean that we run with bad technique. The assumption is that we are born with our running technique, instead of my presumption, that we learn how to run as we grow up.
When we learn to run WITHOUT feedback from the soles of our feet, as they touch the ground, we often learn to run badly, just as a deaf or hard-of-hearing person has trouble learning to pronounce sounds they cannot perceive.
The best runners in the world come from areas of the world where they learn to run barefoot. Good running technique in these areas is taken for granted. In fact, it is in our genes as well. The problem is, shoes often get in the way of the natural advantage a barefooter has, in learning how to run the way we are designed to run.
Even such seemingly severe problems such as seeming leg-length discrepencies, well, I suspect that most, perhaps nearly all, asymmetry issues; leg length, uneven wear on your shoes, etc., are the result of learning, practicing, and adapting unsymmetrical postural habits. The right leg might appear longer than the left leg, if we, for example, spend a lot of time standing with our weight on one leg, with the other leg stretched out to the side. This may not result in bone-length differences, but the asymmetrical posture, when it becomes habitual (you may not even be aware you are standing that way), will result in asymmetrical strengths and weaknesses of the muscles, tendons, ligaments, etc..
In such cases, the cure is NOT to add a shim to the bottom of the sole, which would only reinforce the leg-length discrepancy by pushing the “short” leg even shorter! The cure is to exercise, and stretch, and practice symmetry in your day-to-day posture, movements, and other physical habits - to, in short, make symmetry a habit, over the long run.
Most of our bad habits are learned because we aren’t aware, either that the practice is bad, or that we are doing something in a particular way. Awareness is key in developing good biomechanical habits. Shoes block awareness.
We can continue to depend on sales people and shoes to control the way we run, with the underlying, and obviously wrong, assumption that humans were designed to run with shoes blocking valuable sensory information about how we are running.
Or we can learn to improve HOW we run - starting by listening to and paying attention to what we learn from our bare feet.Sphere: Related ContentFiled under: Biomechanics
More posts by: Barefoot Ken BobRunning Barefoot
Search more posts for: Bad Biomechanics? (2004 September 23) Saxton

-->http://runningbarefoot.org/?p=415

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Tis the Season to be Jolly.... Or is it?

This is my blog and the topics cover everything that come to me through God.

The things I learn while running barefoot all over the country side, at work, at home, in my dreams, standing in line at the grocery store or in the midst of a church sermon or bible study group discussion.

It's Christmas season and for many out there it's not going to feel like it. As I read of the plight of those who are being laid off, let go, cut back, over worked and under paid, and the new term "Under Employed" I feel many things but one of them is not like it's time yet to count only my blessings.

Technically, I too am one of the Under Employed. I work for a local Honda dealer in the Wholesale or Internet Sales Dept. and as most know the car business as a whole has ground down to a trickle at best even on the below invoice pricing side of it.

I enjoyed helping people get a "fat free" quote and stream lining the buying process so at it's shorter than most expect conclusion I'd get to hear: "Man, that was easier and faster than I have ever bought a car before!"

However with so many of you wondering if your even going to have a job in the next few days, weeks or months very few are confident enough to take on the responsibility of a new car loan even if they can get it at dead cost and for almost no interest loans.

That's reality. I accept that.

What I don't accept is that I have to stuck or trapped by what's going on in financial markets.

That's why I have made it my business to free as many of you as I can from the mental and financial constraints of the fear that grips our nation and now the globe.

I personally do not believe a government bailout of financial instruments that have out lived their usefulness is the solution. I believe the real solution is leverage more people into no risk and low risk home businesses that anyone can do and everyone who has an ounce of hope still alive in them will do.

The Government has acknowledged that SMALL BUSINESSES are the back bone of our nations economy.

Yes, Wall St. and Detroit are and have been big players also but times are changing. How many of you realized 2-4 yrs ago that debt was the core "asset" under the supposed pile of cash our banks were supposed to be sitting on when deposited our checks every 2 weeks?

How many of you realize debt is not a asset? Debt is a liability!

Our nation is in financial difficulty purely because it framed debt as an asset and marketed to every level of consumer in this nation without teaching the truth about how wealth is built.

Well, I'm here to state that era is over. We are in the information age and we do all have access to many different sources of information instantly so we can look at most things from many points of view and have learned to trust few single sources of info about anything beyond our relationships with God.

Ok, so we all know the nature of the problem. A Nation system in great distress. Many elements of it dieing a screaming death right before our eyes. (No matter how much money is poured into institutions that have bad business models do you trust them enough to invest in them? Of coarse not!) So no more need to grieve over their down fall.

The questions we need to all be asking is what can "We the People" do about it?

For the everyday person out on the street it does truly look bleak. For those of you reading these words there is hope. Great hope!

Matter of fact I don't even believe it was any kind of accident or even cooincidence that your here right now!

Ever since God woke me up to the pervasive nature of his involvement in my own life I have asked him to use me to serve his people. To help me become a bridge to his kingdom and help build that kingdom for his return in the flesh one day.

What's this got to do with the economy?

Everything.... God does provide....

Quick story... Some of you have heard it before but tuning into it is needed to make sure any given persons heart and mind are in agreement that God's solutions don't look like the worlds solutions. But he does provide... From there we have reach...

Farmers house is one flood plain and he hears reports on the radio that a heavy rain with possible floods is coming.

He heads for home. Puts away the animals and goes in to keep dry.

Here's on the radio that the rivers rising and everyone in his area should evacuate.
He take a moment to ask God to protect and take care of him.

In a bit the local Sheriff comes by and suggest he get in his truck and leave. He tells him he if a faithfull man and God is looking out over him. He declines and sends him on his way.

Eventually, he realizes the river has over flowed into his fields and is heading for his house. He does his best to sand bag his doors.

The water rises....

Comes in through his doors and evenually the down stairs windows.

He says, "Awwwe, no big deal. I'll go up stairs and ride it out!
God will protect me...

Once he's up stairs he realizes it's coming on up the stairs!

He here's a thump out side and looks out and it's one of his neighbors in a boat up against the house upstairs window and upon seeing him is suggesting he climb in and get out there as they say this is a big one and don't see a crest in sight! (Sound familiar)

How tells his neighbor..."Nawwwww, just go on. I'm not leaving... this will crest and I'll be fine. Gods watching over me!"

Off the neighbor goes....

The waters continue to rise.... Up throught the attic and onto the roof top he goes....

The waters continue to rise.... A helicoptor comes by... "We're here to rescue you!"
And again he waves them off yelling, "NO, GO ON... I'M FINE! GOD IS PROTECTING ME" and reluctantly they go on....

The water continues to rise until he is floated off the house... and drowns....

Next thing he knows he's in heaven....

Once he realizes he has passed over he finds God and asked him....

"God I was faithful! I asked you to protect me! Why did you let me down?"

God said, "Son, I did protect you! Who do you think sent all the efforts to rescue you!"

The moral of the story is consider this blog to be your helicopter ride out of the rising waters.

Click on the links to the right of this story and find the helicopter you would like to lift you out of your deluge.

God's trying to clean up a mess made by man. He's not saying your that mess. He's saying he is here to set you free! To make you a victor and not a victim in life. To prosper you and not to steal from, kill or destroy you.

He has worked harder than you can ever comprehend to bring you to this moment in your life. Reach for my hand. I was sent to help you live through him. The tools and insights I offer were his gifts to me. They are worthless if I can't use them to lift up you.

Take him at his word... Live out John 10:10

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Barefoot Running

I chose to post this research because of the growing number of runners I encounter that are chronically injured by having weak feet and not believing their shoes might be atrophying their health despite their best efforts on or off road.

SPORTSCIENCE


Review: Training & Performance

Barefoot Running

Michael Warburton

Gateway Physiotherapy, Capalaba, Queensland, Australia 4157.

Sportscience 5(3), sportsci.org/jour/0103/mw.htm, 2001 (2564 words)
Reviewers: Caroline Burge, School of Medicine, University of Queensland, Brisbane 4006, Australia; Larry M Feinman, Mountain Chiropractic, Lafayette, Colorado 80026, USA; Ian Shrier, Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Community Studies, SMBD-Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, Quebec H3T 1E2, Canada

Running barefoot is associated with a substantially lower prevalence of acute injuries of the ankle and chronic injuries of the lower leg in developing countries, but well-designed studies of the effects of barefoot and shod running on injury are lacking. Laboratory studies show that the energy cost of running is reduced by about 4% when the feet are not shod. In spite of these apparent benefits, barefoot running is rare in competition, and there are no published controlled trials of the effects of running barefoot on simulated or real competitive performance.


KEYWORDS: economy, efficiency, injury, performance, shoes


Introduction

Well-known international athletes have successfully competed barefoot, most notably Zola Budd-Pieterse from South Africa and the late Abebe Bikila from Ethiopia. Running in bare feet in long distance events is evidently not a barrier to performance at the highest levels. Indeed, in this review I will show that wearing running shoes probably reduces performance and increases the risk of injury.

I became interested in research on barefoot running when I noticed that a reasonably high proportion of runners compete in bare feet during cross-country races in Queensland, Australia. I have based the review on articles I found containing the words barefoot and running in Medline, SportDiscus, and in Web publications.

I found several original research reports on the occurrence and mechanisms of acute and chronic injuries in unshod and shod populations, and a few reports on the energy cost of running with and without shoes (including an unpublished thesis). Two authors provided recommendations for adapting to barefoot running. I also found informal websites devoted to barefoot running and barefoot living. There are apparently no published controlled trials of the effects of running in bare feet on simulated or real competitive performance, nor any surveys on the reasons why people do not compete barefoot.

Injuries

Where barefoot and shod populations co-exist, as in Haiti, injury rates of the lower extremity are substantially higher in the shod population (Robbins and Hanna, 1987). Furthermore, running-related chronic injuries to bone and connective tissue in the legs are rare in developing countries, where most people are habitually barefooted (Robbins and Hanna, 1987). This association between injury and wearing shoes is consistent with the possibility that wearing shoes increases the risk of injury, but other explanations for the association are possible; for example, in developing countries barefoot runners may be too poor to seek medical attention, shod runners may wear shoes because they have problems running barefoot, and shod runners may wear bad shoes, wear shoes incorrectly, and cover more miles. Prospective studies and randomized controlled trials of barefoot and shod running would resolve this uncertainty.
Studies of rates of injury in barefoot and shod runners in developed countries are non-existent, presumably because barefoot runners are a rarity. However, there have been several studies implicating footwear in the etiology of injuries in runners. I have grouped these as studies of acute injuries (resulting from an accident during running) and chronic injuries (resulting from continual exposure to running).

Acute Injuries

Ankle sprains are the most frequently reported acute sports injury, and 90-95% of these are inversion injuries causing partial or complete rupture of the anterior talofibular ligament and occasionally of the calcaneofibular ligament (Robbins et al., 1995; Stacoff et al., 1996). It is claimed that footwear increases the risk of such sprains, either by decreasing awareness of foot position provided by feedback from plantar cutaneous mechanoreceptors in direct contact with the ground (Robbins et al., 1995), or by increasing the leverage arm and consequently the twisting torque around the sub-talar joint during a stumble (Stacoff et al., 1996). Siff and Verkhoshansky (1999, p.452) reported that running shoes always reduce proprioceptive and tactile sensitivity, and that using bare feet on the high-density chip-foam mats in gyms preserves proprioceptive sensitivity. Robbins et al. (1989) considered that behaviors induced by plantar tactile sensations offer improved balance during movement, which may explain the preference of many gymnasts and dancers for performing barefoot.

The skin on the plantar surface (sole) of the foot is more resistant to the inflammatory effects of abrasion than skin on other parts of the body (Robbins et al., 1993), but stones, glass, nails or needles can still cause bruising or puncture wounds even when the plantar skin is thickened by adaptation to barefoot running. Extremes in temperature can also cause discomfort, blistering or chill blains. Running shoes therefore will play an important role in protection on some courses and in some weather conditions.

Chronic Injuries

One of the most common chronic injuries in runners is planter fasciitis, or an inflammation of the ligament running along the sole of the foot. There is some evidence that the normally unyielding plantar fascia acts as the support for the medial longitudinal arch, and that strain on the proximal fascial attachment during foot strike leads to plantar fasciitis (Robbins and Hanna, 1987). Barefoot running may induce an adaptation that transfers the impact to the yielding musculature, thus sparing the fascia and accounting for the low incidence of plantar fasciitis in barefoot populations (Robbins and Hanna, 1987).

Chronic ailments such as shin splints, ilio-tibial band syndrome and peri-patellar pain are attributed variously to excessive pronation, supination, and shock loading of the limbs (Siff and Verkhoshansky, 1999, p.451). When running barefoot on hard surfaces, the runner compensates for the lack of cushioning underfoot by plantar-flexing the foot at contact, thus giving a softer landing (Frederick, 1986). Barefoot runners also land mid-foot, increasing the work of the foot's soft tissue support structures, thereby increasing their strength and possibly reducing the risk of injury (Yessis 2000, p.124).

Wearers of expensive running shoes that were promoted as correcting pronation or providing more cushioning experienced a greater prevalence of these running-related injuries than wearers of less expensive shoes (Robbins and Gouw, 1991). In another study, expensive athletic shoes accounted for more than twice as many injuries as cheaper shoes, a fact that prompted Robbins and Waked (1997) to suggest that deceptive advertising of athletic footwear (e.g., "cushioning impact") may represent a public health hazard. Anthony (1987) reported that running shoes should be considered protective devices (from dangerous or painful objects) rather than corrective devices, as their capacity for shock absorption and control of over-pronation is limited. The modern running shoe and footwear generally reduce sensory feedback, apparently without diminishing injury-inducing impact–a process Robbins and Gouw (1991) described as the "perceptual illusion" of athletic footwear. A resulting false sense of security may contribute to the risk of injury (Robbins and Gouw, 1991). Yessis (2000, p.122) reasoned that once the natural foot structures are weakened by long-term footwear use, people have to rely on the external support of the footwear, but the support does not match that provided by a well functioning foot.

Measurements of the vertical component of ground-reaction force during running provide no support for the notion that running shoes reduce shock. Robbins and Gouw (1990) reported that running shoes did not reduce shock during running at 14 km/h on a treadmill. Bergmann et al. (1995) found that the forces acting on the hip joint were lower for barefoot jogging than for jogging in various kinds of shoe. Clarke et al. (1983) observed no substantial change in impact force when they increased the amount of heel cushioning by 50% in the shoes of well-trained runners. Robbins and Gouw (1990) argued that plantar sensation induces a plantar surface protective response whereby runners alter their behavior to reduce shock. The less-cushioned shoe permitted increases in plantar discomfort to be sensed and moderated, a phenomenon that they termed "shock setting". Footwear with greater cushioning apparently provokes a sharp reduction in shock-moderating behaviour, thus increasing impact force (Robbins and Hanna, 1987; Robbins et al., 1989; Robbins and Gouw, 1990). However, in these studies the subjects ran on treadmills or force platforms. Further studies are needed to establish how shoes affect impact force and shock-moderating behavior on natural surfaces such as road or grass.
Other features of footwear, such as arch supports and orthotics, may interfere with shock-moderating behavior and probably hinder the shock-absorbing downward deflection of the medial arch on landing (Robbins and Hanna, 1987). These features reportedly reduce pronation and supination or offer the wearer lateral and arch support. They may help some people with foot pathologies, but their benefit is uncertain for runners with healthy feet (Yessis, 2000, p.121).

Runners with diminished or absent sensation in the soles of the feet are particularly vulnerable to damage or infection when barefoot. Peripheral neuropathy is a common complication of diabetes mellitus and may result in the loss of protective sensations in the feet. Barefoot locomotion is therefore not recommended in this population (Hafner and Burg, 1999). Indeed, proper footwear is essential and should be emphasized for individuals with peripheral neuropathy (ACSM/ADA, 1999; ACSM, 2000).

Economy

Wearing shoes increases the energy cost of running. Burkett et al. (1985) found that oxygen consumption during running increased as the amount of mass they added to the foot increased; shoes and orthotics representing 1% of body mass increased oxygen consumption by 3.1%. Flaherty (1994) found that oxygen consumption during running at 12 km/h was 4.7% higher in shoes of mass ~700 g per pair than in bare feet. An increase in oxygen consumption of ~4% is of little importance to the recreational runner, but the competitive athlete would notice a major effect on running speed.

The increase in oxygen consumption with running shoes could have several causes. An obvious possibility is the energy cost of continually accelerating and decelerating the mass of the shoe with each stride. Another possibility is the external work done in compressing and flexing the sole and in rotating the sole against the ground--up to 13% of the work done in walking, according to Webb et al. (1988). Frederick (1986) reported that oxygen consumption increased substantially with thicker shoe inserts during treadmill running. Not surprisingly, materials used for cushioning in shoes absorb energy, and stiff midsoles should produce a 2% saving of energy compared with standard midsoles (Stefanyshyn and Nigg, 2000). Finally, shoes probably compromise the ability of the lower limb to act like a spring. With bare feet, the limb returns ~70% of the energy stored in it, but with running shoes the return is considerably less (Yessis, 2000, p.123).

Adapting to Barefoot Running

Thirty minutes of daily barefoot locomotion is a recommended starting point to allow thickening of the sole of the foot and adaptation of muscles and ligaments (Robbins et al., 1993). Begin by walking barefoot at every reasonable opportunity then progress to jogging, gradually increasing the intensity and duration (Yessis 2000, p.124). After 3-4 weeks, the plantar skin eventually becomes robust and allows longer periods of barefoot running at higher average velocities (Robbins et al., 1993). To facilitate adaptation, perform progressive strengthening exercises for the foot and ankle, including foot inversion, toe flexion, and walking on the balls of the feet. Barefoot locomotion on uneven surfaces will also help stimulate the plantar surface and provide increased sensory feedback (Yessis 2000, p.125).

Conclusions

• Running in shoes appears to increase the risk of ankle sprains, either by decreasing awareness of foot position or by increasing the twisting torque on the ankle during a stumble.
• Running in shoes appears to increase the risk of plantar fasciitis and other chronic injuries of the lower limb by modifying the transfer of shock to muscles and supporting structures.
• Running in bare feet reduces oxygen consumption by a few percent. Competitive running performance should therefore improve by a similar amount, but there has been no published research comparing the effect of barefoot and shod running on simulated or real competitive running performance.
• Research is needed to establish why runners choose not to run barefoot. Concern about puncture wounds, bruising, thermal injury, and overuse injury during the adaptation period are possibilities.
• Running shoes play an important protective role on some courses, in extreme weather conditions, and with certain pathologies of the lower limb.



Acknowledgements

I would like to thank Christian Finn and Will Hopkins for their kind assistance in the editing of this article.
References
American College of Sports Medicine and American Diabetes Association (1997). Diabetes mellitus and exercise: joint position statement. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 29(12), i-vi
American College of Sports Medicine (2000). ACSM position stand on exercise and Type 2 diabetes. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 32, 1345-1360
Anthony RJ (1987). The functional anatomy of the running training shoe. Chiropodist, December, 451-459
Bergmann G, Kniggendorf H, Graichen F, Rohlmann A (1995). Influence of shoes and heel strike on the loading of the hip joint. Journal of Biomechanics 28, 817-827
Burkett LN, Kohrt M, Buchbinder R (1985). Effects of shoes and foot orthotics on VO2 and selected frontal plane kinematics. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 17, 158-163
Clarke TE, Frederick EC, Cooper LB (1983). Effects of shoe cushioning upon ground reaction forces in running. International Journal of Sports Medicine 4, 247-251.
Flaherty RF (1994). Running economy and kinematic differences among running with the foot shod, with the foot bare, and with the bare foot equated for weight. Microform Publications, International Institute for Sport and Human Performance, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon
Frederick EC (1986). Kinematically mediated effects of sports shoe design: a review. Journal of Sports Sciences 4, 169-184
Hafner J, Burg G (1999). Dermatological aspects in prevention and treatment of the diabetic foot syndrome. Schweizerische Rundschau fur Medizin Praxis 88, 1170-1177
Robbins SE, Gouw GJ (1990). Athletic footwear and chronic overloading: a brief review. Sports Medicine 9, 76-85
Robbins SE, Gouw GJ (1991). Athletic footwear: unsafe due to perceptual illusions. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 23, 217-224
Robbins S, Gouw G, McClaran J, Waked E (1993). Protective sensation of the plantar aspect of the foot. Foot and Ankle 14, 347-352
Robbins SE, Gouw GJ, Hanna AM (1989). Running-related injury prevention through innate impact-moderating behavior. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 21, 130-139
Robbins SE, Hanna AM (1987). Running-related injury prevention through barefoot adaptations. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 19, 148-156
Robbins SE, Waked E, Rappel R (1995). Ankle taping improves proprioception before and after exercise in young men. British Journal of Sports Medicine 29, 242-247
Robbins S, Waked E (1997). Hazards of deceptive advertising of athletic footwear. British Journal of Sports Medicine 31, 299-303
Siff MC, Verkhoshansky YV (1999). Supertraining (4th ed.). Denver, Colorado. Supertraining International
Stacoff A, Steger J, Stussi E, Reinschmidt C (1996). Lateral stability in sideward cutting movements. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 28, 350-358
Stefanyshyn DJ, Nigg BM (2000). Influence of midsole bending stiffness on joint energy and jump height performance. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 32, 471-476
Webb P, Saris WH, Schoffelen PF, Van Ingen Schenau GJ, Ten Hoor F (1988). The work of walking: A calorimetric study. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 20, 331-337
Yessis M (2000). Explosive running. Illinois, USA. Contemporary Books

Edited by Will Hopkins Published Dec 2001

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Work is an addiction! Would you like to break that addiction? What's the alternative?


As I barefoot run the 8-10 miles each day back and forth to work I go past a homeless shelter called "Gods Kitchen" I find myself pondering why I can't I have cash flow on the scale of the health God has blessed me with? I so wish I could donate loads of cash to that homeless shelter.

I've complete 51 laps around the sun so far and since about lap 5 I've felt that life was not designed to accommodate those of us that would prefer to be help the less fortunate, be out running, spending time with family and and growing friendships both locally and afar and that life should provide us with a nice home, food, and plenty to share with others to lift their loads.

Do you ever think and feel like that?

When I talk with people especially if they are at work they always agree spending 1/2 to 2/3's of their waking day hitched to a job is not their idea of an ideal use of their lives.

And with the economy in the toilet the way it is most know their jobs could disappear in the handing of a lay off slip, text message or phone call!

No love in all that I've described so far, eh?

There is hope.... Matter of fact, there is more than hope!

Just as I was a running fool as a kid and "lost the loving feeling" for being a biped when my parents gave me that first shiney tricycle for Christmas. I once thought "bicycles were cooler" than running!

Then I woke up one day after having ridden over 750,000 miles on bicycles and the zillionth case of road rash mind you!) and heard the Lord whispering to me to "WALK AWAY FROM THE BIKE! I REPEAT WALK AWAY FROM THE BIKE! IF YOU DON'T YOUR GOING TO DIE A VIOLENT DEATH!" I did... As I had to! My $10,000 carbon fiber wonder bike broke in half one day with no warning!

As I pondered what the heck I was to do from here as I have always been into high level aerobic fitness the Lord whispered again... "Run Erskien, Run!" I asked, "Is that your Forest?" "He said no you fool... It's me! (just kidding there with the extra dialgogue! Sounds good though doesn't it?) Any how I got it I was being invited to go back to my very first activity of worship.... Running!

Never mind that by now I had some arthritic toe joints, really unstable ankles, clicking knees and a right hips that felt like it was on fire with just a few miles of running, scoliosis of the back, a dropped shoulder and a neck that was chronically kinked and in need of cracking!

I asked him if he was kidding? He said, "Nope, Just Do it!" I thought that meant go buy some running shoes and I did that. 10 pairs of $130 a piece running shoes later I realized the very design of running shoes was all wrong! I tried getting in touch with shoe designers in the industry and expressing my frustration about lost toe nails, blisters, heals that wore out in just a few weeks of running, heels, shins, feet and knees that ached. No one had a clue. Nothing! Get a different shoe...let's see they all have padding, they all have tops, they all are made of the same or similar materials, they all wear out at the heal in the same spot...Yada Yada Yada...

Get Orthotics! Got some! Same story...Different Days...Just adding more weight to my feet to lug over the miles. All the same symptoms!

One night God said... "Lose the shoes!" I said, "Your kidding me?" He said, "Nope, slip em off!" I said, "OK! But this has got to be a sign I am losing my mind!"

I went for my first (short) but truly barefoot run since I was probably 3-4 yrs old. For the first time in months of running my toes, ankles, knees, hips didn't hurt! The soles of my feet felt kind of raw 1 mile later but that seemed inconsequential. I knew the skin would grow back! I also realized I had been running all wrong most, if not all of my running life!

I asked God to coach me on improving my form and gait so I could run all day like that mile... He said, "I'd love too!" Get a shower and some sleep... Next lesson is tomorrow. I'll even work on tuning you you up in your sleep (assimilating the changes I'd awakened back into on just that one mile run).

Why is any of this important in regard to jobs, income production, provision stability?

Because my longest runs barefoot now are up in the 10 hr. range and go far beyond marathon distances (Beyond 26.2)

And even still you might be asking and how is this important?

The message is "God Does Deliver on His Promises!" We just have to ask... With sincerity and be open to heading his instructions. He never will tell you to harm yourself or someone else. He wants to father you or even mother you if that's what you need. But the point is I trusted his promptings and guidance and he took me places I could never have gone on my own and there are no books or people or even websites that could give me the power to do what do with so much peace and protection.

Again back to jobs, income, income protection... What can God do with those? I asked him that question a ton of times over the years. I wondered why he seemed to not answer the question while I toiled away at jobs that didn't allow me the freedoms I missed so consistently.

Before I deliver the punch line to this God sized joke (which is really not a joke!) Let me tell you he was developing my character! What was going on in my life that in my feelings I disliked, sometimes even hated was never really happening TOO ME... They were happening FOR ME!

I look at the growth in my character over these decades and I now see a bit more of Gods vision for my life.

God was busy routing out the qualities I'd adopted that would not be compatible with true freedom.

How often do we hear of someone winning the Lotto then ending up busted broke in just a few years? Our country's economy is great example of people gaining access to more money than they were spiritually ready to manage.

Well I must have made to that threshold as the Lord has answered my prayers about provision so I could be free to run more, invest in his people more time and resources and free more than just the soles of feet from shoes.

He gave me GBG!

Your saying "What the heck is that!"

I said the same thing when I first came up the letters....

Well on this blog page itself I am only going to tell you to click on the top link below to find out! I've found a hole in the fence of cash flow bondage and with the Lords grace I am setting this captive free! My freedom has only one condition! I must also grant you the same freedom.... The more captives I set free the greater mine and thus the same principle for your freedom. It gets more magical than that though! Click and see!

I want to meet you in person to run side by side.

To honor your freedom, my freedom... and the source of all true freedom...

That man who was nailed to a tree who died and rose in freedom again for us!

Ready?

Click the first link below on the right.

Watch the first short movie.

Then click "Just Push Play (LARGE) :o)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

This page is for those who want radically better health and the wages to support living that way.

When I look at all the wonderful people the Lord brings me in contact with daily I can't help but wonder what would it take help them find what I have found in the realm of running?

Having been a fitness trainer and an endurance and power sport athlete most of my life I've heard so many people say... I just don't have the time, I can't afford memberships, sessions, I don't have the energy, my old injuries, I'm to old, and on an on....

Well it's time to take the mystery out of achieving extraordinary healing, fitness, stamina, strength, recovery and even creating the time and energy to build these into a lifestyle that make health and fitness natural and not an extra thing to do.

A couple years ago I parked my road bike and rediscovered my love for the simplicity of running.

Having the huge endurance engine I have naturally wanted to move into the same kind of milage and time durations I was used to in cycling.

This led to a very sudden awareness that flaws in the way my legs, feet and hips worked were destroying my joints and feet.

In my quest to find out how others had over come running related injuries I began to see that those who wore shoes running seemed to reinjure often and predictably. Many seemed to resort to settling for just a few miles at a time or cross training a lot to give themselves something to do until they healed from the dameage done while running.

I also saw a huge drop out rate which told me something fundamentally was wrong with the way most approached running.

I asked God to show me a way through the carnage I was witnessing and experiencing and within a week or so he directed me to a web site that was all about Barefoot Running!

Lo and Behold.... I read story after story written by others sharing how they had ditched shoes and found that all their injuries were miraculously healed and never have come back!

Then a light came on! A facinating fella out or Huntington Beach, CA who has 2 first names (Ken Bob)said a truth that changed my understanding of running health forever.

He said, "Running Barefoot forces correct biomechanics"!

Ponder that for a minute....

If you take off your shoes and then set out running anywhere...

The God designed in biofeedback loop in the soles of your feet will immediately, accurately and repetitously coach you on every movement you make. Every weakness in the feet, ankles, toes, shins, calves, alignment of the thighs, which muscles you use in what sequence, your hip tilt and balance, your spinal alignment, the symetry of how your arms swing and hang from your shoulders and even whether your head sits centered on your torso or leans to far forward... Will all be spoken to you through the soles of your feet!

I came to realize we have all beed decieved about the value of barefeet and how that supports proper posture, movement, balance, comfort, attunement, agility, proper use of the legs as shock absorbers (Instead of a "Jack Hammers"!)

Discovered Barefoot Running gave birth to a Spirit of Satisfaction and a Passion for the art of running that I never expected.

I've turned my 10 mile comute to work and back into Aerobic Threshold Training sessions with work gear, and food and water for a day.

I'm realizing at 51 yrs of age or as I think of it "51 laps around the Sun" that having finally found out how active and involved God is in the most minute details of my life and the love and passion I have for barefoot running.

I want to create a lifestyle now that will allow me the freedom to explore how far God will take me in this new form of expression of my spirit... Actually "his Spirit"

I'm looking asking the Lord and looking for others who are discovering they feel a call to move deeper into running as a means to connect with God, inspire others, develope both friendships and lifestyles that support all the freedom that going to running events, creating running events, touring the lands that God sends us too, touching the lives of those he brings to us in his name.

On the right side of this page are links to explore that can be doorways to other aspects of what has awakened in your soul (soles?) :o)

If you do find that the journeys into any of the attached sites inspires a new awakening, confirms whispers the Lord has already planted in your mind and heart, feel free to contact me by any means I've supplied you with.

My contact info is available via a link on the bottom of the page of the first link on the right.

Remember that God Speed is the perfect speed... Stay with that and always be where God is leading you.


All men will die but most will not live fully.

Brave Heart

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Solution to the Fuel Crisis

I hear everyone and I mean everyone railing on and on about the cost of gasoline.

I feel sad for them because they have forgotten that they have feet for something more than shuffling over to a chair or the modern day GAS POWERED WHEEL CHAIR called a car, van, truck or SUV!

God must be looking at all this and shaking his head in wonder at how his people became so lazy and blind to the opportunity he gave them to not only be healthier but to get to know his creation so much more intimately....

As I enjoy the freedom of running barefoot across the land I can't help but look at those encased in metal and glass and breathing mechanically altered air as driving metal coffins.... Every second of time wasted in a vehicle that you don't put out any effort to cause it to move is a step closer the grave at a pace that makes life seems ever shorter and less fullfilling.

The sadness deepens when I see people pick up empty of nutrient chemically laden snacks or things they assume are food and consume them without questioning it's value to their health both now and in the future. This phenomenon amazes the crap out of me! So much of modern day eating is out of reasons other than a genuine desire to replace nutrients... Why are so few not asking intelligent questions of God in their quest for guidance in this area?

Regarding the use of todays OPEC mobiles: I do see a need for being able to get someone who is bleeding to death to a hospital quickly. The rest of car use could be done away with by building both City based and Nation Wide Rapid Transit type systems like San Franciso has (BART) and bringing back Trolley Cars for main throughfares... Folks can walk, run, ride, skate, skate board or what ever else they can invent that's human powered the few blocks home from Trolleys.

Let me move back to the OPEC concerns of the masses....

Every country on the planet sits on top of an infinite supply of molten lava... Geothermal Heat to put it bluntly...

We, The United Stats of America could once and for all end our need for any outside resources and put ourselves in a position to radically and positively influence the World if we chose to get up off our collective hypnosis of thinking we need Middle East or anyone elses oil and started developing the technology to drill deep enough to tap the natural heat below our land by pumping water into those layers and using the returning steam to generate electrical power that would never be depleted (Recycle the water) Other than the initial drilling and set up cost there is no real long term over head so the cost to the public should go down over time as more of these come on line. They can be set up anywhere with no environment concerns or need for shipping in fuel to run them or hazardous waste by-products.

We'd have an unlimited supply of electricity to power an electric based society of cars, trains, communication devices and services, and everything else our technology based society uses.

We could even use that electricity to desalinize ocean water and have all the pure water we can use to green as much of our country as we could want too! What food shortage? What functional limitation would this country have?

On a more intimate note: Back to the complaints about contamination of our food supply, rising cost of growing and shipping it, lack of general nutrients in what is available, etc.

With obesity (and I call obesity any body fat over what is needed for surviving a couple weeks or so without food)rampant, and ignorance of the seriousness of our nutrient choices we could make to fuel a stronger response to all the forces that fight for our ability to decide on what will build our health vs kill our health I believe that God is bringing us to these times to force the masses to rethink how far they have wandered from his simple truths and to break the addictions to living the life he has in store for us.

Barefoot Running has taught me that feet are far more adaptable, durable and satisfying to be on than is taught or spoken of even in medical circles.

Barefoot Running and my low carb - low fat, high protien + veggies and some fruit with my GBG 10 n 1 Liquid Multi with MA Plus has shown me that one can actually regenerate gout and arthritic joints back to brand new health.

Fuel crisis? What fuel crisis? The real crisis is one of a fuel crisis is fuel for new thought! Time to break out of the sheep like mindset of the masses and rediscover this countrys sense of adventure and discovery. That desire for a life to be well lived and not waste on toil, anguish and struggle.

Life is for the truly living...

Who's out there that is WILLING to step out their boxes and discover a new country... A new people... God in new ways?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Pose running technique: a beginner’s guide

Pose running technique: a beginner’s guide

The popularity of running as a leisure pursuit has increased throughout the past 25 years, reflecting social trends away from organised team sports and towards less time-consuming, more flexible and independent ways of keeping fit and active.

Over the same time period, there has been an explosion in sports science and sports injury research and therapeutic practice. Among other things this has produced a wealth of advice on baseline fitness and training for running, and huge advances in footwear technology.

Yet despite all this, runners keep on injuring themselves. They continue to seek treatment, typically, for Achilles tendinosis, patellofemoral pain, repetitive calf muscle strains, big toe pain and low back pain – and it seems to those of us who have been around the sports therapy world for a while that the incidence of running injuries has not reduced significantly. Is it time to return to the fundamentals of running to find out why so many people are still hurting themselves?

Coaches, trainers, therapists and athletes have no difficulty agreeing that technique has an important role to play in leisure pursuits such as rowing, golf, swimming and ballet, but when I ask my running patients about their technique – whether, for instance, they heel-strike or land with their knees straight – I receive blank expressions. In most sports, enthusiasts will expect to devote months and even years to working on movement technique, whereas with running we tend only ever to focus on how to run faster and/or further, and how much fitter we can get as a result.

Therefore I say to you: running is practised rather than taught. This leads to the question: is there an optimal running technique that enables athletes to train without fear of injury, with a real reduction in their injury risk – and with the prospect of still being able to improve their performance?

One recently developed technique certainly lays claim to be able to do all three things. Called ‘pose running’, I describe it as ‘a graduated postural and proprioceptive approach to maximising performance and reducing injuries’.

Pose running technique was invented by Nicholas Romanov, a Russian scientist now based in Miami and consultant to the British, US and Mexican triathlon associations. During the 1970s and early 80s, Romanov was heavily involved with athlete training in Russia, where he observed that as his athletes turned up the workload, so they would start to break down physically. At that time there was little strength and conditioning training. With a heavy emphasis on improving mileage and speed, the athletes focused on increasing their cardiovascular and respiratory systems, and paid little heed to their underlying running technique.

The pose running technique
Romanov proposes one universal running technique for all runners, regardless of speed or distance: a 100m sprinter runs with the same underlying running technique as a 10km long-distance runner. The pose running technique is designed to prevent undue strain on the joints and requires a great deal of muscular endurance and resilience. The elite British triathletes Tim Don, Andrew Johns and Leanda Cave have all adopted the pose running technique under Romanov’s guidance. According to Romanov, the Ethiopian distance champion Haile Gebrselassie and the US sprint legend Michael Johnson are both examples of runners with a natural pose style – ‘born with perfect technique’.

The distinguishing characteristic of the pose running technique is that the athlete lands on the midfoot, with the supporting joints flexed at impact, and then uses the hamstring muscles to withdraw the foot from the ground, relying on gravity to propel the runner forward. This style is in clear contrast to the heelstrike method that most runners deploy and which is advocated by some health care professionals (see Fig 1).

The concept is simple enough, but the practice is extremely hard to master. It is only with expert tuition and dedicated training that the athlete can perfect the pose running technique. Running in pose is physically demanding, so runners must undertake strengthening drills before starting the programme. Maybe it is this added proprioceptive training that allows the athlete to remain injury free? As yet there is no body of research to help answer this question.

Principles
Running should be easy, effortless, smooth and flowing. We have all seen and heard the heavy runner who pounds away on a gym treadmill. Romanov says the runner is only as good as his change of support and that the runner should have a very high cadence – not a long, extended stride length. In pose running, the key is to maximise your effort in removing your support foot from the ground; good training is essential to ensure that you don’t over-stride or create excessive vertical oscillation.

The runner should fall forwards, changing support from one leg to the other by pulling the foot from the ground, allowing minimum effort and producing minimum braking to this body movement. The idea is to maximise the use of gravity to pull the runner forward.

The pose running technique is centred on the idea that a runner maintains a single pose or position, moving continually forwards in this position. Romanov uses two models to explain the rationale behind pose:
the mechanical model – the centre of gravity, which is around the hip position, should move in a horizontal line, without vertical up and down displacement;
the biological model – the rear leg maintains an ‘S-like’ form, and never straightens. This notion comes from animals such as the cheetah which do not land on their heels but run on the midfoot and deploy a pulling through action using their hamstrings rather than pushing the foot into the ground (see Fig 2).
Perhaps the most useful imagery to help with this technique is to imagine a vertical line coming from the runner’s head straight down to the ground. The raised front leg should never breach this line, but remain firmly behind it. This focuses the effort firmly on pulling the ankle up vertically under your hip rather than extending forward with your quads and hip flexors.

Pose running technique principles in summary
Raise your ankle straight up under your hip, using the hamstrings
Keep your support time short
Your support is always on the balls of your feet
Do not touch the ground with your heels
Avoid shifting weight over your toes: raise your ankle when the weight is on the ball of your foot
Keep your ankle fixed at the same angle
Keep knees bent at all times
Feet remain behind the vertical line going through your knees
Keep stride length short
Keep knees and thighs down, close together, and relaxed
Always focus on pulling the foot from the ground, not on landing
Do not point or land on the toes (see Fig 3: Toe running)
Gravity, not muscle action, controls the landing of the legs
Keep shoulder, hip and ankle in vertical alignment
Arm movement is for balance, not for force production
The power behind the pose running technique
Pose is by no means universally accepted by the running fraternity. While top athletes have sought Romanov’s help because of injuries, the method does require good scientific research to back it up. It is quite possible that many of the benefits experienced by pose athletes are the result of the rigorous strengthening programmes they undertake. You would certainly recognise in pose drills many conventional physiotherapy exercises such as eccentric Achilles tendon training; proximal pelvic control in single leg standing, and control of femoral rotation.

This focus on proprioception, together with the strong imagery of the technique, changes the physical placement of the limbs and reduces the downward displacement force of the foot on to the ground.

That said, I know of people who have tried to run in pose and have sustained injuries such as calf strains and lower back problems because they did not get their pose stance right and did not have sufficient proximal hip control.

The athlete should be committed to learning the new technique: once they have decided to learn the pose running technique, they cannot expect to chop and change between running styles as they wish. The technical drills outlined below can be very strenuous and may be harmful if attempted, for instance, at the wrong point in an injured runner’s rehabilitation phase. Therapists should adopt these drills with proper caution.

How to do it: pose drills
If you are embarking on a serious transition to pose, you should practise the drills (building up the level of difficulty) once or twice daily, three sets of 10 to 15 reps per drill. Drills should be practised for at least a week before attempting to run in pose, and should be performed before a run.

All drills should be performed barefoot for added awareness of the movements, on a forgiving surface such as grass or a running track. The drills fall into three sections:
Basic drills to reinforce the pose position, the use of the hamstring in pulling the foot from the ground and the feeling of falling forward under the effect of gravity (drills 1-7);
Intermediate drills to reinforce these feelings (drills 8 and 9);
Advanced drills to aid speed, balance, strength and reflexiveness none shown here).

Drill 1 (Fig 4):

Pose stance

This to be practised as a static pose, held for up to 30 seconds. It requires good postural control; no support is allowed. The idea is to challenge the mechanoreceptors in the joints and soft tissues to provide feedback to the brain regarding joint position and muscle tone.
It is the basic position to hold and to practise balance
The use of a mirror is recommended
Shoulder, hip and ankle should always be vertically aligned
Point of contact with the ground is always the midfoot
Hip is always held over the support point, which is the midfoot
Drill 2: Change of support without moving
Shift centre of gravity sideways from one leg to the other, maintaining support on the midfoot
You must feel the weight shift from one leg to the other before pulling up
It is important to feel the weight shift and then the acceleration of this movement by the pulling-up of the hamstring
Pull the ankle up vertically under the hip using the hamstring only, not hip flexors or quadriceps
Allow the leg to drop to the ground – do not drive it down
Mental focus is on the pulling-up action, not the leg drop

Drill 3 (Fig 5): Pony
This practises changing support using minimum effort and minimal range of movement
Simultaneously lift the ankle of the support leg while allowing your body weight to shift to the other leg
Use only the hamstring
Keep in mind your support point on the midfoot (toes will also be in contact).

Drill 4 (Fig 6): Forward change of support

This puts the pony into action; practise slowly at first
Lean slightly forward and simultaneously pull the ankle up under the hip using the hamstring and allow the non-support leg to drop to the ground under the force of gravity
Make sure the weight transfer is effortless and that the foot is allowed to fall
Drill 5 (Fig 7): Foot tapping
Single-leg drill, 10-15 taps per set
This emphasises the vertical leg action and use of hamstrings rather than driving the knees up and forward using your hip flexors and quads
It prevents your foot from being too far out in front of the body, which would cause you to land on your heel and create a braking action
Aim for rapid firing of the hamstring, lifting the foot from the ground as soon as it touches down
You must feel the muscles fire and then relax. Avoid a forceful pull all the way up. If you are doing it correctly the lower leg will decelerate after the initial firing and accelerate as gravity returns it to the ground
Drill 6 (Fig 8): Hopping

This movement progresses the tapping drill. The momentum for the hopping support leg should come from the hamstring action on the non-hopping leg. Take care: this is an advanced movement which will place unhealthy stress on structures such as the Achilles/calf muscles if not performed correctly.
Start by pulling up the nonhopping leg with your hamstring and use the reaction force of the ground to aid this recoil effect
Do not push with the calf but just lift the ankle with the hamstring and make sure the ankle is relaxed between hops
Drill 7: Front lunge
Single-leg drill which increases the range of movement of the hopping drill
This truly forces you to isolate the hamstring muscles
Practise initially on the spot until you are stable enough to allow forward movement
Keep weight on front leg; the back leg drags behind
Pull ankle vertically up under the hip, using the hamstring
Keep contact time with the ground as short as possible
Allow rear leg to follow loosely
Remember to land on the ball of your foot
Forward movement is created not by pushing off but by leaning forward from the hips. You drag the rear leg behind you for balance

Drill 8 (Fig 9): Switch
Both ankles are being picked up
This time you are picking the rear leg up as well with the hamstring
Transfer weight from one leg to the other as you alternate support
Keep contact time with the ground to a minimum, only as necessary to change support
Keep heels off the ground and land on the balls of your feet
Always think of the pose stance: good vertical alignment of shoulder, hip and foot
Drill 9: Running lunge
This is pose running, but with a deliberate emphasis on the speed of the hamstring pull-up
The aim is to teach the working leg to react as quickly as possible, minimising support time on the ground
The runner pulls the heel up vertically from the ground but allows it to fall easily to the ground
Case study: shin pain on return to training

A recreational runner came to me with bilateral medial shin pain. He was training to raise his fitness levels in order to be accepted into the Royal Air Force in the United Kingdom. He used to do a lot of distance running, including half marathons, but in the past three years work commitments had forced him to cut right down. Recently he had resumed his runs, at three times a week for 40 minutes, on a flat grassy surface, and had found he was developing shin pain.

Does this sound familiar? We all have patients who are attempting activities which they have been able to do in the past, in the belief that they are as strong and balanced as they used to be. This runner had rigid orthotics which he wore in every pair of shoes and had typical muscular tightness and weakness around the pelvis, restricted hip flexor length and reduced gluteal stability control when challenged on one leg. He had little balance control in single-leg stance, even without any extra challenge from added knee or ankle movement.

My client had already had some treatment, which concentrated on stretching and lengthening soft tissue around the shin and ankle, and improving proximal pelvic control. This had reduced but not banished his symptoms. We decided he should try running pose style. I set the runner a series of drills to increase his awareness of picking his foot up from the ground by using the hamstring, and not pounding the foot into the ground. We also worked on postural control, to improve the vertical alignment of his pelvis, shoulders and foot as he was running.

He responded to the idea that he should try to minimise the time he was spending in the support phase, by thinking of pulling his foot from the ground and letting gravity provide the impetus for forward movement. I asked him to perform the drills at home, using a mirror for feedback, for one week before returning to running.

The patient responded well to this concept and was able to build up to his previous distance, incorporating his improved technique, within three weeks. He had perfected the technique within a month, but subsequently had to keep on fine-tuning it with drills. His shin pain disappeared completely. Was it the proprioceptive drills that helped him or the feeling of not pounding the ground?

Further reading

Pose Method of Running by Nicholas Romanov (2002), PoseTech Press ISBN: 0-9725537-6-2

‘Reduced Eccentric Loading of the Knee with the Pose Running Method’, Arendse, Regan E.(1 ); Noakes, Timothy D.(1 ); Azevedo, Liane B.(1 ); Romanov, Nicholas (1 ); Schwellnus, Martin P.(1 ); Fletcher, Graham(2) in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: Volume 36(2) February 2004 pp 272-277.

1. MRC/UCT Exercise Science and Sports Medicine Research Unit, Department of Human Biology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa.

2. University College of the Fraser Valley, British Columbia, Canada.

 

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Pose running technique: a beginner’s guide

Pose running technique: a beginner’s guide

The popularity of running as a leisure pursuit has increased throughout the past 25 years, reflecting social trends away from organised team sports and towards less time-consuming, more flexible and independent ways of keeping fit and active.

Over the same time period, there has been an explosion in sports science and sports injury research and therapeutic practice. Among other things this has produced a wealth of advice on baseline fitness and training for running, and huge advances in footwear technology.

Yet despite all this, runners keep on injuring themselves. They continue to seek treatment, typically, for Achilles tendinosis, patellofemoral pain, repetitive calf muscle strains, big toe pain and low back pain – and it seems to those of us who have been around the sports therapy world for a while that the incidence of running injuries has not reduced significantly. Is it time to return to the fundamentals of running to find out why so many people are still hurting themselves?

Coaches, trainers, therapists and athletes have no difficulty agreeing that technique has an important role to play in leisure pursuits such as rowing, golf, swimming and ballet, but when I ask my running patients about their technique – whether, for instance, they heel-strike or land with their knees straight – I receive blank expressions. In most sports, enthusiasts will expect to devote months and even years to working on movement technique, whereas with running we tend only ever to focus on how to run faster and/or further, and how much fitter we can get as a result.

Therefore I say to you: running is practised rather than taught. This leads to the question: is there an optimal running technique that enables athletes to train without fear of injury, with a real reduction in their injury risk – and with the prospect of still being able to improve their performance?

One recently developed technique certainly lays claim to be able to do all three things. Called ‘pose running’, I describe it as ‘a graduated postural and proprioceptive approach to maximising performance and reducing injuries’.

Pose running technique was invented by Nicholas Romanov, a Russian scientist now based in Miami and consultant to the British, US and Mexican triathlon associations. During the 1970s and early 80s, Romanov was heavily involved with athlete training in Russia, where he observed that as his athletes turned up the workload, so they would start to break down physically. At that time there was little strength and conditioning training. With a heavy emphasis on improving mileage and speed, the athletes focused on increasing their cardiovascular and respiratory systems, and paid little heed to their underlying running technique.

The pose running technique
Romanov proposes one universal running technique for all runners, regardless of speed or distance: a 100m sprinter runs with the same underlying running technique as a 10km long-distance runner. The pose running technique is designed to prevent undue strain on the joints and requires a great deal of muscular endurance and resilience. The elite British triathletes Tim Don, Andrew Johns and Leanda Cave have all adopted the pose running technique under Romanov’s guidance. According to Romanov, the Ethiopian distance champion Haile Gebrselassie and the US sprint legend Michael Johnson are both examples of runners with a natural pose style – ‘born with perfect technique’.


The distinguishing characteristic of the pose running technique is that the athlete lands on the midfoot, with the supporting joints flexed at impact, and then uses the hamstring muscles to withdraw the foot from the ground, relying on gravity to propel the runner forward. This style is in clear contrast to the heelstrike method that most runners deploy and which is advocated by some health care professionals (see Fig 1).

The concept is simple enough, but the practice is extremely hard to master. It is only with expert tuition and dedicated training that the athlete can perfect the pose running technique. Running in pose is physically demanding, so runners must undertake strengthening drills before starting the programme. Maybe it is this added proprioceptive training that allows the athlete to remain injury free? As yet there is no body of research to help answer this question.

Principles
Running should be easy, effortless, smooth and flowing. We have all seen and heard the heavy runner who pounds away on a gym treadmill. Romanov says the runner is only as good as his change of support and that the runner should have a very high cadence – not a long, extended stride length. In pose running, the key is to maximise your effort in removing your support foot from the ground; good training is essential to ensure that you don’t over-stride or create excessive vertical oscillation.

The runner should fall forwards, changing support from one leg to the other by pulling the foot from the ground, allowing minimum effort and producing minimum braking to this body movement. The idea is to maximise the use of gravity to pull the runner forward.

The pose running technique is centred on the idea that a runner maintains a single pose or position, moving continually forwards in this position. Romanov uses two models to explain the rationale behind pose:
the mechanical model – the centre of gravity, which is around the hip position, should move in a horizontal line, without vertical up and down displacement;
the biological model – the rear leg maintains an ‘S-like’ form, and never straightens. This notion comes from animals such as the cheetah which do not land on their heels but run on the midfoot and deploy a pulling through action using their hamstrings rather than pushing the foot into the ground (see Fig 2).
Perhaps the most useful imagery to help with this technique is to imagine a vertical line coming from the runner’s head straight down to the ground. The raised front leg should never breach this line, but remain firmly behind it. This focuses the effort firmly on pulling the ankle up vertically under your hip rather than extending forward with your quads and hip flexors.

Pose running technique principles in summary
Raise your ankle straight up under your hip, using the hamstrings
Keep your support time short
Your support is always on the balls of your feet
Do not touch the ground with your heels
Avoid shifting weight over your toes: raise your ankle when the weight is on the ball of your foot
Keep your ankle fixed at the same angle
Keep knees bent at all times
Feet remain behind the vertical line going through your knees
Keep stride length short
Keep knees and thighs down, close together, and relaxed
Always focus on pulling the foot from the ground, not on landing
Do not point or land on the toes (see Fig 3: Toe running)
Gravity, not muscle action, controls the landing of the legs
Keep shoulder, hip and ankle in vertical alignment
Arm movement is for balance, not for force production
The power behind the pose running technique
Pose is by no means universally accepted by the running fraternity. While top athletes have sought Romanov’s help because of injuries, the method does require good scientific research to back it up. It is quite possible that many of the benefits experienced by pose athletes are the result of the rigorous strengthening programmes they undertake. You would certainly recognise in pose drills many conventional physiotherapy exercises such as eccentric Achilles tendon training; proximal pelvic control in single leg standing, and control of femoral rotation.


This focus on proprioception, together with the strong imagery of the technique, changes the physical placement of the limbs and reduces the downward displacement force of the foot on to the ground.

That said, I know of people who have tried to run in pose and have sustained injuries such as calf strains and lower back problems because they did not get their pose stance right and did not have sufficient proximal hip control.

The athlete should be committed to learning the new technique: once they have decided to learn the pose running technique, they cannot expect to chop and change between running styles as they wish. The technical drills outlined below can be very strenuous and may be harmful if attempted, for instance, at the wrong point in an injured runner’s rehabilitation phase. Therapists should adopt these drills with proper caution.

How to do it: pose drills
If you are embarking on a serious transition to pose, you should practise the drills (building up the level of difficulty) once or twice daily, three sets of 10 to 15 reps per drill. Drills should be practised for at least a week before attempting to run in pose, and should be performed before a run.

All drills should be performed barefoot for added awareness of the movements, on a forgiving surface such as grass or a running track. The drills fall into three sections:
Basic drills to reinforce the pose position, the use of the hamstring in pulling the foot from the ground and the feeling of falling forward under the effect of gravity (drills 1-7);
Intermediate drills to reinforce these feelings (drills 8 and 9);
Advanced drills to aid speed, balance, strength and reflexiveness none shown here).

Drill 1 (Fig 4):

Pose stance

This to be practised as a static pose, held for up to 30 seconds. It requires good postural control; no support is allowed. The idea is to challenge the mechanoreceptors in the joints and soft tissues to provide feedback to the brain regarding joint position and muscle tone.
It is the basic position to hold and to practise balance
The use of a mirror is recommended
Shoulder, hip and ankle should always be vertically aligned
Point of contact with the ground is always the midfoot
Hip is always held over the support point, which is the midfoot
Drill 2: Change of support without moving
Shift centre of gravity sideways from one leg to the other, maintaining support on the midfoot
You must feel the weight shift from one leg to the other before pulling up
It is important to feel the weight shift and then the acceleration of this movement by the pulling-up of the hamstring
Pull the ankle up vertically under the hip using the hamstring only, not hip flexors or quadriceps
Allow the leg to drop to the ground – do not drive it down
Mental focus is on the pulling-up action, not the leg drop

Drill 3 (Fig 5): Pony
This practises changing support using minimum effort and minimal range of movement
Simultaneously lift the ankle of the support leg while allowing your body weight to shift to the other leg
Use only the hamstring
Keep in mind your support point on the midfoot (toes will also be in contact).

Drill 4 (Fig 6): Forward change of support

This puts the pony into action; practise slowly at first
Lean slightly forward and simultaneously pull the ankle up under the hip using the hamstring and allow the non-support leg to drop to the ground under the force of gravity
Make sure the weight transfer is effortless and that the foot is allowed to fall
Drill 5 (Fig 7): Foot tapping
Single-leg drill, 10-15 taps per set
This emphasises the vertical leg action and use of hamstrings rather than driving the knees up and forward using your hip flexors and quads
It prevents your foot from being too far out in front of the body, which would cause you to land on your heel and create a braking action
Aim for rapid firing of the hamstring, lifting the foot from the ground as soon as it touches down
You must feel the muscles fire and then relax. Avoid a forceful pull all the way up. If you are doing it correctly the lower leg will decelerate after the initial firing and accelerate as gravity returns it to the ground
Drill 6 (Fig 8): Hopping

This movement progresses the tapping drill. The momentum for the hopping support leg should come from the hamstring action on the non-hopping leg. Take care: this is an advanced movement which will place unhealthy stress on structures such as the Achilles/calf muscles if not performed correctly.
Start by pulling up the nonhopping leg with your hamstring and use the reaction force of the ground to aid this recoil effect
Do not push with the calf but just lift the ankle with the hamstring and make sure the ankle is relaxed between hops
Drill 7: Front lunge
Single-leg drill which increases the range of movement of the hopping drill
This truly forces you to isolate the hamstring muscles
Practise initially on the spot until you are stable enough to allow forward movement
Keep weight on front leg; the back leg drags behind
Pull ankle vertically up under the hip, using the hamstring
Keep contact time with the ground as short as possible
Allow rear leg to follow loosely
Remember to land on the ball of your foot
Forward movement is created not by pushing off but by leaning forward from the hips. You drag the rear leg behind you for balance

Drill 8 (Fig 9): Switch
Both ankles are being picked up
This time you are picking the rear leg up as well with the hamstring
Transfer weight from one leg to the other as you alternate support
Keep contact time with the ground to a minimum, only as necessary to change support
Keep heels off the ground and land on the balls of your feet
Always think of the pose stance: good vertical alignment of shoulder, hip and foot
Drill 9: Running lunge
This is pose running, but with a deliberate emphasis on the speed of the hamstring pull-up
The aim is to teach the working leg to react as quickly as possible, minimising support time on the ground
The runner pulls the heel up vertically from the ground but allows it to fall easily to the ground
Case study: shin pain on return to training

A recreational runner came to me with bilateral medial shin pain. He was training to raise his fitness levels in order to be accepted into the Royal Air Force in the United Kingdom. He used to do a lot of distance running, including half marathons, but in the past three years work commitments had forced him to cut right down. Recently he had resumed his runs, at three times a week for 40 minutes, on a flat grassy surface, and had found he was developing shin pain.

Does this sound familiar? We all have patients who are attempting activities which they have been able to do in the past, in the belief that they are as strong and balanced as they used to be. This runner had rigid orthotics which he wore in every pair of shoes and had typical muscular tightness and weakness around the pelvis, restricted hip flexor length and reduced gluteal stability control when challenged on one leg. He had little balance control in single-leg stance, even without any extra challenge from added knee or ankle movement.

My client had already had some treatment, which concentrated on stretching and lengthening soft tissue around the shin and ankle, and improving proximal pelvic control. This had reduced but not banished his symptoms. We decided he should try running pose style. I set the runner a series of drills to increase his awareness of picking his foot up from the ground by using the hamstring, and not pounding the foot into the ground. We also worked on postural control, to improve the vertical alignment of his pelvis, shoulders and foot as he was running.

He responded to the idea that he should try to minimise the time he was spending in the support phase, by thinking of pulling his foot from the ground and letting gravity provide the impetus for forward movement. I asked him to perform the drills at home, using a mirror for feedback, for one week before returning to running.

The patient responded well to this concept and was able to build up to his previous distance, incorporating his improved technique, within three weeks. He had perfected the technique within a month, but subsequently had to keep on fine-tuning it with drills. His shin pain disappeared completely. Was it the proprioceptive drills that helped him or the feeling of not pounding the ground?


Further reading

Pose Method of Running by Nicholas Romanov (2002), PoseTech Press ISBN: 0-9725537-6-2

‘Reduced Eccentric Loading of the Knee with the Pose Running Method’, Arendse, Regan E.(1 ); Noakes, Timothy D.(1 ); Azevedo, Liane B.(1 ); Romanov, Nicholas (1 ); Schwellnus, Martin P.(1 ); Fletcher, Graham(2) in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: Volume 36(2) February 2004 pp 272-277.

1. MRC/UCT Exercise Science and Sports Medicine Research Unit, Department of Human Biology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa.

2. University College of the Fraser Valley, British Columbia, Canada.