The first year, Rockport was a sponsor and loaded them up with their best trail running shoes. The Tarahumara didn't perform well, although that could also be because of other gear issues and that they were not sure that the aid stations were for them.
The second year, they stopped by the local landfill for old car tires, and made sandals from them. They set records that year. It was a bit of an embarrassment to the title sponsor...
I was however really intrigued by the maize-based powder supplement drink they seem to enjoy. (Pinore, 15:00 in the video)
Champion, J. R. (1970) ‘Study In Culture Persistence: The Tarahumaras Of Northwestern Mexico’. Ann Arbor, Michigan: University Microfilms. Available at: https://ehrafworldcultures.yale.edu/document?id=nu33-013 (Accessed: 22 August 2019).
But I strongly recommend a video that covers the second race. Not to be confused with the 2009/2010 Citizen Pictures video, this one was put out by a studio in Aspen and I think was produced for the Outdoor Life Network.
The problem is that I'm not sure how one would legitimately source the video today. But if you stop by my place I'll offer you a beer and arrange a showing...? I'll look it up tonight and let you know if I can find a source.
My podiatrist told me that aspiring barefoot runners make up a large part of his clientele, and in his professional opinion this is a dangerous errand. People who were running barefoot since early childhood (including various native peoples of the world) maybe fine because they spent formative decades of their lives acclimating to the style and growing stronger muscles/ligaments/joints/bones/skin, but everyone else is running a high risk of sustaining an injury (and enriching my doctor in the process).
Vibran Five Finger was targeted by a class-action lawsuit stemming form lack of scientific proof of their barefoot claims, and they settled. Vibram stood to gain a lot from showing the proof, and the fact that they didn't have anything convincing on hand is quite damning.
High risk is obviously not certainty, and people who did derive benefit from the method are likely to speak up, while those who failed are likely to have moved on and say nothing. Survivor bias alert.
Barefoot running has a strong "appeal to nature fallacy" factor. Doesn't make it wrong, but this sort of bias should be noted when calibrating the level of excitement for a particular subject https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_nature
If you're gong to do it anyway at least consult a podiatrist about early sign of trouble so you know when you're going down the wrong path. This would be way more useful than acquiring your advice from various internet forums.
My doc refused to answer the question about safe running techniques and told me to get a bike instead. Which I did.
I'd previously been running a lot in "traditional" running shoes with a chunky soles and "supportive" uppers until several years ago when I switched to the like of the nike free range (no association, just a customer) and have never looked back. My persistent arch pain and shin splints stopped and never came back, and I don't ache the next day any more.
My advice would be to listen to your body and try some different options.
The big advantage is that running barefoot or with minimal shoes forces you to run with a foot strike instead of a heel strike. When running with a forefoot strike you use your calves and achilles to absorb the impact, instead of your knees, which was a big help for me. I would always get pain in my knee when running more then 10k, but that is no longer the case.
I can recommend it to everyone who is into running, at least try it a bit, you don't have to run barefoot all the time, but it is really good training.
It takes some time to adjust though, in the beginning my calves and achilles would get really sore after a short run, but after about 6 months of gradually increasing the milage I can run for hours without issues.
Before switching to minimal shoes I ran on zero drop shoes (Altra) for a few months, which I think eased the transition to minimal shoes.
Do they really?
>A field survey of 400 Masai men and additional women and children in Tanganyika indicates little or no clinical or chemical evidence for atherosclerosis.
> The coronary arteries showed intimal thickening by atherosclerosis which equaled that of old U.S. men.
This one was brilliant. If you read the whole study, even the 18 year olds are affected. One 25 year old died of congestive failure.
> The hearts and aortae of 50 Masai men were collected at autopsy. These pastoral people are exceptionally active and fit and they consume diets of milk and meat. The intake of animal fat exceeds that of American men. Measurements of the aorta showed extensive atherosclerosis with lipid infiltration and fibrous changes but very few complicated lesions. The coronary arteries showed intimal thickening by atherosclerosis which equaled that of old U.S. men. The Masai vessels enlarge with age to more than compensate for this disease. It is speculated that the Masai are protected from their atherosclerosis by physical fitness which causes their coronary vessels to be capacious.
The same trick is used by egg studies to show that additional eggs do not increase already high cholesterol.
Doing genetics is also a huge dimensionality curse. You're fitting a high dimensional object with a curve that will most certainly fit well.
Yes it takes forever to slowly build up your feet to be able to take it. It’s a brutal process but you won’t get injured if you go slow.
Yes it takes forever and a lot of mindfulness to get the technique right so you don’t destroy your knees. I got professional coaching to learn how to properly land my feet under my hips etc.
Asphalt is okay, so is grass. What always got me was pebbles on asphalt. Impossible to run on,
I stopped running barefoot for 2 reasons:
1. As my distance went beyond 10km my skin just couldn’t take it anymore. Ripped to shreds.
2. Putting shoes on slashed my running time by a lot. Simply because I could run more aggressively since the skin of my feet was protected.
PS: most proper long distance running shoes are surprisingly minimal. Gotta keep the weight down and yes it makes a difference
Interesting to see this on Hacker News.
Predicting lower-extremity injuries among habitual runners, Macera 1989 found an increased risk of severe injury running on concrete... for female runners only.
There's a few more studies "for" and a few studies "against", so I'd say the evidence is decidedly mixed. But there's at least some cause to believe that hard surfaces could be worse.
As far as minor complaints, though, who knows. I strongly believe that I feel worse after running (with athletic shoes) on concrete than softer surfaces like dirt path, etc.
Another thing which could be related: there's strong evidence that terrain can be too flat/uniform and resultant repetitive stress effects screw people up. A degenerate case of this is treadmill running.
For the Oklahoma City Memorial Half Marathon, Ramírez and her brother told KFOR-TV they wore
"sneakers for this race because they knew the pavement would be hard on their feet and knees."
So, there's a marathon winning runner corroborating, which is something.
Gotta start with your feet. They need to be able to be feet, not constrained to a tight little shoe.
I can squat heavy weight barefoot now!
Highly recommend the book, it’s a great read. (I don’t enjoy reading, so this is saying a lot)
Switching to Vibrams and then running further and harder than usual may well cause stress fractures, though I think that has to do with the changeover from cushioned shoes, not intrinsic to the shoe or running style -- it's common for many folks in Latin America and Africa to run barefoot by default without higher incidence of fractures.
While you wanna dead in low heel, hard sole shoes, I find that an elevated heel helps with depth, and that's not blasphemy, that's personal preference.
I would definitely not do deadlifts with an elevated heel. If you struggle with depth, I would address that muscle tightness issue.
No on elevated. Definitely not lifting heavy then.
Look at these pictures:
With the exception of Ray, everyone is squatting wearing shoes with a lifted heel.
This is I what I get? Look, guy, you need a little heel height if you got some messed up rusty hips, stiff ankles, or some mobility problem. I’m not like that.
If you really think you have to wear a little higher heel because it makes your numbers better, then yeah, I suppose I forgot I'm on HN
You’re just looking at pictures
Even asphalt is so much better.
I'd second that, though I'm a very casual runner.
I grew up running in flip-flops ("hawaii slippers") & once I tried to be more serious about it, all my running injuries were from a Nike which let me run faster than I should have. I liked the fact that I was doing faster 5ks, but invariably the longer runs would injure me.
The effect of barefoot shoes was to slow me down to a more "normal" pace and a normal stride - if I was running with bad form, my heel would hurt before my knees and my bridge would hurt before my shins.
The pain comes early and fast, which is sort of like a strict teacher when it comes to running form.
It's been seven years of barefoot & zero-drop shoes, with almost no knee or shin injuries. I'm way slower, but I feel happier, because it feels like I'm floating up hills instead of pushing myself up.
Didn't sleep. Didn't even know there was a prize!
>  was the time of the Pritikin diet, the one before the Liver Cleansing diet which was the one before the Atkins diet. It was also the era of The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, a best-seller which inspired tens of thousands of people to join fun runs where they jostled each other in the search for solitude.
Running was the new source of eternal life. Eventually, people found that their knees were unable to read all those books about running. They were forced indoors into aerobics and onto circuits.
It's amazing what people can do when they really want to do something.
The last time I saw a sports doctor, he gave me the best advice to date:
"Run, but not every day, on grass if you can"
That was over two years ago, and I've been racing and running happily injury free since.
In my experience, the most important thing is to make sure you build up the amount of running (quality and quantity) in a proper progression (don't do too much mileage or too much speedwork too fast).
"Overuse" injuries are quite common, though. They're injuries that you get from doing more than your body is capable of at the time (often just trying to do "too much too soon"). These injuries go away when you reduce the stress on your body. They can last a long time if you continue to overstress your body by running too much (or failing to fix problems in your running form, which is a form of that), but they are not what most people would think of as "chronic" injuries (that stick with you indefinitely). You have ongoing overuse injuries only if you continually run more than your body can handle.
I would also add that just because you get an overuse injury at, say, 40 miles/week of training doesn't mean you can never run more than that injury free. You need to reduce stress, run less, let your body strengthen (or fix running form problems) and then slowly increase training again. Years ago I had issues when building average miles up over around 30 miles/week. They took some time to work through. Now I run average 50+ mile weeks for most of the year and I'm perfectly fine (actually feel much stronger and in better health than before). I need to be careful during periods when I'm ramping up to 80+ miles/week for an upcoming race, increasing stress on my body. Running injury free can require a lot of problem solving.
As an aside, I did run down at the Caballo Blanco race with the Tarahumara down in the Copper Canyons last March. They changed the course this year and made it a lot more "technical" (more trail running with lots of rocks). The winner of the race, Miguel Lara, wore running shoes, not huarache sandals. He has won many times before wearing huaraches, but chose to switch to shoes this year because of the increased technicality (primarily rocks) of the course.
Virtually every non-runner I know, whenever I mention something about running or racing, tells me they "can't/don't want to run" because it will "destroy their knees" when in fact runners have stronger knees than non-runners .
It'd be if you were a weakling and said, "I don't want to lift weights because that will destroy my joints." If you lifted weights too heavy too soon, yes, but the way to getting stronger is through slow progression. Which people don't want to do.
It's just a matter of consistency and steady effort. Beginnners always rave to me about their 17-20 mile long runs when my question is "How many miles per week have you run? And for how many weeks in a row?"
The Five Fingers stuff, glad that works for a small segment of people (I even own a pair) but for most it's just going to end in stress fractures.
Final revelations came when I discovered how many people I knew were on steroids (to heal fast) and painkillers, all amateur runners and cyclists.
It boils down to this, any workout you do, you really have to do it properly. As well as, like you said, in moderation. Any reputable physical trainer or therapist will tell you that recovery days are critical. (And if a physical trainer tells you that you can do all this weightlifting or distance running without recovery days, then that's your clue that they are probably not reputable.)
I've found that when most people think of long distance running they focus on pushing themselves, but in practice I've found that a huge part of the sport is avoiding and properly managing injuries. It's a bizarre sport because getting injured is an essential part of it.
Myself and many of my running friends have started working more frequently with PTs and I've personally found it really, really helps identify and fixing the real cause of injury. But it sounds like you have much more experience then me so I am genuinely curious if you made heavy use of PT and still succumbed to chronic injury.
An ultramarathon, also called ultra distance or ultra running, is any footrace longer than the traditional marathon length of 42.195 kilometres (26.219 mi).
I have thought for a while now that we are not necessarily guaranteed to see the best basketball players in the world perform in the NBA, nor are we guaranteed to see the fastest runners in the world win the 100 meter dash in the Summer Olympics.
We can only be sure that we are witnessing the best basketball players in the world who are motivated by money, and the fastest runners who are motivated by fame.
I think that's a pretty big stretch.
First of all, not all basketball players/runners are motivated by money/fame. If you are really good at something competitive you want to do it against other people who are also good. So it's highly likely that the best people want to compete against others who are at there level.
Also with all the modern training, dieting and everything modern athletes do, I think it's pretty laughable to think someone can just 'walk up' and be better than them.
But then i do also think the guy above you has a point in that we can be pretty much certain based on the biases we know about that we're probably overlooking some excellent people in big sports just based on failures in our selection methods. There's no reason that children born in September should be better at sports and get better degrees, but they are over represented because of the way we select kids for sports based on school year, if you're older in the year at school, the benefits carry for a long time, and we've probably missed some potentially incredible athletes because of minor circumstances like that which caused them either to not get into it or not get the training they need. But that's not quite the same as them _currently_ being better outside of the competitions. Still bothers me though.
So, does the potential for a faster runner exist out there now? Undoubtedly (this is a safe bet, since records are still being broken). Is some street ball player going to walk in and dominate the NBA, or some weekend runner going to storm the Olympics next time? I doubt it.
I wouldn't say that. As an NBA fan, I feel that players that are motivated by money fall off once they make it to the league. They lose their passion, fall out of shape, and waste their potential. The best players are the ones that are so passionate about basketball that they don't know what they would do without it, are able to stay out of legal trouble, and are able to stay relatively injury free.
American football is much the same way, but with more emphasis on staying injury free. Sadly when they retire, if their body is wrecked from the sport and they don't have anything else they're passionate about, they often turn to suicide.
Also for decades now, many NBA players have mentioned in interviews and whatnot that they know players that are better than players in the league, but never made it because of drugs/crime/other off the court issues.
On a side note, auto racing has a different problem. We don't necessarily see the best drivers in each racing series because it takes a lot of talent AND funding to get to that point. There are likely many drivers that are more talented but never had the funding to reach the highest levels.
The best players in the NBA are not just motivated by money. They're motivated to be recognized as one of the best to ever do it.
Of course there are all kinds of factors affecting the likelihood of the best making it to the championship--injuries, or a bad day in the qualifying rounds, to name a couple.
When I first went homeless, I thought I would have to get "real shoes" at some point or I would lose toes to frost bite. We crossed the country on foot and catching tides and we were above 7000 feet above sea level three times. Even with snow on the ground and freezing temps, I never did get "real shoes" though I ended up with some temporary skin damage and wore socks for a few weeks to protect me feet and let them heal.
I don't expect to, say, live in Alaska ever. But it's been quite surprising how well sandals and similar slip on type shoes work in winter if the local climate isn't too severely cold.
I've really been wondering if gels actually help. Could honey work just as well? It's cheaper and tastes much better.
I think you do have to replenish eventually. Around mile 20 for me but I think it depends a lot on your pace, how you've trained, and overall distance.
Gels and chews are very compact so it's easy to carry on long runs.
Honey could work just as well I recon the difference is around digesting it.
My personal experience if moving to zero drop shoes was positive but took about a year before my ankles felt OK.
I can’t help but feel that in running, our biology starts to bleed through in the nature versus nurture debates. Clearly some people and groups of people have both the exceptional nature and nurture to do things that might otherwise seem impossible.
It can be done by anyone in reasonable shape. Humans have outstanding stamina. Fun fact: the dog is a close second.
Expect ethically sourced organic pinole products to hit the shelves anytime now.
But first out of 500 ultra-marathoners from 12 countries means it's probably a very good pace.