- I see muscles I never knew I had. When I curl my toes, I see tiny little muscles on the top of each toe, stretching back into my foot. How cool is that?
- My toes appear to curl differently, almost grasping, as if curling to get a better hold on a surface (or a tree limb, for those inclined to view things Darwinistically).
- My ability to balance on one leg is much better. In the last year or so, I’ve surprised myself, not only by putting on a pair of pants standing up. But also by putting on slippers, socks or even shoes standing up. Without leaning against anything. How many 64 year olds can say that?
- My feet look healthier and thinner. Like they did when I was a teenager. How many people over 40 have something nasty going on with their feet? And hope that if they cover it with their shoes, it won’t catch up with them?
- Finally, I have fewer foot injuries. Other than the occasional bruise that comes from stepping on the stray acorn or walnut in the park where I run, my feet feel better than they ever have in my half-century running career. Probably goes for my legs as well.
Friday, November 29, 2013
Minimalist running is good for the soul. And the sole.
For the first 50 years of my running life, I confess, I probably viewed my feet as kind of a shock-absorbing stump on the bottom of my legs. Big enough to keep me from falling into holes and ditches, perhaps. And a solid appendage to strap my Nikes onto. But that was about it.
However, as I have mentioned here in many occasions, I have found the practice of running barefoot or in my Vibram FiveFingers has a ton of benefits. I think it helps prevent injuries, improve my stamina and speed and generally make running so much more enjoyable. And natural.
I have found another important benefit, however, in the way my feet have responded to the new challenge of barefoot or minimalist running. Some specific examples:
So, thank you Chris McDougall, for showing us all it was possible (and, in fact, a good idea). Thank you, Vibram, for supplying the shoes that make it all possible (especially in the winter). And thank you to the Natural Running Center (http://naturalrunningcenter.com/), a great resource for those just getting started.