Quantcast

Thursday, November 3, 2011

98

How to Run Perfectly

"These guys aren't just faster than us, they're lighter, they're smoother, they're gentler."
—Chris MacDougall "in the funky do-rag and gladiator sandals" and his buddy Peter Sarsgaard (!) teach the ancient secrets of barefoot running [in an unembeddable video]. There's a graphic, too. And a five-page story.

98 Comments / Post A Comment

SlutBucket

Whenever I think about the perfect running form of running, I always remember this scene from Friends of Phoebe running through the park. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_0Ta_DIWuU

TreatYoSelf

Running really intimidates me. The few times I've tried I get that intense blood rush that makes your head vibrate and I want to puke. For some reason that doesn't usually happen when I'm doing other kinds of exercise.

That said, Peter Sarsgaard can be my running buddy any time and I would do my best not to vomit all over his bare feet.

wallsdonotfall

@TreatYoSelf I think the only way I could successfully run is if a personal trainer released actual lions onto the track with me. Even aside from the puking, how do runners keep their feet from banging into each other? Or get over that sensation where it feels like your knees are breaking?

Megan@twitter

@TreatYoSelf You're probably starting out too fast. Try running at a pace that seems slow to yourself and do it for a while first.

melis

@Megan@twitter That's a good start, but then try slowing down a little more. Even slower. That's good. Perfect. Now slowly sink into a heap of warm and oversized sweaters that you presciently arranged on the ground a few minutes earlier. You're doing great! Now fold your arms gently about your head. Now close your eyes, forever.

Bridget Smith@twitter

@TreatYoSelf Oh my God, the same thing used to happen to me. I could be in peak swimming shape, but I could barely finish a mile without wanting to puke. (It'd be a FAST mile, but an incredibly painful one.) I'd get tunnel vision and start tripping over everything. Sad to say: the only thing that fixed it was practice running. I found a training program online that started at 2 miles (which was a little much, actually, but I went slowly) and ran 3 days a week with it. Got up to 6 miles before I decided I no longer wanted to spend an hour a day running; now I do 4 miles in a half hour. It was miserable, but now I'm proud of myself and no longer afraid of running!

Ophelia

@melis ...did you soak those sweaters in chloroform? You did, didn't you?

melis

@Ophelia They'll never burn otherwise!

HMSBeagle

@TreatYoSelf When I was in Track, I used to imagine a pack of large, feral dogs chasing after me. What you need is terrifying inspiration from real life. I got my inspiration from the time that I had a large, feral dog chasing after me. Really worked.

Ham Snadwich

@Bridget Smith@twitter - A lot of swimmers are terrible runners. There's something that just doesn't translate.

special_boots

@Megan@twitter Yes! New runners always take it way too fast. Also, take lots of walk breaks. Run like you imagine your grandma running.

Megan@twitter

@melis I snarfled at my desk. Thanks for that.

@special_boos Also, any improvement takes longer than you think it should take. I am impatient by nature and running really tests me sometimes.

rootmarm

@melis I love you melis!

Bridget Smith@twitter

@Ham Snadwich I actually read something about this recently! Apparently it has a lot to do with ratio of torso length to leg length and where your center of gravity is. Both my mom and I have INSANELY long torsos (both proportionally and actually: we're both tall), and we're both good swimmers but bad runners. Fascinating!

candybeans

@Bridget Smith@twitter similar story to yours-- not naturally a good runner, even when I was in decent shape otherwise. It took a long time of working up to it (and clutching onto the endorphin highs to keep me going), but it made a tremendous difference in my life and got me through some sad times. it may not be worth doing for everyone, certainly, but running has done wonders for me, and allowed me to stick my middle finger up at all those searing memories of bright-red candybeans panting her way through the mile in PE.
I read this article before i saw it on the hairpin (yay to having some place to talk about it!), and frankly, he may have sold me. i've got a rubbish knee, and even though those toe shoes strike horror in my heart, i'm dying for a way out of these injuries. ps, he doesn't actually wear (or advocate directly) for toe shoes, just no thick-cushioned soles.

joie

@Ham Snadwich does the opposite hold true? good runner = terrible swimmer? I'm a pretty strong runner as far as form goes (yay long legs) but have a short torso and have always struggled with swimming. maybe i'm just puny. regardless, I've always felt like swimming was way more of a workout.

special_boots

@Bridget Smith@twitter Story of my life. Sadly, my crazylong torso and I far prefer running to swimming.

BIOLOGY AIN'T DESTINY, DAMN IT

Bridget Smith@twitter

@heyits It does/can! However, swimming IS a tougher workout in general - more muscles used, more resistance, and you get a lot more water in your breathing apparatus - and it takes longer to get comfortable with. You have to build up a lot more base strength before it starts to feel natural. A good swimming workout knocks me out for the rest of the day. (Note: "good" may vary. I've had some intense coaches, and they may have screwed me up a little.)

Lumpy Space Princess

@TreatYoSelf Peter Sarsgaard can be my running buddy anytime, too... in bed... horizontal.
I can't be the only one who feels that way about him, right? Right?!

themegnapkin

@special_boots I have a long-ish torso and disproportionately short legs and arms, and I am a much, much, much better runner than swimmer.

Ham Snadwich

@heyits - Dunno. My only real experience is having dudes join the rugby team after being swimmers and watching them run like a monkey with a head injury.

Vera Knoop

@melis This is my precise workout routine!

dustwindbun

@candybeans I could never run, unless it was a supershort sprint, because of the jolting and bouncing of jogging motions (a premed friend in college said that maybe I have loosely-attached internal organs? possibly I remember it wrong?), and, though I don't actually exercise, I can attest that barefoot/thin-soled-shoe running is the first time I have ever been able to run comfortably. It's fricking amazing. I just use grippy socks if I'm indoors, or cheap karate-shoe slippers I got from the dollar store if outside. (I love how that implies that I actually get off my ass and go running, but, point still stands.) Seriously, like, game changer, for both me and my mom. Just find a treadmill and some grippy slippersocks and try it for a few minutes - you'll know pretty quickly if you like it. And if you do like it, it can be way cheaper than regular running-shoe running!

Xanthophyllippa

@Bridget Smith@twitter I have an insanely short torso and am a whip-fast swimmer, yet I run like my grandmother, who died in 1988.

Also, I've been running barefoot a lot lately. LOVE IT, except for the entire week after the first time I did it, when I could hardly walk because my calves were broken. (I had to wrap my right gastrocnemius with athletic tape to get down the stairs of my apartment building.)

wee_ramekin

Peter Sarsgaard's running shorts were too short for me. I had to stop watching. They exposed his man thighs. **shudder** Man thighs trigger a vomitous reaction from me (oddly, because I find almost everything else about guys' bodies hot).

Sorry. I really don't have anything else to contribute to this discussion...

redheaded&crazy

@wee_ramekin mmm man thighs ... the best is when you get a nicely tanned dude who's been wearing his swim shorts all summer, thereby putting visual emphasis on those pasty white thighs ...

check it - this comment endorses the pursuit of skin cancer AND body snarks! go me!

Charismatic Megafauna

I watched a running coach video recently that said, "Make sure you exhale when your right foot strikes the ground." I'm pretty sure running is supposed to be the opposite, not the apotheosis, of thinking too hard.

Xanthophyllippa

@Charismatic Megafauna Yeah, that sounds like it would encourage panting to the point of hyperventilation. I do set my breathing by my stride, though, and after the first few breaths my body figures out its rhythm and then I think a lot less than I did when I was trying hard not to think too hard.

Bridget Smith@twitter

The thing about barefoot running is that our ancestors weren't doing it on *pavement*. If this works for you, I'm all in favor of it, but running on concrete can really wreck your knees and feet. Packed earth has comparable running speed without the engineered hardness. Basically, don't do this on city streets.

candybeans

@Bridget Smith@twitter well, ol' mr macdougal says that hard-packed dirt is equivalent in hardness to asphalt, so that the hardness of streets shouldn't matter. buuut, what do i know.

themegnapkin

@Bridget Smith@twitter he addresses this in the article. I don't run barefoot regularly, but I've done it both on asphalt and on grassy trails, and it's easier on the feet to run on asphalt.

Alixana

@themegnapkin Asphalt, sure, but not concrete. I can run on asphalt streets (or tracks) with no knee pain, but on concrete sidewalks? Screaming knees immediately.

Xanthophyllippa

@Bridget Smith@twitter @themegnapkin: I run barefoot on grass because running barefoot on either asphalt or concrete hurts. Even if I could find a place that wasn't littered with tiny rocks or other debris that somehow find their way into the most sensitive nerves of my feet, I'd still need the cushion of grass.

But I'm also lucky enough to live in a city with a major Division I university that has a gorgeously and lovingly tended grass cross-country course, so I run barefoot there. It's like running down the fairway of a snooty golf course.

City_Dater

Please let this barefoot running thing stop. If I see one more weekend athlete eating his way through the farmers market sausage samples, wearing his rubbery little toe socks and blathering about how "in touch with the ground" he feels, I'm going to have to start in with the slapping.

melis

@City_Dater You are correct.

Ophelia

@City_Dater OK, I'm totally going to make everyone hate me, but...I got the toe socks. I walk/run the dog a lot every day, and if I wear sneakers, my toes fall asleep after about 20 minutes. Does this happen to anyone else? The only way I've stopped the numbness is with the toe socks. But now it's cold, so they suck.

rootmarm

@City_Dater whyyyy do they always splay out their feet/legs when they're sitting so everyone sees their special toe shoes? It's like one step above pulling their dick out of their fly to me.

Ophelia

@Ophelia (also, to be clear, I am definitively NOT trying to be one with the sidewalk in Brooklyn. Ew.)

wallsdonotfall

@Ophelia This happens to me! Getting wider running shoes helped, but it hasn't gone away completely, and since I'm already wearing men's extra-wide running shoes in a size up from my usual, there's not much more I can do.

melis

@Ophelia You get a pass. For everyone else: wear them to your hearts' content in the fields, in the hills, on the veldt, wherever you choose to channel our swift ancestors. But in the city, they are obscene.

Ophelia

@melis Thanks! I'm still down with the Pile Of Sweaters method, too, of course.

City_Dater

@melis

You also are correct.

melis

@City_Dater Let us celebrate by wearing normal shoes like adults.

City_Dater

@melis

Agreed. I'm wearing some right now, and I feel FABULOUS.

City_Dater

@Ophelia

Maybe you need shoes with a wider toe box and/or thinner socks within them? One of my friends had this numb toe thing happening, and her podiatrist gave her a "Get Your Feet Measured and Wear Shoes That Fit" lecture. I don't know if this worked, however, since we don't discuss our feet very often, as it happens.

Ophelia

@City_Dater What? You don't? But yeah, tried similar combinations. I think I might have hereditarily freakish feet, as this happens to my sister and dad, too. Particularly on elliptical machines. OR, it's the universe telling me I need to stop trying to exercise and take a nice nap instead.

special_boots

@City_Dater Wow, harsh.

I like my Vibrams, thanks. And I've liked them for the over two years I've owned them, so in my case they're not going away. Deal.

City_Dater

@special_boots

So you dress funny and are hostile and defensive about it. Bet you're fun at parties!

rootmarm

@special_boots are they your special boots?

special_boots

@City_Dater Yes, because obviously I wear my Vibrams to parties. They're great at keeping away random judgmental folks!

special_boots

@rootmarm Ok, Vibram boots would be TRULY heinous.

sarah girl

@Ophelia The numbness could also be from tying the laces too tightly; I frequently have that problem.

rootmarm

@special_boots I just want a Vibram catsuit, with all the nooks and crannies sewed in.

karmakaze

@special_boots Actually, they do make vibram boots. If you want to see them, search for "fivefingers bormio"

No, I don't own a set of the boot(ies), just the regular ones. Because they're comfortable and the stretchy fabric and straps mean they actually fit. (Seriously, find me a pair of running shoes in existence that comes in a EE toe and B heel, then you can mock my gorilla feet.) Sure, they're goofy looking, but then, I can't figure out why anyone voluntarily wears Crocs, so what do I know about style?

Ophelia

The one thing that totally pisses me off about this is that, all through running track in high school, I was repeatedly told to stop running on the balls of my feet, and let my heels strike first. So, now you're telling me I wouldn't've had all these arch issues, and stopped running, if I'd just been able to do it like I wanted? Grrm.

DorothyMantooth

@Ophelia Me too!!! I remember actually being mocked when I was much younger and ran on the balls of my feet. (Even now, I think of it more as "loping" than running.)

Clare

Those fucking barefoot fucking running shoes throw me into an unintelligible fucking rage and anyone I see wearing them I want to smash in the fucking face with a fucking frying pan.

CrescentMelissa

@Clare I always called them feet shoes, just no. Not good at all.

thebestjasmine

@CrescentMelissa I call them hobbit shoes.

bookbike

@thebestjasmine I call them frog feetz, but seriously.......the more I think about them....the more comfortable I imagine them being.....

fondue with cheddar

@Clare You probably only say that because you've never tried them on. I would love to wear shoes that didn't squash my toes together for a change.

Ham Snadwich

Man, barefoot running has a lot to offer the insufferable jerk. You get to say things like "You know, the human body didn't evolve wearing sneakers." and "The Tarahumara indians run 100 mile races well into middle age."

Ophelia

@Ham Snadwich "Really, if you go back to the simpler, purer state of a child...say, is that MrComment?"

Ham Snadwich

@Ophelia - Make sure you give them a knowing look. That's it! Now just a little more knowinger.

City_Dater

@Ham Snadwich

We are clearly shopping in the same farmers market, overhearing the same horrifying people.

Ham Snadwich

@City_Dater - I suspect that urban farmers markets are the same everywhere. All fulla double wide strollers and people who are way too satisfied with their lifestyle choices.

joie

what's also fun is that the barefoot running enthusiasts tend to be equally insufferable about their super special Paleo running diet. I'll just be over here with my padded running shoes and Fritos, thank you very much.

wharrgarbl

Put your shoes back on, you damn hippies.

Ophelia

@wharrgarbl But my feet get so tired, waiting in line for vegan chili.

wharrgarbl

@Ophelia I don't care. Put them back on before you get hookworm. What are we, carnies?

antarcticastartshere

Personally, I find mastering the art of running 50 yards in awkward heels with no arch support far more impressive than running 5 miles in creepy not-shoes.

City_Dater

@antarcticastartshere

You may have just created a new Olympic event.

Ophelia

@City_Dater Add in an escalator and 3 cocktails, and I think you're onto something.

mouthalmighty

@antarcticastartshere: The Russian High-Heels Race comes to mind...

Roaring Girl

"So protect yourself, with the Peter Sarsgaard Sars Guard."

Marzipan

Okay, finally, this is my chance to talk about this. Because you guys have been WEIRDLY, DISPROPORTIONATELY mean about these.

Here's the thing: I wear these shoes. I run barefoot whenever I can, but if I'm in streets/pavement, they protect my feet. I like running barefoot, it makes me enjoy running just enough more and it actually, really makes me faster. And I don't wear them other than for running. And I only ever talk about it if people ask. And they do ask. And no, I do not enjoy talking to strangers while I am trying to get my exercise on. So that is my background and maybe I'm just sensitive about it.

I get a lot of these comments are about the culture of these shoes/the type of person who wears them. And I am sure some people are obnoxious - but that is going to be true of any fringe group, for something people strongly believe in - whether it be atheism, vegetarianism, polygamy, whatever - that either you kind of have to shut up and never talk about it or you become obnoxious in pursuit of having people respect and believe in it too, and become so used to having to strongly defend it you can get overzealous. But so anyways, can we be less mean? At least fewer threats of physical violence against me?

Because there are, I promise, okay, well, actually only one that I know of (me, but I'm also the only person I know who wears them) people who wear these shoes who are not obnoxious, or hippies, or even know what paleo is, or Chris-Traeger-like-health-nuts or whatever. I do go to farmer's markets. Sorry. Not in my toe shoes though. I do like to try the sausage samples, though.

Clare: I have met you in real life, and so I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt here, because I know that you are actually nice and fun (PHILLY WOOOO), but, WOW. why? why on earth do people think that is an appropriate response? I really don't get it. I can understand it when it is fundamental personal beliefs being challenged. I mean, I can understand if my lack of faith is threatening to people, or even maybe they genuinely worry about my soul. But what about my shoes threatens your beliefs, or way of life, or choices, or infringes on anything other than your field of vision, so much that you would like to physically assault me? And it's not just a style choice. It makes it easier for me to exercise, which, no, I'm not one of those freaks who enjoys exercise, so I need all the help I can get.

themegnapkin

@Marzipan I wear vibrams for my cross-fit class, so I am on your side. . . but these comments still make me laugh.

Brunhilde

@Marzipan: Yeah with the meanness. People seriously FREAK THE FUCK out about other people's feet, which I've always found odd, because we all have feet. They freak out to the point where looking at something that by all intents and purposees is a shoe, but since it looks like a foot they HULK SMASH.

For the record, I don't run at all and don't own these shoes, but I do love being barefoot.

i kant even

@Marzipan do you find you have a lower incidence of injury wearing vibrams? i am considering trying them out (even though i will admit i find them aesthetically unappealing) as i have had nagging itbs issues with every other pair of running shoes i have tried. i did the baltimore 10 miler this year and i was sooooo lame at the end thanks to all the hills - they aggravate my itbs like nothing else. i am just getting back running again after a 4 month break due to surgery/recovering from surgery, so i'm hoping the long break coupled with upping my mileage VERY slowly will allow me to avoid injury this time. after reading _born to run_ i'm wondering if running in vibrams might help.

fondue with cheddar

@Marzipan I want a pair of these SO BADLY. I have wide, square feet and Five Fingers seem like the best shoes ever. I'm not even a runner.

Xanthophyllippa

@shivster If you've got an ITBS issue, have you (sorry, this is going to sound weird) had your legs measured? Because I had the same problem until a sports doc measured and told me my right leg was 6mm shorter, thus was getting a slightly harder jolt on the footstrike. I have a tiny lift in my shoe now and have had no trouble for three years.

Xanthophyllippa

@Marzipan I too experience Clare's blazing fury because, of everyone I know who wears them, only about three folks aren't total tools about them. And most of the total tools are, in fact, the smug weekend warriors who want to tell me about the benefits of exercise and to whom I listen for approximately four minutes before letting my face harden and taking the first opportunity to tell them I did four triathlons last summer okay now I'm off topic but I think my point is, statistically speaking, the chances that I will encounter a Vibram-wearer in the city I live in who has your genuine, non-proselytizing appreciation for them are very, very slim. Likewise, the statistical chance of my meeting someone at our (famous) urban farmer's market who isn't a dick about how I really should try the ramps; they're delicious sauteed with a dash of red pepper flakes is very, very slim. I know I routinely piss off people who bike without helmets by telling them about the time I would have been killed if I hadn't been wearing mine; we all have our quasi-fundamentalist obsessions.

I've actually been tempted to try Vibrams, but the running store in my area that carries them has a no-return policy on them, and I get so squicked out by the thought of having things between my toes that I'm dead certain that I wouldn't be able to keep them. Also, everyone I know who wears them and isn't a tool complains about how foul they smell after the first few wearings and about how they cannot get the stank out by any known means that doesn't involve burning them with fire (tm melis).

Xanthophyllippa

@Xanthophyllippa (That's not mean to suggest, Marzipan, that you have a quasi-fundamentalist obsession about these shoes - I meant the exact opposite. Also, I hate ramps.)

Diana

I don't have any Vibrams and I think they look ridiculous (but no more so than, say, platform stilettos) but at least they are ridiculous looking for a very interesting and helpful purpose. It's pretty obvious that humans are doing SOMETHING wrong nowadays when it comes to running, which is why all marathon runners seem to collapse as soon as they age, but instead of trying to glean useful insights about the human body from this new and exciting research, let's just make fun of these weirdos and then get fat over time because running makes our knees hurt too much.

Ham Snadwich

I'd like to get a pair of Vibrams and wear larger, regular shoes over them.

Hot mayonnaise

I just dip my bare feet into hot asphalt.

fondue with cheddar

Wait...is that guy in the first link running in FLIP-FLOPS? What's wrong with him?

dustwindbun

I am all about the concept of barefoot running as I was obvious about above, but I do agree that people get obnoxious about their special barefoot-shoes. I'm glad that they're helping people like Marzipan, because that's awesome, but I know that some people just get them and wear them around to show off how fancy they are. I mean, if I'm gonna walk around at a farmer's market (no) getting in touch with the ground like a hippie (no) then I wear my fuckin' ancient thin-soled flip-flops and say no more about it, like a normal person. My 'barefoot running shoes' are grippysocks, dollar-store karate slippers, or the cheapest thinnest-soled beach-sandal watershoes you can get. 5 bux. done.
so don't think you have to be a pretentious ass to enjoy the barefootiness.

stephanie@twitter

Dammit, I read that as Alexander Skarsgard...much less exciting.

jimmyrapper

“(Customers) don’t understand what lox is,” he said. “They send it back, want it cooked,” not understanding that the salmon is smoked to get that salty flavor.
The menu is filled with both American and Greek comfort food, from steaks and seafood to French onion soup and Greek-style lamb loin chops and creamy lemon-chicken-rice soup. does garcinia cambogia extract work

jimmyrapper

Thank you for any other wonderful article. Where else may just anyone get that kind of information in such a perfect method of writing? carpet cleaning crawley

jimmyrapper

I am getting sweaty just thinking about it. It reminds me of being vegetarian in the late 80's when no one had ever heard of such a thing and whenever it came up (i.e. at every meal) you were surrounded like a zoo exhibit and people would demand to know why you thought animals had feelings or whatever. what does bubblegum casting do

jimmyrapper

During the early stages of this recession, feminists had a skip in their step when it was revealed men bore the brunt of job losses. But with a dwindling primary and secondary sector what does bubblegum casting do

mans

@thebestjasmine I call them frog feetz, but seriously.......the more I think about them....the more comfortable I imagine them being.....V is bubblegum casting legitimate

jimmyrapper

*full disclosure: I am a lady writer emerging chrysalis like from the pages of my first book, but not likely to come out for a wee while yet, so seattle roofing

Post a Comment

You must be logged-in to post a comment.

Login To Your Account