No, that's not ChrisK getting his manly groove on, but Barefoot Ken Bob Saxton, barefoot running guru. This morning I finished reading his new book, Barefoot Running Step by Step (review forthcoming), which I will say is an interesting book, veering between missionary zeal, outright goofiness, and, surprisingly, common sense. It's a good read. One of the things Barefoot Ken Bob (BFKB) preaches/suggests is that barefoot running should begin with the head and work its way down the body, ending finally and appropriately in his case, with unshod feet. He is pretty adamant that barefooting is only appropriate for those who take the time to learn the technique. He suggests 9 steps:
- Head, neck and face kept upright, facing forward and not down, to maintain efficient balance, breathing and direction.
- Ditto for the torso (not leaning forward).
- Shoulders are kept relaxed so they can rotate and counterbalance hip rotation.
- Arms swing vertically and quickly to encourage fast leg cadence and reduce torso sway.
- Hips are relaxed and rotate to keep feet under center of balance.
- Knees are bent (more than you imagine) to make them into shock-absorbers.
- Calves should be relaxed - tense calves lead to injury.
- Feet are lifted - no pushing off. High cadence is key.
- Toes are curved up to promote a ball, toe, heel landing (or ball, heel, toe).
It seems like a lot of this would help all runners, barefoot or shod, so I'm interested in trying it out. I've taken the last 2 weeks off running, plan to start fresh on Tuesday, and I'll be adding BFKB's suggestions once I do. Updates weekly as I progress.