Thursday, June 3, 2010
review: The Barefoot Running Book
the story of my friendship with jason robillard starts a bit over a year ago. I had finished reading the book Born To Run and couldn't shake the idea that maybe Chris McDougall had a point about the shoes. I had been suffering from patellar tendinitis for almost a year, that was at times so severe it forced me to hop up and down the stairs or sit and slide, very disheartening for a 29 year old woman who takes care of her body. i did a google search for 'barefoot running' and found the runner's world bf running forum. the advice they gave me was discouraging - drop your mileage to zero and start from scratch. it goes without saying that i couldn't bring myself to do that. poking around more i saw a post by "last place jason", and in his signature was a link to an ultramarathoning site. a barefoot ultrarunner?! i had to talk to him.
he quickly responded to my question explaining that, while it is ideal to start over from scratch, he hadn't and was no worse for wear. if i was smart, i would be able to incorporate it without injury. he gave me advice on how to get started and over a year later, here i am. to say that barefoot running made a huge impact on me is an understatement. it not only revolutionized my running style, and got rid of my recurrent pain, but it changed the way i think and look at the world. i no longer sit back and allow myself to be dictated to, no matter how accepted a practice or school of thought is, i now look at everything with a critical eye. and i marvel at the capacity of the human body.
jason is a teacher by profession, has been running regularly for 6 years and completed his first 100 mile race last year wearing a pair of vibram five fingers. The Barefoot Running Book is a practical look at how best to begin incorporating this discipline, whether it be from scratch or in addition to the miles you already do. the book does a wonderful job of thoroughly explaining all the concepts one needs to know about form, foot placement, ideal running surfaces and answers any questions one may have. jason addresses each topic in his classic style of humor and self effacement to put you at ease. he is not usain bolt, a hippie tree hugger, or a heretic. he's an average runner who suffered from traditionally shod running, and sought a different way to run out of necessity. this book would be helpful in training someone who has never run a step as well as experienced distance runners. the basics are all there, but the book also includes fun chapters on comebacks for hecklers, cross training, developing a training plan, and an overview of any aches pains or injuries one could encounter when transitioning from traditional shoes. The Barefoot Running book is not too long or daunting of a read, you could sit down and be done with it in an afternoon, or stretch it out to a little at a time over a week's span. it is not a huge time investment, or a huge monetary investment, but it may just be one of the best investments that you can make into yourself and your running career.
to check out jason's website, blog and to purchase the book, you can find him here at The Barefoot Running University. jason loves to take questions and help out those seeking advice, i am also an ambassador for the BF running university and could answer any questions as well.
finally, in related news for you western and central new yorkers, ken bob saxton - the first barefoot runner that the late 20th century produced in america, will be giving a free lecture and group run in ithaca on june 15th. if you are interested, leave a comment and i can get you the info.