Saturday, May 29, 2010

Barefoot run and Bootcamp at Tufts

I've read a lot about running stride efficiency, running light and easy.  ChiRunning was my "best running book of 2008" and it made sense:  running should feel easy and enjoyable.  Enter the recent trend in exploring barefoot running ...

More recently, I've seen dozens of articles about how barefoot is the best way to learn mid-foot striking.  Apparently most running shoe critics feel that a stacked heel both A. encourages and B. sets up the runner for a heel strike.  This heel-to-toe roll is what most people are "taught" about how to run, but it's not how we first run when barefoot and free.  Kids don't have to learn how to run.  They run naturally with a mid-foot stride until running shoes make the teen/adult runner strike heels and land with more of a back-to-front foot rolling action.  

So, why not return to basic, barefoot running?  The mid-foot stride can be relearned and the glass/rock/surface hazards of pavement can be avoided.  Advocates of barefoot running say that relearning how to run without shoes will make many of us run better, farther, or with less injury.  Who wouldn't want to do that?   Sign me up.

I decided last week to take that curiosity about barefoot running to the Tufts U track surface.  Safer than streets, no glass or rocks, so no pain, right?  Wrong!  Every step felt like running on a sandpaper covered Mars.  I jogged the first lap easy, second lap a little faster, and the third at a regular (to me) running pace.  Getting used to the surface was not easy, but it felt GOOD!  The orange-ish red composite felt very warm, springy, and yet still rough under my feet.  It stung just a little on the push-off from each step to the next, but I thought nothing of it.

Wanting to continue running, but knowing I shouldn't "over do it" on the track, I entered the grassy middle of the track and started doing sprints to mid-field and then running the full length of the field.  These were super-fun!  Each field-dash took about 28 seconds, and felt good again.  After a few of these, I sat and rested my grassy feet by raising them to the sky.  When it seemed that my friend and trainee, Wendy, would arrive any minute, I set out the bootcamp equipment and got ready for her session.

We did have a great workout there in the sun.  The theme of the day was functional strength with lots of body weight drills.  Among the drills:  walking lunges, twist lunge steps, curtsy lunge hop ups, and the evil, horribly difficult walking push-up planks for the full length of the end zone (~80 ft).  Lordy, those were tough and we had to break the push-ups into two sets just to get through them all.  But Wendy was a champ and completed the set!

More workouts like this are coming soon.  I just have to let the blister on my toe heal before trying the barefoot run again.  If you'd like to join us, here's a teaser video for next week's kick-off to June session.  Read about it here in the May Newsletter or below:  

Afternoon BOOTCAMP (May 27 and Thursdays in June)

6-week series starts May 27th, this week — Tufts Track on Thursdays at 3pm.  Perfect for teachers and people with flexible schedules in Somerville, Medford, and Cambridge.  This is small group training at its best —  challenging and highly-personalized fitness training for anyone who is eager to get into top shape.
Pricing for 2, 4, or all 6 weeks of the series is affordable at 2 for $60 , 4 for $100, and all 6 for $120!  Personal training sessions with SunnyDayFitness are normally $60 each, so this is a great deal for a group of 4 or more — join with a friend and you’ll save even more!  

P.S.  Morning bootcamps coming soon...become our Fan on Facebook today for more info.

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