Calves, foam rollers, lifting and proper recovery all feature in my picks for this week. I read alot of posts during the week and often I read very general posts that simply give a bit of background. It is good to hear from experienced barefooters and this week’s posts come from bloggers with a bit of history behind them
1. Post of the week goes to Trisha Reeves of Barefoot Monologues.
Secretly, Barefoot Monologues is my favourite barefoot site and I aspire to write as well as Trisha. Her post about ice baths and using foam rollers also came at just the right time for me. I had spent the previous night rolling out my calves to find them more sore in the morning. I have come to the conclusion that a short barefoot run works better. It is 25 years since I shared a house with a student doctor. He was a superb runner and training partner of Liz McColgan who at that time was tearing up the world as a distance runner on the track. He used to head out into the twilight for a quick sub 50 minute 10 miler and then jump in an ice bath in our tiny student house. It was compelling and I tried it a couple of times and have felt guilty about not keeping it up ever since. Not any more. It is well worth a read.
Having said that, I am not ready to throw away my roller just yet though. I kind of enjoy the crunch and it at least gives me a sense of purpose if I can’t get out there. I was lucky enough to see Helen a couple of weeks ago and watch her demonstrate her techniques for massaging calves. I had been chatting with her earlier and was plucked out of the crowd whilst she found the areas of weakness in my lower legs. She gently pushed and probed and then suddenly hit the spot. I didn’t quite hit the ceiling but there was a lot of recognition in the laughter from the audience. Helen came across as someone who is very knowledgeable and experienced. Her video is worth a watch.
3. When I pick my favourite posts of the week, I often list those from Jason Robillard.
I have said before that they are sometimes provocative, sometimes educational and always grounded in experience. This post is about lifting. Jason has recently stopped routinely teaching lifting and he explains some of the reasons why.
I started out by studying Chirunning form and when Helen Hall looked at my form she asked me why I was lifting my heels towards my backside so much as I was obviously wasting energy. I ran with a barefooter recently who lifts his knees forward in a way that reminded me of Stephen Sachen from Xero shoes. He said that it just felt right for him.
I recently did a barefoot event where I ended up running as fast as possible. The fact that I had nothing on my feet was incidental. I have a feeling that I stopped lifting in a pronounced way but still managed to run lightly enough to manage the flagstones and cobbles of the Edinburgh streets. Fascinating.
4. During the week I read lots of posts from the podiatry and health and fitness sector.
Often they are just pieces cobbled together and very general in content. Some, however rise above the rest and this is one of them. I liked the title. ‘The professional’s guide to training south of the ankles.’
It goes through the early motions of providing background information for the uninitiated but then goes into specific exercises for the feet and toes. Opinion will no doubt split about whether we should exercise our feet or let them get stronger by running naturally. Decide for yourself.
It may not be brand new but it was not one that I had seen before. It is about 10 minutes long and I always enjoy hearing about how people ended up becoming barefooters in the first place.
‘An experiment in applied anthropology’. l like that!