Should I try barefoot running?

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It is hard to avoid the barefoot running debate especially after digging into all I could on the Vibram Five Fingers. I have looked at it closely to consider if I should be doing it or not. It does appear to have some merit, but I can help be put off by all the nonsense and spin coming from the barefoot runners. I read Barefoot Running is Bad and as a scientist was absolutely amazed at the way a lot of barefoot runners make so many dubious claims about what they are doing. This does not mean that barefoot is bad, it means the claims being made for it do not stack up to scrutiny.

For example, one of the claims was that running shoes weaken muscles. I just started running again and wearing running shoes. As I just started running again, my “running” muscles will be getting stronger, so how can the running shoes be weakening my muscles? It just does not make sense (I read about this on a podiatry forum: Do running shoes weaken muscles?).

I also can’t help but notice what appears to be a massive amount of injuries occurring in those going barefoot. Every barefoot forum I looked at there is all these barefooters asking for advice about what to do for the injury they have. The claims are that barefoot running is supposed to prevent injuries. Looks to be the opposite to me.

I am concerned about what looks like an almost religious fanaticism coming from some on the barefoot running forums. Despite all the nonsense that is said about it, I am intrigued enough to try and transition to do a few shorter runs barefoot. The different running form may just help the sore back.


Marathon Training

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Deciding how to train for the marathon is not easy. I have read so much and a lot of it is conflicting. Several friends have said things like ‘get a coach’. The only problem I have with that is different coaches will have differing views, like the differing views I see in what I read.

Some say “do this, it the best thing since sliced bread”, other say that its dangerous. How can they all be right?

Some programs, to my surprise, do not recommend running such long differences and advocate the short sharp interval training. Another I came across recommended two days a week in the gym doing weights and not running those days. They suggested the weights were necessary to help avoid injury, yet the weight lifting program they suggested focused mainly on the upper body. Can somebody explain how that is supposed to prevent injury in the lower limb?

The conclusion I seem to have reached from all this reading is that none of them are right. What is right is what suits me. What suits what I have available time wise and access to.

I have always been a fan of the Lydiard approach and have decided to stick to that as best I can. It has stood the test of time.