The Running Man Part 1

Posted by in Nugget from a Book

I’m reading Christopher McDougall’s Born to Run.

What a book! A hidden tribe, super-athletes and the greatest race the world has never seen.

Cool stuff, but it was ‘only’ entertaining until the Chapter on barefoot running and the story of Nike. Here are some highlights :

1. Running shoes were invented around the same time as the first Space Shuttle Launch

2. Nike co-founder (and non-runner) Bill Bowerman created the market in book called Jogging in which he claimed that throwing the foot out in front of the body and striking with the heel would lengthen the stride and reduce fatigue. Of course this was only achievable with the cushioned heels that he invented in his basement. Playing with melted rubber would damage his nervous system and leave him partially paralyzed…

3. As soon as you put on a shoe, your muscles start to atrophy, and the engineering masterpiece that uses a quarter of your body’s bones to naturally cushion your stride is compromised. Not only does a shoe destroy your foot’s biomechanical perfection, it also fools you into pounding the pavement with more force than you would naturally use, and allows you to run with a sloppy style that screws your joints.

The more cushioning, the more impact, the less protection and the more chance of injury.

4. Studies have shown that the older and cheaper your sneaker, the less likely you are to injure yourself.

I’m only halfway through this remarkable tale, so expect more posts in the days to come…