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The painful truth about trainers: Are expensive running shoes a waste of money? | Daily Mail OnlineThe painful truth about trainers: Are running shoes a waste of money?
Thrust enhancers, roll bars, microchips.
Yet in this extract from his controversial new book, Christopher McDougall claims that injury rates for runners are actually on the rise, that everything we've been told about running shoes is wrong - and that it might even be better to go barefoot.
By CHRISTOPHER McDOUGALL Created: 14:37 GMT, 15 April 2009 Every year, anywhere from 65 to 80 per cent of all runners suffer an injury.
No matter who you are, no matter how much you run, your odds of getting hurt are the same At Stanford University, California, two sales representatives from Nike were watching the athletics team practise.
Part of their job was to gather feedback from the company's sponsored runners about which shoes they preferred.
Unfortunately, it was daily free run com difficult that day as the runners all seemed to prefer.
They had, he was daily free run com refusing to use them.
Needless to say, the reps were a little disturbed to hear that Lananna felt the best shoes they had to offer them were not as good as no shoes at all.
When I was told this anecdote it came as no surprise.
I'd spent years struggling with a variety of running-related injuries, each time trading up to more expensive shoes, which seemed to make no difference.
I'd lost count of the amount of money I'd handed over at shops and sports-injury clinics - eventually ending with advice from my doctor to give it up and 'buy a bike'.
And I wasn't on my own.
Every year, anywhere from 65 to 80 per cent of all runners suffer an injury.
No matter who you are, no matter how much you run, your odds of getting hurt are the same.
It doesn't matter if you're male or female, fast or slow, pudgy or taut as a racehorse, your feet are still in the danger zone.
How come Roger Bannister could charge out of his Oxford lab every day, pound around a hard cinder track in thin leather slippers, not only getting faster but never getting hurt, and set a record before lunch?
Tarahumara runner Arnulfo Quimare runs alongside ultra-runner Scott Jurek in Mexico's Copper Canyons Then there's the secretive Tarahumara tribe, the best long-distance runners in the world.
These are a people who live in basic conditions in Mexico, often in caves without running water, and run with only daily free run com of old tyre or leather thongs strapped to the bottom of their feet.
They are virtually barefoot.
Come race day, the Tarahumara don't train.
They don't stretch or warm up.
They just stroll to the starting line, laughing and bantering, and then go for it, ultra-running for two full days, sometimes covering over 300 miles, non-stop.
For the fun of it.
One of them recently came first in a prestigious 100-mile race wearing nothing but a toga and sandals.
He was 57 years old.
When it comes to preparation, the Tarahumara prefer more of a Mardi Gras approach.
In terms of diet, lifestyle and training technique, they're a track coach's nightmare.
They drink like New Year's Eve is a weekly event, tossing back enough corn-based beer and homemade tequila brewed from rattlesnake corpses to floor an army.
Unlike their Western counterparts, the Tarahumara don't replenish their bodies with electrolyte-rich sports drinks.
They don't rebuild between workouts with protein bars; in fact, they barely eat any protein at all, living on little more than ground corn spiced up by their favourite delicacy, barbecued mouse.
Modern running shoes on sale I've watched them climb sheer cliffs with no visible support on nothing more than an hour's sleep and a stomach full of pinto beans.
It's as if a clerical error entered the stats in the wrong columns.
Shouldn't we, the ones with state-of-the-art running shoes and custom-made orthotics, have the zero casualty rate, and the Tarahumara, who run far more, on far rockier terrain, in shoes that barely qualify as shoes, be constantly hospitalised?
It could also change runners' lives forever.
Dr Daniel Lieberman, professor of biological anthropology at Harvard University, has been studying the growing injury crisis in the developed world for some time and has come to a startling conclusion: 'A lot of foot and knee injuries currently plaguing us are caused by people running with shoes that actually make our feet weak, cause us to over-pronate ankle rotation and give us knee problems.
And if more people ran, fewer would be suffering from heart disease, hypertension, blocked arteries, diabetes, and most other deadly ailments of the Western world.
The company was founded in the Seventies by Phil Knight, a University of Oregon runner, and Bill Bowerman, the University of Oregon coach.
Before these two men got together, the modern running shoe as we know it didn't exist.
Runners from Jesse Owens through to Roger Bannister all ran with free games com safe straight, knees bent, feet scratching back under their hips.
They had no choice: their only shock absorption came from the compression of their legs and their thick pad of midfoot fat.
Thumping down on their heels was not an option.
Despite all their marketing suggestions to the contrary, no manufacturer has ever invented a shoe that is any help at all in injury prevention Bowerman didn't actually do much running.
He only started to jog a little at the age of 50, after spending time in New Zealand with Arthur Lydiard, the father of fitness running and the most influential distance-running coach of all time.
Bowerman came home a convert, and in 1966 wrote a best-selling book whose title introduced a new word and obsession to the fitness-aware public: Jogging.
In between writing and coaching, Bowerman came up with the idea of sticking a hunk of rubber under the heel of his pumps.
It was, he said, to stop the feet tiring and give them an edge.
With the heel raised, he reasoned, gravity would push them forward ahead of the next daily free run com />Bowerman called Nike's first shoe the Cortez - after the conquistador who plundered the New World for gold and unleashed a horrific smallpox epidemic.
It is an irony not wasted on his detractors.
In essence, he had created a market for a product and then created the product itself.
Bowerman's partner, Knight, set up a manufacturing deal in Japan and was soon selling shoes faster than they could come off the assembly line.
The rest is history.
Since then, running-shoe companies have had more than 30 years to perfect their designs so, logically, the injury rate must be in freefall by now.
Each season brings an expensive new purchase for the average runner.
But at least you know you'll never limp again.
Or so the leading companies would have you believe.
Despite all their marketing suggestions to the contrary, no manufacturer has ever invented a shoe that is any help at all in injury prevention.
If anything, the injury rates have actually ebbed up since the Seventies - Achilles tendon blowouts have seen a ten per cent increase.
It's not only shoes that can create the problem: research in Hawaii found runners who stretched before exercise were 33 per cent more likely to get hurt.
OXFORD, 1954: Roger Bannister crosses the finish line, running a mile in 3:59.
It was an astonishing revelation that had been hidden for over 35 years.
Is any shoe manufacturer prepared to claim that wearing their running shoes will improve your distance running performance?
If you are prepared to make these claims, where is your peer-reviewed data to back it up?
In response, he got silence.
So, if running shoes don't make you go faster and don't stop you from getting hurt, then what, exactly, are you paying for?
What are the benefits of all those microchips, thrust enhancers, air cushions, torsion devices and roll bars?
The answer is still a mystery.
And for Bowerman's old mentor, Arthur Lydiard, it all makes sense.
Shoes that let your foot function like you're barefoot - they're the shoes for me.
Jeff Pisciotta, the senior researcher at Nike Sports Research Lab, assembled 20 runners on a grassy field and filmed them running barefoot.
When he zoomed in, he was startled by what he found.
Instead of each foot clomping down as it would in a shoe, it behaved like an animal with a mind of its own - stretching, grasping, seeking the ground with splayed toes, gliding in for a landing like a lake-bound swan.
Their feet flex, spread, splay and grip the surface, meaning you have less pronation and more distribution of http://promocode-slots.win/com/devilfish-com.html />It took oasis cruise ship capacity years of work before Pisciotta was ready to unveil his masterpiece.
It was presented in TV ads that showed Kenyan runners padding along a dirt trail, swimmers curling their toes around a starting block, gymnasts, Brazilian capoeira dancers, rock climbers, wrestlers, karate masters and beach soccer players.
And then comes the grand finale: we cut back to the Kenyans, whose bare feet are now sporting some kind of thin shoe.
It's the new Nike Free, a shoe thinner than the old Cortez dreamt up by Bowerman in the Seventies.
But, unlike the real thing, experts may still advise you to change them every three months.
Edited extract from 'Born To Run' by Christopher McDougall, £16.
This was discovered as far back as 1989, according to a study led by Dr Bernard Marti, the leading preventative-medicine specialist at Switzerland's University of Bern.
Dr Marti's research team analysed 4,358 runners in the Bern Grand Prix, a 9.
All the runners filled out an extensive questionnaire that detailed their training habits and footwear for the previous year; as it turned out, 45 per cent had been hurt during that time.
But what surprised Dr Marti was the fact that the most common variable among the casualties wasn't training surface, running speed, weekly mileage or 'competitive training motivation'.
It wasn't even body weight or a history of previous injury.
It was the price of the shoe.
Stanford coach Vin Lananna had already spotted the same phenomenon.
So I sent them back.
Ever since then, I've always ordered low-end shoes.
It's not because I'm cheap.
It's because I'm in the business of making athletes run fast and stay healthy.
Logically, that should be obvious - the impact on your legs from running can be up to 12 times your weight, so it's preposterous to believe a half-inch of daily free run com is going to make a difference.
When it comes to sensing the softest caress or tiniest grain of sand, your toes are as finely wired as your lips and fingertips.
It's these nerve endings that tell your foot how to react to the changing ground beneath, not a strip of rubber.
To help prove this point, Dr Steven Robbins and Dr Edward Waked of McGill University, Montreal, performed a series of lengthy tests on gymnasts.
They found that the thicker the landing mat, the harder the gymnasts landed.
Instinctively, the gymnasts were searching for stability.
When they sensed a soft surface underfoot, they slapped down hard to ensure balance.
Runners do the same thing.
When you run in cushioned shoes, your feet are pushing through the soles in search of a hard, stable platform.
To add weight to their argument, the acute-injury rehabilitation specialist David Smyntek carried out an experiment of his own.
He had grown wary that the people telling him to trade in his favourite shoes every 300-500 miles were the same people who sold them to him.
But how was it, he wondered, that Arthur Newton, for instance, one of the greatest ultrarunners of all time, who broke the record for the 100-mile Bath-London run at the age of 51, never replaced his thin-soled canvaspumps until he'd put at least 4,000 miles on them?
So Smyntek changed tack.
Whenever his shoes got thin, he kept on running.
When the outside edge started to go, he swapped the right for the left and please click for source running.
Five miles a day, every day.
Once he realised he could run comfortably in broken-down, even wrong-footed shoes, he had his answer.
If he wasn't using them the way they were designed, maybe that design wasn't such a big deal after all.
He now only buys cheap apologise, casinoclub com seriГ¶s are />PAINFUL TRUTH No 3 HUMAN BEINGS ARE DESIGNED TO RUN WITHOUT SHOES 'Barefoot running has been one of my training philosophies for years,' says Gerard Hartmann, the Irish physical therapist who treats all the world's finest distance runners, including Paula Radcliffe.
Ethiopian Abebe Bikila on his way to gold in the 1960 Olympic marathon - running barefoot For decades, Dr Hartmann has been watching the explosion of ever more structured running shoes with dismay.
On a hard surface, your feet will automatically shift to selfdefence mode: you'll find yourself landing on the outside edge of your foot, then gently rolling from little toe over to big until your foot is flat.
That's pronation - a mild, shockabsorbing twist that allows your arch to compress.
Your foot's centrepiece is the arch, the more info weight-bearing design ever created.
The beauty of any arch is the way it gets stronger under stress; the harder you push down, the tighter its parts mesh.
Push up from underneath and you weaken the whole structure.
Something similar happens to your feet when they're encased in shoes.
Work them out and they'll arc up.
That comes from never running in shoes until you're 17.
BY JUSTIN COULTER, SPORTS PODIATRIST Running barefoot may have some benefit in muscle strengthening as the muscles have to 'tune in' to the vibrations caused by impact loading.
If, like Zola Budd, you grew up running barefoot on a South African farm, your tissue tolerance would adapt over time.
But for someone who has grown up wearing shoes and is a natural heel striker see rightthe impact loading will be beyond tissue tolerance level, and injury will occur.
We are all individuals, therefore it is prudent to have your own running technique assessed and work around that.
As for getting out your old worn out trainers and running in them - don't!
It's best to seek the advice of a specialist running store.
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