Being Méthode Naturelle inspired I’m generally not interested in ‘races’ but Kraftprovet (‘toughest street race in Sweden’) is a pure fun 11600m race up and down steep hills on a variety of terrain and around the locks of a beautiful Swedish town, Trollhättan.  As expected Japhet Kipkorir started as he meant to go on, leading from the start and winning the 25th Kraftprovet anniversary race in true style.

Starting as I meant to go on I enjoyed the feeling of the clean streets of Trollhättan as we approached the race start.

Up and down the steep hills of this gruelling course I had my trusty Vivo Aquas in hand.  My customised Vivo Aqua Lights worked wonderfully as a quick slip on/off shoe that I used for the sharp gravel sections of the race between the blissful Swedish asphalt stretches.

One of my happiest runs of all time – thanks to all who helped build my perception to this level of barefoot joy, in particular Dr. Romanov, Lee Saxby, BareFoot Ted but most of all to my clients from whom I have learnt the greatest truth of the standard of running bio-mechanics.

Pure fresh air, smooth clean streets, an incredible atmosphere – already looking forward to Kraftprovet 2011.

Some people cheered and some people looked at me like I was crazy.  For the latter may I try and explain my foolishness.   When 3 times your body weight is absorbed by your body in each running strike there is actually very little relative shock absorption that can be done by even the best shock absorbing materials on the planet.  In fact by adding cushioning you increases the damage because from the engineering and lack of feeling through the shoe your feet will land on the heel, they will spend more time on support searching for a ground reaction force before they can think about leaving the ground.  Consider a force of an average person, say 75Kg, then in walking the body will absorb 150Kg and in running 225Kg.  Try putting that load through the size of a heel in any cushioned shoe and you will see that there is virtually zero relative cushioning effect.  Our own bodies are the best spring we can use.  Until just a year or so ago I had not really thought about it that way, funny as I’m an engineer.  Really what the shoe does is rob us of feeling, free movement and therefore efficiency.

Before I discovered how to run the day after a race I’d have wooden legs and knee pain.  I did a lott of thinking about technique but there is nothing like feeling it for yourself, you know it’s right when the next day you get up feeling better aligned than the last and looking forward to more movement.  From the age of 25 I progressively deteriorated feeling like I was falling apart.  I spent a lot of money seeing specialists and started wearing orthortics to no avail.  Thankfully my personal search in a digital information revolution put me ahead of an information curve and saved me from further deterioration.  Everyday I feel stronger and more able as I continue to undo 30 years of poor movement taught to me by ‘experts’ who told me I was FLAT FOOTED.  POSE movement concepts have brought me more joy and confidence in movement than I ever thought possible in sports from running to snowboarding.  Through runningengineer I love sharing what I’ve learnt and look forward to helping, and learning from, more people.

Our foundation has evolved to have about 30 bones and 100 ligaments for very good reasons.  Please CLICK HERE (COMPARATIVE STUDY OF THE FEET OF BAREFOOTED AND SHOE-WEARING PEOPLE) to learn a little more for yourself about the truth of those things that we clump up every day at the bottom of our bodies.  Running barefoot is not about taking your shoes off and just running, …after years of unnatural bio-motor patterns there is going to need to be a period of correct movement patterns, muscle restructuring and elasticity development first.  Be careful and take it one step at a time if you decide to re-learn what you know about running.

Happy Running, Naeem