Running Scared — Part 2

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Continuing on from the previous entry, the other statement came from Roadrunner Sports. This was an email that went out to its customers, saying

I care about your health and well-being. That’s why when I hear headlines talking about the supposed benefits of “Barefoot Running” . . . I can’t stay quiet!

Don’t blindly follow the latest trend. This barefoot running thing is a major injury waiting to happen. Roads and trails are littered with pea size rocks just waiting to take a big bite our of your feet and leave you sidelined for weeks.

Ever walked on a beach or sidewalk and seen glass shards by the dozens? Don’t step on those if you plan on running in your future.

Look, there are some great shoes to help you run “Minimalist.” Just try the Nike Free or LunarGlide. But, barefoot? Yikes! Look out below!

This is ignorance masquerading as knowledge. I doubt the person who wrote it (“Chief Runner” Michael Gotfredson) has any experience even trying barefoot running. All he sees it as is a “latest trend” without examining it carefully (as the Brooks Running folks have started to do). Otherwise, he just wouldn’t have made some of the silly statements he made.

Pea-sized rocks take big bites out of your feet? Barefoot runners have never heard of such a thing. How the heck would such pebbles do such a thing, anyways. Yes, it is true, particularly for new barefoot runners, that gravel and the like can be a bit uncomfortable. But what they teach is to run more softly (and they thicken up the soles for next time).

And I don’t know where he goes to find glass shards by the dozens. Barefoot runners watch where they are going, and they rarely see such horrific dangers. Of course, if they did did see such a danger, there is a special technique they’ve developed to deal with it: They run around it. Even then, the dangers of glass are greatly exaggerated. As mentioned here before, skin does not puncture easily — it slices. As long as you are placing your foot down and not sliding, it is extremely difficult to injure it with glass.

The real-life experiences of barefoot runners contradict Roadrunner’s speculations.

When the data contradicts one’s speculations, the mark of reason is to discard the speculation.

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One Response to “Running Scared — Part 2”

  1. Bob (Downtown Runner) Says:

    Not only is the email incorrect about the “dangers” of barefoot running, it is self serving and condescending.

    Right below the text of the email are a couple of links that lead the browser to the online store for the company. So the message isn’t just an altruistic message informing runners that there are actually rocks and glass on the path, it is also a not-so-subtle marketing effort designed to incite fear as a means of making sales.

    There is a RoadRunner Sports store about a mile from my house. I’ve never been in there and now I never will.

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