I was listening to a podcast on Endurance Planet that got me thinking. The main topic of the podcast was whether or not it was possible to run a sub 2 hour marathon and if so how would it get done. There is a new book by Phil Maffetone in which he details out the high probability that we will see a sub 2 hour marathon soon.
What I found most interesting is that Phil said the athlete would probably run barefoot. He made the claim that the athlete who does this will probably be from Africa and that these guys run barefoot their entire life and it's because of shoe contracts that they wear shoes. There is a great deal of truth to this. In early 2001 I visited Eldoret, Kenya for 2 weeks. While there I visited and ran with the best of the best runners. I visited three different running camps, watched a kids race and then watched the Kenya National Cross Country race. I saw guys running barefoot, I saw guys running in Chuck Taylors, I saw guys running in soccer shoes and I saw guys running in running shoes. Most of the running shoes as you can guess were either through contract or through donation. Personally I brought shoes to give away.
These runners grow up running bare foot but they do so on soft surfaces. The roads we ran on were dirt. We ran on trails that meandered through the hillsides. I don't ever remember touching pavement on a run. When the lucky few leave the running camps to race in Europe or the USA yes they are given shoes to run in but they choose to do so. You have to remember most don't go into the marathon, most start on the track. Once you get the feel of a tight spike on our foot, you aren't going back to running barefoot. So as they progress to the roads they choose what every runner in the world should choose:
THE LEAST AMOUNT OF SHOE THEY CAN RUN IN!
For most of them that mean's Bacon Strips. Shoes that have just enough EVA to protect and nothing else. Average weight is under 6 oz. They fit like a track spike and they are one with the foot.
So knowing that we are not Kenyan born runners, we can still take on the idea of Least Amount of shoe. Work on running form do drills and strides often and continually push to less and less shoe. You'll find that you'll come to a happy place in your shoe choice. If that happy place is Bacon Strips than we will see you at the front of the race soon enough.
It's a good life.....