A few thoughts about the "Silent Running" article, since we've talked a lot about form recently. I don't disagree with anything the author Dianiel Duane writes, but I do disagree with what the article implies, which is that someone can start running barefoot tomorrow with no ill effects. That's the impression I got from phrasings such as this:
there's a wonderful self-limiting quality when you're barefoot. Almost instantly, you find ways to run softly and smoothly. I liked that feeling so much that I bought a pair of shoes called Vibram FiveFingers, which have articulated toes. They're like an artificial callus for people who like the idea of running barefoot but didn't grow up doing so and therefore don't have tough soles.He does talk about going to see a gait specialist and "doing some drills" but it almost seems perfunctury - as we've talked about, training your muscles to run this way is hard work!
I'm also intregued by this statement:
...[I] soon discovered that a natural gait on a dirt trail reduces impact even further. That's because every stride is different; your feet dance from rock to stick to soil. On flat pavement, you bang away at precisely the same physical imperfections over and over, until you get hurt. On a wandering footpath, impact varies from step to step and thus gets distributed throughout your body.I haven't done much trail running, but when I have I found all of the different striding to be distracting. I couldn't get into a groove and lost the meditative quality I so enjoy on my longer runs. I should try it again, I suppose, but I'm curious to know what you think?