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Barefoot Running Step by Step: Barefoot Ken Bob, the Guru of Shoeless Running, Shares His Personal Technique for Running with More Speed, Less Impact, Fewer Injuries and More Fun Paperback – May 1, 2011
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From the Back Cover
"Barefoot Ken Bob is The Master. Long before anyone else was even talking about barefoot running, he was perfecting the art . . . Now, after twenty years of teaching, experimenting, and "merry marathoning" (as he calls it), the first and best source of barefoot-running knowledge is bringing his ideas to print. And it's about time."
--Christopher McDougall, author of Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Super Athletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
"Ken Bob Saxton, a pioneer of the modern barefoot running movement, has logged more miles in his birthday shoes than just about anyone I know, and he has helped countless people run barefoot. As one would expect, this delightful book, full of wit and wisdom, is an invaluable guide for anyone who wants to run barefoot, avoid injury, and have fun."
--Daniel E. Lieberman, professor of Human Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University
Learn Barefoot Running from the Master!Almost overnight, barefoot running has exploded onto the fitness scene. However, it involves more than simply taking off your shoes. In fact, everything you've learned about barefoot running is probably wrong--unless you've learned it from Barefoot Ken Bob Saxton. The leading instructor and proponent of unshod running, he has completed seventy-six marathons barefoot, survived an astounding marathon-a-month challenge in 2004, and gone on to top that with sixteen marathons in 2006, including four in a fifteen-day period--all barefoot. Barefoot Running Step by Step separates the facts from the hype, outlines Ken Bob's personal techniques, and details the latest research on the newest trend in mankind's oldest sport. Whether you run barefoot occasionally, part-time, or full-time, you'll find methods for improving your form, staying injury-free, dramatically improving your speed and performance, and having more fun.
Ease into it: The steps you need to make the transition from running in shoes to barefoot running as painless and easy as possible.
Improve Speed: Barefoot running's injury reduction benefits are well-touted; however a new landmark study proves that barefooting--even part-time--can make you faster.
The Bent Knee: The hidden secret to perfect running form. How this crucial adjustment will keep you running stronger and injury-free for life.
Vibrams and Minimalist Shoes: Barefoot running is not a transition from shoes to minimalist shoes to bare feet. It's the other way around. Why you need to run barefoot before you use other footwear.
Start From the Head: Proper barefoot form doesn't start at the feet. Discover how to get the correct body biomechanics.
Barefoot Running Step by Step is filled with series photos and illustrations that show you the "do's" and "don'ts" of barefoot running, the latest research, and Ken Bob Saxton's personal experiences and insights for running barefoot for life.
About the Author
Ken Bob Saxton is the leading instructor of barefoot running in the country, featured in Runner's World, The New York Times, and the bestseller Born to Run, by Chris McDougall, who calls Ken Bob "The Master of Barefoot Running." He has completed more than 75 marathons barefoot (and one marathon in shoes), including running the Boston Marathon several times and surviving an astounding marathon-a-month challenge in 2004, which he topped with 16 marathons in 2006, including 4 marathons in a 15-day period--all barefoot. "Barefoot" Ken Bob, as he is popularly known, has trained thousands of people across the country in person at his workshops and educated thousands of new barefoot runners throughout the world, from Mumbai to Oslo, via his popular website TheRunningBarefoot.com.
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Top customer reviews
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First, a lot of the book is devoted to Barefoot Ken Bob's personal story, his journey into barefoot running, and his exploration and learning on the topic. If you enjoy this, you will like this aspect of the book. If not, you will find yourself flipping pages to find the content.
Second, there is basically the same information available for free on the internet. While the authors here do a good job of covering the major points of barefoot running, there is so much out there for free that its hard to justify spending money to get the same thing. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with buying the book to support or reward Ken Bob for maintaining a great website. But between the various gurus out there on this subject, it would be hard to find something unique that justifies buying this book. Look up Lee Saxby, Chris McDougall, Mark Cucuzella and you will find massive amounts of online information about barefoot running, including great drills, tutorials, the works. This is an area where books were just too late to the scene.
Third, well, its a book! Its not an easy thing to explain how to change their running stride and give them the tools to make the changes and stick them out using text and two dimensional images. Even though I enjoyed and learned from the book, I found myself time and again checking out the videos in websites from the above mentioned individuals, including Ken Bob, for a better picture of what this looked like. Stride mechanics are not easily conveyed in two dimensional images and I would highly recommend viewing lots of videos and even having someone take video of you while you run in order to help you diagnose and improve your form. Think of all the tools you would use to retrain/improve your golf swing. This is very similar.
Finally, its worth a word about the transition. That has to be one of the biggest issues. How to move from the classic big running shoe - heel strike method to the barefoot/minimal footwear/forefoot landing method.
Ken Bob is pretty adamant that the best way to do it is to take off the shoes and start with short distances. Be a baby runner again. Even if you can zip through 10 mile runs, he would have you start with 5 minute runs totally barefoot and build up from there and build slowly! This lets the skin of your feet, ankles, Achilles, and calves learn how to operate again and also serve as a feedback system on your form and fitness.
I completely agree with this (with a caveat in a minute). If you take off your shoes and get out on the concrete and run 200 yards, it feels different. In those short little runs, and as you build, you quickly "feel" how well you are doing and that is key in changing your form. You don't want to hide bad form but expose it and correct it in as few steps as possible.
What I think sounds impossible is trying to mix and match heel strike and forefoot running. The idea of running a little bit barefoot and then putting back on classic running shoes and logging more miles the "old way" seems nuts. I should also add that its actually a lot harder to run forefoot style on with traditional running shoes because the heel is so thick.
But where my personal experience differed a little was that I found that the skin of my feet was my biggest hold back. Even when I felt like I was running well barefoot, the skin on my feet hurt so much after a certain amount of distance that I stopped even though everything else felt good. I found some minimalist running shoes (merrell trail glove for me) provided me with cushion from the sharp ground that let me work on and focus on other parts of my form, not just how much that last little pebble hurt my skin. I was actually able to relax more with minimal shoes because I wasn't hesitant about the pain in the sole of my feet. To make a safe transition, I still rigorously control the amount of my "barefoot style" running and am building up very slowly. I still plan on running completely barefoot for short distances because I think total barefoot is the best way to retrain form.
One final note, at the end of the book, Ken Bob includes some comments from other notable barefooters, some of whom are at odds with his approach in some respects. I really applaud that, an author who is not so dogmatic that he cannot accommodate alternative approaches.
This book has gotten me to rethink the way I've been running, or trying to run, all my life. Although I'm still wearing shoes, I have been gradually incorporating Ken Bob's principles of light, gentle running into my routine and, for the first time, I can run regularly without pain! For me, that is huge! In this book, Ken Bob does a good job describing the philosophy of barefooting and breaks down the technique so that you can understand and actually do it. As he says, barefooting is more than just taking off your shoes. It's a relearning of how to run. I highly recommend this book to anyone, even if you don't plan to shed your shoes.
I took them off one Saturday morning and went for a short run on a local trail, and was instantly hooked (and, to be honest, somewhat hurt, since I went WAY further than I should have and developed some blisters on my soles). I began looking for as much information as I could find on the subject, and found Barefoot Ken Bob's book on Amazon. Ken Bob holds regular Saturday clinics, and because I live relatively close, I went to one in early September. His clinic brought the information in his book to life, and I subsequently found myself referring back to this book again and again, as I trained for the Carlsbad Half-Marathon in January. I wasn't sure that I was giving myself enough time, but with the help of this book, and good online forum support at the Barefoot Runner's Society, I gradually rebuilt my running form and mileage. I went into the January race feeling fitter and better prepared than I have for any other race, despite the fact that I ran probably 40% less than I would have had I trained in shoes. I beat my August race's time by almost 5 minutes running barefoot. That's not hyperbole; that's just the fact.
This book has so much to offer the aspiring barefoot runner. If your goal is to learn this skill (and it IS a skill that must be learned, given how corrupted our running form has become by all the super-cushioning protection that modern running shoes provide), then this is the book for you. You'll refer to it often, and learn something new each time you do. Highly recommended.
Most recent customer reviews
The first day with Vibram five fingers and Second/Third days with barefoot. I thought the barefoot running would hurt my feet.Read more