Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Running without clothes, the next Logical Step


My Running Philosophy.
I truly believe are bodies are meant to run.  I do not believe we are meant to wear shoes or any other clothing for that matter.  I do think that shoe's can make us faster, but is faster  better?  If it one's intention to run with good form and stay with in the limits of what their body is ready for, barefoot running is the way to go.  It's not about pushing past your boundaries.  It's about listening to your body feeling your muscles work in harmony with each other.  By running barefoot or running naked  (more on this later) we are free to experience pain in places that reflect inadequacies in our form that we may have developed over a lifetime of shoes and clothing incorrectly. 
By letting your body tell you where your running form has become flawed you can learn to run more efficiently  and injury free.

Racing
(Health vs Ego)

So far my ego has prevented me from racing barefoot in all but one race (which I won).  The reason I have spent the last year racing in Luna Sandal's or Vibram Five Fingers, is so I could run reckless (Stupid I know) but with a similar stride as I would use barefoot.  We are taught from children that in athletic competition that we should give 100%.  If your body is at say 90% and you give 100% effort you are destined for further injury.
 When I race with something on my foot I am allowing my body to go passed it's comfort zone.  It makes it more difficult to tell when I am pushing  harder than I should. Testing one's  boundries greatly increases the chance of injury.  Is winning on a Saturday worth missing out on the next 6 Sundays?  Accolades are nice, but glory fades fast sitting on the sidelines not being able to do what I love makes giving 100% seem like the wrong decision.  I do not believe that racing is good for our bodies (when your race speeds exceed your training times).  Running barefoot (or in a minimalistic shoes) is good for our bodies and can lead to long healthy injury free life so long as we listen to our bodies instead of beating the clock or a fellow competitor. Will I continue to race? You can count on it.  Will I continue to be reckless? Perhaps a little I need to find a balance between satisfying my desire to win and my need to stay healthy.  I have learned a lot from own arrogance but  am I smart enough to apply this knowledge in the future, only time will tell.

Training


Nearly every mile I train I do so barefoot (mostly on the soft sand of the beach) For me training is rarely about speed.  I try to keep a controlled pace usually around a a 10 to 11 minute mile for a couple hours at a time.  If not at the beach I hit the rack near by my house barefoot. There I like to run faster around maybe a 6 to 8 minute a mile average for anywhere from 6 to 20 miles.  I almost never run hills (although I like to) and I almost never run on a trail outside of racing (I don't like driving somewhere to go running and I live at the beach).  The funny thing is I consider myself a climber.  The beach has made my core strong and given my legs power. By focusing more on what my body is doing rather tan how fast my body is going my training has become much more effective and enjoyable.  When healthy I like to run around 77 miles a week with about 1 day off every 2 weeks. 

About  two months ago I was trolling around the Barefoot running forum at runnersworld.com Some dude posted  this link www.nuderuns.com.  The thought of doing a nudist run intrigued me.  I did a quick scan through the list of races.  It turns out the only race in Socal is a 5k  at nudist colony that I once worked at.

 It was in the fall of 1997 I was fresh out of High school and had just finishing massage college.  National Nude weekend was coming (I'd never heard of it) and the Olive Dell ranch posted an add my my school requesting a few massage therapists  (what the hell). I didn't want to go alone (but I didn't really want to go with one of my buddies either) The girl I was planning on going with chickened out at the last second. The Friday before  my buddies girlfriend jumped on board (awkward, but nice to have some company).  When we got the nudist colony we were greeted by a couple of friendly naked people who showed around.  It was a pretty small resort tucked away in some secluded hills in the middle of nowhere. Clothing was optional but if you wanted to go in the pool you had to do it in the buff.  There was about 25 naked people strolling about (of every shape and size imaginable) plus a few other massage therapists from my school  (both fully clothed).  I didn't have to be naked but since I had the option ;) my clothes were gone with in the first 5 minutes.  It's was a liberating, strange feeling a cross between exhilaration, freedom and apprehension.  It's fun to see everyone naked  and would have been silly for me to wear clothes.  The vibe is not a sexual, I guess I would describe the bewilderment kind of like a child going to the zoo for the first time but with the realization that you are one of the animals as well.  After the first 20 minutes you hardly realize your naked anymore (other than the need for extra sunscreen).  Anyway I barely worked that weekend I was having too much fun just enjoying the nudist lifestyle and to this day I have only played shuffle board without clothes.  My friend I went with also decided to go nude and by the end of the day classmates had shed their clothes as well. Its hard to act pretentious when you are naked everyone was real nice and it turned out to be a great experience. Being naked is nothing to be ashamed of. Honestly I find it pretty ridiculous that we have laws mandating the wearing of clothes in public.  We have become way to uptight as a society in regards to our bodies.



Dangers of clothes.
Long beach marathon 2006 to perky for my own good

When I run I hate wearing clothes.  Even more important to me than not wearing shoes is not wearing a shirt (although I like wearing Moeben's and Cep calf sleeves).  Working out at the gym drives me crazy, by the time I'm done exercising I feel like I'm carrying an extra 30 lbs of sweat soaked up in my shirt. Over the years my running shorts have gotten shorter and shorter. The less clothes I wear the more comfortable I feel. If it's freezing outside obviously I'll wear more fabric but I love running in 80 plus degrees when it is not needed.  Recently as you have probably have read I  started using a Sport Kilt.  The kilt has given me much more freedom in respect to airflow but is still restrictive, and may cause chaffing when used over long distances. It's time to take my running to the next level

 It always makes me laugh to see naked people in shoe's.  This commercial is pretty freaking awesome

As I mentioned before I feel that our bodies are designed to run  without anything added.  Human beings come in a lot of different shapes and sizes (some of which by our own crappy diets and lack of exercise)  Of course we have certain parts that may flop around If we try to run in the same fashion that we are accustomed to while clothed.  What I am hypothesizing is that certain floppage,  shows inadequacies in our form that we may have never knew existed because of the restraints we have on our dangle-ables.  That maybe by learning to run without clothes at the tempo and stride which is dictated by the way in which we keep these parts of our body under control, we can learn to run in harmony with our entire body and become more efficient runners.  I will warn you that much like going barefoot for the first time after years of wearing shoes.  Running naked should be approached with caution.  I think more so for women than for guys certain muscles will be that were never used before will be called upon, the initial result will be soreness but with practice and dedication it may result in more perkiness and less sag. 



My naked running experience is very limited. My only experience comes from streaking around the block  on a bet and a little bit of running on the beach during some late night skinny dipping. I don't own a treadmill and don't think my gym would be too happy if they caught me in my birthday suit.  I live in a beach town suburbia and don't wish to press my luck with local law enforcement if accidentally ran passed a school.  I'm thinking about posting an ad on Craigslist.  "31 year straight male needs treadmill to use to learn how to run more efficiently while naked"  It will be very interesting to see what kind of responses I may get.  I plan to go back to the Olive Dell Ranch sometime in the next month or two to check out the course for their 5k and see how barefoot friendly it is and get some good training miles in while I'm at it.  If you know any good places to run naked in SoCal please let me know.
Some people love running, some people hate it.  For me it keeps me sane (well relatively sane).  Who knows whether my hypothesis will turn out to be correct.  Somebody has to conduct the research and that somebody is me.  If their are any women their that one help supply some data (lol) whether it be running with me or just reporting back to me their experience I would greatly appreciate it.  This could be the start of naked running revolution, 5 years from now I'll most likely be giving naked running lessons to the super rich celebrities at some hoity toity resort or perhaps I'll find some secluded hot spring in the desert and go primal.  What ever happens I shall enjoy the present and embrace where ever the future takes me.

1 comment: