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Running barefoot isn't just for toddlers and summers spent in the backyard anymore -- the long-held tradition of running with no shoes is making a comeback.
This minimalist running technique has recently garnered a great deal of press with the creation of a new shoe for barefoot runners... confused? Don't be. The funky-looking Vibram Five Finger Shoe provides all the health benefits of running and walking barefoot, without the actual physical risks of going barefoot in a modern environment.
An article Runner's World published back in 2004 took a look at famous athletes with a history of running barefoot. The article points out that in 1960, Ethiopia's Abebe Bikila, arguably the best marathoner of all time, won his first consecutive gold medal and a World Reocrd sans shoes. And from 1955-1967, England Bruce Tulloh was setting many European records -- always in bare feet.
Charlie "Doc" Robbins, the winner of two USA National Marathon Championships in the late 1940s, completed 50 straight Thanksgiving Day Road Races in Manchester, Connecticut, before calling it quits two years ago. Most Thanksgivings, Robbins went shoeless, though he would resort to a pair of socks if the temperature dipped below 20 degrees, says the Runners World article.
Here are 5 tips from barefootrunner.com to get you barefooting safely in no-time:
1) Go barefoot whenever you can. At home, in the garden, in the office (if you can), playing with the kids, taking the pooch for his daily walk. The more your feet rediscover what theyre capable of, the better your feet will feet and so will your soul. Take a look at our minimal shoes reviews to find a pair best suited for your lifestyle.
2) Stop and think, do I really need those stinkin shoes to go? Sure, certain social or public situations require them, as do certain environmental conditions. Just take 5 seconds and consider if you can manage without shoes, if you can, go for it!
3) Start slow, but start. If youre a runner you have a great opportunity to run lighter, faster, injury-free and even discover a new running outlook. But dont ditch those sneaks and go unshod without a plan. Well, you can but your calves will hurt, the feet will tingle, and you may be sore in where youve never been sore before. When running in shoes (Barefoot 101) the muscles in your feet have been asleep for a very long time. Be patient as they strengthen over time. For the average runner that means 5-10mins of barefoot running on pavement per run for the first little while.
4) Let go of the stigma. Isnt it ironic how going barefoot has negative social stereotypes; while gymnasts, dancers, martial artists and other pros depend on their naked feet. Why the taboo of being naked from the ankle down? So the next time you feel uncertain of going barefoot, just remember that youre doing the right thing for your body. And if someone asks, just say your feet need a workout.
5) Listen to your feet. No different than those aches your body may feel after a killer gym session, long training run, hardcore trail ride, or showing off your skills on the ski hill. As you introduce barefoot running or walking into your training, youll notice that shorter than usual runs will cause muscle and arch tenderness. Dont plan on that Sunday morning 15 miler training dash for at least 3-4 weeks. Dont force it. Youre awakening, straining and training muscles that have been asleep for a long time. At the same time, those comfy shoes have thinned your soles and strengthening of them will take time, again, patience.
Here at KT Tape, several of us have enjoyed going barefoot more often during short runs. Don't forget, if you choose to pick up barefoot running, don't forget to keep using KT Tape on any sore muscles or joints...and check out taping techniques for all kinds of running here: taping applications
Industry experts say the world of runners is growing, and coinciding with that growth is the progress of technology available to runners. We at KT Tape would like to thank all the specialty retailers out there who accommodate the needs of those athletes continually striving for their PR's. We are proud to have a presence in more than one thousand specialty retail stores, many of which focus specifically on the sport of running. Kinesiology therapeutic tape is great for all sports, and is especially helpful to runners and their specific needs. A recent article in the trade magazine Running Insight quotes the KT Tape Vice President Jim Jenson below.
"From the very first day, we have been focused on runners and the run specialty channel because KT Tape is a perfect solution to the common overuse injuries runners experience such as ITBS, runners knee, shin splints, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, hamstring strain, et cetera. The running market has been very receptive to our product. We are thrilled with how quickly runners are adopting KT Tape, and the enthusiasm generated by athletes who use the tape and see instant results."--KT Tape's Jim Jenson in Running Insight
Visiting specialty running stores and getting to know the staff there, we feel, is an important part of your overall running experience. The quality and attention to detail you'll find there is impressive, because most of the owners, managers and employees are passionate runners who are eager to talk about the sport and help you get stronger, faster and more satisfied with your shoes, apparel and accessories. We encourage you to get out to these specialty stores and take advantage of the advancements in running technology and the products that facilitate better performance. Its a great time to be alive, and an even better time to be a runner!
At the core, walking and and running seem pretty simple --it's just putting one foot in front of the other. Right?
Wrong! Everyone's gait is unique and different. And everyone has different needs when it comes to athletic shoes and support. An article at thestretchinghandbook.com delves into the science behind common running issues.
The Stretching Handbook: "The two conditions we are going to concentrate on in this issue are pronation and supination. These two terms refer to a foots natural rolling movement while walking or running. This motion is sometimes called the running gait, and is described at the New Balance web site as...
"A unique set of actions and reactions that your foot performs while in motion to support, cushion and balance your body."
Pronation refers to the inward roll of the foot during normal motion and occurs as the outer edge of the heel strikes the ground and the foot rolls inward and flattens out. A moderate amount of pronation is required for the foot to function properly, however damage and injury can occur during excessive pronation. When excessive pronation does occur the foot arch flattens out and stretches the muscles, tendons and ligaments underneath the foot.
Supination is the opposite of pronation and refers to the outward roll of the foot during normal motion. A natural amount of supination occurs during the push-off phase of the running gait as the heel lifts off the ground and the forefoot and toes are used to propel the body forward. However, excessive supination (outward rolling) places a large strain on the muscles and tendons that stabilize the ankle, and can lead to the ankle rolling completely over, resulting in an ankle sprain or total ligament rupture.
Some of the common injuries related to pronated and supinated gates include arch pain, heel pain, flat feet, shin splints and achilles tendonitis. Check out KT Tape's application for achilles tendonitis.
The best way to figure out if you're a neutral, overpronator or oversupinator runner is to head to your local running specialty running store for a Treadmill Gait Analysis.
So you call your mom to tell her about the great new job you've landed and how you are putting in 75 hours a week, making bank, and climbing the social ladder five rungs at a time. When you take a breath to continue explaining your conquests, she asks you the simple question, "That's great honey, but are you happy?" When all is said and done, the primary goal of many human beings is to obtain happiness. What is happiness? You've got to figure that one out on your own, but at KT Tape we've found that exercise is a big contributor to happiness. And, experts say, it may go even further than that. Studies show, people who work out experience euphoria as a result of endorphins.
As defined by Tom Scheve from howstuffworks.com, "Endorphins are chemicals that are able to cross through the gaps between neurons in order to pass along a message from one to the next. One thing is known for certain about endorphins: their ability to make you feel oh-so-good. When your body is subjected to certain stimuli,your hypothalamus calls for endorphins, and the cells throughout your body that contain them heed the call."
When you exercise, you are beginning the process of endorphin production. A common example of this is known as the "runner's high," which is a feeling of exhilaration runners sometimes experience. Endorphins block the transmission of pain signals. Of course, when you are coming off your feeling of euphoria, the aches and pains communicate rather clearly. How can you have your cake and eat it too? The short answer is KT Tape. KT Tape provides pain relief for common injuries such as hamstring strains, sore calves, neck, back, shoulder pain and more.
Whether it's heavy weight training, jump roping, or pounding the pavement, you are now closer to happiness than you were before reading this post! Now get off the computer, generate those endorphins, and when you experience soreness or pain, apply kinesiology therapeutic tape. Oh yes, and when your mother calls, make sure to tell her you have found a certain level of happiness. She will in turn also be happy, so it's a win-win!
Competitive Dance is a demanding sport requiring endurance, vigor, and flexibility. Competitive ballroom dancing is formally known as dancesport, where couples are judged based on speed, elegance, body action, and dramatic movements. Age divisions start at nine years old and extend to a 50 and over category. Performances must include various styles from the tango and waltz, to the cha cha and samba.
The health benefits of dancesport are impressive and according to Dr. Velazquez, a writer for ehow.com, "ballroom dancing is known to raise heart rate, burn calories, and tone every muscle in the body. People who share time, laughter, and thoughts together are more likely to have lower rates of illness and even death. By losing weight, eating healthy foods, and increasing activity people can live a healthier life."
The stage for dancesport continues to grow and at the 2010 Arnold Sports Festival, a youth and collegiate dancesport competition took place. KT Tape had a presence at this event and will certainly prove to be very useful to those in the dancesport world due to the product's elasticity and proven track record in providing relief and support for muscles and joints. We had a number of dancesport enthusiasts come by the booth to learn about taping for injury recovery elevated performance as they train and compete. We're looking forward to seeing more and more dancers taping up!
Much thanks to Sandy Dover and our friends at SLAM Magazine for the great review on KT Tape. In the review, Dover not only highlights how pro ballers use KT Tape for healing and rehabilitation, but have a first-hand view of how it's applied and how it works.
From SLAM Online's Sandy Dover:
"The tape itself can be used literally from the neck down to the feet and can be used to treat pain and support the neck, shoulders, elbows, upper and lower back, wrists, upper and lower legs, knees, ankles and feet. So you have runners knee? Check. Tennis elbow? Roger that. Spin splints, sprains and tendinitis? Yes, si, and da, it treats all of those ailments. KT Tape can even be used for that blasted plantar fasciitis ( Brandon Roy Tony Parker Ron Artest ). In the similitude of Kevin Garnett, I decided to wrap the tape around my knee like he might, and since I just have the occasional symptoms of runners knee (non-chronic, knock on wood) and it was the easiest place to apply without needing a second person to assist me, I went for it.
It felt quite comfortable and it felt surprisingly supportive around my knee. Then, after waiting for the non-latex tape to set on my skin before I did anything else, I went and did some high-impact cardio exercise in the form of rope jumping. Because that activity is the best way for me to measure how much support the KT Tape was going to offer for my KT Taped knee, I did that for 30 minutes and alternated foot jumps for variety and further measuring and judgment.
Basically, I finished and I had no problems, no pain and the tape was still intactit was a positive experience. It really was, and it acted like external tendons or ligaments for my knee (in a way that Nikes Vectran threads in the Flywire technology are used to wrap the foot in athletic shoesnamely in the various Zoom Kobe, Hyperdunk and Hyperize basketball series)."
We're excited to see more and more basketball players making KT Tape part of their training, game-day and post-game regimen.
To read Sandy's entire article, click here.
Each weekend, the KT Tape team travels all over the country taping up thousands of racers before major marathons and this weekend should be no exception. In fact, we'll be taking both ends of the country by storm. We have booths at the Los Angeles Marathon and Georgia ING Marathon and exhibiting at the Georgia and Los Angeles Health and Fitness Expos on Friday and Saturday before the race. At each booth, KT Tape staffers will give taping demonstrations and race advice to marathon runners.
A KT Tape application lasts up to five days, so the booths are always busy in the days leading up to the race. Racers can get taped up well in advance of the race and still get the relief and support they'll need. Both events this weekend will draw thousands of marathon runners and the booth should be packed! Good luck to the racers. Stop by and see us at the Expos!
We had a great time at the BNP Paribas Open this past week in Indian Wells, California. We treated thousands of people with strained shoulders, back pain, tennis elbow, wrist pain, and knee pain. We are very pleased at the results and we'd like to thank all of those that returned to see us days later to report on their relief and improved conditions. Many reported that they were able to play again without the pain that had sidelined them for so long.
We are thrilled to see more and more recreational tennis players turning to KT Tape to treat aches and pains and to help prevent injuries. A tennis player recently sent us the following feedback:
"Wow. Really. A runner friend of mine gave me a sample pack that she got from a marathon. I watched the video and put the KT Tape on my arm (I have had tennis elbow since June, treating it with physical therapy three times a week), and voila, no more tennis elbow. The product is magic. A miracle. Amazing. I called the nearest store and bought five rolls of it (that is all they had) and have handed them out to my friends with injuries at the tennis club. You guys are really amazing, thank you so much. I will be your best salesperson!"
If you'd like more information on how to treat common tennis pains and injuries such as tennis elbow see our step by step instructions.
Fatigue from over-training is something most endurance athletes may experience at one time or another. The KT Tape team has met some amazing endurance athletes who suffer from fatigue resulting from over-training. Over-reaching can lead to an over-trained body, effects of which might last for a few hours, days or worse a couple of months. According to Dave Scott from Triathalon magazine, listening to your body and knowing the signs of an over-trained body is important.
Dave Scott says, "Endurance athletes are particularly vulnerable to physical overload. Too much progressive training combined with incomplete recovery can create an over-reached athlete and an over-trained body." The term over-reaching is described as short-term overload that can be managed in a few days. Over-reaching continuously can lead to an over-trained body which can take the body longer to recover. With proper rest in between workouts is the best option to not becoming over-trained.
"First, it's important to recognize that an athlete who repeatedly overloads his or her body without allowing adequate recovery time will eventually reach a state that requires rest. The length of the required rest period is one difference between over-reaching and over-training. Secondly, over-reaching symptoms can sometimes be masked by an overzealous, type-A athlete. An athlete and/or a coach must objectively recognize the patterns and fluctuations in a training year to prevent the compromised results that accompany chronic over-training," says Scott. "The three training parameters that dictate success for an endurance athlete are progression, overload and recovery. Without repeated days, weeks and months of workloads that break down and rebuild you, physiological progress would come to a standstill."
Over-training and over-reaching can be controlled by recognizing early symptoms and following required patterns of recovery. These recovery periods are designed to ensure your body is given ample time to rebuild. Ideally, never compromise proper recovery for another hard training session. For a successful endurance plan, the key to improving is progression, overload and recovery.
"Use all three forms of training to maximize your training and racing potential. Recovery is not an excuse; it is a necessity," summarizes Scott. To read the complete article follow this link.
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