CHRISTOPHER MCDOUGALL: BORN TO RUN

We caught up with US bestselling author of ‘Born To Run’ Christopher McDougall, after last night’s talk on barefoot running in London. Canoe have a signed pair of Evo’s to give away to one lucky winner along with a signed copy of ‘Born To Run’. To be in with a chance follow us on Twitter @Canoeinc and re-tweet:

RT to win a pair of Christopher McDougall signed Evo’s and copy of ‘Born To Run’ @Canoeinc (@Terra_Plana)

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What’s your advice to those starting out barefoot running and what techniques would you recommend?

First of all watch kids, they seem to have got this all figured out, no one ever taught a kid how to run. When you watch what they do they run exactly right, landing on their mid foot, kicking their feet behind them and bending their knees.

I believe the best way to learn is right down to bare skin and finding out what your foot is comfortable doing. A smooth and hard surface is the perfect thing whereas with grass it’s not forcing you to do anything different. You can also get yourself in trouble with grass, as you can’t see what’s within it, whereas on a hard surface you can see everything. There’s also a real delicious surprise value running on the hard pavement because you’re expecting for it to hurt and when you try it’s not – that’s exciting!

Would you recommend barefoot walking first to ease yourself into barefoot running?

That’s an interesting question because there’s a guy called Danny Dreyer who teaches chi running and he says if you can master walking, running is no problem. I wouldn’t agree with that but I have a feeling I’m wrong! I think you should practice running because it’s different to walking. I also think he knows more than I do… Running itself is a special skill and easier to practice on its own but form is the most important thing.

Would you advise visiting a coach before starting out?

I would recommend, but don’t want to create a barrier. I think you can learn just fine on your own but it’s something you have to learn, take some time with, ideally run barefoot, practice a little bit, get the form which you will start to feel naturally. If you have access to a coach even better, it will make it quicker and easier and there’s someone there to answer your questions. And you’re going to have questions.

Not enough coaches are around like Lee Saxby, the reason I always talk about him is there is no one else! I wish there were 10 guys but there are just a few around and a couple in the US that are very good, but that’s what the real lack is right now. If there were more people like that we wouldn’t even be talking about barefoot running like this now!

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For those wanting to try barefoot running but are cautious about swapping their cushioned shoes, how would you convince them barefoot is the best way?

Get your shoes off and try for yourself. It’s not a big deal, logically for millions of years we did really well without shoes and minimal footwear, only recently have we suffered this spate of running injuries. It’s only in our lifetime that we have that fear of pain. The Apaches weren’t afraid of running, we’re the only ones who are afraid of running.

With the recent high heel debate and the controversy surrounding the way they cause severe foot problems, would you recommend ditching them and going back to basics?

High heels are designed for a different function, the two can co-exist. I’m not a burn all shoes guy, what I’m trying to say is that there is a way that you can learn to run more healthily and want to take advantage of it. But as far as what you want to wear, wear army boots if you want, as long as you have the correct form you can wear whatever. The Evo is a great shoe but the shoe itself isn’t going to teach you anything, you have to have the form, then the shoe will be dynamite! You can’t expect the footwear to be this magical transformative device, it’s not.

I’m just excited, rather than look at the downside I look at the upside. The Evo didn’t exist last year and now it does so that’s awesome. It feels good and solves the problem that barefoot runners have had for a long time, this kind of little protection has never existed until now, things are changing.

For more on Christopher and the barefoot revolution, head over to his site HERE.

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