Dr James Stoxen DC shares and demonstrates
Video Tutorial #171 Footprints In The Sand – What They Can Tell You About Your Barefoot Running Form And Technique
Coco Cay, Bahamas
November 9, 2011
What you can do while running in sand or a more solid ground with sand on the top, is to analyze your footprint to determine how your biomechanics are and what your step looks like.
By looking at your imprints in the sand you can determine whether the step was primarily a forefoot, midfoot, or heel landing and how much sheering resulted.
A good ‘spring” step results in an imprint that is mostly forefoot or midfoot with little to no heel and minimal sheering. This depends on your speed. I call this the human spring ‘sweet spot.’
The faster you go, the more you should be cognizant of your controlled fall. That way you insure you will have a mid foot or forefoot landing. Sometimes barefoot runners will get too confident and lose track of their landings and start heel landing.
When high level athletes run at high speeds most of them will be on their forefoot. In fact, if you look at track shoes (flats) you will see that they have spikes ONLY in the forefoot of the shoe and NO HEEL at all. That is because the heel never touches the ground in the race until they are braking at the end of the race. Some of you are braking with every landing which could be the source of your fatigue, aches and pains, conditions and even acute injuries.
Watch An Example Below Of Excellent Spring!!! Bob Beamon, (world record for the long jump). Run the curser for the video to move it along slowly to see the footwear and the way his foot lands. If you can run like Bob then you are on the right track.
When looking at the footprint you might see that the sand was kicked up. I am trying to make my body a spring mechanism and do not want it to shear as much. Sheering my foot means Im scraping the ground. Its pulling and not springing.
When you plant and pull you will be over straining the hamstring and posterior portion of your tensor fascia lat a, illio tibial band. I see this a lot with walkers who bang and twist, heel land.
You are trying to spring the body mass off the ground springing forward with elastic recoil and not bang and twist it into the ground and pull forward straining muscles. My goal is to have it SPRING off the ground with no heel landing.
When looking at the footprint you can tell if you landed forefoot, midfoot or on your heel. Try to kick back as little sand as possible.
Also, we know that if we drop balls or springs into the soft sand, they don’t bounce or spring back.
That is the same thing that happens with your body.
When you run in soft sand your body cannot spring off the sand because your spring energy is used up sinking into the sand. What happens is the efficient human spring mechanism reverts to a less efficient human lever system relying more on muscles to push your body out of the sand rather than spring out of the sand.
So it is best to run on wet solid sand because your human spring recoils better off the hard surface. Why do you think I run on the street? If you can safely run barefoot on solid surfaces well then your human spring and your form and technique is ON!
Some advise you not to run barefoot and not to run barefoot on solid surfaces. Im not going to tell you to run barefoot on the street because that would be bad advice for someone who does not have a fully released spring linkage system, near perfect form and technique and adequate conditioning to run the distances without fatigue causing weakness in the spring suspension system muscles leading to a breakdown in the protective mechanism.
I am going to tell you I can do it and many others I know run barefoot on the same streets as a shod runner. Im also going to tell you that Abebe Bikila won the gold medal in the 1960 summer olympics running the entire course through the streets of one completely barefoot. The Olympics were sponsored by Adidas.
After the race, when Bikila was asked why he had run barefoot, he replied, “I wanted the world to know that my country, Ethiopia, has always won with determination and heroism.”
Some doctors and trainers advise you not to do this and not to do that instead of looking into what is possible and encouraging you to strive to be the best you can be. If you would like to run barefoot keep reading these blog posts and be determined and heroic.
If your doctor or trainer doesn’t want to help you achieve your goals find someone else who will.