I’ve just returned from the cinema where I watched a great movie on the life of Indian 400m sprinter Milkha Singh. As the owner of this blog part of the movie really stood out for me, in his early days Milkha Singh sprinted barefoot!
It made me wonder… do barefoot shoes make good sprinting shoes?
After all before the introduction of Nike’s in the 1970’s everyone wore something called racing flats which are really a very minimalist shoe.
Currently the best selling mens sprinting shoes on amazon are the Puma Bolt, if you are a professional sprinter you probably already know what sprinting shoes are best for you and don’t need advice from me, but if you are an amateur sprinter perhaps your could take a leaf of of Milkha Singh’s book and run either barefoot or in minimalist running shoes. Perhaps I needed to take a leaf out of Milkha’s book….
Sprinting is one the best forms of exercises you can do, it’s probably better for you healthwise than jogging because pushing your body to the limit in an all out sprint will stretch your limits over time making you (and your heart) stronger and healthier.
So, inspired by the movie, instead of going for my usual jog I put on my Vibrams and went out to the park to try out some sprints. Usually I jog for about 45 minutes 2 or 3 times a week.
When I was younger and free I used to sprint a lot, playing sports or just running around but in adult life it’s something I just never do.
My training is just to help keep the pounds off and for general well being and there is so much more I could do.
I am very inflexible and probably should take up yoga or something to help with that. So, out on the grass and walked 1oo paces from a tree (my finish line) turned and ran full speed as fast as I could back.
Now I’m used to running in Vibrams so I think my feet and ankles are strong. The sprint felt very natural. I love the feeling or running on grass.
When you wear Vibrams you can really feel the ground. I don’t think I would run any faster if I was wearing spiked shoes I think one of the benefits of barefoot sprinting is that you can use your toes as they were meant to be used. Toes are actually an important part of running and when they are strapped inside spikes they can’t do their job properly. I think I’m going to try sprinting more often.
Minimalist running shoes and barefoot shoes (with the exception of Vibram FiveFingers) are not really a new thing.
Athletes have a history of racing in simple flat sprinting shoes that are not over engineered.
Running is not difficult simply shoe manufacturers want you to think it’s incredibly complicated to that they can seel your their “technology” to run faster.
Yes if you are training to be a professional sprinter you should probably be on a track and wearing spikes.
If you want to run faster, go and watch Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, learn how the guy overcame many struggles in his life to go on to win gold medals and break world records.
I can tell you, he wasn’t focusing on his sprint shoes too much, he was running, training and sprinting.