A Barefoot Running Clinic in the Philippines? Wow!   6 comments

Oh, wait.. sponsored by a shoe company.. oh well..

A little more than a month ago, I saw an invite in Facebook regarding the First Annual Barefoot Running Clinic here in the Philippines, and hosted by world-renowned barefoot runners (they have a book and everything), husband and wife, Michael Sandler and Jessica Lee.

The post boasted “limited slots left” so I immediately signed up, and signed up Michel too. A couple of days later, we got confirmation emails saying we’re in the list. Yey!

I’ve been looking forward to something like this for months!

So very early November 29 saw our whole family in MOA to attend the event, even my in-laws were there (not to join the clinic, of course, but to bond with their grandkids)! I guess there were about 50 participants, and most of them were on their VFFs.

Of course, knowing that it’s sponsored by Terra Plana hindered me from being too excited about what I’d learn during the clinic. I was actually hoping the speakers would make us run barefoot a couple of times around MOA. No such luck.

But at the same time, I was very curious how the speakers would bash wearing shoes while still singing their praises for their kind sponsors. That would be kind of weird, right? I mean I’ve seen videos of these guys in YouTube talking about barefoot running, and they don’t like wearing shoes much.

Well I’m glad to say that the speakers handled it very well. “Shoes,” they said, “are feet-recovery devices”. They are what we use while our feet are still adapting to running barefoot. Run some without shoes today and run some with shoes the next day. Repeat until you run more without shoes than with. Progression is the key. I can see how that can work. That would make sense I guess to most people, especially those that have ran with shoes for a very long time. I just don’t see how minimalist footwear fit in that. Did they mean run with minimalist shoes today then with regular shoes the next day? It wasn’t clarified, and nobody in the audience asked.

But for me, I believe more in the Barefoot Ken Bob way. The only way to start running barefoot is to, well, run barefoot. No “transition footwear” necessary. I don’t think I’ll be hearing any minimalist shoe company knocking on my door soon so that they can pay me to talk about barefoot running.

Anyways, the clinic featured repetitive instructions on how to align our bodies so that it’s in “barefoot running” form (reminds me a lot of Chi Running),

repetitive grabbing-the-floor-with-your-feet walking exercise (much like how birds would walk I guess with their claws),

a rundown of useful exercise and stretching instruments that we can use, a lot of fun and insightful anecdotes from the speakers,

and a Q&A session.

One great thing we got from the clinic is that Michel now does not think I’m crazy for running without shoes on. I’m sure it was also an enlightening day to many of the other participants, and I really hope this would encourage more Pinoy runners to try the minimalist (if not really barefoot) alternative. Then maybe people would stop asking me if it hurts. ^_^

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6 responses to “A Barefoot Running Clinic in the Philippines? Wow!

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  1. hi yayan,

    i was in both the MOA@Pasay and ROX@Serendra Sessions for the barefoot clinic with Michael and Jessica…loved both sessions. i initially thought about the clinic as a forced attempt by a shoe company to promote their product — thankfully, it wasn’t the case. I asked one of the origanizers during the event and these guys just love barefoot/minimalist running. The event is actually sponsored by Team Barefoot (how come i didn’t know about this store in moa!!!–amazing really…) and Presented by Vivobarefoot since that is their brand of choice. I actually tried the Evos after the MOA session and just loved it;) i had to ditch my other brand because i like the feel of the Evo”s and how they look:) hope these guys have another set of clinics soon…i am now a real Evo Convert:)…my goal for this year is to be able to run really barefoot too:)

    • hi stella,

      yes, i agree, the evo does look way better than “the common” vffs (or other minimalist running shoes in the market today). i very much like the “bee-hive” design. i’m not sure about the feel though, as i have not tried one yet.

      also, there’s a group that does barefoot/minimalist running events every so often in moa.

      http://runningpinoy.wordpress.com/2010/12/20/4th-vff-fun-run/

      although it’s most likely a ploy to sell vffs, i still think they’re doing a good job in promoting this alternative way of running.

      it’s great that you’re thinking about running without shoes on. but what’s stopping you now anyway?

      🙂

  2. try it:) it’s a tad bit expensive though for my budget but i read about the release of the Neos — the cheaper evos but slightly heavier and will find a way to get that come payday:)

    i just don’t like the stares of people so that is preventing me from running pure barefoot in races although i am barefoot for the most part both at home and in the office:)

    i couldn’t stand the stares and people laughing/mocking me in my vff’s so i had to swift to Newton’s and recently, Kigo footwear…been running in evos for 1.5months now and i just love it…i can feel the ground much much better and no discomfort like the toe areas of my vff’s…actually, the kigos are really nice too and i love them for long walks…

    but hope to be real barefoot like you guys someday…i met jester also in the clinic and he runs either in evos or completely barefoot in races…there’s this barefootpinoy facebook page also for barefoot/minimalist enthusiasts that i’m a fan off together with the vff, terraplana and barefoot fb’s…

    • yes, i agree, the looks can sometimes be a concern. at first. and the questions, too. imagine the attention i got when i joined a trail run!

      anyways, i’m very glad that many shoe companies (even the popular and big ones) are now considering the minimalist alternative, and coming up with their own minimalist shoes. it is now not necessary to run (and walk) without shoes on to get the benefits of a lighter and more natural stride. after all, i got into barefoot running because i got injured running with shoes, and have been relatively injury-free ever since.

      what bugs me though is how much more expensive these running shoes are than regular shoes. i mean, aren’t they supposed to have less material? i’m guessing it’s the same reason why a mac costs a lot more than a pc..

  3. i agree:) the cost made me try vff’s first but the discomfort really prevented me from using it a lot. for the evos, i think what caught my attention more was how the maker (i think terra plana) has been an envi-pioneer…so that really caught my attention. i suppose their rationale of paying more to get these really cool eco credentials plus paying better rates for their workers made me ignore the cost of the evos (i got a discount though during the barefoot clinic:)…my newtons were a gift so that was great as that for me is the real over-priced forefoot running shoe. just this christmas though, i was gifted with these really cool envi conscious brand as well — the kigo…i haven’t tried them for trails but for road runs, they rock…so that’s my evolving barefoot journeyy:)…barefoot at home and in work and evos or kigos on the road:)

    • wow, such generous friends and family you’ve got!

      watch out for the new merrel minimalist trail shoes, the trail glove. i’ve been hearing a lot of good reviews on it. maybe something to add to your collection. 🙂

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