What’s your story?

Posted on May 16, 2012


This mornings run on the sand trails behind Al Khail was accompanied by a great interview with Ted McDonald aka Barefoot Ted of Born to Run fame.

Barefoot Ted, as the name might imply, (!) is an athlete committed to rediscovering our natural human potential by running better … more efficiently and more joyfully … barefoot! He believes we should avoid cushion and comfort, stability and support … and instead give our feet the freedom to rely on good form, quick cadence and gentle landings. Ted believes that ultimately this strengthens the body and the feet as well as leading to improved health overall.

The interview was entertaining, energising and inspiring to listen to … it certainly kept me occupied whilst I nursed a rather parched palate post Ladies Night.  I remain undecided on my thoughts about barefoot running.  Personally, I think I’m probably just too vain to wear ridiculous-looking finger feet and besides, nothing could tear me away from my current and rather fabulous adidas collection. (Imelda has nothing on me)

My biggest takeaway from the podcast however was not down to the whys and why nots of  barefoot running but rather that most people like Ted … i.e. those who have a strong belief or follow a route that defies convention are very dogmatic, whereas Ted is not.  Far from it.

In Ted’s own words, ‘I am dogmatic about not being dogmatic.’

This I found refreshing.  The internet is such an amazing tool that gives us 24/7 access to any information we could possible want … a scroll down our Facebook pages alone and we’re attacked daily from all angles re how to train, what to eat, when to sleep and so on …

I know myself, I get distracted for hours reading, learning, absorbing, devouring snippets of information BUT I guess what it pays to remember is that not everything you read is proven.  Not everything you read is from a doctor or an expert … and even then, how would they know the best course of action for YOU?  Research is often plagued in inconsistency and inaccuracy and besides, we are all bespoke beings that don’t respond to a one size fits all approach anyway.

Barefoot Ted talked about how he’s just a storyteller.  Once upon a time, he had a problem (constant injury) … and he found a solution (barefoot running) … he isn’t prescribing his approach to all but he wants to share his story and join the dialogue by telling the world that what works for him might too work for others … that it’s a viable alternative to constant treatment and expensive orthotics at best to being totally grounded at worst.

I thought about this for the remainder of my run … I guess all I write too is story telling. I’m sharing my experience as a runner, as a fitness junkie, as a gym bunny, as a daughter, a step-daughter, a little sister, a big sister, an aunt, a girlfriend, an ex-wife … and most of all as a student, a student of life. What I rave about others may rant about and vice versa … and that’s no bad thing because it all boils down to choices and the more knowledge we can gather about the options available, the better the decision we are likely to make.

So the point of this ramble is this. Read and review as much as you can as often as you can. Take on board what might work for you then research, research and research some more until you feel confident to make the right choice for YOU. Always try before you buy! As for the rest, if in doubt, leave it out (wise words from my Pilates guru … Yvette Franzos). Never take what your neighbour, best friend, lover, mother or other says as gospel because only you really know what’s best for you … and only you can be held responsible for the outcome, good or bad …


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