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Barefoot buzz

Posted by Elizabeth Cooney  January 29, 2010 06:08 PM

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Going the distance

Globe correspondent Elizabeth Cooney is writing about the Boston Marathon in the series "Going the Distance," which appears in the Globe's G Health section. She's also training for it, and hopes you'll check in with her along the way.

Barefoot running was burning up the Internet earlier this week following a research study from Harvard suggesting that shoeless or nearly shoeless running might spare runners from injuries by changing the way their feet strike the ground.

After the news broke Wednesday afternoon, a steady stream of customers were asking questions about minimal shoes, according to Nick Littlefield of Marathon Sports. Their curiosity reminded him of the response to the Nike Free, another slim shoe designed to simulate shoeless running, when it was introduced in 2004. Since then other models have come on the market, including Newtons and Vibram FiveFingers.

Littlefield is a little worried about enthusiasm overtaking caution. He sent out an e-mail blast to the store's newsletter subscribers, advising moderation. Changing from traditional running shoes to minimal ones should be done gradually to avoid painful muscle soreness or other problems.

"Our big fear is all this media is going to have people come in the door, want to buy the shoes, take them out, and get hurt," he said yesterday. "The last thing we want is for people to get hurt."

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Look for updates, news, analysis and commentary from the following.
  • Steve Silva, Boston.com senior producer, two-time Boston Marathon sub-four hour runner.
  • Ty Velde is a 16-time Boston qualifier who's completed 12 consecutive Boston Marathons and 25 marathons overall. Ty is now training for his 13th Boston run and will provide training tips for those who train solo and outside, no matter what temperature it is.
  • Rich 'Shifter' Horgan is a 19-time Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team member who runs in honor of his father, who died of colon cancer. He will provide updates on local running events with a focus on the charitable organizations that provide Boston Marathon entries for their organization's fund raising purposes

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