So I was reading an article from the Vancouver Sun, discussing the idea that minimalist running is bad for average athletes unless they prepare and take their time (http://www.vancouversun.com/life/Lighter+shoes+lower+heels+follow+barefoot+running+craze/7846907/story.html). I appreciate the angle that is taken in this article. It is not one side as I have seen in many forums and articles over the past few years. You can easily find things that will argue with little to no real evidence for both sides. Most are based on speculation and opinion. Some blame is even passed on to such things as literature like Born to Run. This is a excellent read in my opinion but it is designed to make you think and to entertain. So in turn it seems like Chris McDougall changed his fortunes over night by switching to a minimalist/barefoot running style. But that is not what happened, it would have made for a boring read if it went through all the stages. People read what they want to read.
I will come clean and say that I am a minimalist runner and it was a slow and gratifying transition. I did so not because of a book, a tribe in Mexico or Kenyans and Ethiopians spending a chunk of their lives barefoot and some becoming excellent runners. I did it because what I was doing was not working, my running was causing me pain after a few kilometers. So I researched for months, on forums (birthdayshoes.com) and reading articles. Finally after all my time studying on my issues (knee pain and shin splints) I decided to give a pair of Vibram Five Fingers (KSO model, still my favorite shoe) a go. No running, just walking here and there for almost a month and then a kilometer here and a kilometer there of running. Fast forward to today and I am training for Around the Bay (30KM) and am doing it in minimalist shoes. Short runs are in Five Fingers and the longer ones have been in Vivobarefoot EVO II, New Balance Minimus MT10 trail shoes (reviews coming) and soon my new Inov-8 TrailRoc 235’s. The point I am making is the same as they make in the article. Time, research and experimentation is always needed. All of us are different and require different things, so open yourself to all ideas and try and research before you decide.
A closed mind is an ignorant mind.