Monday, May 6, 2013

Barefoot running with Seven Sashen

Funny one-liners are something that Steven Sashen is famous for.

Steven Sashen running in Xeroshoes

Of course, those who know Steven realize that the comedy he brings to conversation is just coincidental perk that comes with any running lesson he teaches.

Steven is a professional All-American Masters sprinter and is among the fastest men over age 50 in the U.S. He is also creator of Xero Shoes. (see banner in this blog).

Xero Shoes are sandals that allow a runner's feet to have completely- unrestricted movement; they mimic the same movements as running barefoot.  But even as Sashen sells more an more sandals, he's quick to tell you that "nothing is barefoot running except barefoot running," and proceeded to open Sunday's lesson with that same remark.

Sashen stressed the importance of not working too hard when learning to run with or without shoes.

"It should be easy" he said and he then proceeded to demonstrate weight distribution of the runner's body head-first. "Watch kids run; their heads tend to tilt forward and the body follows."

A child's head grows to adult size long before the child is grown, so the head tends to fall forward when a child runs. But also, a child has not been conditioned by running habits that are taught, and by emphasizing this point, he is able to re-teach students. He then had the students tilt their heads in a particular direction and then run in order to feel the body gravitate in the direction the head was tilted.

Barefoot running form includes slightly tilting the entire body forward with a straight spine while hinging at the ankles. Gravity then pulls you forward as you begin to take your strides. Sahsen also encouraged shorter strides to keep balance. By not having to recover your balance like you do from an over-extended stride, you actually use less energy to run, even though you may be taking more steps.

Sashen is now teaching barefoot running classes in the Boulder/Denver area. More information is at the following link:

                                                  Lena Phoenix (left) with Steven Sashen (right)
                                                           on Shark Tank earlier this year. 

Xero Shoes can be purchased directly from the manufacturer by clicking the banner on this blog. They are manufactured in Boulder, CO. The company is owned by Sashen and his wife, Lena Phoenix. The couple and their well-known product were profiled earlier this year on the network show Shark Tank.

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