05 September, 2012

Running naked!

Well, no, not precisely naked - but more running without distractions and unnecessary equipment, allowing runners to interact more with those around them and with their environment.
This is the philosophy of the Naked Runners as they like to call themselves. In reality they are Silas Moss (an exercise scientist) and Dave Robertson (a physiotherapist) both from Newcastle and they have made it their mission to get people moving more and having fun at the same time.
Reading their blog made me think about what kind of runner I was. I'm not exactly a naked runner in the purest sense. I do measure distance and time with my Sportband and I do wear traditional running shoes. The purists would have us wear no shoes at all as shoes change our natural running style. My husband is somewhere in between. He wears Vibram FiveFingers - monkey feet as we like to call them - which are a little like foot gloves.
Vibram Fivefingers
In some respects however, I am a naked runner. I don't wear a heart rate monitor, carry a phone (unless I'm running to a coffee date), take fluids or gels (there's always a drinking fountain somewhere if I need one) or even wear loose clothing as I find it flaps around and distracts me or makes me far too hot. But most importantly for me, I don't run with music. I did for a while when I first got into running, but I soon found I'd really rather listen to the sounds around me - usually on the Barwon where of course I have done the majority of my running.
For instance, the sound of someone on a fast moving bike approaching from behind is always something I'd prefer to hear! But aside from safety concerns, listening to the sounds of the plants (yes) and animals and the river itself can be fascinating.
Sunset on the Barwon
Whenever I am by the river - run, walk or ride - I always count how many species of birds I can see or hear. Trying to keep track of which I've seen tends to take a little of my mind off what my lungs are trying to tell me while I'm running. Not surprisingly, I notice far more whilst walking than running or riding.
Other sounds along the river can also be of interest and are often weather- dependant. Wind tends to blow away most of the birds, but brings the noise of the trees to the fore. Running under the sheoaks on a windy day is almost like moving into another world. Their sound is unmistakable - as is the sensation of bare skin being stabbed by their falling needles! Now, there's a sensory experience! Likewise, on a still, overcast day when the Currawongs congregate in the sheoaks the tension is palpable.
Pied Currawong
Snippets of conversation from passing pedestrians can also be intriguing. As a couple jogged past me the other day I heard him say to her: "the first 21km shouldn't be too hard..." Who was he kidding?? Marathon runners I'm thinking.
So, I'm not exactly a naked runner, more a minimally clad runner perhaps. Now I'm off to have a think about how and why I run...perhaps there's another post in it...


  1. Great pics - the Barwon, not the Vibram Five Fingers shoes :-). Nice commentary on your running experiences.

  2. Hehehe...thanks! Thought it was time to get a bit arty with the river shots - am intending to get a lot more sunset shots over the next few months.
    My "model" just got his next pair of Vibrams during the week - grey this time, these ones look like robot feet instead of monkey feet!