Post a comment to this blog entry and I'll enter you into a random drawing for a free copy of the DVD. After selecting a winner on October 8, I'll announce the lucky person on this blog and have them contact me for mailing information. Easy, eh?
"Barefoot Running: The Movie" comes from the same two folks that brought us the book, "Barefoot Running: How to Run Light and Free by Getting in Touch with the Earth." I reviewed the book in my June 19, 2010 post here. It was a well-written good book and a worthwhile read. If the movie was as good as the book, it would be pretty awesome. After seeing the "movie trailer" on YouTube, I was excited to finally get a copy of the full DVD. So, here's my "movie review"...
First, it's not really a movie. I'd call it a documentary and how-to guide for barefoot running. Actually, I think titling it as such would draw more people to the DVD. It's a solid source for barefoot running. It provides rationale, motivation, techniques, and drills. That's not what you expect in a "movie," but exactly what you'd expect from a documentary or how-to DVD. The full DVD is 74 minutes long and is divided into 17 short chapters, plus a small set of bonus features.
I consider myself a minimalist runner. I prefer to run in shoes that keep me connected with the ground, are lightweight, and don't interfere with my foot's natural movement. That means no motion-control shoes, no hugely cushioned shoes, and typically shoes that feature very little drop from heel to toe. I also run barefoot from time to time--maybe once or twice a week for short 2-5 mile runs. The thing I like about barefoot running is that it keeps me in tune with nature and myself. I don't feel like I'm running THROUGH my environment...instead, I feel I'm running IN the environment...I'm actually part of nature. That sense of connectedness is strongly emphasized in this DVD. You can tell Michael and Jessica are spiritual folks that value being "in touch" with the Earth. At times, I think it's a bit too much...but they don't come across as wackos...just sincere, honest, human beings. When they say they "Are no longer spectators of the planet, but are direct participants" you can believe them. It rings true. The other great thing about barefoot running, which is captured extremely well in this DVD, is the feeling of being a kid again. Barefoot running is fun and you look at the world from the eyes of a child. It's true! You can tell that Jessica and Michael are enjoying every barefoot stride as they glide up and down the trails, jump over logs, or walk along the beach. This "movie" captures the joy of running better than most.
Here are a few PROS and CONS from my prospective:
- Like the DVD holder/case. It's cardboard with just a minimal amount of plastic and no extra box cover.
- Beautiful scenery throughout the DVD (filmed mostly in Maui).
- Pretty cool original music to accompany video.
- Great motivational story about injury and recovery (from Michael), and to a less extent, Jessica.
- Nice combination of anecdotal evidence and research to make the case for barefoot running.
- Good descriptions of running form and technique (sort of like ChiRunning without shoes).
- Interesting running and balance drills, some that I'd never heard of before.
- Excellent warm-up routine before running.
- Nice recovery tips and foam rolling strategies.
- Very good insights for selecting "minimalist" footwear (needed for some terrain or weather)
- Needed more on proper foot care.
- A little too spiritual for my tastes.
- Foot landing technique seems a little too far forward (toward toes, rather than ball or midfoot landing) with no heel touch.
- Arms and hands are held rather high rather than more relaxed and at waist.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the "movie" and it motivated me to go out and run barefoot! That's a pretty good outcome. Even though I've run bare before, I still learned new techniques and tips for becoming a better barefoot runner. And the whole DVD was very motivational and inspiring in tone. I still can't believe Michael Sandler recovered from his major accident and is back to serious running...with his two bare feet! I won't spoil the story...just know that if he can do it, so can you! If you've ever thought about barefoot running, this DVD could be your gateway to a new way of running. If you've tried barefoot running in the past, you may still learn a few things from this movie.
NOTE: I can only mail for free to domestic (US) addresses. Contest ends at 11:59pm on October 8, 2012.