Friday, May 28, 2010
Thursday, May 27, 2010
last night so I headed to a local running store a few blocks away. I
naturally went to look at all the traditional running shoes and for
whatever reason decided to try some on, and even run on their
treadmill. It was interesting because I haven't put on a traditional
running shoe in over 16 months. It was like being a foreign object on
my feet and I tired at least 12 pairs from Asics, Mizuno, NB and
Here's a few observations from my experience:
1. All the shoes feel really tight, with narrow toe boxes and too
right on the sides of my feet. My feet couldn't breathe and I tried
Size 10, 10.5 and 11 just to see the difference. No surprise why
folks break toe nails in regular shoes.
2. There absolutely no way I could run without heel striking at
various times. I'm a pure natural forefoot strike (not even midfoot)
and I immediately started to midfoot strike at best and at times heel
strike. It's just so easy to heel strike with 10-14mm of heel build-
3. My senses went to sleep as well as my nerves. I couldn't feel my
foot and the connection between my brain and feet was cut off. I
couldn't tell if my landing was bad and I couldn't receive any
messages generated from my feet as a result of speaking with the
4. I could feel the shoe trying to do what my feet do. Having done
some level of BF for over 1 yr., I know the natural energy return I
get from a nice soft forefoot landing and the energy one gets with
VFFs, Evos, etc., but in this case, the shoe tries to return the
energy as opposed to the foot, thus resulting in less energy return
and weak feet since the feet aren't required to do much.
5. I tried the Nike Free 3.0 and it is just awful. It's a weird fit
and the heel is still much too big and almost no forefoot ground
feel. I'll say this, the Mizuno Wave Universe 3 is still one of the
best traditional running shoes although I don't run in them. If I had
to run in shoes, I'd choose them because they still provide a best
ground feel of traditional running shoes I've tried and less heel
6. The arch support of most of the shoes actually caused immediate
I had no doubt but this is further validation that there's no turning
back for me. No wonder I was injured so much in the marshmallow
shoes. How can a beginning runner learn how to run when the shoe
blocks all communication. It's like getting your drivers license but
being blindfolded and told to go drive during rush hour, in traffic.
It did energize me to continue this fight!!!!! It's just not right!
I look down the isle at all those running shoes of which they have no
data to support the designs and the shoes keep adding more technology
crap without justification.
Oh yea, of course I had to mess with the shoe salesman. I asked him
what shoe he would recommend for me and he said, "a neutral trainer
like the Asics DS Trainer." I tried it on and of course, I laughed
inside. I told him I've heard a lot about these folks promoting
barefoot running and what he thought. He said they are crazy. I
said, "I've only been running about 3 yrs. and my goal is a sub 20
min. 5k and did you think I could do that in a Vibram like shoe or
should I stick with something like the Asics trainer."' He said it
could only be done in trainer or racing shoe. I said, "I saw some
dude run a 19:20 5k a few weeks ago in some bright yellow slipper like
shoe, I think it was an Evo." He said, "it must have been a very
experience runner." I said, "interesting, I wonder who it was." I
never told him it was me!
Monday, May 24, 2010
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Friday, May 14, 2010
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
difference (hard to believe a 1/8 in. insole (2.5mm) has that much of
an impact)). I think I've pinpointed my threshold. Anything with
more than about 4mm of sole is problematic for me. I truly have to
run as close to barefoot as possible. My stride was quicker and I
landed softer without the insole (no choice when you are that close to
barefoot) and I felt more comfortable again.
There's a lot of trial and error in this running thing for each
individual but the great thing is when you start to really pinpoint
the thresholds that cause you issues. The last 3 months has helped me
more specifically define my personal requirements in footwear:
1. no more than 4mm of protection
2. no heel buildup
3. no arch support
4. no motion control
5. less than 8 oz. in weight (closer to 4 oz. is even better)
6. traditional toe box design (I like VFFs but not a big fan of the separate toe design)
Monday, May 3, 2010
LIGHTER IS BETTER
Lightweight trainers mean less impact, less fatigue and faster recovery
By Danny Abshire, co-founder, Newton Running
Wearing lightweight shoes and running with soft footsteps can be very beneficial for a runner of any ability or experience level.
If you have good form with a natural running (midfoot/forefoot) gait and you wear lightweight shoes, running can put you in a state of euphoric bliss as you effortlessly click off the miles. Everything flows together harmoniously and efficiently, no matter if you're running a minute or a marathon.
But if you have inefficient form and wear heavier, overbuilt shoes — and the two often go hand-in-hand — the simple act of running can quickly become very destructive to your body. Heavier training shoes typically weigh more because they have built-up heels, which translate to steep ramp angles of 8 to 15 percent. This encourages a heavy heel-striking gait and braking, both of which have been shown to cause a variety of overuse injuries.
Conversely, lightweight training shoes that have a very low heel-toe slope (5 percent or less, such as Newton Running shoes, which have ramp angles under 1.5 percent) encourage more of a natural running gait in which the foot hits the ground very lightly and almost level near the ball of the foot (very similarly to how a bare foot would engage the ground).
So how light is lightweight? Modern materials and manufacturing techniques — including less stitching, fewer overlays and lighter midsoles — are allowing shoes to get lighter and lighter. Training shoes still range from 7.5 to 9.5 ounces (depending on gender and shoe size) to 11.0 to 12.5 ounces. Two or three ounces might not seem like much, but you can feel the difference on your feet once you lace your shoes up and you'll certainly feel the effects after a long run.
But while lightweight shoes are better for all runners (especially when engaging in an efficient natural running gait), it's not only the actual weight that makes the difference. It's also about how the shoe is built and how much downward energy it can convert into forward propulsion. The Action/Reaction Technology™ in Newton Running converts impact energy into forward motion with up to 67 percent more energy return than traditional EVA foam midsoles.
However, that kind of midfoot/forefoot gait does not mean running on your toes like a sprinter. Instead, allow your foot to strike directly under your body and lift your foot off the ground instead of pushing off hard like a sprinter. Practice this method of landing lightly, let the foot settle level to the ground, then lever forward and lift the foot off the ground.
The benefits to wearing lighter shoes include less braking (and therefore less impact), less muscle strain and less energy output because you're lifting the weight of the shoe off the ground instead of using excessive muscular force to push off the ground.
Simple math says if you're carrying an additional 2 ounces over 25,000 steps in a half marathon or 50,000 steps in a marathon, it means you're lugging an extra 3,000 to 6,500 pounds to the finish line. And the difference of the impact transients — the forces that shoots up your body upon your foot's impact with the ground — is considerably more with a heel-striking gait in a heavier shoe than it is with a lightweight shoe that promotes an easy midfoot/forefoot gait. The combination of all of these factors means you endure less physical exertion and less fatigue in a lightweight shoe, and that ultimately means you'll recover faster.
There's a simple way to experience the metabolic differences of running with a lightweight, minimally constructed shoe compared to running in a shoe that's several ounces heavier. After warming up, run a mile in a pair of 12-ounce trainers on a track at a pre-determined pace (say 8 minutes, which means 60 seconds for every 200 meters) and record your heart rate data with a heart rate monitor. Then lace up a pair of 9-ounce trainers and run another mile at the same 8-minute pace. You'll likely find your heart rate is 5 to 10 percent less during the second mile when you're wearing lighter shoes, even though each mile was run at an identical pace.
The bottom line is that the weight of your training shoes can play a big role in how efficient you are as a runner. Lightweight shoes, especially ones that allow you to run with a natural gait and soft midfoot/forefoot footstrikes, can lessen muscle strain and fatigue, improve your endurance and help you recover faster, all factors in improving your running. But if you're considering changing your running form or the style of shoes you wear, do it gradually and carefully to avoid injury.
Danny Abshire is the co-founder of Newton Running, a Boulder, Colo.-based company that makes shoes that promote an efficient natural running gait. He has been making advanced footwear solutions for runners and triathletes for more than 20 years.
Sunday, May 2, 2010