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Stop TRAINing in RUNning Shoes

Posted by Jessi Stensland on Jan 18, 2009 3:26:26 PM

It is pretty well known these days (finally!) that:




Like flexibility, joint mobility, strength, stability, elasticity and overall power.  Tack on efficient running form (drills and such) and

now we're talking.


It's been great to see a more integrated approach being taken when it comes to endurance sports training.  To me, it's about working on the overall athleticism and injury resistance of the body, so that we've got the best body to DO our sport of choice with.  This of course underlies much of my blogging...if you haven't already's certainly changed my career and my life!


Getting back to running shoes...


As you know, running shoes are built for a very specific purpose:  running.  They are meant to support your foot as it moves in a linear direction while experiencing the ground reaction forces of the running gait.  The better the running shoe, the more precise the support is, and I'm assuming you've done your homework to find the right shoe for you.


Like most people, when I started to train in the gym, my running shoes are all I had, so that's what I used.  Just as when running, great foot contact during these types of specific exercises is just as important and yet very different than during the running stride.  It is important to get a shoe that suits your specific training needs both for efficiency of movement AND safety. It took me a while to realize it but once I did, back in 2004 I believe, I made the switch to more of a court shoe with a more neutral, stable base, which gave my foot a much better base of support when working on everything from linear, lateral, stationary, and power movements.  I also do a lot of my work barefoot when possible, but this is the next best thing.


Speaking of SAFETY:  Back in high school I attended a tennis camp and wore the only sneakers I had at the time which were running shoes.  At one point we were doing lateral suicide drills on the court, and I rolled an ankle BAD.  I tore all the ligaments off the bone.  Little did I know how much of an effect that injury would have on my future running career.  It's been a challenge, but its now under control.  A running shoe is DEFINITELY not meant to support side-to-side movements as you can easily see from the way the side of the shoe is taller than wider like a cross-trainer or court shoe (among many other reasons.)


My suggestion is to have at least one pair of cross-training or neutral support shoes to do your non-running activities in, whether it be your functional training workouts, or other sports like basketball, soccer, running around after the kids, or whatever other multidirectional activities you do!


It was awesome to see Under Armour take this idea to a whole other level with their training shoes: Proto Power, Proto Speed and Proto Evade.  POWER for stationary movements like strength (squats).  SPEED for linear movements like linear plyometrics and short bursts of running power or drills.  EVADE for lateral movements or any other multidirectional dynamic movements.  I wear the Speed shoes when I'm doing my short interval work on the treadmill, or on my linear movement days where I might be pulling sleds or other short bursts of speed or running drills.  I wear the Evades for my strength and my lateral or multidirectional movements (i.e. running ladder drills or other elasticity drills.)


You will typically see me with 2, if not 3 pairs of shoes at my workouts.  At the gym I will wear my Evades, then switch to Speeds or running shoes before I hop on the treadmill.  At the track, I'll do my movement prep in my training shoes.  I'll run in my racing flats.  And I have my running shoes in case I run a little as part of a warm-up or warm-down.


That's the scoop...


I highly recommend giving that gift to yourself and your bod!


Train smart and fun...Jessi

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