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6510 Views 8 Replies Latest reply: Mar 4, 2014 7:37 AM by Scrufffy RSS
liverstein Rookie 2 posts since
Feb 4, 2014
Currently Being Moderated

Feb 4, 2014 2:27 PM

beginning with midfoot strike / minimal advice

I am still somewhat recovering from a liver transplant that happened just over a year ago.  And I have a heart valve repair surgery coming up in approximately 5 months.  As of now I don't have any restrictions except what the use of common sense imposes.  Most of my work is done in my home office, and I have a relatively inactive lifestyle right now.  I used to love cycling and did a couple centuries a year before I came to the city got married and restarted school full time all at once (kids have been added since then).  Anyway, I'm sick of not doing anything and as the weather gets a little more reasonable this spring, and as the snow and ice clears, I am wanting to begin running.  The recreational cycling in the city just isn't what it was in Rural TN where I used to live. And some of the meds I'm on have affected my bone density, so a little impact will be good.  And I want an exercise that will work my core a little more. 

I have never even worn minimalist or "barefoot" shoes.  But I have done a lot of reading and understand the issues and the benefits.  I understand that you want to transition into it slowly and build all the supporting muscles that are involved.  I however will be pretty much starting from scratch. I'm thinking that I can build my form, muscles, and cardio all simultaneously, and not have the issue of transitioning to a different running style.  So as I'm looking at the shoes, I'm thinking that I really don't have strong convictions about lieral "barefoot" running, like in the five finger shoes.  I think some cush is just sensible.  I'm merely interested in having good form that I can continue into old age without having knee issues.  One of the things I'm seeing is a lot of in between shoes, some with 0 drop and a little cush, some with 4mm drop and cush.  some with as little as 4mm cush with 0 drop.  I really don't know what these translate to in real world feel and form.  I'm thinking I don't want any drop, but then again I don't really know what it feels like.  Would a little drop hinder my developing the proper form?  What is the mimimum amount of cush I would want if my route includes some sidewalk?  There is a Park nearby that has a running trail that is cinder or woodchip or something organic.  I think that would be my primary route.  Another issue that complicates it is that I'm still just working part time and have a young family ie. money is tight.  I don't want to buy something that isn't going to work and have to buy twice. So my question /questions : What advice do you have in regard to minimalist shoe options?  Am I making too big of a deal between the varieties?  Do you have any thoughts or advice that I should be asking for that I haven't thought of yet?  Thanks in advance.

  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,369 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Feb 4, 2014 5:21 PM (in response to liverstein)
    Re: beginning with midfoot strike / minimal advice

    1.) Quit over-thinking it.

    2.) "barefoot shoes" is an oxymoron.  Barefoot is barefoot.  Shoes are shoes, just a matter of degree.

    3.) "proper form" - GAH!  Nobody knows what proper form is. The best form for you is the one you run with, as long as it doesn't cause injury.

    4.) Honestly, I don't think you can "understand the issues and the benefits" without being a runner for some time.  You can read all you want but it's "where the rubber meets the road" that it counts.  And only running experience can give you that knowledge.

     

    Go to a good running shoe store - not an outlet or a "big box" store.  Find one where they can watch you run, for instance, on a treadmill.  Tell them the approximate price range you're in and that you're open to various brands/types of shoes.  Try on as many as you can (size up 1/2 to a full size from your street shoe) and do a little running in them - treadmill or around the store or whatever.  Get the shoes that feel the best.  Go to another store if you can't find anything you like.

     

    Start with a program like C25K (http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml).  Run upright, head up, upper body & arms relaxed, any forward lean should be from the ankles, not the waist.  Keep your strides relatively short, with your foot landing under your body, not in front of it.  Run at a speed that lets you talk in short sentences.  Don't worry about your footstrike.  (In fact, recent studies have shown that heel-striking is more efficient than midfoot and there is no increased risk of injury.)

     

    I'm sure there are things I've forgotten to mention. Hopefully you'll hear from others.  Good luck!  BTW, a friend of mine is a 20-some-year liver transplant survivor and completed the Marine Corps Marathon a few years ago.





    Len

  • Haselsmasher Legend 507 posts since
    May 25, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Feb 4, 2014 6:30 PM (in response to liverstein)
    Re: beginning with midfoot strike / minimal advice

    I pretty much agree with Len.

     

    I think a very significant problem in our society is that we try to take things down to a one-size-fits-all, give me "the" right answer, if-I-do-just-this-one-thing-everything-will-be-perfect attitude.

    *  Heel striking has gotten SO much attention.  What matters is the short strides.  It so happens that the longer your stride the more pronounced the heel strike.  So what do people focus on?  The heel strike.  "Heel striking is bad."  Well - not necessarily.  LONG STRIDES are bad.  And even that may be wrong.  In reality HAVING YOUR FOOT ON THE GROUND TOO LONG may be bad.  (There is natural elasticity in your tendons and ligaments and if your foot is on the ground too long you don't give those tissues the opportunity to "bounce back" as they naturally can - returning energy to your stride.  You can kind of feel it yourself:  try running in place with a slow cadence.  Then run in place with a fast cadence - having your feet hit the ground ~180 times per minute.  The fast cadence likely feels easier.)

    *  Don't be focused too much on the heel-toe drop.  Again - people get really fixated on something measurable.  "If going from 12mm to 8mm is good, then going to 4mm must be better and 0mm must be fantastic."  I think it is better to have a relatively lower heel.  It enables you to take advantage of that springiness I described previously.

     

    I massively agree with Len's comments about running upright, leaning from the ankles, etc.

     

    For now just focus on getting into a routine.  (i.e. what do you need to do in your life and life schedule to ensure you go out consistently?  Are you able to do it consistently?  I think for many our brains can only handle so much at one time.  If going out is new to you and, when you do so, you're also trying to process all the form questions you do - it could just be overwhelming.)

     

    Good luck!

     

    Jim





    http://jimhaselmaier.blogspot.com/


    "Kick off your high heel sneakers, it's party time."

    -- From the song FM by Steely Dan

  • Bethany Lobaza Rookie 2 posts since
    Mar 29, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Feb 12, 2014 8:04 AM (in response to liverstein)
    beginning with midfoot strike / minimal advice

    Hi liverstein,

     

    I actually disagree with these guys... injury after injury since high school I have been in and out of Physical Therapy. Running form is vitally important for me to prevent injury. I used to be a heel-striker and constantly had shin splints. My miracle shoe was the Newton Isaac S. This is a shoe that forces you to have a mid-foot strike due to the manufacturing of the shoe. You'll be able to tell even when walking on them the difference they make. Newtons then transition you down the line of their shoes to eventually prepare you for their minimalist shoe. I've been injury free since June due to them (plus some orthotics) and I will be Club Newton for awhile I'm sure!

  • Greenbelt9 Amateur 8 posts since
    Sep 19, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Feb 12, 2014 8:50 AM (in response to liverstein)
    beginning with midfoot strike / minimal advice

    I agree with the first two replies for the most part but they should have gone a step further and emphasized working on good running form to start with.  Get some shoes that have decent cushioning and don't worry about going minimalist or zero drop, just being comfortable to start.  I would recommend learning the Chi-style low impact form (which you hinted at in the title of your posting) as I have done and it works well.  That trail you described would be a perfect place to start on.  You didn't state your previous running experience or your intended amount of running but as always my advice is to start very short and slow.  Not sure which NB Minimus you were looking at but I wouldn't recommend them to start especially the Zeros.  Look at a more regular shoe with cushioning. 

     

    As for the Newton comment- if you change your form you don't need any 'particluar' shoe.  So if you're already working on a midfoot-type form you're on the right track.

  • shipo Legend 455 posts since
    Aug 9, 2013
    Currently Being Moderated
    6. Feb 12, 2014 10:18 AM (in response to Bethany Lobaza)
    beginning with midfoot strike / minimal advice

    Bethany Lobaza wrote:

     

    Hi liverstein,

     

    I actually disagree with these guys... injury after injury since high school I have been in and out of Physical Therapy. Running form is vitally important for me to prevent injury. I used to be a heel-striker and constantly had shin splints. My miracle shoe was the Newton Isaac S. This is a shoe that forces you to have a mid-foot strike due to the manufacturing of the shoe. You'll be able to tell even when walking on them the difference they make. Newtons then transition you down the line of their shoes to eventually prepare you for their minimalist shoe. I've been injury free since June due to them (plus some orthotics) and I will be Club Newton for awhile I'm sure!

    While I'm not going to say you're wrong, I'm having a very difficult time wrapping my brain around the things you've written.  As a general rule, heal striking has nothing to do with shoes and everything to do with running mechanics, and the concept of a miracle shoe which can force someone to become a mid-foot striker seems pretty out there.

  • GoGoJules Rookie 2 posts since
    Jun 26, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. Feb 19, 2014 9:43 AM (in response to liverstein)
    beginning with midfoot strike / minimal advice

    Newton's don't exactly "force" a mid-foot strike, but the shoes have lugs on the sole that definitely encourage it. Coupled with Chi, Good Form, or a similar running strategy they'll make the transition far smoother than if you move straight to a zero drop shoe.

     

    I went from a pair of NB Minimus Road Zeros to the Newton Gravity, and it took more than a few miles to adjust to the feel on my feet. I found that my footstrike in the Newton's was definitely more mid than toe, which for me is a good thing. That being said, those shoes are definitely not a necessity, and can be rough on the wallet at $175 off the rack.

     

    I'm currently in a pair of Skechers GoRun Ride 3s that I LOVE and they were $80. 4mm drop and some extra cushion are nice! The NB MR00s were amazing as well and are still one of my favorite shoes, but with no drop and no cushion you feel literally everything on the road, down to the tiniest pebble.

     

    I would highly recommend attending a clinic if you can; I went to a Good Form Running clinic at my local Fleet Feet store one evening, and picked up quite a few tips and tricks that I had read about but hadn't been able to quite put into action.

     

    Hope something in here was useful to you!

  • Scrufffy Legend 252 posts since
    Dec 2, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    8. Mar 4, 2014 7:37 AM (in response to liverstein)
    beginning with midfoot strike / minimal advice

    Hey bud.  I think the comments so far are very good.  My take is more in the vein of the learning/transition.   I alternate between Nike Free 3+ and Altra Instincts.  The Nike's have 4 mm drop and cushioning, the Altra's 0 drop and minimal cushioning.  I found the Nike's to be a great transition shoe. Going straight to a 0 drop and little to no cushioning is a big step.

     

    But what i believe is most important is the way you actually approach getting into what ever form you use. I kind of agree with len but I think this is a big chunk of new and what you might consider is a small bite to start.  This is my experience and how I would do it if I was starting the transition again:

     

    Program yourself on the priorities!  Make sure that when you start to run you have in mind exactly what it is you wish to emphasize in each run!  I recommend the first few runs are just to get a feel for being able to relax and get the feel of  what I’ll referr to as natural style. I think len’s description is very good: “Run upright, head up, upper body & arms relaxed, any forward lean should be from the ankles, not the waist.  Keep your strides relatively short, with your foot landing under your body, not in front of it.”

    The thing I believe is most important to emphasize in the transition, is to relax and run tall. If you find yourself  getting tight or straining at any point, walk!   Keep everything relaxed, shoulders, arms, legs.  Holding a tall relaxed posture is important, but it is not the same as a rigid or stiff posture.  Just assume the tall posture and relax, don’t fight to hold it.  As soon as you loose either your posture or your ability to relax, stop and walk. Let the walk get you wanting to start the run back up. Start back up relaxed and run tall.

     

    As you start getting into running, do not even think of pace or how fast you should be going. Distance and speed are for later.   Posture and relaxation are the hardest things to learn. Once you get the feel you will understand how key they are to running pain and injury free and enjoying the experience.

     

    Early on it is normal to lose the ability to relax as you get a little tired or winded.  Walk!  Then start the run again emphasizing relaxed muscles and tall posture.  When you can trot along relaxed for 5 minutes and stay relaxed and in good posture, you have what you need to make gradual increases in distance and speed knowing how it should feel.  Once you get here your body will guide you as you move toward your running goals. 

    Good luck and enjoy the path.

    Jack





    Spa5k, 11/04/10, 30:58 2nd place senior

    Peace and Love 5k 3/16/11 29:05 1st place senior

    Toad Suck Daze 5k 30 April 11, 28:29 1st place age group

    2011 Spa 5k 11/19/11 25:55 1st place senior Personal Best, 2nd career

    Looking for a 10 k to run and if that goes well, a HM next spring

    A body at rest tends to stay .... on the couch!

    Jack

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