18 & 19 April 2014
There is one thing that's for sure right now, and it’s that no matter whom you run with, or where you run, you will get somebody talking about barefoot or minimalist running. It’s something that has been around for decades but its something that has gone mainstream and got the masses talking. The problem is after many years of running in heavier more structured shoes, a lot of people are experiencing injuries and cant understand why.
I feel the reason is that most people's feet and all things associated with the feet like ligaments, tendons etc. have become lazy and weak because our shoes have been doing all the work for us for years. Another contributing factor is that we have landed on our heels and rolled as we ran for years and now we trying to land on our mid foot and it hurts.
So, do I think that we shouldn't be running in these shoes? NOT AT ALL! We ALL should be running in these shoes, BUT in moderation. We need to use these shoes as training tools. We need to start off with 15 minute runs in them or just do one faster run a week in them and build up to doing more and more over time. The rest of our runs should be in more structured, more cushioned shoes to let our feet and legs recover. It took me about 18 months to learn to run landing on my forefoot and its taken me almost eight months to get up to a two hour run in a lightweight shoe. I am lucky that I used racing flats for years when I raced triathlons so I didn’t go into this totally cold.
So perhaps this isn’t what you want to hear but you are going to need to buy two pairs of shoes. A lightweight racing type shoe and a more structured heavier shoe. There is however, another option that might be an answer to a lot of these issues we are talking about. PUMA recently released a first for us, a one piece moulded stability shoe. The first thing you notice about this shoe is the weight, at only 250g for a stability shoe, it’s a lot lighter than most shoes out there. The technology is genius, there are lateral release grooves that allow for a more gradual transition to mid foot and slows the rate of pronation.
And then there is a 20-degree medial flare that is steeper than a neutral shoe, which is normally around 14 degrees, so it keeps you in a neutral position to roll through onto your toes. This is great as it looks and feels like you part of the new movement but you still in a shoe that offers all of everything you need. The great thing is that if you move into a more forward striking foot stride the rear of the shoe doesn't come into play and at 250g, you still getting lightweight. But as you run longer and longer and start to get more tired and fall back onto the heel, the shoe system comes into play.
I will be running my marathons and Two Oceans 56km in the shoe as I think its the answer to my prayers. Lets face it we all need a little support from time to time and its 30% lighter than the shoe I was running in so I’m super excited to get onto the road in these bad boys. There you have it, my two cents worth. But again, find your own groove and what works for you.
Run Faas and see you out on the road!