Natural Running

Hello folks – I hope everyone had a wonderful July 4th. I had a lovely, relaxing and fun day and met some new people too at a cookout this afternoon. Backtracking to this morning, I slept in a little and then took Folly out for a walk after it had stopped raining. Then, after breakfast I headed out for an incredibly sweaty, humid 4 mile run…at noon (probably wasn’t the best idea, but I still had a good run). Anyway, I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve been plagued with plantar fasciitis in my right foot as well as sore hip flexors for a while now (PF for a couple of years). And although the PF is much better now than two years ago, it still flares up when I increase my mileage. I’ve done a lot of reading on the subject and am stretching, icing, rolling it out and even going tophysical therapy for it. But I’d like to fix the issue for good – and that may mean trying a different style of running, and a different type of running shoe. I’m not talking about switching to Vibrams – but to running shoes that have a lower heel height. I recently picked up a copy of Natural Running by Danny Abshire and Brian Metzler, and although I’ve just started it, I’m curious to put into practice some of Abshire’s recommendations and to see if they help fix my PF. Abshire explains that a higher heel height on most running shoes tends to promote a “heel strike” type running gait. Running with a heel strike leads to an unstable foot which can roll inward (over-pronation – my issue) or outward (under-pronation) and these can lead to various injuries (PF being one possible outcome of over-pronation). Abshire then goes on to explain how if we were to run barefoot or in shoes with minimal heel height, we would run more ‘naturally’ and the communication between our foot-strike and brain would dictate our tread (i.e. tread lightly on some surfaces to cushion our foot fall). As Abshire explains, a ‘natural running’ gait involves a mid-foot strike with a push off from the forefoot (I recommend you read his explanation which is obviously much better).

Anyway, long story short, I t=did today’s run in my new Nike Womens Free Run +3:












Yes- they’re hot pink and I love them 🙂 They have a much lower heel height than any other running shoes that I’ve used:








I did put my orthotics in them – trying to ease my foot into less traditional running shoes, and I have to admit that I really liked them! They were much lighter than my other running shoes, even with the orthotics, and it was much easier to maintain a mid/forefoot strike versus a heel strike. My foot wasn’t really sore after the run (though I still iced, stretched and rolled it out), and more notably, my hip flexors weren’t as sore since I hadn’t been clunking along in heavy shoes. I’m going to try a few more runs in them to see how my foot and hip do, and how I adapt to the natural running style, but so far I seem to like it…

Has anyone else tried minimalist shoes and a more natural running style? What has been your experience with them?


Posted on July 4, 2012, in Exercise. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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