I was talking to Chris, someone I’ve recently met, while watching the Broncos get blown out of the playoffs last night. Chris is 41 but looks like a competitively fit 21 year old. So we were talking about running. Chris and Dave share a similar injury with strained calf muscles. I tried to trump them with my plantar fasciitis. No one ever wins these “I got more scars than you” contests but they are fun nonetheless when you’re drinking with the guys and watching football.
I got some value out of it when we began discussing the effect from running with either minimalist shoes or low profile shoes. I’ve personally received a healthy dose of advice recommending them as a cure to my pronation. I understand the argument, although I’m not deep enough on the topic to confidently explain the difference between low profile and minimalist. The link I share in that last sentence though is full of good information on the topic.
I’m curious enough now that I suspect I will eventually buy a pair. Likely low profile. The REI article I linked above suggests that barefoot running or minimalist shoes are not good for runners who over pronate – which I do in my left foot. But I’m not committed and question whether these new style shoes are as important as simply changing one’s running form. Chris, Dave and I all agreed that if it’s a matter of your heel strike vs a mid-foot or ball-of-foot strike, you don’t necessarily need these shoes for that.
I tested this theory on a 7 mile run today. I focused on maintaining a mid-foot strike on the ground. This route has about 2 miles of pavement and the rest is trail. It’s necessary to shorten your stride a bit when doing this. And there’s a tendency to run faster with a shorter stride and mid to fore foot fall, but with proper attention you can slow down your cadence as well. I feel like I did a great job maintaining this form throughout the run. I did run faster but have been improving my conditioning lately and was able to handle the faster pace. Four hours later my left foot feels better than normal after such a distance. I can’t say anything definitive yet but I intend to work at this new foot strike and will report on my progress.
Most of my focus is on fixing this nagging injury because I have a full running schedule planned for 2012. I’m already registered for the Moab and Boulder Half Marathons – March 17th and April 1st respectively. Those are target runs to motivate me to train through the winter. The picture above is of the Boulder Reservoir where that event takes place. After those warmups, I aim to run mountain trail half marathons. Haven’t booked any yet but have a list of them to consider. Let me know if you have run some cool trail races up in the Colorado Rockies.