Changing my stride with new minimalist shoes

I’m quite busy this weekend with school work as it is the last two weeks of finals. Most students have one finals week, but somehow I managed to have it stretched out amongst two weeks. Thanks professors-just string out the stress.

Anyway, with all the studying and paper writing, adventures have been minimal. Know what has been minimal (do you like that transition?)? My shoes! Granted I have some hardware in my right foot and am prone to foot injuries, but I have known for a while now that I am a foot striker. Meaning that I tend to land with my heel first and then push-off.

DSC01231

The heel strike-caught in the act.

Come to find out, it’s an incredibly inefficient way of running. It is probably what contributed to my foot fractures in the first place as running that way increases pressure on your feet. Last year when I had a gait analysis done by the 16-year-old boy at the running store he asked, “do you always foot strike when you run?” As if I changed my stride just for the in store treadmill.

I finally felt confident this year to make the change to a 4mm heel drop and 0mm heel drop shoe. I now alternate between the Saucony Kinvara (4 mm drop) and the Mizuno Musha (0 mm drop) (thanks to the Mezamashii Project). Having a drop in the heel of a shoe force you to land on the front of your foot every time and increase the efficiency of your strides, thus increasing your pace and minimizing the impact on your feet.

Switching to this type of shoe does not happen overnight. You must gradually transition to them or risk injury. From what I have read, Injury could be calf muscle issues, plantar facshitis (sp?) and potentially something more serious.

Here are my thoughts about it so far:

  1.  I can’t run two days in a row at the moment. Both of the shoes give me issues expected to the transition, so I have to take a day off in between.
  2.  Which brings me to number two. The Kinvara’s leave me with a slight case of plantar faschitis (sp?) on my left foot. Usually I ice, foam roll it, and sleep with a brace and it’s better the next day. But, I still take the next day off from running.
  3.  The Mushas give me intense lower calf/Achilles pain and cramping. I made it 7.5 miles in them last week and 6.5 miles in them yesterday. Each time I was hobbling the day after. Hence the day off in between running.
  4.  I’m faster. No doubt both shoes are lighter on my feet. And no doubt that my gait is changing. Those two things combined have made all my runs for the last month my fastest ever for training runs.
  5. My calves and glutes are getting much stronger. Not to brag, but JWail commented on my calves the other day.

I’ve not only been happy with this switch, but it has mixed up running for me and took it to a new level. Things were getting a bit stagnant for me in pace, length, ect. I knew it was time to start back with the basics and literally learn how to run again.

Since I am in no way a running coach and am only sharing my experience and what I have read about minimalist running, I have provided a few articles if you would like to read further.

Active.com-How to Transition to Minimal Shoes and Barefoot Running

Runner’s Times-Simple tips for transitioning to minimalist

 

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One response to “Changing my stride with new minimalist shoes

  1. Very interesting, Kait! I keep reading about the “foot strike” and I am curious what kind of a runner I am. I only run about 3 miles, a few times a week, so I don’t notice any injuries or anything of that kind quite yet. However, I have a hunch I am a foot striker, so if I ever kick it up, it will be important to find a really good running shoe!

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