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2013-10-21 3:20 PM
in reply to: gatorcali21

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Subject: RE: Want to switch to minimalist running shoes
I've decided to go to a running store and see what they say. I may not go full-on minimalist here, but might instead look for a more gradual change.


2013-10-21 3:28 PM
in reply to: GaryGnu

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Subject: RE: Want to switch to minimalist running shoes
Originally posted by GaryGnu

I've decided to go to a running store and see what they say. I may not go full-on minimalist here, but might instead look for a more gradual change.


While you're at it, look at some of the studies comparing the injury rates and the rise that occurs with switching to Chi/Pose/Forefoot and minimalist shoes. Then reconsider switching to minimal.

John
2013-10-21 9:50 PM
in reply to: GaryGnu


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Subject: RE: Want to switch to minimalist running shoes
There are a lot of variables to account for when trying to make this switch.

I have a running joke with another physical therapist where we both say we wished we'd invented 2 things: Cross-Fit and barefoot running. That way we could make money on the front end selling gym memberships and minimal shoes, and then on the back end when clients ended up needing PT. (It was a joke, I don't want anyone to get hurt, but injuries are really common. And, cross-fitters, don't take too much offense, I'm not trying to start a fatwa -- it's a joke)

A lot of the previous posters have brought up really good points for anyone wanting to make this switch. I do a seminar/class for runners on this very topic, and I can give you the highlights of it:

1. Be prepared for barefoot running (or minimalist running) to NOT be for you -- it isn't a one size solution.

2. Count on at least a year-long process. I have taken clients through it where it's taken three years! There is a lot of adaptation that has to occur for most runners -- changes to bone density, increased tensile strength of tendons, muscular adaptations. Many people have noted that calf soreness is really common....keep in mind that that's just the muscular system which is the quickest to adapt of the three I mentioned. So imagine, if your calves are still sore (and therefore still adapting) 3, 4 or even 10 months into the process, imagine how long the bones and tendons will take before they are safely altered to avoid injury.

3. Go slow. When I made the transition about ten years ago, I started off by running TO the trail in my big cushioning shoes, while carrying my minimal flats. I'd change at the trailhead, stash the big shoes somewhere, and run a short loop of around 5-10 minutes long. I increased the interval in the flats until it was about 30-40 minutes (which took a couple months) and then began to do dedicated runs by themselves in the flats. It was around 8 months before I was doing longer runs in the flats and a full 13 months before I ditched the cushioning shoes altogether.

You don't have to carry your shoes like I did, but starting off slow and going back and forth at regular intervals between two pairs of different shoes will ease your transition. Also, if possible I would stay off asphalt or concrete in the minimal shoes for....well, as long as is feasible. That's often where runners go wrong. If you can avoid streets, you'll be better off. Most nice treadmills provide a much nicer surface to land on if you don't have trails around you.

4. Make running form a priority. If you can't afford a reputable running form instructor, or if you don't have one nearby, get a friend, grab your phones and shoot video of eachother. The human eye is pretty good at picking up when something is off -- even when you might not know exactly what that something is. Numerous studies have shown that even visual feedback without skilled interpretation is still helpful.

You can always find running form drill videos online as well. Not all of them are good and perfect, but it's important to find which ones "click" with you. Combined with the video, you can get a lot done. Try lots of different ways to drill, discard many of them, and keep the ones that help you "feel" your good form the easiest.

5. To begin with just try to NOT land on your heel. Finding the right place on the foot to land can be a challenge to most. To be balanced while you land properly is difficult as well. Initially you'll feel awkward - and that feeling can last quite a while http://www.beginnertriathlete.com/discussion/images/emoticons/wink....
When we get to the hands-on running portion of my class, this is the common refrain.....don't try to hit any particular part of the midfoot (because, after all, when you're starting out, who knows where that is?). Just make sure you don't land on your heel. This will give you a simple headstart in trying to figure out where you should land.

Sorry about the length of the post....hope it helps some
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