Why I think Minimalist Running is Right for Me
Before I say anything, I want to preface this with the following… my body is my body and what works for me, is not the same as what works for you. Every thing about every individual is different in some way, and my feet are not the same as yours. That’s why there are so many different types of running shoes – because there are so many different types of running feet.
I have finally come to a very well researched conclusion – minimalist running shoes are right for me. Ever since I tried them for the first time last May, I thought they might be the best shoe for me. However for some reason, I still went between my Minimus and my Newtons. I never could make up my mind. And even more recently, I was loving my Brooks PureConnects so much, that I put my Minimus aside for 2 weeks, running only in the Brooks. After much trial and error, injuries, and a thorough analysis of my body (weak areas, strong areas, out of whack areas), I have made the decision minimalist running shoes allow me to run my best.
I first tried my New Balance Minimus back in May 2011. I remember the run so clearly… It was a Saturday morning and I only had time for 6 miles because I was translating at 8am. I decided to head out in my Minimus and put my other shoes by the door so I could come back to change after 1/2 mile or so. As I waited for my Garmin to connect to the satellite, I was so nervous. It was like I was going on a job interview . I didn’t know what to expect after those first few steps but I just knew it was going to be painful. To my surprise, the run was anything but painful. From the moment I started, I couldn’t believe how easy it felt. I no longer felt off balance and my feet didn’t hurt one bit. I actually ran over 6 miles in those shoes and my feet, calves, and body never suffered once. The crazy thing is when I got in my car to drive, I literally felt (and heard) my hip and back pop into place. My first thought was Oh my gosh, that feels amazing! I was on a runner’s cloud nine all day.
And then I got indecisive….
I’m not sure why I can’t accept a good running thing when I have it. Perhaps I was feeling the need to make use of my $150 Newtons. Whatever the reason may have been, I started doing my long runs in the bulkier shoes and before long, I was out of commission for a month. For some reason, whenever I run in shoes with cushion, it’s like my right foot rolls out and puts a tremendous amount of strain on my peroneal tendon. It’s sloppy form and because my right side is quite a bit weaker, the effects are amplified. Put me in a pair of Minimus and my form adjusts itself right away. It’s like I need to feel the ground beneath me. It gives me a better idea of what the rest of my body is doing, which allows me to make adjustments as necessary.
Last week I hardly ran at all. My sloppy form had put a little too much stress on my leg and I knew I needed to take it easy. However, I have been practically dying to get back to my training schedule. Today I decided I was going to attempt my speed workout but call it quits if I was hurting. I had 8 miles planned with 4 mile repeats. Up until I started stretching, I was still debating what shoes to wear. (I really don’t know why I make this so hard on myself.) I went with the Minimus and the leg that had been bothering me for over a week, felt great. I was so happy and thankful that I was easily able to complete my workout. The pace felt easy, the form felt great, and my leg didn’t bother me one bit. Mentally, those were the fastest 8 miles I had ever run.
I still really like my Brooks PureConnect, and I think they are perfect for a short recovery run. Super light weight with just the right amount of cushion. However, I finally think I understand my body can not run in this type of shoe all the time. I run better in a very minimal shoe. Period. It must run in the family because my super speedy runner cousin is the same way… a former Newton runner turned minimalist.
Happy Trails and Happy Running,