Sunday, August 30, 2009

New York Times article on Minimalistic Running Shoes

Today's New York Times had another article (in the business section) on minimalistic running shoes called "Wiggling Their Toes at the Shoe Giants" by Amy Cortese. It gives mention to the Vibram Five Finger Shoes (the picture above is of their new model called the Moc, below is thier new trail shoe called the Trek), the Vivo (or Terra Plana) Barefoot shoes (I have to get another pair for school as I wear mine all the time because they feel so good) and of course it mentions the wonderful book "Born to Run" by Chris McDougall.

As a business article it mentions the impact the minimalistic trend is having and could have on the fortunes of the companies making such shoes as well as the major running shoe companies. I was intrigued to find out that Vivo Barefoot is coming out with a performance model at the end of the year called the "Evo". I was also cracking up at the mention of a decidedly non-minimalistic running shoe from Adidas that retails for up to $500. It is called the Porsche Design Sport Bounce:S running shoe and it has metallic springs inspired by a car’s suspension system. Here is a picture of this futuristic shoe:

I thought the Nike Shox was a terrible shoe and this thing looks even worse for messing up your running.

I am always trying to find good minimalistic running shoes as I enjoy and feel better running in them as I have done so for a few years now. I have a new favorite. The Puma K street I bought last week have the fit and performance that I have been looking for in a running shoe.

I first used my new pair during track intervals Wednesday night. They fit quite different than the Puma H Street. They were a bit more roomy (I do like breathing space inside a shoe and buy them a bit big)because they have a toe box rather than the tight upper of the H Street. The sole of the shoe has some small waffle like nubs on the bottom that give it a bit more solid ride than the H Street. I wasn't sure if I would wear them off the track, but the Asics Hyper Speeds that I have been using were getting old and the little bit of cushioning in the midsole was getting getting depressed and I had the feeling it was throwing off my stride a bit so I wore the K Streets for an 8 miler on Thursday and then again Friday. They felt great on the roads. Today I took them for a 16 mile run and they were just fine. I never ran more than a 1/2 marathon in the H Streets and never used them as a daily running shoe. I think the K Street will be just fine for daily runs. I have to go back to the store and buy the rest of them in my size as they were on sale at less than $40.

Today's 16 mile run was wonderful. I am slowly learning to run differently as I learn proper movement patterns through Feldenkrais Method lessons. The past few days I have been going over a lesson before each run that I ordered from Jae Gruenke from The Balanced Runner. It is called "Loosening up to Run" and is a 30 minute audio lesson that is simple and subtle (which is what Feldenkrais Method lessons are). You don't strain like in stretching, but make small movements and explore how your body works and teach your brain the movement patterns. Here is the blurb from the website:
A brief introduction to the most fundamental coordination pattern for healthy, efficient running. This lesson is designed to give you the foundation for recovering from injury or just regular aches and pains, while teaching the mechanical principles of more economical running. Do it once to start learning the material, do it again the night before your next race or any time you start feeling somehow "off." A valuable tool for runners of any level. Safe for injured runners.

I was at first disappointed when I got the cd as it was similar to other movements and I expected to "do" more, but as I use the cd, I am finding the movements relax me and I get more range of motion, and then I have good runs as I concentrate on just using this lesson and it movements. This lesson is similar to a lesson in the "Run with the Whole Body" program and other lessons I have found online. It takes you through movement patterns until you get to the point where you work on the small twist that your torso makes as you run (the hip goes forward and the shoulders go back). This is where your power from running comes from. I am so used to muscling myself through runs by only using my legs that today's run was very enlightening. My brain and body is getting the concepts. The run today felt effortless. I did less work with my arms and shoulders on this run (not forcing things), but noticed I was starting to get that small movement in my torso. My legs were not straining at all, in fact they felt like they were floating and I felt no muscle soreness or tightness at all as I ran. I let my torso drive the running stride and when I got things right (my ribs are still not balanced correctly so I still am shifting around) I felt like a new runner. It was a great run on a perfect running day. I brought some money to buy a drink halfway through, but skipped that as I wasn't too thirsty. I did end up a tad thirsty by the end and started slowing a bit because of that as I was out there for a little over 2 hours without drinking anything. Other than that it was one of my better feeling runs in a long time. My feet were not beat up at all from running in the Puma K Streets. If only every run could be this easy!


Healthrider said...

Thank you for sharing this information.....That's good and interesting. I like that. Folding Elliptical Trainer

Matt Metzgar said...

I read about this "upward spiral" idea in Hegge's book. You'll have to let me know if it keeps working for you.

Glad the Feldenkrais is working...

Jim Hansen said...

Matt, I still enjoy doing Feldenkrais. I am doing a lot of ATM lessons and each one reveals a new way of moving. I did one of Jack Heggi's book lessons (not on mp3) today and it helped me tweak another aspect of my running before a long run.