Sunday, April 24, 2011

Natural / Forefoot Running

I heard quite a bit about Natural / Forefoot/ Minamalist running from both podcasts and reading the book "Born to Run".  I was sure it was great for some people but never felt the need to explore it further.  A book come out by one of the owners of Newton Running shoes called Natural Running: The Simple Path to Stronger, Healthier Running and decided to read it, just for informational purposes.  I had no intention of changing my running style.

After reading, I found myself trying the forefoot running just a bit.  The main thing I really liked about the Natural Form is the lack of 'braking'.  'Braking' is the force that slows you down as your heal hits the ground as you are running.  By not landing on your heal, running becomes a continuous motion.  Makes running more smooth and efficent.  

After a couple of weeks of practicing forefoot running, I found myself unable to heal strike.   It wasn't a painless transition, there were times when my calves felt like they were broken.    Once I got over the calf issue,  natural running has become second nature.

I upgraded my shoes to Kinvaras.  They have a lot lower heel than your traditional running shoe.  If you are forefoot / natural running, you don't need that large unnatural heal on regular running shoes.  And they are super light, and super bright!

Speed has been the biggest different I noticed.   While heal striking, I found it very difficult to ever go faster than 11:00 pace.    My endurance isn't magically any better, and running is still very hard, but my pace is usually significantly better.


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