Step into Minimalism


From our +Amphibian King Galway Facebook page:

What is ‘Minimalism’ or ‘Natural’ running?

MINIMALIST RUNNING SHOES FEATURE LOWER MIDSOLE HEIGHTS AND OFFER LESS SUPPORT THAN TRADITIONAL RUNNING SHOES

BY PUTTING THE FOOT CLOSER TO THE GROUND AND ALLOWING A FREER RANGE OF MOTION. MINIMALIST RUNNING SHOES ENCOURAGE A DISTINCT FOOT STRIKE.

MINIMALIST RUNNING SHOES ARE RECOMMENDED FOR RUNNERS UTILIZING OR TRANSITIONING INTO A MIDFOOT / FOREFOOT STRIKE MOST OFTEN ASSOCIATED WITH BAREFOOT OR NATURAL RUNNING FORM

WHEN SUPPLEMENTED INTO YOUR WORKOUT MINIMALIST RUNNING SHOES CAN HELP YOU BECOME STRONGER AND MORE EFFICIENT

In +Amphibian King Galway we get asked about minimalism and transitioning to barefoot running, a lot. Like so many things in life there are as many different answers as there are individuals asking the questions. Transitioning to barefoot running or any form of minimalism requires time, dedication and patience.

You have spent how many years to date wearing structured footwear, shoes, runners, boots that have all worked to isolate your feet from their environment. They have protected your feet from that environment, but in doing so your awareness of the environment you are in contact with is diminished. When was the last time you kicked off the shoes and socks and really enjoyed the feel of a lawn?, or dug your feet into a sandy beach? or picked stuff up with your toes? Try it and see.

Having advised so many people and listened to so much feedback on peoples experiences the best advice we can give to people looking to try minimalism running is to go off road. Get out in the woods, into the park, try something completely different from your normal run.

Why are your suggesting to hit the trails?

  • Your mindset will be different, you will not be focussed on running x miles at y pace. Just run! And by the way do it without ipod so you enjoy the complete experience of sensory input.
  • Your run will be different, you will skip around obstacles, jump over branches, you will feel lighter without focusing on steady stride & casdence.
  • The surface is nature. She is forgiving & will welcome you, just leave her as you found her. #LeaveNoTrace
  • There is no disruption to your road running habit. Stay as you are running in your normal shoes, to your normal training program and introduce these off road runs as a completely different exercise format.
  • The new muscle patterns and runnign form with transfer into your road shoe, You will run better and more efficiently in your ‘normal’ shoe without having to change anything.

How?

Pick up a pair of low profile trail or minimalist trail shoes, we’ll give you help with selecting these, and get out and enjoy. Give yourself a winter of off road minimalist running and you will see the difference for yourself in the Spring.

To lace or not to lace?

Another question that keeps cropping up is “what laces should I use?”.

Specifically it is multisport atheletes that are looking at racing shoes in +Amphibian King Galway  and asking this question and it is in relation to speedier transitions between the sports, usually bike to run phase where the speed laces are in the running shoes to save time in T2, though in duathlons this can be T1 and T2.

Whats so important about lacing?

To answer you need to be aware that the lacing of a running shoe is actually considered part of the structure of the shoes, its part of the ‘upper’ and works to help the shoe to wrap around your foot providing stabilising structure to the foot joints. (This is not the same ‘stability’ that you get from the midsole structures, different topic all together.)


Saucony’s SAUCFIT

As you can see in the picture the lacing links in to the sole as part of the ‘SaucFit’ a +Saucony proprietary system that simultaneously wraps the foot and engages the heel back into the support of the heelcup.

Thus, the entire shoe as you unbox it is a complete system.

As triathletes / multisporters, we will inevitably swap out the laces in our shoes with elastic lock laces, typically of the type shown below.

You replace the standard laces in the shoe with the elastic type which you adjust so that they snugly hold the foot in place when closed, yet when released you can slide your foot into the shoe, hold the tap and slide the spring loaded lock down to lock the laces.

Brooks ST 5 with Lock Laces

Now this system is perfectly fine and works very well for racing. 

There are a number of different systems and products on the market but essentially the elastic lace works by being flexible enough to allow the foot slide into the shoe quickly, without major adjustment.

Add caption

Yankz Laces

Xtenex Laces

The only problem I have with elastic laces is that users tend to leave them in the shoe. Referring to my point above (at the top) the laces are an integral part of the shoe structure. If you are training with elastic laces you are not getting the very best out of the shoes, especially if you are training for longer distance races. Not everyone, in fact no one I know, changes the laces back so you inevitably have a season training and racing with reduced support.

Unless you are using a race specific shoe which you can leave the laces in and are using a separate running shoe for all your training work (with correct laces) I would advise changing the laces, learn to tie your laces really fast, or get yourself some speed laces of the non-stretch, non-elastic lace variety

There is one brand which does this brilliantly, Greeper Laces. Greepers are normal, proper laces with a really nifty quick release and fastening system. They are the perfect balance between speedy transitions and getting the support and performance from your shoes.
 
Sure, you might lose a second in transition against the elastics, but you will more than make this back in terms of the performance on the run.

For me this year, I’m going to give the Xtenex a whirl on any of the Sprint triathlons I do but Greepers all the way for the standard through middle distance races.

The hard decision is which colour to pick!

Happy running 🙂   

How do you know when a shoe is ‘dead’?

If I got €1 for every time I get asked this I wouldn’t need to sell shoes, but if I didn’t sell running shoes in GottaRun I wouldn’t be asked.

Its a perpetual question in a never ending cycle.

Continue reading “How do you know when a shoe is ‘dead’?”