Yesterday I jumped on the bandwagon.
You know, the one with all the minimalist shoe runners.
As with most things, it took a while for them to convince me to hop on. About two years in fact. It began when a running friend pushed the book Born to Run on me. He told me it changed his view of running and he hopped on the wagon immediately. I remember suppressing a giggle when I saw his brightly colored ‘barefoot’ shoes.
I read the book and actually enjoyed it! I almost became a believer. Except that I like ruts. Change is not something I accept willingly.
So I continued to run in my usual padded New Balance and Asics. I continued to be plagued with hamstring, groin, and lately ankle injuries.
As I fought my injuries I read articles about minimalist shoes. I read articles about mid-foot striking. I read articles on the natural way to run.
Then I would go for a run in my clunky shoes, striking heel first and fighting the natural runner inside me.
My turning point came when Abby gloated about her new minimalist shoes. She had just come off a foot injury herself, and raved about how good she felt in these shoes.
This time a light bulb went off in my typically dark head.
Could it really be that my injuries are due to improper, unnatural running techniques? I’ve always attributed it to not stretching right, running too much, not running enough, old age….
I didn’t know for sure, but I was willing to give it a try. I love running and the way I’ve been feeling the last few years, I was afraid I’d have to give it up.
I was pleasantly surprised about how comfy both of them felt on my feet. I expected to feel flat footed in them.
I hemmed and I hawed while the store clerks looked on. They wanted to help, but the decision was really up to my feet.
I finally decided on the Flex. Mainly because in the Free shoe, I could feel the crease of the shoe across the top of my foot when I walked. I didn’t want anything to bother me while running.
I was up before my alarm this morning, eager to try them out. It’s been six days since my last run, and I was itchin’ to go.
From the very first steps I could tell these were gonna be good! I concentrated on striking mid-foot which was easy to do in these shoes, and I ran my 5 mile loop – the one with the potholes and undulations and loose rocks. I wanted them put to the test right away.
By the end of the run, I was hearing some grumbling from muscles that usually keep quiet during runs. Calves, inner thighs, gluteus maximus. I just listened to their complaints and smiled. I took it as a sign that my new foot strike was working. They’ll quit fussin’ and strengthen up. I’m not worried.
All in all, I feel good today. I loved how light I felt when I ran, so I think my decision to succumb to my peers was a good one. Time will tell, I suppose, but until then I’ll leave you with a quote from a fellow runner…
I love these shooz!