Running Free

22 Aug

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.

After more research on the best minimalist shoe for beginners, I stopped off at my local sports store.  For 30 minutes I walked around in two types of shoes – Nike Free and Nike Flex.

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!

I wanted bright and cheery, but needed size 8, so this was my choice. I know not to judge a book by its cover.


Posted by on August 22, 2012 in Health and Fitness, Running


Tags: , , ,

10 responses to “Running Free

  1. The Thin Lady Inside

    August 22, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    I guess peer pressure can be good sometimes! 🙂 I am so happy you tried this! And thanks for sharing… I’ll have to read on the subject too! 🙂

    • shadowrun300

      August 22, 2012 at 6:33 pm

      It seems backwards from everything we’ve always believed – that we need structure and a lot of cushion to make running easier. But as the book points out, running is natural, and the types of shoes I’ve always used keep your foot from moving the way it wants to naturally. These are light and flexible and allow your foot to move naturally. I’ll get back to you in a few weeks and let you know what I think then! 🙂

  2. Abby

    August 22, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    Hey, nice shooz! I still haven’t read “Born to Run”, just snippets online, but I’m a believer 🙂

    I mainly noticed the sore calves while getting used to the new way of running, but that cleared up with a little perseverance. Plus, the other thing I noticed was the NOT sore quads and knees after a run, that I thought were just a way of life when running on hills. Welcome aboard the wagon!

    • shadowrun300

      August 23, 2012 at 5:14 am

      Isn’t it funny what we learn to live with? I haven’t experienced sore knees (knock on wood), but sore hamstrings have always plagued me. My rolly thing has been helping with that, but I have high hopes that these shoes will be even more helpful. Thanks for giving me a boost onto the wagon!

  3. agg79

    August 23, 2012 at 9:53 am

    Nice shooz. Interesting on how you and Abby have become spokespersons for the minimalist shoe. With the number of miles both of you guys clock, I am interested to hear how they hold up. I’m like you, I have a hard time letting go of my ASIC Cumulus. I’d be curious to see how those minimalist shoes would do for my underpronation on longer runs.

    • shadowrun300

      August 23, 2012 at 1:33 pm

      I looked into the Asics line of minimalist shoes. Specifically the Blur33. Most of the reviews are pretty positive, but the store I was at didn’t have a big selection of Asics.
      I ran again today in my Flex shoes, and I just can’t believe the difference. I’m definitely feeling some muscles that I haven’t felt before, and the bottoms of my feet may need a little more callousing, but overall, the running itself is incredibly easier! I’m interested, too, in seeing if I’ll continue to like them the more miles I put on them.

  4. territerri

    August 24, 2012 at 2:01 am

    Those are sweet! My shoes aren’t too clunky, but I’m not sure they’re as “minimalist” as some of them out there. I may have to look into new shoes and see about working some new muscles!

    • shadowrun300

      August 24, 2012 at 4:46 am

      A few posts ago you mentioned that you were still running! Hopefully, it’s become easier for you! I’m still amazed at how easy it is to run in these. I’ve changed my foot strike from heel-toe to midfoot, which is important in these. That’s why the sore muscles. Definitely look into it the next time your shoe shopping! I’m happy I did!

  5. Jules

    September 7, 2012 at 1:15 am

    I’m so happy to see that they are SHOES and not the little toe-shoe things that are becoming so popular..I can’t come around to those things. I’ve never been much of a Nike fan because I felt that they were too clunky and just didn’t work for me. I love’s the lightest running shoe I could find back in the day when I was doing some serious research, and they lasted so long I’ve been getting the same brand since. I don’t think I’ve had a pair of Nike’s since high school. Maybe I”ll give them a shot next time and at least try them on!

    • shadowrun300

      September 7, 2012 at 1:20 am

      I love Asics too, and they make a minimalist version called Blur33 or something like that. The store I was at didn’t have a whole lot of Asics options to chose from, and the reviews I read were mixed. Since this was a big switch for me, I didn’t want to take the chance. But I’d love for you to try them and let me know! 🙂


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