Monday, March 28, 2011

Write your own minimalist running article in ten easy steps!

I'm a true believer in the barefoot/minimalist "movement" although I'm not likely to ever run barefoot. The concept of minimal or natural running makes great sense to me. Our early ancestors evolved to run on their  forefeet so they could travel long distances without injury and to run down and capture prey. The modern design of most conventional shoes works completely against this genetic optimization. I'm not a physiologist so I can't speak to whether a large cushioned heel and pronounced drop between heel and front foot promotes injury, but that's a popular theory. I just know that since moving from my Brooks GTS 10's to my much more minimal Kinvaras I've improved my form and avoided injury.

There have been many articles written about minimalist running and while I appreciate the attention to subject matter I'm growing weary of the sameness of the content. One reason for this may be that there isn't much to say about it except that less shoe is probably better than more. Rather than read the hundreds of stories, features, columns and books about the subject I decided to construct a do-it-yourself minimal running article. Here's all you need to write your own story:

1. Begin by acknowledging Christopher McDougall's book "Born to Run" as the probable source for the current minimalist craze.
2. Talk about how the $20 billion running shoe industry is waking up to the need to design more minimally constructed shoes.
3. Mention that when Vibram introduced their "Five Fingers" glove shoes they tripled their sales in less than two years. Also mention their unconventional look.
4. Put in quotes from Harvard professor Daniel Lieberman about the bio-mechanics of endurance running and how natural it is to land on your forefoot when running.
5. Quote a strength and conditioning physiologist to explain the actual mechanics of how barefoot and minimal running optimize stride and naturally diffuse shock.
6. Quote a podiatrist who suggests that evidence proving minimalist running prevents injury is inconclusive, and further, that some runners actually do need motion control and stability correction.
7. Mention that almost every running shoe was minimal until about 40 years ago and this is simply a return to a better design.
8. Talk about how Saucony launched the very successful Kinvara and how other major running shoe companies are now following suit.
9. Stress the importance of starting slow with your transition to a lower heel and a less constructed shoe.
10. Finish with a cliche like "When it comes to running, sometimes less is more."

Good luck on your new career as a sports journalist!

4 comments:

  1. Yes, cavemen. I may have covered that somewhat in the "run down their prey" item.

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  2. Excellent :) that made my minimalist running better half and I ha ha many times!

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  3. I look forward to reading your articles!

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