Time to go minimal?

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Today’s Workout
Max Sit-ups in two minutes
– anchored feet
10 minute KettleBell Snatch Challenge (24kg/16kg)
– how many kettlebell snatches can you do in ten minutes?Is it an idea who’s time has come? According to the article ‘Five Fingers‘ (Business Week), minimalist shoes, which didn’t even exist as a category in 2008, now account for 9% of the running shoe market. And almost every shoe manufacturer is jumping on board – Vibram, New Balance, Merrell, Asics, Vivobarefoot, Nike, Innovate… and more are sure to follow.

So, is it time to ditch your normal running shoes and go minimal (or barefoot)? Before you jump in, consider this. Did you know that ‘normal’ running shoes have a 12mm drop from heel to toe? 12mm. Sound like a lot (its roughly the equivalent of the width of your pinky finger)? For a woman who wears 3″ heels, it’s nothing, however, going from a 12mm drop to 0mm drop in running shoes and not making a change in your running mechanics is VERY significant due to the structural forces involved in supporting your bodyweight on your feet under load. It’s also a big change for your proprioception and nervous system. Think about it in relation to the circumference of a barbell… would it feel much different going from a bar that was 33mm in circumference to 21mm (or 45mm?) ABSOLUTELY!

So, for anyone making this change, it’s not enough to ‘just go slowly and incrementally.’ Going minimal actually requires a change in your running gait, and that requires re-wiring your muscular and nervous systems. This is something that takes time and training. Here’s an AWESOME resource to give you some of the basics – Vivobarefoot Training Clinic. Additionally, CFLA is offering a Running Mechanics (Barefoot or not) Workshop (taught by yours truly) on September 11th. The seminar will include video analysis of your running gate (before and after), as well as a lecture/discussion about the change and a bunch of movement exercises to help you feel and make the change. Whether or not you ever decide to run barefoot, I guarantee a significant change/improvement in your running form!




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