Fixing My Form

I had planned to log a few miles with Roo this morning before work. Unfortunately, my little bear is sick! 😦

roobearI feel so bad for her. I was a mess this morning running around doing laundry, giving her cuddles, and reading Vizsla forums about sick puppies. I can only imagine what I’ll be like with an actual child.

Anyway . . .

What I really want to chat about today is my new shoes!

Newtons!

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Last Saturday, I went with the manfriend to help him find some new running shoes and wound up buying these for myself. Shocker.

One of my friends works at Potomac River Running, so we went there to have our strides analyzed and get fitted, something I’d never had done before. Or never properly done, anyway. It was really interesting. Turns out I’m something of a pronator, and while I knew my form was likely to blame for the injuries I’ve been battling for the last year, it didn’t occur to me that my shoes might be contributing, too. Because that would be too easy.

Given my heel-striking and pronating tendencies, my friend suggested a light stability shoe. Since I’ve read and heard so much about Newtons, I wanted to try them and really liked the feel of the Motion model.

According to the Newton Running website:

Our Stability Performance Trainer is for runners wanting a daily training shoe that can also function brilliantly as a faster tempo-pace run or race shoe. More supportive and structured than our lightweight performance trainer line, the Motion is a great everyday trainer for runners who may like to turn up the speed now and again during tempo or fast-paced runs and intervals. The Motion has medial posting to offset pronation.

That medial posting thing is one feature I was especially interested in.

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See how the bottom is raised up a bit? That’s so your foot will land there first, instead of, you know, smack on your heel. These shoes also have almost no drop from heel to toe–only 3mm. This makes you more level to the ground so that your body can find a natural running motion. When you really think about all the principles behind Good Form and Chi Running, this makes total sense. Those of you who’ve read Born to Run know what I’m talking about–our bodies were meant to do this, but all the “science” that’s gone into the shoe industry has actually been more detrimental than helpful. These shoes are designed to support a natural running form AND help correct all that nonsense we’ve trained ourselves to do with our fancy trainers.

The Newton folks suggest that you ease into running in their shoes. Slow and short is the name of the game–1-2 miles a few times a week at a jog so you can get used to the fit and feel. With that minimal drop and the added material under the ball of your foot, they definitely feel a lot different than my favorite Adidas.

Since I’m not good at listening or moderation, I took them for a 3 mile maiden voyage at an 8:45 pace. It was a very different running experience. IMG 0945

When I was 1.5 miles out (i.e., 1.5 miles from home), I understood why I needed to break these in. The front part of my foot started to feel tingly and a little numb, no doubt because I was trying to correct my form and probably prancing along like an idiot on my toes rather than actually running like I was supposed to be. I know it will take more than just a run or two to fix everything, and I’m actually glad I made that mistake. It was humbling and shows me that I have a lot further to go than I realized. But, after reading Rachael‘s very honest but encouraging post about changing her form last week, I know it can be done.

I did go to a Good Form Running clinic last year, but I got injured less than a week after, so fixing my form seemed like a low priority once I was able to start running again. Now, it’s something I really want to focus on so I can stay healthy. I want to be able to run for a long time, and I know fixing my form will help. Newton provides free running clinics where they teach the correct running technique and allow you to run in their shoes before you buy them, which seems like a pretty sweet deal to me. I read several blogger reviews of their clinics, too, and everyone seemed really pleased with the experience. There are a handful of clinics in stores relatively close to me, so I’m looking for one to attend soon.

Check out a few reviews of Newton Running clinics if you’re interested:

The Tao of Me

Running with Attitude

Jill Conyers

Dietitian on the Run 

Running Sami

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Anyone else out there a Newton lover?
If you’ve successfully re-learned to run with natural form, how did you do it? 

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13 thoughts on “Fixing My Form

  1. I have been so intrigued by these shoes. They sell them at my store and whole bars across the ball of your foot thing really interests me. I can’t wait to hear more about your impression of them as you use them more

  2. I had a 3D analysis of my gait done at UVa after I hurt my hip in 2009 and it changed my whole perspective. I still run in my Asics but I practiced mid/fore-foot running, increasing my cadence, and have “activated” my glutes by target training them so I haven’t had any other problems in the past few years. I HAVE had a bit more ITB issues since I’ve changed my gait and cadence but that is a nuisance that I attribute to not stretching haha. Can’t wait to hear about how your runs in the Newtons!! 🙂

    • I remember you telling me about that–dead butt syndrome or something, right??? Ha. I feel like I need someone to be my personal coach so I can figure this stuff out.

      I also guarantee that at least 50% of my problems are due to not stretching. Why is it so hard to make ourselves do it???

      ________________________________

  3. I just can’t do that minimal drop for anything other than Crossfit. Like, I NEED support in there. Why do the minimus shoes always have to be the cutest ones and the ones I need to wear are the fug ones? Not fair.

    • Paula, just so you know a low drop has nothing to with “support” it’s merely the difference in height from the heel to the forefoot. In fact, more and more crossfitters are using more minimal shoes since they’re great for your balance and keeping you connected to the ground. With all that said, while some people do wear our (Newton) shoes for crossfit, they’re primarily running shoes.

  4. My ankles and calves have let me know that the furthest I can run in minimalist style shoes is 8 miles…but I need to find a new shoe because the ones I’m wearing (or was wearing) weren’t cutting it either. Do they have an in-between option?

    Newtons are super cute though. Love those colors!

    • They have several options, so I’m sure there’s one that would work for you:http://www.newtonrunning.com/shop/womens-running-shoes

      I’d definitely get fitted if you have the chance. You should see if there’s a clinic happening near you at some point. You know, after that baby thing ;)

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  5. Thanks for the shout out Melissa!

    Yes, I’m a Newton convert and did so injury free. Be patient with the transition and don’t rush to go too far too soon. And another tip, form drills form drills form drills. They really help with re-training your legs and feet.

    I’d be happy to chat more and answer your questions. Contact me via my blog or email jillconyers@gmail.com. I can talk about this endlessly 🙂

    I have 2 great interviews with Newton Coach Ryan Smith on my blog. He answers a lot of questions about natural running.

    Part 1:
    http://jillconyers.com/2012/12/natural-running-interview-with-newton-coach-ryan-smith/

    Part 2:
    http://jillconyers.com/2012/12/natural-running-interview-with-running-coach-ryan-smith-part-2/

  6. Naomi says:

    Thanks for linking to my blog! I’m so glad you did as it’s given me a chance to discover yours, which I love! How are the Newton’s working out for you?

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