Sunday, September 25, 2016

New Minimalist Runners Need Not Take Too Long to Transition

The founders of the original minimalist running shoe are people I trust. After all, I was part of the original experiment circa 2009 that ultimately led to the creation of Xeroshoes, the first barefoot running sandal to hit the market-yes, the one on Shark Tank.

How fast can I transition to minimalist running, or running barefoot?

An article on their blog says that one should take the instructions to "transition slowly" with a grain of salt. What they're really saying is: don't be nuerotic about the time table.

  • It's true that if you start running barefoot all the time, your feet will get big blisters and you won't be able to run at all, at least until they heal. Of course, the only way to toughen up the soles of your feet is to keep running barefoot. If you decide to run with Xeroshoes or any other minimalist shoe, this won't be an issue.
You do need to pace your transition, and here's what that means.

  • World-famous runner Michael Sandler, who tought me much of what I know through his classes and lectures, does advise gradual transition, The first timeyou try it, do it at the end of your run. Take off your shoes and run the last 100 yards, he says in his book, Barefoot Running, cowriten with his wife, Jessica Lee Sandler. 
  • As with anything, if you stick to it, you'll get better and better. Sandler's book does offer a 12-week plan to transition, but it's nothing like a boring 12-step plan, and it's geared for going the full gamet- that is, running completely barefoot. The instructions in the book will work for any budding minimalist runner, with or without shoes. The book, by the way, is a very fast, easy read, and it is the one how-to manual on this Earth that isn't boring. 
  • Your transition to minimalist running really depends on how you focus, not on how much time.
  • It's also a matter of perspective. 

  • "Many of the other instructions about how to run barefoot are really just cues to help you get the correct foot placement and use less effort. For example, the idea that you need to run at 180 steps per minute — it’s not a magic number. It’s that picking up your cadence makes it easier to place your feet under your body, at the correct speed, and with less effort. You can’t “plant” your feet, when they have no time spend on the ground.

  • "Rather than “landing” on your feet, think of your feet as something that only touch the ground for as little time as necessary, and have them moving at the speed you’re traveling across the ground. Your feet should contact the ground more like a wheel that just rolls over it, than like a stick that gets planted and pulled out," is one example of perspective provided by Xeroshoes."

  • Don't do "No Pain, No Gain" It doesn't work here.
  • If you find yourself making progress and you're not in pain, then you've found a good pace to transition.
Read the whole article from Xeroshoes, and shop for some very cool running sandals by clicking HERE

Get Michael Sandler's book, and learn lots of cool things by clicking HERE

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