RW article on "Minority" foot types



  • nrg-bnrg-b ✭✭✭
    Yet another article about running technique and shoes :-

    Credit to Piglet for finding the article.
  • Was reading Running for Fitness (Seb Coe and his Dad, co-authors) the other day.

    It's written largely to introduce newcomers to distance running, and is fairly open on the issue of style, but does advocate forefoot striking as the ideal.

    Also, I read a paper on predicitve factors in elite sprint performance, and shorter times for foot-in-contact-with-ground were significantly linked to faster race times.

    I've certainly read things saying the opposite - i.e. the body can only be propelled during stance phase so prolong that phase as much as possible.

    I don't know much about POSE, but doesn't it advocate brief ground contact too?
    Short contact time, resulting from delaying plant until foot has slowed to ground speed (zero), makes sense to me - is that what POSE says?
  • Just been on phone to fast feet to get more 150s - NONE left in my size! NONE!!!!!
    Totally, totally gutted - was going to be a birthday pressie too... :-(
  • annajoannajo ✭✭✭
    you've bought all their stock up, pantman!
  • nrg-bnrg-b ✭✭✭
    Pantman: How many pairs of NBs have you got? Can't FastFeet order some more for you?
  • managed to find some red ones! fast feet must have got codes muddled up - 3 more on the way!
  • Was looking around a couple of discount sports stores in my locality at the weekend - they seem to have many very cheap (£15-£25) shoes with wafer thin soles, and extreme light weight. Is there something specific that I should be seeking above and beyond these criteria? Haven't seen these mythic 150's so don't have anything to compare them to so far. But if light weight and thin soles are the thing then there should be somrthing there. I suppose carbon soles for longevity also?

    Will note some shoe names down the next time I go. Interesting that some of these shoes were labelled as running shoes also, not just retro fashion shoes.

    Noticed that some had very soft pliable soles and others had quite stiff 'plastic' type soles. Would these be more aimed at track sprinters??
    Also many of them were slip-ons rather than lace-up.

    Really weird product line for this type of pile high sell cheap shop, I thought...

    Any thoughts/feedback would be welcome.


  • nrg-bnrg-b ✭✭✭
    Piglet: Had a similar thoughts to you about cheapo running shoes instead of getting 'brand' names. Which shops did you go to?

    I guess the key aspects are: weight, heel-cushion and sole durability. For pose running you try to avoid scuffing as much as possible when lifting/placing the feet, nevertheless you need all the grip you can get. How would the hard plastics compare with soft pliable soles after a few hundred miles? How flexible are the shoes?

    On the NB150s you can take the insoles out as well. I use elastic laces (LockLaces) so use them as slip-ons. I like the fact that the bit behind the achilles heel area is low and soft.

    I've pounded some 450 miles of pavement on the current pair of NB150s. I reckon they'll wear out in the next few 100 miles. I wouldn't have thought they'd be much good for slippery trails, muds and stuff.

  • nrg-bnrg-b ✭✭✭
    Sorry forgot to add I hope the next pair of NB150s will last longer from improved technique.
  • Not sure what the shop was called - will find out. The second shop was JB Sports and thinking back - they didn't have the shoes that I was looking at. The shoes were 'branded' though. Nikes and reebok etc.
    Some of the shoes seemed to be 'ultra' minimal - no insoles, very light. Just a leather upper (single layer) and a thin bottom. Shoes ranged from pretty stiff to er, not stiff at all. Was surprised by the range they had and only looked at each one quickly to get a general overview. Would say there were at least a dozen of these special looking models.
    Some were definately not any good for fashion wear I would say - hence the cheap prices I suppose. Just no heels at all to speak of, and very this soles, as I said.
    Also had some very thin shoes with prominent stud tread on the bottom - for cross-country I suppose.
    Will get more info next time I go and be better prepared.
    Was just the last place I expected to find some very specialised looking shoes.

    So I suppose I should look for something with a thin, lightweight construction - stiff or not so stiff? What are the 150's like in terms of stiffness?
  • nrg-bnrg-b ✭✭✭
    NB150s have good flexibility around the ball-of-foot area.
  • Regarding the article link above, it's reasonably convincing 'til he goes for the crazy conspiracy theory. No doubt the shoe companies are owned by aliens, and this is all allowed by the FBI?

    An unusual crossover between hardcore science and consumer goods - yeah, everything else I own is made of wood.
  • I've been following this thread and the POSE one with interest - my opinions on the subject seem to vary from "makes perfect sense" to "I can't be bothered changing styles - I run the way I run and that's that".

    Well, this morning's 4.5 mile 'easy' run felt like an endless slog, so I thought I'd try a bit of forefoot striking for a bit of variety. Two things prompted this...

    1. I was overtaken by a bloke running quickly but apparently efforlessly. I noticed his heels coming up quite high so took a look at this feet and yes, you've guessed it - forefoot striking.

    2. The fog was so thick that no-one could see me if I was making a prat of myself.

    So I tried it for three stretches of around 30 seconds or so, and was pleasantly surprised with the results. Cadence increased dramatically, so did speed (or the impression of it) and it felt so much better than when I returned to my normal heel-strike plodding.

    I could definitely feel the effects on my calves, which makes me think I'd need quite a slow build-up if I was to change my technique. This may mean that I have to plod on until after my first marathon in October, and just work on strengthening the necessary muscles in the meantime.

    I find it fascinating as I've been told most of my life to walk or run 'properly', i.e. heel first. It would be rather ironic if, having forced myself to run heelstrike until it felt 'normal', I discover I was right in the first place!

  • nrg-bnrg-b ✭✭✭
    SVT: Nice one! Whereabouts do you run?
  • nrg-b - Milton Keynes, so not so handy for these POSE sessions with the interesting sounding drills!

    Unless anyone could strongly suggest otherwise, I don't think I'd be able to get myself up to marathon mileage in time for October if I change styles (given that I'm only running my first half this month).

    I guess that switching styles could be my next running challenge, post-marathon. Any suggestions as to what I should be doing in the meantime, in preparation? Thanks.
  • nrg-bnrg-b ✭✭✭
    SVT: "You take the red pill, you stay in wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes" ;-)

    I posted some exercises which I do regularly. Do these before attempting Pose/forefoot running.
  • Excellent stuff - I would have found them eventually, but now the page is safely bookmarked!

    I already do core exercises three times a week so I'll just add the leg ones and come November I'll have calves of steel...

    (200th post!)
  • Just tried the exercises and got all sorts of strange clicking sounds coming from who knows where! Not sure about 3 sets of everything yet - 1 set is plenty for the first couple of weeks.

    Do you have any diagrams of the lower calf exercise? I couldn't quite work that one out but did my best interpretation!
  • nrg-bnrg-b ✭✭✭
    SVT: LOL! It's taken me a long time to get to this level. The amount for even 1 set is too much initially. You have to start off slow....Very Slow.

    I don't have diagrams for the lower calf one but perhaps a few analogies:
    - you're a jockey sitting on a horse
    - you're a championship downhill skier
    - you're in the forest doing what bears do

    Ok, the last one was a joke.

    Once you've assumed the position, try to use just your calves to lift yourself up and then back down again. Initially keep your movements very small and be careful not to come down too low since this exercise will put a lot strain on your achilles heel. As you get better you're knees will probably get tired way before your calves. As always - stop if any pain especially acute pain.

    Hope this helps.
  • Cheers, nrg-b! I'll build up steadily, as I have done with my core exercises and my general strength training.

    And thanks to everyone that's contributed to the thread so far - it's fascinating stuff.

    To anyone who's been reading this and doubting, I know how you feel. But why not try a bit of forefoot for a few yards? The feeling I got from just 30 seconds or so was much better proof for me than any scientific evidence could ever be. If it's not right for you, fine. But I think it may be for me!
  • nrg-bnrg-b ✭✭✭
    SVT: Red pill it is. I intend to run Pose for FLM with only 5months pose experience. If you start now you will have seven months for an Oct marathon. Which one are you doing?
  • The plan's to do Abingdon, with a few races before then (10ks in March and July, half in June, 10 mile in August and 12 mile in September).

    I guess the thing that puts me off starting is my race schedule - part of me wants to get going now, the other part wants to wait till there's no other pressure and I can purely concentrate on technique. Plus, by the end of the year, I'll be due some new shoes! But then, just to confuse matters more, there's the question of this niggling knee pain and what marathon training might do to it.

    As much as people advocate the cold turkey approach, I might start introducing Pose-style running into on run a week at first and seeing how I build up from there. I guess I have a certain amount of comfort that I can get round 26.2 miles in 4 hours or less using my current plodding, whereas I don't know how long it might take me to get to the same level with Pose.

    Dilemmas, dilemmas...
  • Okay, let's say I decide to at least start forefoot running sometime soon. Given that I'll probably get some money for my birthday but not loads, should my priority by a pair of flats or a Pose book or DVD?

    As far as shoes go I've heard lots about the NB RC150s - are these the only suitable shoes out there?

    And do they really mean it on the posetech website when they refer to said shoes as suitable for up to 10k? I would have thought that, as cushioning is not an issue, a shoe that's good for 5k would be equally good for an ultra.
  • nrg-bnrg-b ✭✭✭
    SVT: You should get all three: Shoes, DVD(comes with drill book) and Pose book.

    Please note, typical forefoot running is not the same as Pose although both involve the mid-foot.

    Pose is so different to heel-striking that I'd recommend you elect to adopt it 100% or not at all. I don't think a gradual conversion is the quickest route to full conversion. You can ease the conversion by doing some of the drills & some of the exercises I described earlier.

    If you like, ask on the Pose thread to forumites like Ultra Meerkat who also debated whether to fully convert or not. See what they say.

    Other shoes have been discussed.
  • Can anyone recommend where you can get the Pose video/book in the UK? Do you have to order from the web site and get overseas delivery? Ta in advance.
  • Just reporting back on my Nike Mayfly experience, as I said I would.

    I normally run in ~10yr old Nike Air Mariahs with reasonably happy feet.

    I tried the Mayflys 2 weeks before a 10k race and got a calf tear after 10 mins of gentle running.

    Managed a few easy runs (not in Mayflys), so decided to go ahead and race - and sure enough I tore my calf again in the race.

    Two outings, two injuries - I'm now running in my old flats again with no trouble. I'll be giving the Mayflys away. Shame really as I thought they would be fine.

    I'm not particularly criticising the shoe - they clearly don't suit me though. I think poor proprioception may be to blame for the problems I had - as predicted by the esteemed Pantman.

  • Pantman and co - I need some more advice and hopefully what I am writing will not seem too stupid.
    I have an injury in my right foot which has been caused by the pressure put on my foot when landing on the forefoot especially at the base of my big toe. The physio has said that the tendon running between my sesamoid bones gets inflammed thus causing pain in this area.
    I found that my times were definately quicker with forefoot running, my question is can you still perform and race effectively with putting more of the strain and pressure on the heel rather than forefoot?
  • Addendum to Mayfly tryout above: Caved in and got NB RC150's a la everyone else and feel very comfortable in them. 100m in first 10 days of ownership with nothing but happy legs and feet. As others have said you need to go up 1/2 size at least.

    Andre: I wonder if your forefoot technique is putting more force on 5th MT-head than necessary. My understanding is that if it lands almost stationary, the impact is absorbed gradually (mainly by achilles tendon and leg muscles). If your foot is still moving at a considerable speed when it plants, maybe this is putting a big shear stress on point of contact, which could easily inflame sesamoids and surrounding tendons. It may be beneficial to work hard on correct foot plant.

    Just a thought - others may have a clearer understanding of the biomechanics.
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