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Running myths and misconceptions exposed!

Unlike most superheroes (we're not superheroes), we do not possess any superpowers (unless irony and satire is a superpower!). We make use (to the best that we can) of intellect, detective skills, science and technology (3D) physical prowess (and photoshop) to help rid the city of misconceptions to help bring the truth to the people! These days, it's really tricky for anyone to follow advice in magazines or forums as R&D (research and development) in the past 2 years (maybe?) has gone supernova in the world of biomechanics causing much of the material given 2 years ago to appear to be dated and somewhat incorrect. At StrideUK, our intention is to expose certain running related assumptions (often anatomy related) that just may not hold water in todays understanding of movement. You decide!


Minimalist shoes (running misconception no 311)

Minimalist shoes

We're huge fans of 'if you don't need it... don't have it'. Any structure strapped around your foot will have an accumilative affect on the weight you will be carrying the further you run. Shoe weight can therefore play a substantial role in running efficiency. However, running efficiency is also being able to train consistantly without the set backs of injuries preventing you from gains. Cushioning under the foot could be seen in two ways - It can give you shock absorption for many of the hard surfaces we run on. Or, it could be seen as absorbing some of the natural energy your body has created.  For those reasons, our recommendion to going minimalist comes with some trepidation. One of the above theories can make you more vulnerable to injury (the other one may just get you there slower but safer!)  What we do know is that despite how evolution formed us to our environmental needs, we've happened to do a lot more evolving since then, on a very individual basis. It's also safe to say that the environment has changed too, the surfaces we run on challenge us all in different ways. Mindful of this, we believe that what may make complete logical sense taking reference from time, it doesn't always physically work out in todays world. 

Boo Vivo, shame on you!

A minimalist shoe could be described as a device to help protect runners from sharp pointy objects that could damage the soles of their feet. These shoes are typically super light with minimal amount of material seperating you from the ground. A good level of foot, ankle and calf strength is paramount. You also need to be heavily disciplined to build up distance slowly too. Through this process, vulnerability to injury is at it's greatest as it's likely that you would be downgrading from a typical running shoe which encorporates plenty of cushioning, control and comfort. Such a drastic footware change would expose your calf to extending further (as you'll no longer have a cushioned heel in place to shorten it). Your body will also have to cope with the demands of zero cushioning, especially if you are running on a road, path or pavement. Possibly ok if you're a young, bullet proof die hard running fanatic passionate for the goal to breaking the shackles of mainstream branded footware. Not so good if you have a history of calf pain or simply planning on training for your first marathon. For those reasons, it's best to look at the practicality of your intentions. Are the gains of going minimalist (despite the vulnerability of injury en route) sufficient to warrant investment? Are the gains of going minimalist (despite the vulnerability of injury en route) likely to be greater than other gains you can get through other strength and conditioning programs to allow you to run strong with any pair of shoes that feel comfortable?

Boo Vivo... shame on you!

It's marketing ads such as above that drives me against believing the hype of minimalist running. This recent Vivo campaign (2018) suggests that it's good for the foot when you are running with no cushioning, and bad for the foot if you do. Such a tunnel visioned approach fails to consider that many of us don't have the strength, the time, even the interest to drop to zero cushioning because a moment in evolution suggests it. Such an advert could often scare runners to believing that they are likely to injure themselves if they continue to run in a cushioned shoe. At Stride, we choose the methods to help you improve performance very selectively. We do however tread very carefully with any theories that could inturn produce a greater risk of injury, especially when greater less aggresive gains can come from looking further up the body!


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