Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Janathon 2013 Day 15 - New shoes

Running (on treadmill) - 5K, 25 minutes, Weights - 30 minutes

I am always suspicious of theories based on speculation about our early ancestors or movements where the proponents are evangelically convinced of the rightness of their cause. For that reason I have shied away from the barefoot running debate. I am unconvinced of the reasoning that says we were adapted to running before before shoes and so this is the optimal style, therefore shoes are not only unnecessary they are a problem. In the same way that I am unconvinced by the suggestion that we should eat a stone age diet. And anyway why is running so different to walking? There is nowhere need the same head of steam behind any idea that we should ditch our walking shoes.

That is not really the point though - all that really matters is if it works or not. The key claim is that barefoot running (or running in minimalist shoes) reduces injury and this should be open to testing.  Over the next few years (now there are enough people to provide decent sized samples) we should be getting some answers. In particular I will be interested in the results of this research which plans to track people in this years London Marathon.

But in the meantime should I wait or should I try for myself, especially as a number of people I know have made the switch and are enthusiastic about the results? As I also like the principle of 'being an experiment of one' and am liable to tinker with things, I have been edging towards giving minimalist running a go. After all there is nothing much to lose. If I switch and my running improves then everything is worthwhile, however if I don't get on with it, I have lost nothing but a little time playing about. On the other hand inertia is a powerful force so why change?

However my mind was made up when New Balance offered me the chance to try-out one of their minimalist shoes. The scales of the argument lurched violently to one side and I am now quite excited with the idea of trying something new.

I have now collected them from the Post Office and have tried them on around the house and must admit to being pleased. They look good, feel comfortable and I am anxious to try them out. At the moment that is all I can say. If they were normal trainers I would take them out and know very quickly how they compared, but with these I will be running slightly differently and so will not know straight away. i will break them in gently and although they are trail shoes they will spend the first part of their life on a treadmill, starting with only 15 minutes tomorrow. It will actually be a little time before I know what I think of them.

So what of my Stoic quote of the day? Unsurprisingly they say absolutely nothing about running styles. However there is something quoted by Seneca in Letter IX, which is pertinent to the way I thought of making the change and how it actually happened:

If you pray a thing may
And it does come your way
'Tis a long way from being your own

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