Tag Archives: running shoes

Get Ready for Zero Drop Shoes

Running in a pair of zero drop shoes doesn’t mean you’re running all but barefoot down a hot pavement road on race day.  It doesn’t even make you a minimalist runner.  Going for a run in a zero drop shoe simply means your shoes are flat or level from the back to the front and your foot is parallel to the ground when standing still.

Running shoes have typically been built with more cushioning under the heel than the forefoot.  The height difference between the shoe’s raised heel and lower toe is measured in millimeters (mm) and called the ‘drop’.  This measurement can very from 0mm to 15mm depending on the zero drop shoesshoe but as the barefoot, minimalist and natural running movements have gained momentum, shoes with massive drops are starting to disappear.

Why?  Many recent scientific reports have found that running miles and miles with our heels dramatically higher than our toes can lead to big time injuries by creating additional heel strike forces, heavier landings and excessive foot movement.  Ever tried running in high heels?  Putting the foot in an unnatural position for the task you’re asking it to do is begging for trouble.  Running and biomechanical expert Jay DiCharry believes that running in a flatter shoe is ideal because it lets the body stay in a natural position without having to compensate for how the shoe might try to make the foot move.

Switching to zero drop shoes can decrease the landing forces on your hips, knees and ankles and worked in with stretching can make you less susceptible to injury.  Sounds great, right?  Be careful.  Transitioning to a pair of zero drop shoes isn’t as easy as picking them up at the store.  If you’re currently in a shoe with a big drop, start making the change to a flatter shoe by decreasing your drop by only a few millimeters.  Trade your 12mm drop shoes for an 8mm pair and give your body time to adjust to a possibly new movement pattern and different stride rate.

The transition period should be 6-8 weeks and build by only a few miles each one.  Decrease the drop in your shoes with each pair you buy until you hit zero, giving yourself plenty of miles to acclimate every time.  With thousands to choose from, it’s easy to find the lower or zero drop shoes that will make your body happy.

Coach Meredith

Start Running! Here’s How.

Want to start running?  Starting something new can be very intimidating and running is often tops on the list.  Even those who have taken a hiatus due to injury or burn out can have trouble getting started again.  With the potential for injury, getting a physician’s clearance before beginning a run/walk or running program is incredibly important.  After being cleared, here are some tips for getting your running program started.

Support.  Make sure you have the right shoes and use a specialized running store to find them.  Properly fitting and supportive shoes will prevent injury and help keep you pain free.  For women, a properly fitting and appropriately supportive sports bra is just as important as good shoes.  Don’t be afraid to try a few different options to find the one you like best.

Before and After.  Warming up is a key element to getting in a good workout, so spending five to ten minutes raising your heart rate and getting muscles ready to work will help reduce your risk of injury and aid you in achieving better results.  Just as warming up is important, cooling down after your session with five to ten minutes of stretching will ease post run soreness and tightness.

Comfort.  One element of having a successful start is staying in your comfort zone.  Don’t push yourself too hard, too fast or you risk burning out, being injured or not enjoying your new activity.  Stressing out about how fast you run when you are a beginner will have the same effect.  Concentrate on building endurance, and being proud of yourself for starting a new activity, before being concerned with how fast you run each mile.

Find a buddy to run with.  You don’t need to run with a friend every time you head out, but once a week running with a friend can be a great motivator.  There are lots of programs available on the internet you and a friend can work on together.  It’s always a great idea to find a coach or join a group of other beginner runners in your area, which is a great way to find the perfect running buddy.

Race.  You don’t have to be ready to race, but getting out and experiencing one is a great way to set goals and stay motivated.   The race shouldn’t be about winning your age group, or even running the entire way, it’s about being in an electric atmosphere where a bunch of strangers cheer for you.

Check out FitNicePT’s newest program, VB Mother Runners, and learn how we can help you get started today!  Not a mom?  Ask us about our other training options!