Transition to Natural Running Update
In November of last year, after attending a natural running form clinic, I decided to transition to natural running to eliminate my very obvious heel strike.
I started Danny Abshire’s 8-week training plan. My 8-weeks turned into 12-weeks and I’ve stopped alternating my traditional stability shoe and the minimal shoe. I’m running only in minimals now.
More specifically, I’m running only in Newtons.
Where does 12 weeks and more patience than I ever knew I had leave me?
- Will I always wear minimal shoes? I hesitate to say never but for now it’s hard to see myself going back to stability shoes.
- Will I always wear Newtons? Possibly but probably not. I say that only because, as much as I love the Newtons, even with my stability shoe I changed shoes throughout the years. I see no reason why I wouldn’t do the same with a minimal shoe.
- The transition takes an incredible amount of patience. To give you an idea of how much patience the [smart] transition takes, the plan started out with about 10 min 100m run/walk repeats with a recommendation of beginning on a track.
- My 8-weeks turned into 12-weeks. I felt like I needed either more strengthening drills or more form drills before moving on the subsequent weeks and longer distances.
- I highly recommend doing form drills consistently! The drills keep you up on your forefoot and engage the calf muscles and ankles. Some of the drills in Abshire’s plan include running in place, jumping rope, butt kicks, high knees, and step overs. I made the mistake of underestimating this part of the training for a week and I ended up feeling a week of running in my ankles.
- The other thing I highly recommend. Over the calf compression socks. The expected soreness in my calf muscles was minimal.
- What differences have I noticed? I have never considered myself a smooth runner. I was more along the lines of an elephant than a gazelle. With a natural running form, I feel like my running is smoother and less energy is exerted with each stride.
- I still have old habits to break. To go faster I still have a tendency to lengthen my stride instead of faster rotations. Sometimes I still find myself pushing off the ground instead of lifting with my quads. I’m confident this will all come with time.
- Increasing my pace with a natural form seems to be taking the longest. It kind of works out right now with ultra training because pace isn’t my primary focus. Still, I’d like to be faster.
What is one of your best decisions of 2012? Is natural running something you have or would consider trying? If you’ve considered it in the past what stopped you?