Tuesday, March 30, 2010

An intro to Newton Running

A couple of weekends ago I went to the Multisport Expo held over at MIT and attended a seminar on running form and biomechanics.   The talk was led by the co-founder of Newton Running Danny Abshire, Ian Adamson and Dr. Mark (I think this was his name?  I wasn't taking notes...  oops).   I haven't done reading on barefoot/chi/pose running styles, but apparently the idea of Newton running is similar.  That is, to run with a more natural footstrike.

What is a natural footstrike?   To get this idea, they suggesting taking off your shoes and trying to run.   Should you go and try this, you would notice that your footstrike is on your mid or forefoot.  Modern shoes have a heel lift (which are not actually beneficial for running) and are highly cushioned.  This promotes heel striking and by providing so much cushion, prevents feet from feeling the ground and weakens the foot/leg.   Hm, interesting...  go on.

Newton Running shoes have been designed to encourage a more natural running and allow you to land on your mid/forefoot safely.  While they mimic barefoot styles of running, they provide the right type of cushioning to enhance shock absorption and promote proper running form.

Now, if I had never had issues running, I wouldn't have even been at the seminar, let alone be intrigued by what they had to say.    But I've always had issues with running and alignment, various muscle tightness and aches that can't be explained.   For the past two years I haven't been able to manage more than 10-15miles in a week (which isn't necessarily a goal, but an observation).   I knew that something was still not quite right.

There's more science behind the shoe that you should take a look at if you're interested, especially their Action/Release Technology (based on Newton's 3rd law of motion) that's supposed to absorb and return energy back to you.    There's also a ton of information in this post (including the comments), and I'm sure much more elsewhere.

I would be remiss to not mention more about proper running form.   Newton has a lot of great videos on the topic, I'd recommend starting out there.   The idea is to land with your weight centered over your body mass (under the hips).   Instead of long strides and muscling through your stride, better form comes from short strides and quick leg turnover (or cadence).  Illustrated much better in the videos, you want a slight forward bend and to think lifting your foot off the ground at your hips instead of pushing off.    Does that make sense?

Why am I telling you all of this?   Well, I ended up getting fitted for a pair of Newton running shoes and I have 30 days to try them out.   Will they work?   I have no idea!   I was impressed right away at how they corrected my alignment, to show you this I learned how to use the timer on my camera!  In the image below, my feet are hip-width apart and I'm bending my knees, sort of going to a squat.  Barefoot you can see my knees go in, and my heels roll inward, causing my arches to collapse (ouch).  You can see how that is corrected in the Newtons (w/o orthotics), and I've included the shoes I'm currently running in (w/current orthotics)

(l to r):  barefoot, Newtons, Asics Nimbus w/eSoles

I'm going to follow their advice, starting out slow, running every other day and focusing on form.   We'll see how it goes, and I'll be back with weekly recaps to see if these shoes can work for me, or if they won't.   I have already talked to someone a Newton about my orthotics, and I'll have to try it out to determine whether or not I should still use them.   Remember, I'm not a doctor (well, that kind of doctor ;)), and am not telling you to go run barefoot!   I have not read all the research, and these ideas I'm sharing are not my own, I am simply sharing my experiences as I try out something new.

Let me know if you have any comments or questions, I can try to answer or at least point you in the right direction!   Have you tried barefoot/chi/pose running??

**Just so you know, I purchased these with my own $$ and will follow with weekly reviews based solely on my experiences! **


Joanne said...

So interesting! I've heard about these but haven't explored them yet. You'll have to let me know how the challenge goes. I have tons of knee issues and, who knows, these may help them!

Kelly @ Healthy Living With Kelly said...

Very cool! What a very informative post Shannon!

Averie @ Averie Cooks said...

god this layout is just sooo awesome, said it before but it rocks

as for the choc mousee, so happy to hear you made it and loved it!

as for this post, thanks for the good info!


Elina said...

How cool! Definitely keep us posted - I'm thoroughly intrigued. :)
PS - your legs look awesome in those pics! ;)

Erica said...

Very cool! Do you read no meat athlete? He has some awesome posts about similar topics.

Yes! I may be in Boston in June. I will be visiting my sister outside the city and will not have a car buttttttt I'm going to try to find a way to plan a blogger meet up despite this :) I will keep ya in the loop!

Kelly said...

I'm definitely not a runner, but I still find this really interesting.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I never heard of that before, but it makes sense!

Looking forward to seeing how you feel after 30 days!

Love the new layout too! :D

Maria said...

Great info here! Thanks!

We Are Not Martha said...

Very interesting! I have serious foot issues when it comes to running (high arches, easily get stress fractures, etc). The only sneaker I've ever had that doesn't give me problems are saucony's. But I definitely want to do more sneaker exploring :)

I'm interested to see how your experience is!


Kerstin said...

I'm so interested to hear about your experience with them, especially since my knees are still giving me a bit of trouble and I've heard such good things about them!

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