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Making the move to running minimalist

Saturday, March 17, 2012

I have a pair of Brooks PureCadence lined up to be ordered at the beginning of April (yes, I'm waiting on a specific color combination, I am such a girl!). I just finished reading Born to Run, and I'm sold. I'm ready to make the switch.

The recommendation is to just work them into my weekly rotation on one of my short run days. They're not AS minimalist as something like Vibrams, there is some cushioning, so it won't be AS dramatic... but I am going to have to relearn the way I run.

One of the biggest things everyone seems to agree on is shorter, faster strides. 180 bpm is the suggested cadence, so I decided to give it a shot today. This turnover is so foreign to me, that I knew I'd need a playlist to keep me honest, so I went out to and found a mix of songs for the run.

Holy cats! That is a FAST tempo! There were several points where I ended up just running in place for a few seconds to get the beat downpat and get my feet moving right before I moved forward. I also had a tendency to want to stretch out to my normal stride, and kept having to reign myself back in. A friend mentioned that his trainer suggested standing in front of a wall, running in place for a minute, then turning and running in the exact same pose. Remembering that helped A LOT. I kept reminding myself to shorten my stride and keep my feet beneath me.

Another little trick that worked was something I'd learned in yoga. When you're stretching, you're often reminded to reach up tall and strong, extend through the crown of your head. I cannot tell you how much different it felt when I did this. My shoulders naturally relaxed, I straightened up instead of hunching, and everything just felt so much smoother.

I was completely unprepared for how much this would kick my butt! My pace was actually about the same as it always was, it was just.. I don't know. Trickier? Maybe I was moving a little faster when I did run, lord knows I had to take some walk breaks! I'm also sore in completely different places. My quads are normally pretty tough, but they were whipped after today's workout. When you keep your feet beneath you, it's almost like a stairmaster effect, you're pulling your leg up and through for the next step instead of dragging it behind and just letting it swing forward like when your strides are longer.

I was so worried that I couldn't do much training with this new form until my new shoes arrived, but the shortened strides work no matter what you're wearing. I couldn't help but land in the right place with the 180 bpm, and I'm really excited to try this in the new kicks.

Stick with me if you want to see how this goes! I'm still figuring out breathing (I used to be a 2 in 2 out kinda gal, now it's gotta be more like 3 in / out... but it feels weird!). I also don't know what I should do differently on my long runs. By design, they should be slower, but how do you go slower and still hit that cadence? Things for me to figure out as I go!

Anyone else made the move? Tips, suggestions, warnings? All are WELCOME!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • MAGGIE101857
    I was just looking at my Vibrams yesterday sitting amongst my running shoes and looking very neglected! You may be the inspiration I need to get them out again (like for my run this morning)! Good pointers - will look forward to reading more on your blogs!!
    2192 days ago
    I have been out of running for over 2 weeks with an injury, with 5 days to go until I can run again, but I bought a pair of Newtons just before I got injured, and hope to start making the transition when I start back running next week.

    Thanks for the tips. I have been looking for Born to Run in bookstores, but can't find it. I may have to order it online.

    2192 days ago
    The top of my foot always is sore after running in my Vibrams from my toes pushing off.
    2194 days ago
    I loved reading this because I've been thinking so much lately about my form, too. I don't really have any experience w/vibrams, etc., but I can totally relate to what you are saying here about yoga stance. Since studying Pilates, my whole form has changed. I even just think sometimes about pulling up and out of my hips and everything feels so much easier and less crunched. And you're right - that is fast!! I'm a bpm kinda girl -- I try to line up everything I listen to to match my cadence. :) My perfect mid-pace number is 174. I wonder what that says about my stride (I'm 5'5"). Okay, too much information. I really just wanted to say thanks for your post and I'm going to stay tuned to see how it goes for you! Oh, one other thing: I almost always breathe in 3, out 3 (or sometimes in 3, out 2). For whatever that's worth. :) Cheers!
    2195 days ago
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