Category Archives: Uncategorized

The New York Times talks Maximal Shoes – or maybe maximizing yourself

I really like house projects. I know, I’m likely i the minority here, but it gives me a way to be involved in the place I live, and make stuff, and well, I find that pretty cool. To be successful at this, you’ve got to have fancy tools like a chop saw, joiner, planer, but more importantly know how to actually use them!

So when it comes to footwear, I tell my athletes that footwear is but a tool for the job. Full disclosure, my lab consults for many different footwear companies, and these findings have helped shape a number of products on the wall at your local running speciality store. I’ve seen objective data on how different footwear influences running gait and the individual runner. Not just a slow motion video of your foot pronating, but really dorky stuff like force vectors and the like. All of this data we collect has shown me a few things:

1. Shoes do make a difference.

2. There is no single shoe optimal for all runners, or even a single shoe that is optimized for a single runner across multiple speeds. Again you are looking for the “right tool for the job”

3. Its been really interesting to see what is “marketed” vs. what really “works” in each shoe.

Finding an optimal match of footwear for you is currently best done in a lab where we can measure data points to help runners find the best tool for their needs. As we learn more about what shoes REALLY do, hopefully the REAL message and technology will get out to your running retailer to help you match what is right for you (and the simple slow motion barefoot running assessment isn’t even close to the right way to match a shoe to your gait, as the research shows there is zero correlation to foot pronation and matching footwear).

However, let’s break this co-dependent relationship on shoes. In the excellent New York Times article on the upswing trend of maximal shoes, I closed with a statement saying that runners should spend less time shoe shopping and more time improving themselves. Gathering clinical, biomechanics, and training data with many thousands of runners over my career, has led me to the conclusion that the best thing you can do is to put a better “you” into a pair of shoes. If you’d like a little a help here, I suggest this video I made with Running Times a few years ago. While its called “Are you ready for minimal?” it really applies to all runners, and the goal is simple: the foot is the most important thing. Period. If you bring better foot control to the table, you aren’t relying on the shoe.

And if you’d like to know more on how footwear applies to running, I’ve got a whole chapter dedicated to footwear in Anatomy for Runners (with over 80 references!) and also highly suggest Pete Larson’s book Tread Lightly.

Here’s a recipe for success: Put the best foot you can into a shoe that lets your foot do its job. Don’t be afraid to try out a bunch of different shoes to see what works best for you, but don’t skimp on your body. You want it to perform? learn how to use it, and give it some attention.

My buddy’s joiner and planar allowed me to fabricate a beautiful african mahogany door to a cabinet I once built. But its the knowledge of how to USE those tools that allowed me to produce a beautiful piece (and avoid loosing a finger in the process!)

Want to run better? Join us for the Health Running Course in Carmel, California

healthy runningCalling all Doc’s, therapists, and trainers (and yes you super guru runners)!

Join your’s truly and Robert Gillanders on October 18th and 19th in beautiful Carmel, California for an amazing installment of Healthy Running! This course was created by myself, Dr. Mark Cucuzzella, and Ian Adamson to be the premier running medical education resource for clinicians.

We’ve taken the research, and distilled it down to its essential didactic components, so that you’ve got answers when your patients ask you for help. And we’ve got big blocks of lab time to practice hands-on evaluation techniques, injury treatments, gait analysis, shoe prescription, and exercise prescription. You’ll not only sharpen your clinical through process, you’ll be comfortable applying our framework to your patients on the first day back in the office….and yes, you’ll likely learn a thing or two to help yourself!

Our mission is simple – every patient – from weekend warriors, to the professionals that frequent my clinic – deserves the highest level of clinical care. We want to share our approach with you, to help you and your patients achieve success!

Click the link for registration, and see you in Carmel!

Want to win a sprint in the Tour de France? – here’s what it takes

Power-to-weight ratio is all the buzz in cycling. Its been observed that certain “essential” numbers allow you to ride with a specific caliber of rider. For example, we’ve seen that top riders in the GC produce around 6.0 watts/kilo for sustained efforts of around 30 min.
Well, Sprints are different. They are won by riders who produce massive amounts of power, while staying aero, and using position strategy and tactics. And if you want to win a sprint in the Tour, what kind of numbers do you need? The folks at the Science of Sport have done an excellent job – check it out here. And then go play with your power meter!

Swimming Tips? there’s more to it than just more yards

Swimmers are fit. But so are other athletes. So why is it so hard for non-swimmers to be come proficient swimmers? Water is 10 times more dense than air. And moving through it efficiently requires finesse and excellent body position. Check out 7 Great tips for Swimmers from Men’s Health. And yes, kicking is REALLY important!

 

The Atlantic: Why aren’t running shoes preventing running injuries?

Simple: there are lots of good shoes out there, and lot of them have a purpose….or rather a reason to be there.

 

But let’s be clear. Shoes don’t run. Runners run. And shoes are just part of the equipment that runners use to achieve their goal.

The industry has created a fallacy of pronation control that has become the “accepted truth” yet, the research does not support this paradigm. Sure shoes do make a difference – but trying to match by arch height, foot shape, static measures, etc just aren’t supported in peer-reviewed research. The old stand-by criteria doesn’t past muster, and they don’t decrease running injuries. As I was quoted in the Atlantic – “the industry as a whole does a horrible job of matching footwear to runners.” Now don’t get all bent out of shape – there ARE good, dedicated people (pearls in the sea) out there who do take the time and do have knowledge to help. But the average runner is getting their shoes fit by a high school kid who works part time, and the only thing he knows about shoes is whatever he has picked up from the biases of the particular store in which he works.

The industry has yet to dedicate time, energy, and the financial responsibility to enable the specialty running retailer do a better job in matching your needs as a runner to the best equipment for you. And that needs to happen. Now.