Thursday, April 5, 2012

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


The question I always ask folks who say" I used to run..." is: Did you play ball sports?
The guy who rebuilt my ankle (rolled it running in a minimal shoe btw) and another Orthopod I run with from time to time both agree that pure runners aren't a problem. It's folks who played ball sports who are all trashed up as well as folks who simply aren't built to run long distances but insist on it. After 42 years of running and cycling and only running and biking I had some trauma to my left knee last year. ( was pushed down at a marathon and landed on the knee) My Dr. friend did the scope and came out and said I have the knees of a 15 year old and thought It was due to two factors. 1) I never played ball sports, 2) I have the genetics that have allowed me to go this long with no wear and tear on my meniscus which remains quite thick.
The question is: If Minimal shoes had been all there ever were, like my first real running Onitsuka Tigers and Nike Boston 73, would my knees still be as good? Did Cushioned shoes allow me to run this many years with little to no damage. ( I am a mid foot striker at speed and heel striker while noodling around)
Now I get minimal. I started in minimal (1970) and remember my first pair of cushioned shoes (Etonic Street Fighters). I have been playing with minimal drop (Montrail Bajada, PureFlow) and zero drop (Altras) both are nice and feel ok to run in. As I sit here I'm wearing a pair of Hoka Bondi B. 4 mm of drop and a huge cushion. My legs simply don't feel any shock in them, and I can come in from a run with no muscle soreness later on.
I've been running Mary's and Ultras lately. At Disney I see tons of folks in VFF. Running the road. After the races they walk around with big bags of Ice taped to their knees. At three recent Ultras I've seen plenty of minimal but only ONE pair of VFFs at each race. At a recent Ultra festival Hokas were everywhere and being worn by very experienced UR's. Folks who obsess about shoes as much as I do and probably have a closet full of minimal and low drop.
I think zero to minimal drop shoes that are well cushioned are coming down the pike.
It will be interesting to see what washes out and what lasts 5 years from now.
Like a hard core bike friend of mine says: "If Jan Ulrich had won 7 Tours we'd all be grinding out big gears at slow RPM. But he didn't. Lance did, so we spin at a high RPM."
There is a reason VFF can be had for 50% off at a lot of the stores I frequent.
A lot of it has to do with what's frosty.
A lot of this is fashion.