Author Archives: Brandon Wood

  • Newton Running Social Media Round-up: 3.22.13

    We're dedicating this week's social media round-up to Instagram! There are so many Newton runners who share their love of our shoes through pictures (our shoes do tend to be rather photogenic!) and we'd like to give you, dear reader, a sampling of what we've seen in the past few days.

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    Screen Shot 2013-03-22 at 2.25.26 PMCLICK HERE TO FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM!

  • I am Newton: Tor Swenson

    Little TorOriginally born in New Jersey my family and I moved around often when I was younger. See, my mom was a true flower child and my dad was as free and easy as the Colorado winds… OK we were hippies and dad played drums in a band. Yep that’s me in the sweet pants around Christmas.

    We settled down in Raleigh, NC and that’s where I spent most of my youth.  I grew up playing soccer, surfing and swimming. Soccer was my favorite and I ultimately went to college to play. After college, a season ski bumming in Killington and then some more college; I followed my Dad’s footsteps and went into the restaurant/bar industry.  Eventually my wife and I became owners in the industry for over eight years. We had a blast and it was a huge success, but horrible on the midline!

    Five years into the biz…. I saw a picture of myself (that I will not share). With the thoughts ofTor Broder-resized-600 having children it was time to make a change. Our ultimate goal was to lead by example and show our kids a healthy way to live. A little time and several pounds later…. It worked! That’s my son Broder and I training for his first 5K.

    During that time I had been fulfilling a love for competition with triathlon. This is where  the running comes in… soccer players only run when told. Swimming came naturally, cycling is awesome but running? Ugh. But even not being a runner by trade, it wasn’t long before I developed a passion for the trails and longing to tick off the miles. Running became my favorite discipline.

    On a visit to a local triathlon shop I happened to try on a pair of Newtons. They felt amazing  and despite receiving discounted shoes from another brand, I purchased a pair. Not only did they feel great but that end of the season IT band ache disappeared. Needless to say it’s the only shoe I have worn since!

    In July 2011 I was able to marry my lifestyle passion with an opportunity at Newton Running.  As Regional Sales Manager of the Mid-Atlantic I’m able to surround myself with incredibly passionate people and continue to feed that competitive drive.

    Many thanks to my wife Carolyn, Lilla and Broder

    Tor Swenson

  • Newton Running Social Round-up: 3.8.13

    With a nod to blatant cuteness and our love for dogs, we asked our fans to share pictures of their dogs wearing Newtons with us this week. Here are just a few of the pictures that were shared!

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    This week we also hit 50,000 Facebook Fans! We are super excited about this because we make a big time effort to not just hit an arbitrary number of fans just to have fans, but we want our fans to be engaged and to be the most knowledgeable runners on two feet! We are who we are because of our fans on and off Facebook and we're saying thank you by giving away a pair of shoes! Enter below:


    Once we've given away our pair of shoes, the one and only Mile Long Legs will be giving away a pair of Newtons also! head on over to her website and Facebook page to be in the know when her contest goes live.

    Also around the interwebs this week are some really fantastic pictures by other Newton fans and devotees:

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    And last but most certainly not least, Newton Running co-founder Danny Abshire headed to the midwest to give some talks and clinics. Here's a story from Naperville High School which actually has a Natural Running CLASS (how awesome is THAT?!): [STORY]

  • Newton and Ironman: Running Efficiency

    With our new partnership with Ironman comes Newton Running's position not only as the official shoe and run course of the granddaddy of triathlon but also writing a series of "Running Modules" for

    In this first installment, written by Newton's Director or Research and Education Ian Adamson, we focus on probably the most important aspect of running and that is: efficiency. Too often we get hung up on working on biking technique, swimming technique, what shoe is right, what socks we're wearing or whether the ratio of compression garments to sweat rate is in some arbitrary sweet spot. When you strip away all that other stuff, the one thing that we consistently overlook is running technique and efficiency.

    In this piece, Ian gets into some of the most basic yet most often ignored information of running efficiency and the role it plays, and has always played, in our lives.


  • Team Alchemy: Pezz and Rock n Roll New Orleans

    On the road again!  Headed to the New Orleans Rock n Roll Half Marathon and I am excited for a variety of reasons! First and foremost, I have never been to New Orleans and actually will be staying in Louisiana for a couple days after the race because one of my former assistant soccer coaches from PSU lives there. It will be great to hang with her and her family and not have to hop on a plane immediately after. In addition, a few Team Alchemy/Newton ambassadors, including the accomplished runner and doctor,Mark Cucuzzella will be there. They will be speaking, puttting on clinics, and having a "Hello Better" weekend selling some of our latest 2013 shoes! I LOVE going to races where there are people from Newton because it gives me an extra sense of support and encouragement, not to mention a solution in case I happen to forget my racing shoes at home (Yes, this has happened before :/).

    But I guess what makes the whole thought of racing in New Orleans more exciting than some other races is that I'll be toeing the line with not only America's Top Half and Full Marathoners in Shalane Flannigan and Kara Goucher, but also many of the fastest women in the WORLD, including Meseret Defar, a multiple world record-holder and gold medalist distance runner!!  ( That is just an honor in itself!! 

    So of course, this all begs the question, how does a "1:13 girl" like myself get ready to compete with women from all over the world who consistently run under 1:10, 1:09 and even 1:08 for a Half marathon???  I think the answer is actually pretty simple. For now...she doesn't :)!! Sure, it would be easy to go out the first few miles with some of these women at a pace that I am only prepared to go for a few miles.  And I may be super competitive, but I'm not SUPER STUPID!!!! I think sometimes the hardest job of any runner is to know where you are at and what you are capable of, while not limiting the possibility of something special happening. I'm sure many runners would like to be in a different place, a faster place, a higher ranked place.  But you can't rush your goals, and so my goal for this weekend is pretty simple. I would like to run the fastest time I've ever run in a half-marathon. I've had some decent weeks of training prescribed by Coach Mark Hadley that have included some top quality workouts and long runs. But I can't neglect the fact that I've also had some tougher days where I did not perform as fast as I would have liked. Overall though, I'm ready to tackle the half-marathon distance once again and running in a race with the best could be a great opportunity to achieve my goal of getting a personal record. I'm hoping to run my own race and stick to the plan that Mark has suggested, and I'm sure it will involve hard work and an attempt to push past pain, as it always does. But if the conditions permit, competing against the clock and myself will be a tough enough task, so i'm not too worried about the rest!! And as I've said it before, I'll say it again, I know that for me, all I can give is my best effort. God has the job of making it good enough:)

    Have a great weekend of training and racing runners! Enjoy the journey!! 


    Following the Rock n Roll Half,  I'll thankfully  be racing in some more spectacular opportinuties with fast courses and fast people. The Gate River Run 15k National Championships ( and the Shamrock Anthem Half- Marathon ( are scheduled for March while the Cherry Blossom 10 mile is on the schedule for April.  Woo Hoo!!

  • From the Expert: Dr. Mark Cucuzzella On Single Focus Running Studies

    recent study of less than 40 East African tribesman showed that most  land on their heels while running at a slow pace on a compliant surface (not pavement) and when they sped up most changed their pattern to midfoot landing.  Some in the media then grabbed onto this small sample and somehow arrived at the following “conclusions”:

    •    Barefoot running is not a good thing…the fad is over
    •    This supports cushioned running shoes with elevated heels

    The study looked at the Daasanach who are a pastoral tribe living in a remote section of northern Kenya. According to the New York Times, “Unlike some Kenyan tribes, the Daasanach have no tradition of competitive distance running, although they are physically active. They also have no tradition of wearing shoes.”The study looked at the Daasanach who are a pastoral tribe living in a remote section of northern Kenya. According to the New York Times, “Unlike some Kenyan tribes, the Daasanach have no tradition of competitive distance running, although they are physically active. They also have no tradition of wearing shoes.”


    Let’s see now, the African subjects were running barefoot; but people land in different ways, and as you speed up you get more forward on your foot. Not surprising as anyone who runs, coaches, researches, or even observes runners knows .  There was absolutely no reference or relevance to injuries or footwear effects in this study. These happy tribesman were jogging slowly in their bare feet as they do daily, and I doubt any of them had or ever will have running injuries.

    They were active tribal people (not habitual runners) running at a jogging pace.

    This study reinforces what many of us in the Running Medicine field have been voicing for a long time. People are focusing on one variable and most often it is footwear or what part of your foot hits the ground first,  and ignoring the other 90% of the equation.

    Runners get hurt by running.  Most often by running  too much, too fast, and often with poor strength and movement mechanics. Humans are also highly variable and it is doubtful any of us does or should land in the same way every time, on every surface , and at every speed.

    No one of credibility in the professional field is telling runners to land on their forefoot or ball of foot in isolation, nor suggesting  for folks to chuck their shoes.  What is interesting in studies is they rarely agree on what a forefoot or midfoot strike actually is.  A true forefoot strike is probably along the base of the 5th metatarsal (outside edge of foot), not the ball of the foot or metatarsal heads.

    As an often barefoot runner I land different on different surfaces at different speeds. On soft golf courses and easy pace, I roll nicely from the heel.  Running fast on concrete, I need to engage the foot more as shock absorber and to prestretch the takeoff muscle contraction.

    Remember the key is running elastic– landing close to your center of mass, and engaging the posterior muscles (glutes).

    I still stand behind what we filmed here as the Principles of Natural Running. Not where do we say that runners should aim to land on the ball of the foot.

    Running barefoot in itself will not change most of the other variables contributing to poor form and injury, but it does have a role in the relearning process.

    See our Stability and Mobility section on the Natural Running Center, and notice where the real improvements occur and do lots of progressive drills to rewire the movement pattern.

    Another finding reinforcing what we know is that as the runners ran faster, they landed on their forefoot more often. This is normal and necessary.

    Everyone’s form changes when they go from 9:00 per mile to 5:00 per mile. As one moves faster it is efficient to eccentrically stretch the triceps surae the load the Achilles spring. This is like jumping: .load, trigger, fire.

    Instructing an 9:00 mile runner  to  emulate the 5:00 mile biomechanics is short sighted and one should not suggest it.

    My personal take-home messages from this recent study of African tribesman and the “barefoot” attention that resulted from it is as follows:

    •    Do not focus on footstrike in isolation
    •    Gradually increase cadence
    •    Mix it up….surfaces, shoes, barefoot,
    •    Use your glutes and extend the hips from a stable core
    •    Watching a barefoot runner land on their heel does not mean that we were not born to run barefoot or that shoes need a cushioned heel.
    •    Have fun!

    Click here to visit the Natural Running Center!

  • I am Newton: Tory Oakland

    I was asked to create an “All About Me” post to share on our blog – first thing I thought of was my past life working as a 4th and 5th Grade Classroom teacher… “Okay kids, I want you to create a diorama by next Friday that we can have up for Open House – it should be called All About Me!”  No diorama from me, so if that’s what you’re looking for, boo Tory.

    If you’ve ever sent an email, or called in to Newton Running any time over the past four-and-three-quarter years, you and I have probably communicated.  I came to work for Newton as the Director of Customer Service in June of 2008, and was hired in as employee number ten.  We’ve now grown by nearly six times that, and I continue to hold down the fort here when you Tory Oaklandneed my help.

    I grew up in Northern California, went to University in San Diego, and made the beaches of North County my home for a number of years before returning back upstate to teach elementary school.  From there, I made a transition to Texas, and during a four year layover in the Dallas area, learned about this startup company called Newton Running.  Chris Legh, a professional triathlete and close friend of mine was one of Newton’s first sponsored athletes, and he sung the praises of these odd shoes.  Being highly competitive in the multisport world myself, I thought I’d see what they were all about.  Fast forward about a six months, and I’d purchased a house, and was moving out to Boulder, CO to come to work for the company.

    When I’m not at work, you’ll find me outside.  I’m an athlete by nature, and a competitor by genes, so spending time with an elevated heart rate is at the top of my Happy List.  We added another member to the family about a year ago, so my new running partner is now my daughter Devyn – she’s a champion just like I’d expect her to be, and the one responsible for much of my sanity.  My focus now is to strive to serve as a role model for her as she becomes the next Newton Runner.

    Look for me back on the start lines this race season – post Devyn, I only got in one half IM in 2012, so with goals in place, and training well underway, we’re looking forward to the season ahead.  Cheers!

  • From the Expert: Dr. Mark Cucuzzella Talks Elastic Recoil

    There is a lot of confusion around the term elastic recoil vs. braking in running.  A critical feature of efficient running is a strong and stable base of support.  Without this foundation, there can be no efficient transfer of energy.

    Screen shot 2012 11 12 at 4.21.14 PM resized 600Our tendons are highly adapted to storing and releasing energy under tensile strain.  Jay Dicharry uses  a slingshot analogy.  As runners we must land a bit in front of our center of mass to store the energy and it then releases as we push off the ground.  This is not braking if done correctly.

    Can we tell what the runner is actually doing with a video camera?  Not exactly, as we cannot see forces?

    But we can make some likely conclusions with slow-motion film as one can see a springy motion vs. a hard hit and resulting shock wave with an overstride.  Muscles lengthen and shorten in the overstride and slow cadence pattern and compromise the elastic storage, as does trying to pick up your foot too soon with active muscle contraction (this is sprinting).

    Rewatch this video on the “Principles of Natural Running” below. Do some of the drills shown in the video such as the jump rope and run with tether drill to learn how to land closer to your center. Also a must read is “Anatomy for Runners” by Jay Dicharry".



    Please be sure to visit Dr. Mark at The Natural Running Center!

  • From the Expert: Danny Abshire Talks Foot Placement

    Runners often exhibit form habits that can be attributed to  prior injuries, limited range of motion, and movement patterns. This generally results from years of sitting, standing and running with less than optimal alignment and running form.

    Moving at a slow cadence and with sub-optimal movement patterns often results  in inefficiencies and, in some cases may lead to injury. Many runners strive to improve their running efficiency, to improve running speed or seek to have less wear and tear to the body. In the context of the above traits, some things can be improved on and other traits cannot. The goal would to be the most efficient runner YOU can be.

    More parallel foot placement to the ground is going to be more efficient than a straight leg heel first landing. This is because the lower legs and feet are in a poor position to help attenuate impact and utilize the spring in the leg and foot muscles.

    Slight heel landing with flexed knee is more efficient than landing with locked knee and extended heel strike. In a full foot / whole foot / midfoot landing the runner should feel the entire foot touch the ground at the same time. This means you will feel the heel touch with the rest of the foot. A midfoot strike should be more efficient than heel first because the foot and body can get in and out of maximum loading quicker. Maximum load occurs in mid-stance phase during a running gait and this is where the foot/ankle is stable and locked. The ankle and knee are flexed and the muscle/tendon complex is re-coiling like a spring.

    A midfoot landing is relatively safe and efficient, but to maximize the benefits, you should have sufficient range of motion. This includes ankle dorsiflexion where the foot is raised upward. If you have past injuries of the ankle with limited dorsiflexion and over tightness in the calf muscles, a midfoot landing might be difficult to achieve..

    Landing slightly on your forefoot and letting your heel relax to the ground is a very efficient foot strike and works well for faster and more efficient runners. Again, do you have the individual traits that allow you to land the way you choose or do you have some restrictions and limitations?

    The mind and body connection, agility and coordinated whole body movement that comes from running form drills, an efficient cadence, core strength, core movement and relaxed foot placement can help runners become more efficient. Remember a good goal is to be the most efficient runner YOU can be to enjoy a lifetime of fun and fitness. 

  • Running in Tech: Zombies, run!

    In this age of smartphones and wrist mounted training computers so powerful that they would have filled an entire warehouse two decades ago, many runners are constantly looking for a new way to track or record their running and in some cases, make it go by faster! Enter "Zombies, run!".

    The inspiration for the game came when one of the co-founders (Naomi Alderman and Adrian Hon) was at a running club meet-up. The group was saying why they were there and wanted to run more. The answers were the fairly to-be-expected, "To get into better shape", "To lose weight", "Training for a race" and the like, until they got to one person who said something completely from left field. "I'm running to be in shape for when the zombie apocalypse happens. I need to be able to outrun them!".

    Zombies! Run!

    "Zombies, run!" is an interactive, running based game for your smartphone that brings fun to running for those whom running itself isn't much fun. In Season 1, there are ~30 "Missions". Within each Mission there are 6 or seven chapters. These chapters tell a bit of story throughout your run, interspersing the story-telling with music from your own library. Within each Mission there are "Zombie chaser" sections where you (according to the story) are being chased by zombies. These sections seek to get you to increase your pace by about 20% for up to 2 minutes. Think of it like a fartlek...with zombies chasing you!

    Thus far, "Zombies, run!" has sold about 300,000 copies (the 5K training version is $3.99 and the "Epic Adventure" is $7.99) and is available for iOS, Android and Windows Phone. Season 2 is currently in the wors and will be out soon. In season 2 there are over 60 missions, an improved user interface and new game play modes which include location based gaming.

    Check them out now HERE!

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