Category Archives: Running Form

Newton Natural Running Symposium and Clinic in Annapolis Next Week

Posted by on Thursday, October 13, 2011 @ 4:01 pm | Leave a reply

Newton experts and instructors will be on-hand at Fleet Feet Sports Annapolis on Tuesday, October 18 to show you how to run faster, stronger, more efficiently and with less injury!

Newton Natural Running™ Symposium: 6:00pm
- FREE gift for all attendees!
- Raffle for a FREE pair of Newton Shoes!
- Refreshments – including FREE food and drinks!
- Meet the experts from Newton Running

Topics will include:
Fundamentals of Biomechanics
The History of Footwear
Injury Prevention
Questions and Answers

Newton Natural Running™ Form Clinic: 6:30pm
An Expert Newton Educator will answer all of your questions about run form, and the biomechanics of “Newton Natural Running!” We’ll also put the science to the test – and practice drills and proper running form. You can also take a pair of Newton Shoes out for a test run!

Topics will include:
Natural Running
Helpful Form Drills
Efficiency in Running
Practice!

Fleet Feet Sports Annapolis will also be hosting a Newton Natural Running™ Coach Certification on October 17 – October 18. To register for the certification, please visit this page: http://goo.gl/vMnpw

Questions about this event? Email noelle.tarr@fleetfeetannapolis.com.

See more here: http://youtu.be/1m3rBgo5QNI

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Winning the Air Force Marathon: Natural Running Center’s Dr. Mark Cucuzzella, 44, Placed First in 2:38

Posted by on Monday, September 19, 2011 @ 10:54 am | Leave a reply

Reposted with permission from the Natural Running Center

When I got the email late Saturday morning from Mark with just two words in the subject line, “I won!”, my digital jaw dropped in astonishment.  Just a few weeks shy of his 45th birthday, Mark topped a field of 2,500 runners at the 2011 Air Force Marathon, which  started and finished at the Wright-Patterson Air Force base in Dayton, Ohio on September 17.  In addition to being fleet of foot, Mark is a Professor of Family Medicine at West Virginia University School of Medicine as well as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force Reserves. Wanting to know more about his amazing victory — he won by five minutes in a time of 2:38– I fired off several questions to Mark and he  quickly responded.  So without further delay, here’s our exchange. But first, all of us who are involved with the Natural Running Center, are extremely proud of the NRC’s co-founder and executive director who showed that age should be no barrier or hindrance to performance. — Bill Katovsky

You last won this race in 2006.  What were the differences between now and then in terms of your training?

I last won this race in 2006 just shy of my fortieth birthday.  In 2006 life was a lot less busy.  I had time then to focus more on my running and do some of the harder sessions necessary to run fast.  Currently running fits 100 percent  in the relaxation part of my day; if it did not the running and life in general would not be sustainable.  In 2006 I would do marathon pace 2 hour runs in the 6 weeks leading into a marathon.  Now my long runs are all relaxed and low heart rate, and no more than 2 hours.  I did no traditional interval sessions then and I do not do these now either.  I do really short neuromuscular work several times a week with 4 short 50 meter strides and light skipping drills to wake up the recoil and springiness in my stride. In 2006 I started to run in level shoes, now I run barefoot or minimalist in training. So that’s another progression.

How many times have you done this race?

Looking back this was my eighth race and sixth in a row.  I was second in the inaugural race losing to a college rival runner Andy Herr out of NC State.  He beat me in college XC and translated that to the marathon.

Here are the years, times, and place

1995                  2:32                  2nd

1996                  2:34                  3rd

2006                 2:31                  1st

2007                 2:34                  5th

2008                 2:39                  6th

2009                 2:44                  4th

2010                 2:42                  5th

2011                  2:38                  1st

 

One other note. Out of close to 80 marathons that I have raced, only have 2 have been over 2:45 and 24 of last 25 years with a marathon under 2:40, 22 of the years under 2:35.

Mark was flying in his new 5-ounce, zero-drop Newton MV-2's.

What shoes did you wear in 2006? And in Saturday’s race?

In 2006 I was wearing a Brooks Burn. I was sponsored by them at the time.In 2011 I wore the new Newton MV2.  This is a 5-ounce zero-drop shoe which is firm and responsive.

Given that a majority of your training is barefoot, what are the differences in racing shod?

I want something with a close to barefoot feel; that is a firm shoe with no heel elevation.  Also need a nice toe-box so I can use my “Correct Toes”. These keep my big toe in the right position for stability and spring.  You can run faster on this course in shoes than barefoot.  There are lots of rough stretches of pavement which would be tough at 6 minute pace in bare feet.  To race a marathon you need to be in total relaxation mode and let it go.  Barefoot on unfamiliar textured terrain is a challenge in itself.  You can go more reckless in shoes too as you can get away with flying down the hills, and which is a good thing in a race.  The Newtons are different as they are not traditional soft foam, but rather a firm TPU membrane with recoil properties.  To me this enhances efficiency, and does not sap it away like traditional EVA.

Will you ever run a full marathon barefoot?

Sure, I need to find a nice scenic course with a good smooth road.  I would not “race” this either and rather focus on smooth technique and enjoying the day.  I ran Big Sur several years ago.  This would be a nice barefoot run, or Napa Valley and finish with a nice glass of red.

How many miles do you train per week? And do you do any other sports or physical activities?

I probably log 50-60 miles with a long run of 1:45-2 hours.  I play in the backyard often with my dog and kids.

With your incredibly busy schedule of being a family physician, owner of Two Rivers Treads, and frequent travel to speak at sports medicine conferences and clinics, how do you even find time to run?

I run when there is opportunity, often very early in the morning and sometimes at lunch.  The beauty of running is that you can run anywhere and anytime.  I have a headlamp for running in the dark

Does everyday stress ever affect your training?

I use my running (and deliberately shun the word “training”) as the daily reset button.  The harder and busier the day is the more I need to do an easy run.  This relaxation counters the sometimes toxic levels of stress that comes with being overextended.  If running were another stress it would not be sustainable, therefore all of my running is relaxed. Often people read schedules developed by elite athletes and they have weekly strenuous sessions. Now if you are an elite athlete and the rest of your day is the relaxing part then you can add frequent stressful workouts.  For 99.9 percent of all runners this is not the case.  We all have busy and stressful lives and the running must fit into the “yin” of the “yin and yang” circle.

How did you celebrate after the win? Were your legs sore?

I have a trace of soreness now 24 hours after the race.  At the post-race tent I celebrated with teammates with a few beers, a pizza, and later  2 glasses of wine (good mixed fat, protein, and carb recovery).  When I got home that night my family had a nice Boston Crème pie waiting.  This was the real celebration.  To my two kids, it was if I had won the Olympics.  I brought home a really big trophy and they loved it. They made me congratulation cards with crayon drawings of Daddy leading the pack. On Sunday morning I ran 40 minutes barefoot and felt really good considering the hard 26 yesterday.  I even mowed the grass too for an hour with a push mower.

What was it like to be out in front the entire race? Were you in a state of suspended disbelief, thinking “where is everyone?”

When you run a marathon you just focus on your own pace and feeling.  I had plenty of company with a police lead car and 4 Military Police on bikes next to me.  So at least I felt safe and did not need to think about turn. I just looked ahead at the car.  There were tons of spectators out in the towns, at the aid stations, and on base. So it was never lonely.  At least 20 bands too and since I was the first runner they really cranked it up.  Heard some AC/DC, Zeppelin, Elvis, and lots of other spirited tunes to give me a little boost.

How many other runners in their 40s in the U.S. can go sub 2:40?

There are quite a few 40 year old runners who can run this time; at 45 years, not too many

How was this race different than Boston 2011 when you ran 2:37?

I consider the solo 2:38 yesterday a better performance.  In Boston we had a nice tailwind, there are no turns, and there is always either a group to break the wind or another runner you are chasing.  To solo run a 2:38 on a course with several hills takes more effort.

Some of the runners in the Air Force marathon were half your age!  Yet, you were able to flick on your afterburners for  26.2 miles and they weren’t.  Why is this so?  How does one build up endurance and speed?

Running is all about efficiency and economy, a term Dr. Phil Maffetone calls “aerobic speed”.  This is the speed you can achieve while still in your true aerobic zone (where a good portion of fuel is fat).  Go a little faster than this and you are burning all glucose/glycogen.  We only have an hour and a half of glucose/glycogen in the tank so this strategy does not work for a marathon.

I do almost all my running is very relaxed at a  heart rate  of about 145 or lower and do supplemental short 50 meter sprints and light plyometrics to keep the range of motion and “quickness”.  You want to be able to run “fast” without running “hard.” That is the secret.

I work on kinetic chain strength and stability also by spending a lot of time standing on one leg.  I do not have a chair at my desk and do most of my working at a stand up desk.

The day before the race you were on your feet the entire day giving talks on footwear education and running. What were some of the topics you covered? And, weren’t you tired by the end of the day? So much for taking it easy the day before the race.

Yes it was a busy couple of days giving talks at the expo and speaking with fellow soldiers about their running.  I covered the basics of a program we are about to launch called “Efficient Running”. We are tasked to build self instruction modules for soldiers on aerobic development, core strength for running, and running mechanics.  The talks brought much interest and curiosity.  Runners cornered me for an hour after each of these talks to get advice on their injuries.

What did you eat the morning of the race? Did you eat or drink anything during the race?

My usual breakfast is several cups of good coffee (this is normal for me), a couple bagels with peanut butter, and a banana.  I eat about 2 hours before the start and then have a Power Gel at the start.  I use a Power Gel every 30 minutes during the race and take only water.  I do not drink beyond what my body senses. So maybe 20 ounces along the way yesterday.  It was cool.

Dr. George Sheehan, the late philosopher king of running, dealt with his declining marathon times by cutting back on the frequency of runs per week. Instead of going five miles a day, six times a week, he reduced that amount to running three times a week while boosting his mileage to ten miles per run. He was still running thirty miles per week, but it was offset by additional rest days. He stuck to this training regimen for three years, and at the age of sixty-two, Sheehan set a personal best in the marathon by going 3:01. Can you see yourself going even faster in the marathon in years to come?

I think I could run faster if I chose a goal race and life calmed down enough to do some of the necessary harder sessions to really get into “race” shape.  Currently, there’s not enough time to sleep and recover so the running can only be easy.  With the right prep and the right race I think I can go under 2:30 again.  I’ve run under 2:25 a couple times in my 20’s, but doubt I’ll get there again.  But really the times don’t matter.  I’m happy to be able to wake up and run pain free even if I never raced again.  In some ways though I feel obligated to jump into the races since a big mission of the Natural Running Center, Two Rivers Treads, and the United States Air Force Efficient Running is sustainable running. If I were just another “former runner” trying to tell folks what to do it would have no credibility or relevance.  I’m learning and experimenting everyday too.

 

What’s up next on Dr. Mark’s race calendar?

The biggest running challenge is a race where I’m not running but directing.  On October 1, we’re hosting nearly 3000 runners in Shepherdstown with Freedom’s Run (www.freedomsrun.org).  I direct the race and believe me that when I say running a marathon is easy; you just show up. Finally, come see our new Two Rivers Treads blog calledRun Shepherd. We just posted a short video of one returning Freedom’ s Run competitor, Don Taylor, who is 80 years old!

I have Marine Corps Marathon late October. I will be part of Air Force team.  This will be my nineteenth Marine Corps. This was my first marathon in 1988 and I ran a 2:34. It would be fun to achieve that time again. I will run the JFK 50 mile in November to finish the fall running season.

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The Problematic Cross-Over Gait pattern. Part 1

Posted by on Wednesday, August 24, 2011 @ 9:54 am | 2 Replies

Here Dr. Shawn Allen of The Gait Guys works with elite athlete Jack Driggs to reduce a power leak in his running form. The Cross-over gait is a product of gluteus medius and abdominal weakness and leaves the runner with much frontal plane hip movement, very little separation of the knees and a “cross over” of the feet, rendering a near “tight rope” running appearance where the feet seem to land on a straight line path. In Part 2, Dr. Allen will discuss a more detailed specific method to fix this. You will see this problem in well over 50% of runners. This problem leads to injury at the hip, knee and foot levels quite frequently. To date we have not met anyone who had a good grasp on this clinical issue or a remedy quite like ours. Help us make this video go viral so we can help more runners with this problem. Forward it to your coaches, your friends, everyone.

Thanks for watching our video, thanks for your time.

-Dr. Shawn Allen, The Gait Guys

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A Bit About Footstrike

Posted by on Tuesday, August 2, 2011 @ 12:37 pm | 1 Reply

Some points were brought to our attention recently in Bobby McGee’s article “The Footstrike Debate” published in USA Triathlon (Summer 2011.) the person who brought this up seems to have missed some of the salient points from the article. Newton’s Director of Education, Ian Adamson has addressed these points in both a short and long version. Read on and be enlightened!

Short

1. “Good runners heel strike for long distance”

Let’s be clear, McGee says “Good runners also tend to heel strike when they run long and slow.” This is true in affluent societies where runners overwhelmingly have adapted to running on shoes with soft midsoles and a large heel lift (12 -22 mm for regular trainers, 8 to 14 mm for racing flats.) For runners in the 5.5 Billion people on our planet who can’t afford big bulky shoes this is not true. If one examines evidence based science and don’t believe the anecdotes, this is this is fact, Lieberman et al (Nature Vol 463, 28 January 2010, 531-536.) You can certainly find examples of elite runners who have a proprioceptive heel striking phase (such as Gebrselassie), but this is not a true heel loading strike, even as McGee defines it.

2. “Transitioning from heel to midfoot is precarious and seldom achieved without injury”
(I’m glad I finally heard somebody actually say this, I’ve been struggling to convert to midfoot strike because everybody is doing it and it caused me injuries that I”m still fighting)

There is no evidence to support this. Consider barefoot running, which is probably the most extreme adaptation for a western runner who has habituated to a soft soled, heel lifted shoe. A systematic review of the literature published in Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association [one of the most conservative when it comes to viewing footwear and running gait] (101)3: 231-246, 2011, found that “Although there is no evidence that either confirms or refutes improved performance and reduced injuries in barefoot runners, many of the claimed disadvantages to barefoot running are not supported by the literature. Nonetheless, it seems that barefoot running may be an acceptable training method for athletes and coaches who understand and can minimize the risks.”

The reality is progressive injury results from trying to adapt too rapidly. The majority of runners in our society spent years of decades adapting to big bulky western style running shoes and have become very efficient at running inefficiently. Humans have the ability to adapt to a large variety of unnatural conditions (heat, cold altitude, deep sea diving, wearing big soft high heel shoes), but this doesn’t mean the conditions are optimal for performance.

This does raise the question of what is natural. If one considers the barefoot as the natural condition for running (4.5 million years of hominid/human evolution according to the fossil record) compared to a big soft bulky shoe (40 years of modern running shoe evolution), which one is the natural condition? There is a valid argument that we need to protect our body from hard modern surfaces, which to some extent is true. But then again, they are not exactly absent in the natural world, and humans have had foot coverings for at least 5,500 years according to carbon dates artifacts. The Iceman from oAustria has straw stuffed moccasins to protect from the sharp ice and cold, good idea!

3. “Of the six US men in the ITU world championships last year, four were heel strikers.” (Wow)

Yes, wow, but not true. Do an image search and see how many true rear foot strikes you can see. They also placed 14th (Bennet – forefoot), 16th (Chrabot – forefoot), 51st (Shoemaker – forefoot), 56th (Collington – forefoot), 58th (Huerta- mid foot, possibly rear foot at times), 66th and last (Foster – wholefoot, possibly rear foot). Search for any elite runners and you will see predominantly forefoot/wholefoot/midfoot loading.

Long

Bobby McGee’s primary points in his article “The Footstrike Debate” published in USA Triathlon (Summer 2011) are not so much about where you land on your foot as your body position and loading angles.

1. McGee uses examples of athletes who successfully “heel strike”, but here’s the rub (and this later explained, see 11. below), you still need a good body position and appropriate joint angles (limb positions.) The main thing missing is a definition of “heel strike.” An often misinterpreted study by Hasewage et al (2007) showed that 38% of the top 50 runners in a half marathon (at the 15 km mark) run midfoot or forefoot, and that ground contact time decreases the faster they go. This was true of all runners, with GC time increasing for all runners as they run slower. Interestingly the definition of foot strike was when the shoe first contacts the ground. When you examine this more closely it turns out that what the geometry of the shoe has a huge effect on what touches the ground and when. Virtually every runner was wearing a heel lifted shoe (i.e. one where the heel is thicker than the forefoot), so if you control for heel thickness, the number of forefoot and midfoot strikers goes up to about 60%. Look even deeper and you find that these runners are not truly rear foot loading (see impact transient in 10. below), but are in fact running forefoot or midfoot (or whole foot) loading. McGee does a good job of describing how to do this later in his article.

2. Running on your toes is impossible. This is at least extremely difficult unless you include sprinting, in which case it’s only possible for very short distances.

3. Top (tri)athletes succeed with various foot engagement styles. Success is relative – Craig Alexander runs faster than virtually any other distance triathlete using midfoot/whole foot strike, and he’s one of the oldest professional triathletes.

4. “Transitioning from heel to midfoot is precarious and seldom achieved without injury.” Making any change too fast can lead to injury, whether that is changing your running style, introducing speed work, strength, intensity, volume, altitude, heat, cold etc. Try and climb an 8,000 m peak without acclimatization or supplemental oxygen and you will die, try and run in Death Valley in the middle of summer without heat acclimatization and you will die, try to change the loading patterns on your foot strike and you won’t die, but you’d better make sure you do it with plenty of time to strengthen the soft tissue and fine boney structures of your feet so you don;t get injured.

5. You shouldn’t try and keep your heel off the ground. Absolutely correct, in fact this is a common mistake and leading cause of injury for people adapting too fast to a midfoot/whole foot/forefoot strike.

6. It’s unlikely that foot position can lead to effective change. This is largely true, foot placement is more important, as in where in relation to the body it engages the ground.

7. Place your foot so that it is neutral or moving back relative to the ground. This is absolutely the most efficient way to engage and extremely difficult to do if you have your leg out in front of your body.

8. Allow your heel to settle and your (longitudinal) arch and Achilles tendon load like a spring. This is true, and actually engages the stretch reflex to assist with elastic recoil. Difficult in a heel striking gait, at least severely limited because the Achilles is already extended in a dorsiflexed position.

9. Consider barefoot running as the outer end of the midfoot/whole foot spectrum of runners. A systematic review of the literature published in Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association (101)3: 231-246, 2011, found that “Although there is no evidence that either confirms or refutes improved performance and reduced injuries in barefoot runners, many of the claimed disadvantages to barefoot running are not supported by the literature. Nonetheless, it seems that barefoot running may be an acceptable training method for athletes and coaches who understand and can minimize the risks.”

10. When you review the evidence based science that examines foot position and ground impact forces, the facts are clear. Lieberman et al (Nature Vol 463, 28 January 2010, 531-536) found there is a large variation in the impact transients when comparing forefoot strike (FFS) runners to rear foot (heel) strike (RFS) runners. Impact transient is the rate and magnitude of loading on initial ground contact. It turns out that the impact transient for shod runners who RFS is three times higher than barefoot runners who FFS, and seven times higher for barefoot runners who RFS. The study found that the impact transient is largely absent for FFS runners, regardless of wearing footwear or not. Here’s an excerpt from the article: “Humans have engaged in endurance running for millions of years1, but the modern running shoe was not invented until the 1970s. For most of human evolutionary history, runners were either barefoot or wore minimal footwear such as sandals or moccasins with smaller heels and little cushioning relative to modern running shoes. We wondered how runners coped with the impact caused by the foot colliding with the ground before the invention of the modern shoe. Here we show that habitually barefoot endurance runners often land on the fore-foot (fore-foot strike) before bringing down the heel, but they sometimes land with a flat foot (mid-foot strike) or, less often, on the heel (rear-foot strike). In contrast, habitually shod runners mostly rear-foot strike, facilitated by the elevated and cushioned heel of the modern running shoe. Kinematic and kinetic analyses show that even on hard surfaces, barefoot runners who fore-foot strike generate smaller collision forces than shod rear-foot strikers. This difference results primarily from a more plantar flexed foot at landing and more ankle compliance during impact, decreasing the effective mass of the body that collides with the ground. Fore-foot- and mid-foot-strike gaits were probably more common when humans ran barefoot or in minimal shoes, and may protect the feet and lower limbs from some of the impact related injuries now experienced by a high percentage of runners.”

11. “… If your shin is leaning rearward, even slightly, you are running with the brakes on -” This is absolutely correct. McGee is describing over striding, where you land with your foot in front of your center of mass. This is the most typical heel strike, and is one of the greatest inefficiencies in running.

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T-2 Is a Natural Fit for Natural Running

Posted by on Friday, July 29, 2011 @ 10:36 am | 56 Replies

Every triathlete knows that the transition from bike to run is a beast. After hours of being hunched over the handlebars with the legs spinning, trying to regain uprightness and establish a running rhythm is a “make it or break it” for most racers. There are several reasons why Newton Running shoes and Newton Natural Running Form can make T-2 feel Natural.

Getting off of the bike, the hamstrings and hip flexors are going to be tight. This is only a problem if you try to run with a long stride. If you take short quick steps that mimic your cycling cadence, there is far less adjustment. Newton Running Shoes are built on a level platform to help you land under the center of mass instead of loading the foot out in front of the body. They have an external forefoot technology, the lugs, that sit on top of a stretch membrane which store and release energy. This helps tired legs get off the ground and keeps the cadence high. If the athlete can find reasonable upright posture and commit to a nice forward lean, they will return to using the large efficient hip flexors to lift the thigh. This becomes a “controlled fall”, letting gravity do the work.

The toe box of a Newton Running shoe is nice and wide making room for the foot to spread, even if a little swollen. Having room for the foot to spread is very important when trying to run efficiently. Only when the foot is able to spread will the passive energy of the stretched connective tissue in the longitudinal and transverse arch recoil. This elastic recoil does not require effort, and will replace the need to push off. Most triathletes will reach a point of total fatigue of their glutes. The glutes are responsible for stabilization of the pelvis in the stance phase of the running gait. The quicker a runner can stabilize in the stance phase the less the gluts have to work. Newton Running shoes have a firm plate under the ball of the foot that greatly improves afferent feedback or the ability to feel the ground. The quicker a runner can feel the ground, the quicker they can stabilize in stance phase and the less they tax those fatigued glutes.

Getting off the bike in your next race can be a much more natural transition with Newton Running shoes and Newton Natural Running Form, it’s simple physics!

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Natural Running Efficiency: Using Elasticity in the Lower Leg

Posted by on Thursday, July 28, 2011 @ 11:09 am | 212 Replies

By Douglas Bertram, MTCM, L.Ac.. Director of Field Marketing at Newton Running

Several studies have shown a direct link between Achilles tendon length and the amount of energy the tendon can store. The tendo-muscular structures of the posterior lower leg often become shortened by wearing shoes with an elevated heel. Shorter tendo-muscular structures significantly reduce the elastic recoil potential; therefore it is recommended to wear level running shoes. The ramp angle or heel-toe drop is determined by measuring the difference of height between the heel and the forefoot of a shoe. A heel-toe drop of more than 3-4mm will start to change the ability for the tissue of the posterior leg to store and release energy.

The plantar fascia also acts as an important spring. When landing on the mid-foot/forefoot with the foot under the center of mass, the longitudinal arch should lengthen. This lengthening of the arch stretches the plantar fascia and aids in shock absorption as well as increased elastic recoil. By releasing the stored energy from the plantar fascia, significantly less active muscular effort is needed to lift the foot back off the ground. Less active push off means less wasted energy. In order for the arch to naturally lengthen there must be enough room in the shoe. Ridged structures “supporting” the arch do not allow for this natural motion. Stiff running shoes and rigid hard plastic orthotics might have a place for some foot pathologies, but will significantly alter the natural spring mechanics of efficient running.

A slow cadence has the same effect of reducing efficiency. Optimal cadence is around 180 steps per minute because this is the speed of which tendon is able to store and release energy. It is the frequency of elastic recoil. Shoes that are made of soft “cushioned” EVA foam will slow down your cadence because it interferes with the body’s ability to sense the ground. The more “cushion” between your foot and the ground, the more time your foot will stay on the ground due to a reduction in afferent feedback. The quicker the foot can find the ground, become stable and release, the quicker your cadence will become. Most people will speed up their cadence by 10 -15 steps per minute by running barefoot or in lightweight firm shoes (firm under the ball of the foot, not the arch). Look for a shoe that offers a good amount of protection, yet gives good afferent feedback. This will help you take advantage of the passive energy of elastic recoil and make you a more efficient runner.

Finding The Proper Fit

Standing with your heels pulled to the back of your shoes, you should have at least a thumb’s width in front of your longest toe. Many people wear their shoes too short, too narrow and laced too tight. The unshod foot freely spreads upon loading, allowing the spring-like mechanism of the longitudinal arch to lengthen, and the transverse arch (from the 1st to the 5th metatarsal head) to widen. The spreading of the foot aides in both shock absorption and stabilization, as well as helps facilitate the mechanics of elastic recoil. If the shoe is too narrow and the arch too stiff, natural motion of the foot is prevented.

Lacing a shoe too tightly is a habit that forms from running in a shoe with a significant ramp angle, where the foot tends to slide forward, thus creating the need to lace tightly to prevent this motion. When transitioning into a level shoe, there is not the same need to stop this forward motion. The foot needs room to rise and fall to be efficient.

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Gord’s Running Store Hosting Newton Natural Running Symposium July 11/12

Posted by on Thursday, July 7, 2011 @ 8:33 am | 1 Reply

Next Monday, July 11 and Tuesday, July 12, come to Gord’s Running Store in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, for a Newton Natural Running ™ Sympoisum and Form Clinic with Newton Running’s Director of Education and Research, Ian Adamson.

Learn the principles of running biomechanics, injury prevention and how to adopt a natural running stride.

The natural running presentation begins at 5:15 pm at Gord’s Running at 919 Center Street NW, Calgary, Alberta, and the form clinic is on Tuesday at 7:00 pm.

For more information, visit www.NewtonRunning.com or www.GordsRunningStore.com.

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Chiropractor Recommends Newton Running Shoes

Posted by on Thursday, June 30, 2011 @ 1:37 pm | Leave a reply

Chiropractor Dr. Lane just posted this video explaining why he recommends Newton Running shoes to his patients and delves into what differentiates our shoes from other running shoes in the market.

Thanks Dr. Lane for the cool demo of the Action/Reaction Technology and explaining the principles behind natural running form!

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Shepherdstown West Virginia: a Newtonian Community

Posted by on Tuesday, June 21, 2011 @ 1:04 pm | 2 Replies

In less than a year, Two Rivers Treads Center for Natural Running and Walking has sold over  1000 pair of Newton Running shoes. Newton Runner Dr. Mark Cucuzzella (pictured left) opened the concept store in June  2010.

Dr. Mark, one of the earliest adapters of Natural Running, began researching and learning about better running form after several foot operations in 2000. He discovered the effects of footwear affects as a runner for Brooks Sports and working on minimalist shoe projects. “By cutting the heels off shoes I understood the feel of zero-drop,” says Cucuzzella. “I didn’t need any more data to realize that elastic recoil and natural motion were enhanced with my foot in its anatomic position.”

When these projects were shelved, Dr. Mark contacted Newton Running‘s Danny Abshire, of who was building a shoe designed to facilitate proper running form. Dr. Mark and Newton Running continue to learn and evolve with  a common goal of having runners embrace the notion of “No Pain…Thank you”, not “No Pain…No Gain”.

In 2009 Shepherdstown started hosting running events that soon become the largest in the state.  There is now an entire Freedom’s Run Series of Events (www.freedomsrun.org) with partnerships with the National Parks.  The all-volunteer group builds trails and gardens for schools and has established the Historic Region as a National Heritage Area.

The events have grown such that a race headquarters was needed. Freedom’s Run race committee members Tom Shantz and James Munnis, stepped up to the challenge of creating a shoe store specializing in flat and minimalist shoes.

“The Sir Isaac Guidance Trainer has been an excellent and safe transitioning shoe for many new and experienced runners,” says Shantz. “It is durable and allows the feel and protection of a shoe as runners start to learn and understand better form at their own pace”

“We are big supporters of barefoot running as a supplement to land better and improve posture,” he adds. “Most who have not achieved proper strength, mobility and efficiency would trash a pure minimalist shoe and their bodies in two to three weeks. The resiliency and firmness of Newton Running’s midsole and its sustainable properties make it unique in the shoe market. We also teach the components of healthy movement in weekly clinics and at each customer interaction.”

The Distance Light Weight Trainer is the shoe of choice for State Champion Jefferson High School Cougars. Whereas most coach recommend cushioned trainers to their athletes, Jefferson Coach Scott Biola understands it is critical not to let his runners transition to a dysfunctional heel-to toe-pattern.  One Newton runner who has achieved great success is multiple state champion and 4:15-miler Brandon Doughty.  Brandon has but over 1200 miles in his Newton Running Gravity Neutral Performance Trainers and has avoided injury.  He will run for Oklahoma next year.  Five of Biola’s runners broke 10 minutes over 2 miles this year, when five years ago he would have had trouble finding five runners to break 5 minutes in a mile.

“Chi Running principles have helped me overcome my own injuries,” says Biola. “Getting away from heel striking is an essential aspects to teaching proper mechanics to high school athletes. I prefer to see them land on either the forefoot and rearfoot touching simultaneously or the ball of the foot (forefoot) touching first.”

“It seems that the older the athlete, the harder it is to transition away from the heel strike,” he adds. “Time spent in traditional training shoes definitely has a lot of us accustomed to heel striking. I’ve found that the Newton shoes and other lightweight minimalist models help reinforce proper mechanics. In addition to getting people away from heel striking, these shoes are also light in weight which is essential to having a rapid cadence. That quick turnover not only makes for faster running, it seems to help reduce injuries.”

Dr. Mark has these thoughts about the future: “We are seeing many runners now graduating into less shoe in a healthy and progressive way.  We look forward to the launch of the MV2 in the fall.  It will be a fresh option for those who have learned and evolved. The Isaac , Gravity, and Distance will continue to be our focus for the new and transitioning runners.  With over 1000 pair of these out now I have yet to hear of a customer or their doctor come back to us blaming the shoe. I give credit to my staff who teach patience and progression.”

After the lead of Two Rivers Treads, several stores are now opening with a similar model of selling only flat and minimalist shoes. They are aligning in a partnership and all are Newton Running retailers:

  • Born To Run; Bellevue, WA
  • Natural  Running Center; Dallas, TX
  • Good for the Soles; MA
  • Revolution Running; WI
  • The Runners Sole; Chambersburg PA
  • Hunter Gait; Newcastle, Australia

The store started in a 500-square-foot second-story space and just last week moved to a beautiful  new street level space with triple the space and a new visibility.  The future looks bright for both Newton and Two Rivers Treads.  Two Rivers Treads wishes to thank the support of Newton for a successful first  year. Newton has also been instrumental in the success of Freedom’s Run as a major sponsor (www.freedomsrun.org)  and the US Air Force Running Team, of which I have been a part of for almost 20 years.

Meet Dr. Mark and learn about Newton Natural Running at this weekend’s Running Injury Prevention Conference in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Click here for more details and registration.

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Running Injury Prevention Conference and Coaching Certification June 23-26

Posted by on Tuesday, June 14, 2011 @ 2:06 pm | Leave a reply

The highly successful “New Trends in the Prevention of Running Injuries” is returning to Shepherdstown, West Virginia, and this time, is paired with a Newton Natural Running™ Coaching Certification Program.

Citing more than a thousand scientific articles and systematic reviews, this edition of New Trends in the Prevention of Running Injuries questions many current practices in the treatment of both runners and non-runners alike. With high quality audio-visual material, this course will integrate the theory and practice of a number of advanced concepts on running.

Topics include:

  • Injury etiology and theory
  • Diagnosis and treatment of injury
  • Planning of training sessions
  • Evidence based stretching and strength training
  • Biomechanical gait analyses taught by the world’s expert Jay Dicharry
  • Analysis of the running shoe
  • Teaching barefoot running style with Dr. Mark Cucuzzella recently presented at 2011 Boston Marathon See video
  • Optional group runs with experts in the field

The three-day course will enable you to efficiently treat your patients whether they are runners or active in other sports. You will leave with clinical tools such as a DVD (running mechanics, demo exercises, warm-up sequence, etc.), a CD with a PDF document (evaluation sheets, exercise programs, tips, running programs) and portfolio that includes all the academic content of the course.

The course is instructed by three internationally known teachers and leaders in running medicine:

  • Blaise Dubois is a physiotherapist who teaches at the Faculty of Medicine at Laval University. Blaise has developed the Running Clinic Canada and has taught over 50 conferences around the world. His involvement with the Canadian athletics team has led him to travel around the world enriching his knowledge and adapting his clinical approach.
  • Jay Dicharry is a physiotherapist at the University of Virginia and director of the SPEED Clinic. Jay is the world’s leader in gait analysis and running injury evaluation and treatment.  Runners of all abilities travel from around the world to visit his treatment center.  He has published dozens of studies and reviews and teaches around the country.
  • Dr. Mark Cucuzzella, the conference host, is one of the world’s leaders on teaching gait mechanics and injury prevention.  He is an authority on footwear and in the small town of Shepherdstown, West Virginia he opened Two Rivers Treads Center for Natural Running and Walking- the first store focusing exclusively on flat and minimal shoes. In his spare time he directs the Freedom’s Run Series of Events and continues to run at an elite level as a Masters runner.
  • Dr. Robert Wilder is Chair of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Virginia and Director of the Runners Clinic.  He has published several texts and articles on running injury, prevention, and treatment.

Gifts, snacks, networking, and free monthly updated literature are some of the many extras you will receive by attending the 24-hour training course. Register now….course limited to 30 participants.  24 hours of CME approved for physicians and physical therapists.

Date: June 23 – 25, followed by the optional Newton Natural Running Coaching Certification Program on June 26. (see below for details).
Program  8:00 a.m.to 5:00 p.m.

Special rate $545 (usually $650 USD in Europe and Canada)

Military rate $495

Location: Bavarian Inn
Shepherdstown, West Virginia
304-876-2551
www.bavarianinnwv.com special rate $119/night

Register here at The Running Clinic.

Newton Running Natural Running Coaching Certification Program

Following the three-day course, participants may also take place in a one-day intensive Newton Natural Running™ Coaching Certification Program at Two Rivers Treads in Sheperdstown, West Virginia on June 26. This is normally a three-day program.

The registration free of $250 includes a pair of Newton Running shoes, Natural Running book by Danny Abshire and running apparel. (Exception: Newton Running retailers are free). **You must attend the New Trends in Running Conference to register for this coaching certification program**

Newton Natural Running™ form coaching certification provides coaches with knowledge designed to assist clients with efficient running form, injury prevention and training goals.

Newton Natural Running™ Form Coaching Certification requires participants to:

  • Practice a Newton Natural Running™ form
  • Attend a three day coaching certification clinic
  • Pass written, oral and/or practical examination

Certified Newton Natural Running™ Form Coaches can:

  • Teach and analyze Newton Natural Running™ form
  • Present Newton Natural Running™ talks and clinics
  • Use Newton Natural Running™ certified logos and marks
  • Obtain a free listing on newtonrunning.com
  • Get discounts on Newton Running products
  • Become a Newton Running Affiliate

Cost: $250 (free for Newton Running retailers)
Location: Two Rivers Treads, 113 W. German Street, Sheperdstown, WV
Time: 8:00 am to 3:00 p.m.
To register, contact Dr. Mark Cucuzella at mark [at] freedomsrun.org
For more information, visit: http://www.newtonrunning.com/community/running-coach-certification

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