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Going the Distance

Posted by on Friday, July 25, 2014 @ 10:50 am | Leave a reply

Brenda Carawan is not your typical runner. But then again, most people who thrive in races that average 100 miles on the road, are not your every day runner. The Texas native, who has a 100-mile PR of 16:33, has had top finishes at the Spartathlon Ultra Race (153 miles) in Greece and California’s Badwater Ultramarathon (135 miles). She’s been first overall female at North Carolina’s Graveyard 100-mile and Florida’s Keys 100 Ultramarathon, amongst other top finishes. And yet, the 38-year-old Carawan didn’t compete, or even run, in high school or college. Instead, she was an aerobics instructor who found her workout wasn’t cutting it anymore, so she started to run.

WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST RACE?

First, I did the Austin marathon in 1996. I was 19. It took me 6 hours. I came in third from last. In 1997, I did the same race in 4.5 hours. From there, I kept running and I never stopped.

WHEN DID YOU CHANGE FROM MARATHONS TO ULTRAS?

When I moved to Virginia in 2000, I needed a way to meet people. The big thing there was triathlons. I was like I can run and I have swum before and surely I can ride a bike. I did a couple of sprint triathlons. I always needed to finish so I could get to the finish line party.

In 2004, I signed up for an Ironman in North Carolina, even though it wasn’t trademarked that. My family flew in to see me do this race. The race day came and I missed the bike cut-off by over an hour maybe two hours. I got to the transition area and they said you’re disqualified. I said, my family has flown here, can I give you my timing chip and finish the run and they said ‘yes.’ It still took me 5 hours. But I caught enough people to not finish dead last in the whole race.

The next day I was embarrassed. I was supposed to be an Ironman and none of that happened. I went to REI and found this documentary called Running On the Sun about Badwater Ultramarathon. People were throwing up, crying and passing out. One guy had his toenails surgically removed, and I’m looking at this thinking this is what I’m meant to do. I will suffer but it looks like a lot of fun. This is the bucket list race.

THE ROAD TO BADWATER

Spartathlon 2013

In 2011, I got invited. You have to be invited and only 90 people get invited. To do Badwater, you have to have completed at least three 100-mile races within a calendar year and you have to submit a running resume. It’s not enough to have just finished three ultras. You have to have done well.

Preparing for and running Badwater, that just set the whole ultra scene for me. I fell in love with the adrenaline rush of getting ready for the races and pushing the limit physically and mentally. That will always be my dream race. The traditional Badwater is unique to any other race on the planet because of the climate, the temperatures and the solitude of not seeing anything for miles and miles.

WHAT’S YOUR AVERAGE WEEKLY MILEAGE?

Graveyard 100 2012

I run up to 130 miles the week before races and do about 5-6 weeks of 100-plus miles. For the Spartathlon last September—a 153-mile race—I got up to 150 miles a week in training.

WHY NEWTON?

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My coach is a huge proponent of Newton. She kept telling me about these shoes. Finally, leading up to my second 100-miler, I tried them and then I went and ran 20 miles. It was the most wonderful run I have ever had. I realized this is the fit that I need and I have never used another brand since. I stopped having injuries. My form got better. I attended the Newton coach training school so I could learn more about the science and the drills behind the product. It’s not just a shoe, there’s an actual science behind the shoe. That’s what is unique about Newton and that’s what I fell in love with, the science.

Going into 2012, I had my fourth 100-mile race. I was the first female and I won in 16 hours and 33 minutes. I went from running a 19:50 to a 16:33. I wholeheartedly believe it was because of what I learned from Newton and my coach. It’s those two variables that made a difference.

I decided to write Newton to be on the pro team. But every year the pro field was closed. Then the guy in charge of the pros said why don’t you contact Stephen Gartside who runs the elite team. Up until late 2012 the elite team had been closed to only people living in Boulder, Colorado [home of Newton headquarters]. 2013 is the first time Newton has let people outside of Boulder join the team. So Gartside and I ran together a few times, then in January 2014, he said “Welcome to the team!”

INJURIES?

Winning Nove Colli 125_miles 2014

Before I switched to Newton’s exclusively, yes, I had injuries. I tore my soleus, I had a partial tear in my hamstring, and there were good chunks of time where the nerve endings in my metatarsal were inflamed so I had to water run because I couldn’t run on land. Between my Newtons and my coach making sure I don’t over train, I have had no injuries or blisters. One pair of shoes no blisters.

At Spartathlon in Greece, they plop you down in a wheelchair when you finish and take you to the medical tent to tend to your feet. They took pictures of my feet because there was nothing wrong with them. That’s the way it should be.

WHAT DO YOU EAT WHEN YOU RUN?

Winning Keys 100 2013

When I’m running I drink juice, Gatorade, shakes. I do no solid foods at all regardless of the distance. Occasionally, I might ask for 2 or 3 Pringle chips. But when I say that, I legitimately mean 3 chips, if you hand me 10, I will eat 3 and put the rest on the ground.

When the race is over the best food I have ever had was in Italy. No other place to eat on the planet than in Italy. To stuff my face with prosciutto, wine, and pasta, that is just the closest thing to heaven that could possibly be on this planet for me.

WHY THE ROAD?

I really just enjoy the open road. It puts me in a good place mentally when I’m out there by myself. There are days that I start crying when I’m out there because I ‘m just in love with that moment of the road and me, it’s an intense love affair with the road.

WHAT DO PEOPLE AT WORK THINK?

My coworkers generally think I’m crazy. My desk becomes a confession stand where people feel compelled to confess that they haven’t worked out or that they ate unhealthy. They know what I’ve done and it’s like they’re seeking forgiveness for not having done their workout when they know what I’m doing.

FAVORITE MUSIC TO RUN TO:

I like to listen to music. I have everything from Julio Iglesias in Spanish to classical piano to Eminem to Annie Lennox. I have the full spectrum and I just genuinely love music. Me and a pair of Newtons with my ipod is about the equivalent of someone handing me a winning lottery ticket.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Winning Cowtown 50k 2014 NRE Debut

I just finished my biggest goal for the year. It was a double ultra, two weekends back to back. I did the Nove Colli 125-mile race in Italy in the mountains. And then, 5 days later there was a 100K road race in Italy. I found out later that I’m the only female who has done the double. They keep records for how fast all the guys have gone and the times I ran it places me in 4th place overall ever.

I haven’t chosen a race for fall yet. I am looking for a PR. I would like to break 16 hours.

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It’s good to be 7

Posted by on Thursday, June 26, 2014 @ 12:12 pm | Leave a reply

The Truth About Newton Running

Like a carefree first-grader effortlessly bounding across the playground, Newton Running celebrated its 7th birthday in late March at the IRONMAN triathlon in Oceanside, California. My co-founder Jerry Lee and I began living a dream the day we started Newton Running. A dream founded with a revolutionary idea, a small assortment of demo shoes and a resolve to change not only the world of running, but through giving back, perhaps even change the world.

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As I reflect on the past seven years, and Newton’s growing place in the running market, I have never been more proud of the direction of our company or inspired by the uplifting daily reminders of the positive impact we’ve had on runners around the globe. Perhaps most gratifying is Newton’s unwavering commitment to a consistent set of innovative beliefs that have guided the company from its earliest days and led so many runners to find a home with the Newton tribe.

At Newton, we believe in:

Helping You Run Better:

  • There’s a “Right” way to run. This doesn’t mean all runners run alike or that you must run a certain way to enjoy running or the unique benefits of Newton running shoes. Simply that the best-practice fundamentals of posture, position and cadence apply to us all. And when followed, they lead to healthier more efficient running. 

 

  • Every runner can run better. Did you know that running form drills are a standard part of the training regimens for most of the elite athletes who work with Newton? We learn to swim, to ride a bike, to follow a disciplined training plan. A small focus on the fundamentals of running can yield enormous benefits for us all.

 

  • No other running shoe helps improve your running like a Newton. Our lightweight, level platform and patented Action/Reaction technology supports better, more efficient running through maximized ground-to-foot energy transmission. There’s nothing else like it.

 

The lasting power of personal relationships:

  • Virtually every Saturday, I lead a group run form clinic out of the Newton Running Lab in Boulder, Colorado. This opportunity to connect with fellow runners as they experience the Newton difference and discover the feel of efficient running is always one of the most rewarding parts of my week. 

 

  • If you attend a major marathon or IRONMAN expo, chances are good that Jerry Lee or I will be there, usually on our hands and knees fitting customers in shoes. We live for our running community. Personally engaging with new and seasoned runners alike who share our passion is and always will be core to our success.

 

  • Our customer service team is on a first-name basis with an impressive list of Newton runners, many of whom have been loyal Newtonites since our 2007 launch and proudly display a closet full of colorful Newtons from virtually every launch. We are so grateful for their loyalty.

 

In giving back:

  • We founded Newton with the goal of establishing a double bottom line. Profitability supporting the committed team that makes Newton run, while also sharing in our success with those less fortunate, or in crisis. To date Newton has given more than $1.5 million to charitable causes. 

 

  • From trail clean-ups, to food drives to evenings serving meals to those in need, giving back together bonds our team in unbreakable ways.

It’s good to be Seven. Thanks to all of you who have joined us for the ride and here’s to along run into the future.

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Breakfast On The Go

Posted by on Tuesday, May 20, 2014 @ 11:32 am | Leave a reply

Let’s face it life is busy. We get it. From the time you wake up to the time you go to bed, you’re moving in a hundred different directions (or at least it feels like it) between work, family, friends, and, getting that daily workout in. But on top of all of those daily activities, we sometimes neglect to refuel our bodies with the right nutrients to keep us going. So here’s an easy solution: a quick-and-easy breakfast that you can take anywhere (at anytime…we won’t hold you to breakfast). It can even be prepped over the weekend for the week ahead. Give it a whirl…and then let us know what you think!

muffin

Pumpkin Quinoa Muffins

What you’ll need -

  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ cup agave nectar or honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup canola or olive oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¾ cup pumpkin purée
  • ½ cup cooked quinoa

 

Now for the cooking -

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Mix together flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine brown sugar, agave nectar, egg, egg white, Greek yogurt, oil and vanilla, mix well. Stir in the pumpkin, add the dry ingredients and the quinoa; mix until combined.
  • Drop batter into a lined muffin tin filling the cups ⅔ full, and bake for 18 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

 

* Transformation – Add in ½ cup fresh or frozen blueberries

* Muffins can be made in advance and stored in the freezer.

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Form, Function & Education

Posted by on Monday, January 13, 2014 @ 8:34 am | Leave a reply

The Treadmill’s owner, Chris Cleary, was selling Newtons long before he was selling Newtons.

 

When Chris Cleary moved with his wife, Janice, from Toronto, Canada to Carmel, California to be near his sister and her husband, he was very active in the running and triathlon world, but working in construction. Still, motivating and inspiring others was just something he liked to do, almost like a hobby. “I was running and doing triathlon and leading an active lifestyle. In construction, my goal was always to get the guys who weren’t health conscious to think about it.” And then, the Treadmill running store came up for sale and his life changed.

“One of my coworkers said, ‘I saw The Treadmill is for sale. Then my sister called a couple of days later and said, ‘I saw The Treadmill is for sale.’” The seed was planted. The owners were retiring after 29 years in the business. Cleary and his wife had just had their first child (they now have two), and he debated, “Should I do something crazy, or do something smart?” He and his wife decided to go for it, they bought the store in April 2012, and they’ve never looked back.

One of the first decisions Cleary made as the new owner of The Treadmill was to bring Newton running shoes into the store. “I was a Newton customer long before we bought the store,” he explains. Several years prior, Cleary and his wife had postponed their honeymoon until after they ran the Big Sur Marathon, whose course runs 200 yards from the Treadmill’s front door. Cleary had been running a lot of ultra races and he ran the Big Sur race in another popular shoe. “I was in so much pain when I finished, I couldn’t walk for days. It ruined our honeymoon, because neither of us could walk.” As Cleary got more into racing, he started to read more about form and stumbled upon Newton.

TreadmillPhoto

“I started reading about Newton and then I looked up the local store that sold them, and started running in them. I was 2-3 weeks in when I had that ‘Aha’ moment that I should have been running like this forever. That’s how you create a cult following, people have that ‘Aha’ moment.” As a result of his enthusiasm for Newtons, Cleary adds, “I was selling Newtons, long before I was selling Newtons.”

When Cleary bought the store, Newton’s weren’t in the store. Cleary jumped on bringing them in because the “local” store where he had been buying them was actually an hour-and-a-half drive up north. But selling them, he admits, was a bit of a difficult transition at first. “We have an older demographic—a lot of walkers. We only have a few runners on our staff. We have a lot of people who do adventure travel. We had to do a lot of teaching as to how this shoe makes a difference in your running.” But the education process is partly what attracted Cleary to Newton shoes in the first place. And the concept of teaching form, helping people understand how they are moving and offering tips to make the running experience more enjoyable for his customers is key to Cleary’s overall business plan. “We have to stand out. We want people to like us and support us and think there is nowhere else to go because we know exactly what is going on.”

The education focus is working for him. “We went from selling five pairs a month, to 35 to more than 50 pairs a month.” This past year, the store started a tri-club as well. Cleary himself, is now a Level 1 Newton Natural Running Instructor.

Realizing the road to success is going to be bumpy, Cleary’s vision is clear, “I want to create a store that I would want to go to.” And although everyone on his staff saw Newton as Cleary’s shoe, he says it’s not his efforts alone that have made the shoe a success in the store. “Newton has been 100-percent supportive. They have come and done clinics for us. Ian Adamson spoke on our behalf. They stand behind us with the 30-day guarantee. It’s nice to have a company that is really aware of where they’re at in the industry and doing the best for everyone trying to sell the shoe.”

 

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A Runner’s Guide to New Year’s Resolutions

Posted by on Tuesday, December 31, 2013 @ 2:53 pm | Leave a reply

new-year

1. Know that most New Year’s resolutions fail. So go easy on yourself. The best way to succeed is to choose some small goals to achieve throughout the year.

2. Make your goal concrete, not something nebulous like I’d like to improve my time this year or get better at running. Be specific. If you want to improve your time, then set a specific goal of exactly how fast you want to run. Or how many seconds or minutes you want to drop off your time. 3. Pick a race. The easiest way to succeed at following through on a running goal is to set a goal. Choose an event. But make sure it’s far enough out to give yourself time to adequately train for it.

4. Lacking motivation to race? Mix it up. Change your distance or location. Race a 10K instead of a half marathon. How about racing in New York City if you’re a small town runner, or at sea level if you’re a mountain runner. Or go international and visit somewhere you’ve always wanted to go.

5. Need an even bigger challenge? Take on the World Marathon Majors: Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago, and New York City. Of course, this may cover a few years of New Year’s goals if you’re not (like many of us) racing full time.

6. Okay, maybe running isn’t the problem. If you tend to just run, run, run, then commit this year to mixing it up more by adding weight training, swimming, cycling or even yoga to your routine. You’ll likely see improvements in your running by trading out a running workout for another form of fitness. As for the yoga, it will help keep your muscles flexible as you age, which is critical for staying off injury.

7. Hydrate. Yup. This should be a no brainer. We know that coffee is tempting, but it’s probably safe to say that most of us could benefit from drinking more water. Your body will thank you. The old rule of eight glasses a day is still a good starting point.

8. Eat more chocolate. Life can’t be all work and running. Okay, after you hydrate, a little piece of dark chocolate a day is actually good for you. Studies have shown that it’s good for your heart, brain, circulation, and full of antioxidants, which help battle free radicals, aging and even disease.

9. Sleep more. Why not try to get to bed before 10pm more often. Sleep is critical for your body to rejuvenate. In fact, recent studies have actually shown that during our sleep the neural system actually “scrubs” the brain and removes toxins while we sleep. Sleep is also critical to retaining information. Basically, we feel better and our brains work better with sleep.

10. Smile more when you run. Sometimes it’s hard to tell by the grimaces on our faces that we actually like to run. Many of us even love to run. Show it and let your smile be contagious to others. Maybe it will encourage them to start running, too.

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Winter Gear: Extras that make a difference

Posted by on Thursday, December 19, 2013 @ 4:33 pm | Leave a reply

It’s true. All you really need to run is a pair of shoes. For that reason, it’s hard not to like the simplicity of the sport. But in reality, it is nicer to run in running apparel than say jeans. And as the temps dip in the winter, there are some items, thermal tights for instance, that can make your run that much more enjoyable. We’ve put together this package of winter-friendly products for those runners who are willing to venture out when sitting by a fire with hot chocolate is oh so tempting. Receive 20% off on each item. Free 2-day shipping is available with a purchase of $118.99 or more.

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Terra Momentum, $149

Slip these shoes on if you’re heading off-road into the winter wonderland or if you need a little extra traction on urban paths. The Momentum offers highly responsive cushioning on a lightweight platform.

Firewall 180 Jacket, $140

You can brave the elements in the Firewall. This lightweight, front-zip jacket is made with a thermal knit laminate for wind and rain protection. Lycra cuffs keep wind and rain out, while one back-zip pocket and two front hand pockets will hold your phone or keys tight.

Mid Zero Tight, $70

This form-fitting tight is made with thermal fleece to keep you warm and cozy no matter wear your feet take you.

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A Holiday Salute

Posted by on Tuesday, December 17, 2013 @ 4:43 pm | Leave a reply

To Our Military, Police & Firefighters

To our military, police and firefighters, we salute you. Words cannot express how much we appreciate what you do. In recent years, we’ve been through our share of fires in our own backyard here in Colorado. We have watched as firefighting squads have fought around the clock to save lives, homes and land. This year, the fires were followed by the flood — 17 inches of rain in just a few days, when Boulder County’s annual average is just 20.7 inches. As damage spread across an almost 200-mile range covering 17 counties, we were in trouble. Relief came as Army and National Guard soldiers were brought in to help. What a mess we were in and how much we appreciated your efforts in search-and-rescue operations and flood relief and recovery. We know that hard work continued long after the rains stopped.

This is just Colorado. Across the country, our men and women of service work hard to keep our homes, communities and children safe. From Hurricane Katrina, to the Boston Marathon tragedy, you were there. And, there are those of you who aren’t at home. You’ve been stationed abroad once, twice, perhaps many times. You’ve sacrificed time with loved ones and friends to protect our country, to protect others and to help rebuild global communities. Your work makes the world a better place.

We also recognize that our men and women of service represent some of the toughest and strongest athletes around. Sure, people love to get out and do a Tough Mudder race or a Warrior Dash, but try doing those events year round, in bitter winter conditions or without warning or notice. Floods and fires aren’t planned, catastrophes don’t happen on cue. While many of us covet our daily routine, our eight hours of sleep, healthy meals, and workouts, you just keep doing what you do.

In support of our military, firefighters and police offers, Newton Running offers special discounts and promotions for members of the United States military, state and local police and fire departments and their families. To qualify, simply go to our community military page and provide proof of military status or current employment. A “.mil” or “.gov” email address counts as proof of status. It’s easy to do. On top of this discount, we’re also offering 20% off on these select items, inspired of course, by you:military

Terra Momentum, $149

An all-terrain shoe, the Terra Momentum serves as an everyday base-training shoe from roads to technical trails. Lightweight, yet cushiony, this shoe is ready for action. And we know you’re sayin’, “bring it!”

Camo Mid Height Compression Sock, $15

We know, you’re wary of the hot pink and lime green. They’re not the stuff that stealth is made of. That’s why we made these for you.

Newton Race Hats by Headsweats, $20

Everyone needs a hat, whether to run in or to be incognito every once in awhile. Made with an adjustable clip in back, this hat is made with Coolmax and nylon, which means it’s lightweight, breathable, and fast drying rain or shine.

Whether you’re home or abroad, we hope this helps to make this holiday season a little brighter. Thank you again for all that you do.

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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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Culver City’s Sporteve to Host Natural Running Clinic

Posted by on Tuesday, April 5, 2011 @ 1:15 pm | Leave a reply

We’re excited to announce that the newest addition to our list of upcoming natural running symposia is Culver City’s Sporteve, L.A.’s first active-wear store dedicated to looking after women’s needs.

The natural running form clinic, led by Newton Running’s Ian Adamson, will be followed by a presentation on natural running biomechanics and injury prevention.

Natural Running Form Clinic & Presentation
Where: 3849 Main Street | Culver City, CA 90232
Date: Saturday, April 16, 2011
Time: 8:30 – 11:30  a.m.
Contact: 310-838-6588 | sporteve.com

Learn more about Natural Running Symposia here:

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Transitioning to Natural Running Form and Shoes

Posted by on Friday, March 25, 2011 @ 8:05 am | 6 Replies

Men's Gravity Neutral Performance Trainer

By Danny Abshire, co-founder, Newton Running

Whatever your body type, fitness level or experience, the two biggest changes you can make to improve your running performance and reduce the likelihood of overuse injury are:

1. Wear shoes with a nearly level profile
2. Learn how to run naturally

How an Elevated Heel Affects Running Form

For the past 30 years, running shoes have been designed with thickly cushioned, built-up heels. This type of shoe forces the body to balance itself in an unnatural, backward-leaning position. Your toes are pointing downward, your weight is shifted rearward, and your back is slightly arched. Basically, your body struggles to maintain balance while compensating for the lifted heel.

If you’ve been running this way for years — and most people have — it’s likely the muscles and other soft tissue in your feet, lower legs (the Achilles tendons in particular) and core need to adapt to the proper body position that comes with running in flat shoes.

The Achilles tendon acts like a large rubber band that stretches and recoils with every stride. If you’ve been wearing shoes with an elevated heel — including your everyday work and casual shoes — your Achilles tendon has a shorter range of motion. When you begin running in a level shoe like a Newton Running shoe, the Achilles tendon needs to stretch to accommodate for the 10-15 mm distance that used to be taken up by an elevated heel.

How to Make the Switch

If you abruptly transition from an elevated heel to doing all your mileage in a level shoe, you’re likely to feel some Achilles and calf muscle soreness. Instead, make the transition gradually: run less than a mile at a time a 2 or 3 days per week. Work on your form and build strength in your feet, ankles and lower legs with the following tips:

Work on strength and balance:

  • Go flat as often as possible! Ease the transition on your Achilles and calf muscles by walking barefoot. Wear flatter shoes even when you’re not running.
  • Do balancing drills. Stand on one foot with a mostly straight leg, lift the other foot off the ground at a 90 degree angle and close your eyes. If you can maintain balance for 30 seconds with your eyes closed on both sides, you may have enough strength be begin transitioning to level shoes. If you lose balance on either side, make this drill part of your daily regime. (Be sure to work on each foot.)
  • Do barefoot heel dips on a staircase. While holding on to a wall or railing, balance yourself with your metatarsal heads on the edge of the stair even with the ball of your foot. Slowly dip your heel below the plane of the stair, feeling the stretch in your Achilles and calf muscles and then slowly raise back up.

Increase the flexibility and range of motion in your feet and lower legs:

  • Do common wall stretches. Lean into a wall with your hands while flexing the lower calf with a flat foot. Do this with both a straight and bent knee and repeat a couple times per day after the muscles are sufficiently warm.
  • Increase the flexibility of your plantar fascia. While sitting in a chair, cross your leg over your knee and firmly push your fingers or a thumb into the center of the sole of your foot. Maintain that pressure and point your toes up and down to stretch the plantar fascia.

Focus on form:

  • After a run, use form drills to further develop specific aspects of proper running form. Skipping, bounding, high knees and butt kicks are easy and don’t take a lot of time.
  • Watch yourself run. Have a friend video your stride in traditional shoes, level shoes and while running barefoot on grass. Notice how your body moves differently in each scenario.
    Do your feet land under your center of mass? Are you running with a quick cadence and relatively short strides? Are you running with upright but slightly forward-leaning posture? Are you carrying your arms close to your body at about a 90-degree angle? Adopt this form in your new shoes.

Take it easy!

  • Your inner marathoner might be craving the challenge and rejuvenation that a long run always brings, but refrain from going on long runs until you’ve gone through a gradual progression. Increase your weekly mileage by no more than 10 percent per week and make sure you’re diligent about self-analyzing your form and your progression.

Danny Abshire is the author of “Natural Running” (VeloPress, 2010) and the co-founder of Newton Running, a Boulder, Colo.-based company that makes shoes that promote an efficient midfoot/forefoot running gait. He has been making advanced footwear solutions for runners and triathletes for more than 20 years. For more, go to newtonrunning.com.

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