Fan of the Week: Jason Dodge

jjdposter resized 600I confess that I am drawn to expensive and shiny things—like the Newton shoe, which I first saw at the 2010 Chicago Marathon Expo. I told myself I had to get serious about this running business before I paid that kind of money; my $50 Asics would serve me just fine and not set me back too much if they became lawn mowing shoes the following spring if I gave up on running the way most people do after they buy a treadmill. The next day Sammy Wanjiru defended his title to run 2:06 in hot conditions that dropped my one of my best friends at mile 25 with life-threatening heatstroke.

And yet it wasn’t until November when that same friend went on to run the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon, as I hobbled to strategic sighting points with his wife to see him run, that I thought about Newtons through my clenched teeth and sharp knee pain. I had only been running for 8 weeks, and I already had an injury that hurt to walk. Classic knee pain caused by poor running form and high ramp angled shoes. It wasn’t too long before I was trying embarrassingly to run midfoot (in reality stabbing/toeing the ground improperly) in my $50 Asics that seriously started to research the Newton shoe.

I bought my first pair of Newtons less than a month later on November 26, 2010, and after156563 10100673276565219 1765554077 n resized 600 815+ miles still have them in my rotation of about a dozen pairs. My Asics did end up making great lawn mowing shoes, and I now consider myself serious about running. I can’t say that I have been injury free, but I can say I have been highly injury resistant even after doubling my mileage from last year to just under 2500 miles this year. The Newton shoe, along with Running Form Friday videos, form drills, and strength training have helped to make me a better, more injury resistant, runner.

I pride myself on a pretty decent stride, but good running form is not something we achieve but rather something we struggle—to a greater or lesser extent—to maintain, from step to step, run to run, and from training cycle to training cycle.