When I first started running many years ago the amount of information out there for the sport was some what lacking but sufficient. The internet was not yet at full tilt and runners mainly relied on just a few running periodicals and their local running specialty store for advice and knowledge. Today almost everything you want to know or may not need to know is just a click away. There are so many opinions on everything from footwear to how to avoid running injuries, that it can be quite overwhelming whom to believe.
We still have the same running periodicals out there but more and more runners are moving from print to electronic media to get their running information it seems. On the surface it seems having more information for our sport is a good thing but it also can be quite confusing as to what is best for each one of us. There seems to be something new everyday that will transform you into the next Olympic A standard marathoner. Whether it is running shoes, running form, injury prevention, hydration, dietary supplements, or training plans, there is always something new and touted that will kick your competition’s butt. Every runner wants that magic bullet and we often go to extremes when we hear of something new and promising. A one size fits all “cookie cutter” mentality is not a healthy approach. Running is a simple sport where we can basically just put on some running shoes and head out the door. However if you crave more and are not careful this carefree sport can bite you back quickly and you’ll be watching from the sidelines.
A prime example is running shoes. What shoe is best for you? We now have more choices than ever and we are in the midst of a minimalist revolution. Shoes that are lightweight, low profile, low heel counter and more responsive so we can connect with the earth like our ancestors is quite popular. I enjoy these types of shoes but it has taken a few years to convert from my heavier more supportive trainers. Are lightweight, minimalist footwear for every runner? I do think a lot of runners can benefit from the minimalist footwear while others have no business trying to run 20 miles in 6 ounce running shoes. What is minimalist to one runner may seem like running with weights on your ankles to the next. Everybody is different, do what works for you and if you do switch to a more minimalist shoe, transition slowly. This approach will sometimes take some trial and error but there is a shoe out there for everybody. Get properly fitted at a running specialty store and you’ll enjoy running much more.