Twice last week I had people comment on my running form. This wasn’t the first time I’ve had comments, but it was notable that it happened twice in two very different situations in the same week.
The first was at our club hill repeats workout where the comment was “I swear you were floating up the hills”. I credit the forefoot strike for this – being used to that on the flat helps with the uphill where it seems the default position for your foot strike is on the forefoot (or perhaps that’s just me, because that’s the way I run).
The second was at the gym – I don’t usually run at the gym (I run to the gym, but not at the gym), but I wanted to get there early before the Bodypump class to talk to someone about membership options for my wife. It turns out they all happened to be in a meeting so I had a spare 15 minutes and decided to head to the treadmill. I chose to concentrate on thinking about my barefoot form (I’ve been adding short barefoot runs to my regular runs lately) so took off my shoes (would have liked to take my socks off too, but I wasn’t sure how well that would go down) and set the treadmill at a leisurely 10 minute mile pace.
After 15 minutes I got off and put my shoes on, and just as I was done a girl came over and told me she happened to be on the treadmill behind me and thought I had amazing form. She told me she had read “Born to Run” (apparently that’s a requirement for the whole barefoot/minimalist running thing, but I still haven’t read it) and was really keen to change her form. I told her about my transition (very slowly, running only in my Vibrams, taking it back a step if necessary), and about how I’ve been running this way for 2.5 years and that I have successfully increased my distances, got faster, and am preparing for my first marathon.
I hope she manages to achieve what she wants. She did say she would probably go with transitional shoes rather than straight to the real minimalist shoe, but as I have no experience of that, and don’t know anyone who transitioned that way, I couldn’t really give her any advice. Does anyone reading this know of any success stories? Is there a key to success?
I do know that a 100% focus on minimalist footwear made it work for me (to the point where I felt very uncomfortable in my old work shoes), so it would be natural for me to suggest that sort of commitment, but I know that’s not necessarily the right thing for everyone. Any thoughts in case I bump into her again?