What is minimalist running you might be asking yourself? Well, minimalist running, commonly referred to as forefoot or barefoot running is the term used to describe a method of running whereby the runner’s first point of contact with the ground is through the front of their foot. There are a number of reasons why minimalist running is growing in popularity, fancy giving it a try? Then read on for our Top 5 Benefits of Minimalist Running!
Minimalist running is much more gentle on the feet and it has many advantages including reduced wear and tear on your running shoes. Minimalist running is now becoming more popular to the mainstream athlete so shoe manufacturers have cottoned on with the prices for specialist shoes creeping up. Traditional padded running shoes tend to need replacing after 300 miles where as a minimalist shoe will last as long as you’re willing to put up with them in most cases, for thousands of miles.
2. Injury prevention
The most common style of running, heel-striking, causes havoc with the body’s natural biomechanics, meaning muscles and tendons which aren’t normally utilised through the natural running cycle have to over compensate to limit damage caused by hitting the ground heel-first. This causes stress to parts of your body which are forced to overcompensate to support your legs and avoid damage. Switching to a minimalist stride will allow the legs, calves and ankles to act as natural shock absorbers and negate any impact-damage caused by running.
3. Free speed
Heel-striking is akin to putting on the brakes each time your foot hits the ground. Training yourself to land in a forefoot position allows the natural leg mechanism to strike the ground and keep going in a fluid motion. Releasing the brakes will unlock your potential and you will also benefit from a natural increase in speed.
4. Strengthens feet
As a species, we have gotten used to wearing soft comfortable shoes and our feet haven’t needed to work so hard. Training for a minimalist stride will activate the tendons and muscles in and around the foot which we evolved to run with. The extra strength will lessen the impact of running through your legs and help to prevent common injuries such as plantar fasciitis, (heel and foot pain).
5. More efficient
Once the transition is complete, the body is able to utilise its full energy and mechanics into doing what we evolved to do – run long distance. You will be able to run longer distances using less energy and more importantly, your reduced likelihood of developing an injury means you won’t lose out on those important training sessions you would otherwise be forced to miss.
Minimalist running has the potential to change your entire view on running and with practice can bring your training up to new levels. After making the decision to change your running style, you legs will love you. So get out there and start enjoying running the way you are designed to and was meant to be done!