Thursday, January 24, 2013

Altra Lone Peak and Running Form

I recently got a pair of Altra Lone Peak trail shoes. I have quite a few friends who really love this shoe so I'm looking forward to getting these out on the trail.

I got this article from Matthew Kyle at Altra about how zero drop shoes can help with running form and injury prevention: 

Many people who would like to take up running are nervous about doing so, because of what they perceive to be the high rate of injury: two out of three runners suffer injury every year. However, injury is not inevitable. Injury is actually the result of poor running technique. You can avoid the majority of injuries by learning to run in the correct way.

There is a lot of misapprehension about running technique, because it is often assumed that there is no need to learn how to run, but it is something we do naturally. However, running is a sport, and nobody would take up any other sport, such as golf or tennis, without learning the proper technique. The consequence of this assumption is that large numbers of people start off doing their running the wrong way and develop bad habits, and then they wonder why they suffer frequent injuries.

The main secret of avoiding injuries while running is to cooperate with nature. That means, working with gravity, not against it, thus avoiding causing excessive tension in the tendons and muscles. For example, heel strike, or landing on your heels instead of the midfoot, stops the body moving forward as it is meant to do, whereas landing on the midfoot, or ball of the foot, allows the body to continue the movement. Heel strike is the main cause of a wide range of injuries, including Achilles tendonitis, knee patella injury and shin splints. Working against gravity means there is repeated overloading of all body tissues, including tendons, muscles, ligaments and bones, seriously increasing the risk of injury.

This means that the principle to be followed in running technique is that of using gravity, not working against it, in propelling your body forward. This takes all the stress and strain off the body, and reduces overload on the body systems and tissues. If you keep this principle in mind in every aspect of your running, all the advice about technique will make sense.

For example, you must keep your head up when running, and avoid looking at your feet. Keep your arms by your sides, and swing them backward for better propulsion; do not pump them forwards, and do not swing them across your body. Ensure there is a straight line down through your hips and legs from your torso, and avoid leaning forward, which fights gravity, and also puts strain on the hips.

One of the most gravity-defying actions done by runners is bouncing up and down. Not only do you waste energy when pushing upwards against gravity, but you also inflict considerable shock on your system when landing. To minimize your bounce, run lightly, keep your feet low on the ground, and make your strides short. Midfoot landing also reduces bounce—see information here about shoes that can help you do this.

You will know when you are getting your technique right. You will find yourself running without mechanical stress or any feeling of tension in the muscles and tendons, or strain in the joints. Make sure you run only the distance you can manage with this correct technique, even if it is only a short distance at first. This way, you will perfect your technique for the longer term, and eventually find you can run long distances with freedom and enjoyment.

I will let you know how these shoes work out after I have some time to get them dirty. 


  1. I got some of the exact same shoes about a month ago and absolutely love them. My calves were a little sore the first couple of time I used them, but now they are great. Pretty hard to get them looking too dirty. Thanks for posting the article.

  2. It took me awhile but I run in pretty much nothing but dead flat New Balance shoes. I love to be able to pretty much feel the ground through my shoes. It takes awhile to get use to though. Your calves will cry for awhile but the long term I think is worth it.

  3. I was going to try Torin, but I'm thinking Lone Peak instead so I'm anxious to hear what you think about them, particularly if you put use them for long distances.

    In 2012, I put about 800 miles on a pair of Intuitions and another 250 or so on a pair of 1.5s. I ran a marathon in the 1.5s in November, then got some Superiors and ran a 50k in those last month. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Superiors! Can't say enough good things about them. I hope you love these. :)

  4. Looks like they'll be very comfortable. Not a brand I've seen before. I've never cared about form and just run. I think I'm too slow to have a running form...:)

  5. Thanks for sharing the article about running form! Running the right way can definitely help in preventing injury.