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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Running Fads

Chi running.
Jeff Galloway.
Barefoot running.
Couch to 5k.
Heel strike.
Running skirts.
Heart rate training.
Ice baths.
Minimal footwear.
Run less, run faster.
Compression wear.

Running fads cycle in and out, a lot like fashion, and - also like fashion - they can be a mix of dos and don'ts. You ever see a model in an outfit and say, "It works for her, but I could never pull it off"? Well, that's a healthy attitude toward fads, too.
Now I'm not saying barefoot running is bad or Chi running will injure you. What I am saying is that these surges of popularity are accompanied by testimonials and reports that elevate certain techniques and styles to the level of a magical cure. But they aren't. No one gait, shoe, technique, pace, or training plan will work for everyone, and none of those things are the secret to a fantastic PR unless they are accompanied by common sense and hard work.

The following statement applies to all running fads: This won't work for everyone. You need to know your own body and abilities well before trying something new, and you absolutely need to ease into any change slowly to avoid injury. Be smart. Be careful.
And above all, don't fix what isn't broken. If you are running fast, happy, and injury-free, and if you are setting and achieving goals, I think you've hit the sweet spot. Don't change a thing.


  1. I agree! I'm running healthy, so I'm not willing to try the barefoot, etc.

    For me, ICE is not a fad. If keeps me running healthy, that along with yoga. works for me, so those are keepers.

  2. The only fad I dig is ultras. But 50ks hardly count, right?
    Best list ever.

  3. I agree too! I haven't tried the barefoot or vibram fingers or any of those. I like what I've got. Most of the time.

  4. Laughing out loud. I have missed so much amusement not seeing your blog before. I gotta admit though, Ice baths are not too bad, though...Ice applied strategically seems to work pretty well without lowering your core temp.
    I own 2 running skirts. I find them to short for me, and now wear them only to Physical Therapy as they are so short that the PT finds he has "good access" to my hip.
    My favorite of these is the Ultras. WHile my ultimate goal is an Ultra (Comrades) I don't subscribe to the conventional current thought of "I ran a 10K and a half Marathon and now I will run a Marathon and then an Ultra." Why not just run, and let the races take care of themselves. Of course I also think Finisher Medals are worthless things that drive up the cost of many races...