evelinruns

How I Transitioned into Zero Drop Running

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As I came back from my injury this spring I had some problems with what shoes to go for when retiring my Asics Gel-Neo33. After eyeing the SKORA Running shoes for more than 6 months I finally took the leap and ordered myself two pairs. It’s been a bit over three months since I started transitioning into my SKORA’s now and I figured I’d let you see what my process was going from a traditional shoe to a neutral zero drop performance shoe.

Walking for Boston in my first ever race shirt and the SKORA Forms.

Walking for Boston in my first ever race shirt and the SKORA Forms.

This is how I did my transition from Asics Gel-Neo33 (10mm heel-to-toe drop) to SKORA Form (0 heel-to-toe drop):

I've been taking my SKORA's pretty much everywhere on this island. From grassy walks, to lava hikes, to the mall, to the forest.. They are pretty much glued to my feet :)

I’ve been taking my SKORA’s pretty much everywhere on this island. From grassy walks, to lava hikes, to the mall, to the forest.. They are pretty much glued to my feet :)

First 4 weeks: Walking around, hiking, gardening and running (walking) errands in town in the new shoes which I loved from the first moment. Super comfortable, no problems with blisters/hot spots or anything. I noticed the increased usage of muscles compared to using my Asics due to the zero drop construction, but nothing alarming.

End of week 4: Went on my first “run” with my SKORA Forms. One day 0.4mi as the warm up before my planned run. Took it really slow and short to ease into running in the shoes.

Week 5: Repeated the same deal as week 4 before two runs. 0.75mi and 0.8mi. Felt great! Total: 1.55mi.

Week 6: Used the Forms for my warmup 4 times during the week with the farthest stretch being 1.28mi. Total: 3.95mi.

Week 7: Took the Forms out on two easy short runs out of the weeks four runs. Total: 5.3mi.

Week 8: At this point I felt pretty accustomed to running in the zero drop SKORA’s and took them out for three full (but short) runs. Total: 6.95mi.

Week 9: Had a bad week with life coming in the way of my running but got a “Steady State” in with the Forms and was able to perform really well and feeling great the whole way. Total: 5mi.

Week 10: Ran half of the weeks miles in SKORA and felt great. Total: 7.47mi.

From there on I’ve been all in when it comes to my SKORA shoes. From day one of putting them on they felt great and have been treating my feet (and the rest of my body) very well. No, excellent actually! I had the advantage of running low mileage in general since I’ve been trying to really slowly get back from my injury and building  my body up/getting used to running again. Today I’m sitting at a total of 21 miles for the week and I am very happy with being transitioned into my dear neutral and zero drop SKORA’s!

From my last long run. SKORA's treating me great (Hawaii is also pretty great to me)

From my last long run. SKORA’s treating me great (Hawaii is also pretty great to me)

Here’s my personal advice to you if you, just like I was, are nervous about taking the leap into a zero drop shoe:

– If you are planning on getting and transitioning into zero drop shoes – start doing slow and short barefoot strides at the end of your runs or when you have a few moments over. Take it really easy and be aware of how you’re feeling. This will activate the muscles you are using when running in a low profile shoe as opposed to high heel-to-toe drop shoes. I did and still do these barefoot strides regularly and I love them!

– Take your time to just spend time in the shoes before heading out for a run. Walk around, use them for work, to pick up the kids from school etc. Make the new shoes your best friends for every day wear! I’d say a fancy pair of running shoes are better than any high-heeled ones anyway (but then again, I’m not really you typical girly girl – I happen to be a crazy runner)!

Be aware of how your body is reacting to the new shoes. Any pains/aches? Went for a longer walk and feeling a bit sore in your calves maybe? Use the foam roll to roll them out.

– Stay on top of strengthening, foam rolling and stretching that body of yours! In general when being a runner it is important to keep the muscles strong and happy so that we won’t get “unnecessary”  injuries.

foamroll

– When you do start running in the new shoes, remember that it’s better to take it a little bit too slow than to rush into it both when it comes to distance and pace. I know it can be really frustrating (I sure thought it was!), but when it comes down to it a controlled and slow transition is probably going to work better in the long run as you will give your body the chance to not just adjust but to also embrace the new “conditions”.

Have fun! Always! 

– If you after starting to run in the new shoes are feeling any niggles in muscles etc – take a step back. Don’t push it! A new shoe with a totally different build than the traditional “high-heeled” (and maybe even “motion controlling”) shoe is a big change for your body. It might be a niggle naturally caused by the activation of “new” muscles (ones that might be weak on your body), but it could also be that these shoes don’t work for you? Don’t feel defeated, just take it easy and take the time to figure out what the reason for any aches might be before you move on.

transition

There are a lot of guides out there which can give you information on how to safe and sound transition into a minimal/low heel-to-toe drop shoe. Read what Peyton Hoyal (via SKORA Running) has to say about transitioning into “minimal” shoes or look around online for additional advice if you feel like you need it. I ended up going a lot on how I felt, and less about what guides were “telling” me to do and it seemed to work good for me.

 

Disclaimer: I am not a professional runner nor am I a running coach. My personal thoughts/advice in this blogpost are just that – personal and not professional. Please ask a qualified person if you have problems with injuries etc as I can only give you my own thoughts regarding my own experiences. 

 

Q: Do you run in zero drop shoes or are you thinking about transitioning? Are you happy with the shoes you are using or are you on the hunt for new shoes?

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8 thoughts on “How I Transitioned into Zero Drop Running

  1. This is such a great and interesting post. I’m not ready to make the switch yet to these kinds of shoes but it is interesting to hear about others who have.

    • Thank you, I’m happy to share my experiences! I was actually really wanting to do the switch for a long time, but didn’t think I would be able to for some reason. Very happy I gave it a go! Totally in love with my SKORA shoes too… :)

  2. I have kids sized feet so I’m always full of envy when I hear what people have to say about the Skora. Sounds like you really made the transition right.

    • Aww, I’m sorry about that! What size are you?
      I’ve always heard from people that I have tiny feet but I’m lucky enough to be able to buy both youth and women sizes. When it comes to SKORA’s though – I wish I had BIGGER feet because I am really craving the Men’s Yellow Base.. :)
      I’m so happy I managed to stay smart/patient and really do it the right way (for my body, I’m sure other people might do the transition differently).. Now I just need to take my own advice and stay on top of strength and stretch – I tend to get lazy at times! What kind of shoes are you running in?

  3. My hat goes off to you! You have better patience than myself. I transitioned into Vibrams several months back, and didn’t do it as it was suggested. I actually ended up with some pretty sore feet after the first couple of weeks. By month two, I ran a marathon in them. It is highly suggested that you do it in the way you did. We should transition slowly and wear the shoes around town first, as to let our feet become accustomed the lack of support. I was doing 13 milers in my first couple of weeks which is a big “no-no.” I paid dearly, lol. Today, I won’t wear anything but a minimalist barefoot shoe. Actually, all I wear are Vibrams now – I currently own like 4 pair. Much like your review, here is mine about the Vibrams: http://www.forkstofeet.com/2013/03/vibram-fivefinger-bikila-ls-review.html Big difference though is that I did it the wrong way :) Hope your run was good today. I wish I was running around Hawaii!

  4. This is really helpful. I tried (and failed) with a zero drop shoe in 2011. I thought I started slow enough, but after reading that you started with walking around for 4 weeks I’m thinking I didn’t. I just bought a pair of Altra Provisioness shoes last week and started wearing them to work, and so far I love them. Maybe I’ll give another chance to running in zero drop after wearing them to work for a while. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thank you! I was overwhelmed by information on transitioning and felt really scared, so I figured I’d share it as it might feel a bit easier for others out there reading my story.. :)
      In what way did you “fail” when you last tried? I really think it helps a lot to let the body get adjusted to walking before starting to run. Just walking in zero drop will help you activate and strengthen your feet and calves :)
      I look forward to hearing about your progress – good luck! (and have fun!)

  5. Pingback: Do I really need new running shoes? | Rob's Surf Report

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