It's not a secret that I've been form obsessed for the past year or so. I've studied Chi Running so intensely, I actually dream about it (honestly, I have); I've been geeking out with my metronome for the past two months; I think I've injured my brain, I've thought about it so much. But I've been reluctant to embrace the minimal shoe trend. I am a big girl, and I can't believe that serious cush under my water-ski feet isn't, to quote Martha Stewart, a good thing.
Then Sarah and I connected with Altra,the zero-drop footwear (read: your heels are on the same level as your toes) company that promotes that natural, simple stride I so crave. We talked for a while about a partnership, but Sarah and I were a bit gun-shy: She had the Boston Marathon on her schedule, and I had, well, to heal my hamstring, get my cadence up, and otherwise obsess about being a healthy runner. We weren't ready to drop every thing and commit to zero-drop.
But guess what? Jeremy, one of the founders of Altra, didn't want us to suddenly switch shoes. He wanted us to slowly phase them in, as all major shoe changes for runners should go. A couple miles (run in one-mile increments) the first week, a couple more the next, and so on until our bodies are used to the level sole. We were impressed by his attitude--and by his shoes.
I've been wearing my Altra Instincts while I coach Girls on the Run, where I typically run/walk about two miles a practice, and when I strength train. I love that they have a super wide toe box (great for my bunioned, hacked-up feet); I love that I can feel the ground underneath me and my welcoming midfoot as I land on it; I love that they give me a bit of cush but still allow me to tune into my feet and my form. (They really do: I'll be chatting with some third grader about what she had for lunch, and when I start to slack on form, I'm immediately reminded.) I'll be ready to take on the GOTR 5K in them in a few weeks, and then will continue to spend incrementally more time in them. Sarah has them queued up for her post-'thon schedule.
We think you'll love them too, and we've got our first of several giveaways with them today. We're starting with the Provisioness, a brand new shoe that is aimed at the overpronators in the crowd. Instead of correcting the inward-falling stride with a big wedge mid-foot, Altra engineered a super-thin, super-effective, full-foot insole that is thicker on the inner side of the foot to correct the roll in.
If you stopped reading at overpronate because your feet don't, read on. The cool thing is that you can take out the special insole, leave the regular one and the Provisioness becomes a great gateway to natural running for all female runners. The thicker sole makes the entry not as harsh, but the lightweight, foot-shaped design that mimics the female foot and anatomical sole encourage you to land more lightly and instinctively.
In order to enter the contest for the sweet kicks, we need to know this: What is something that comes naturally to you when it comes to running? Could be your motivation; your desire to trail run; your kick at the end of a race; your smile when you finish a run; your ability to color-coordinate your outfit. Let us know in the comments below, and you'll be entered to get on the zero-drop track with us.
Also, if you'll be in Boston, Sarah will be at the Altra booth (#559) at the expo from 3 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 14, to talk running and sign books. Stop by if you can!
[Some fine print for this fine prize.] This sweepstakes is open to those over 18 and residents of the United States. It begins on 4/11/12 and ends on 4//17/12; the winner will be chosen through random.org and announced on 4/21/12. The value of the prize is $105. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Void where prohibited by law.