General Running

Do Newtons = Injury

posted almost 7 years ago | Report

I posted this as a question but I think it should be a discussion.

How many of you run in Newtons and have not had calf issues? For those who have had calf problems, did you follow the prescibed method of gradual adjustment or did you jump right in? Were you an experienced runner or newbie? Were you trying to change your form or just looking for something lighter? How fast did you run before/after?

  • As for me, I am a relative newbie in my 3rd year of running. I have a handful of 5ks, a 15k, and a full marathon under my belt. A couple of those 5ks have been this year since I wanted to focus on speed. Thats how I stumbled on the Newtons.  I am an engineer by education so I quickly recognized that heel striking causes breaking action which slows down your forward momentum on every stride. I started gradually trying to transition and that's when I got my Newtons.  I had just run a 5k and was starting to train for my next one so I did a 2 mile run to test them out. Everything seemed ok and since I never ran much more than 5 mi I figured it was safe to start running in them full time.

    Now I am training for a half. Once I got over 10 mi on my long runs I started having problems. What started off as soreness turned into a calf strain and possible tear. I am self treating with foam roller and time off. I am planning on running in my Sir Isaacs today. We will see how it goes.

    posted almost 7 years ago

  • My experience is not with Newtons, but with changing (albeit slightly) to a midfoot strike. After my first half marathon last November, I went out and bought a pair of Saucony Kinvaras and began to alter my form. I started out slowly like everyone says to do. I only had light to moderate soreness early on and then began to increase my mileage in the Kinvaras (as well as a pair of Brooks Green Silence that I purchased later on) as I was training for my next half marathon. I should note that after about a month, I only ran in the Kinvaras and the Green Silence. I have not gone back to my "traditional shoes" since that time.

    I ran my second half in the Kinvaras and kept right on running about 30 miles per week through the end of May. I then shifted my training plan as I was training for sprint triathlons. I also introduced a fair bit of hill training around the same time. Soon thereafter, I had a slight tear in my calf muscle. My sports medicine doctor said that the tear was likely due to the increase in hill training versus anything to do with the shoes. Now that I have recovered from my injury, I am continuing to run in the Kinvaras and the Green Silence (with trail miles run in New Balance Minimus Trails).

    My point is, injuries can happen at any time and they are not necessarily due to any choice in footwear.

    posted almost 7 years ago

  • I haven't tried Newtons, but learned a lot from videos on their website as I evolved into a forefoot runner. Regardless of shoes, the technique does take getting used to. I started at 1 mile with sore calves, but now can muster around 15 miles and climbing (hopefully - marathon in oct!). I've found that zero-drop shoes seem to be critical for me since the lower I got my heels to the ground, the less blister/ankle/foot/knee problems I had. I am now in Merrell Trail Gloves which are true zero-drop and have been having none of the above issues any more. Newtons are not actually zero drop as far as I know, but they sure are expen$ive! I would go with the lightest zero drop shoes you can find and progress gradually. Maybe work in some short barefoot runs on smooth asphalt or grass too to help strengthen feet, toughen soles, and perfect technique. Good luck!

    posted almost 7 years ago

  • I finally broke down about 4 weeks ago and bought my first pair of Newtons. I had been reading about Newtons and natural running for a while. I have been wearing Saucony shoes for years so I was hesitant to change. Before the Newtons, I ran in Saucony Mirages, with a lower heel drop, for about 6 months. I believe running in the minimalist-like Mirages helped with my transition to Newtons. The Newtons felt great form the beginning. However, I started experiencing severe feet soreness the first couple of weeks. I figured this was from the adaptation and backed off the mileage and took 4 days off. I am in my fourth week of alternating between Mirages and Newtons. My feel feel great this week and I really feel stronger. I believe the feet soreness was due to the fact I started using muscles in my feet which had been dormant. My calves have been a little sore but generally fine.

    I have noticed a change in my form and really believe I am now becoming a mid-foot striker. I check my shoes after every run for heal wear! :-)

    I would recommend the Newtons but would also suggest an easy transitioning period. I went out a little too hard at first. Had I taken it easier, my transiton would not have been as painful!

    Good luck!

    posted almost 7 years ago

  • Anyone who moves their footstrike is going to feel some kind of discomfort. In my experience, massive heel strikers are going to feel a HUGE difference in their calves. This is a result of the fact that they really haven't used their calves to take the shock of the footfall. When your strike moves forward, your calves now take the load as opposed to your knees and hips during a heel strike.

    From personal experience, I can tell you that eventually your calves "muscle up" and you're good to go, but it takes a long time. The upshot is that when you have fully "transitioned", you can really attack some hills.

    posted almost 7 years ago

  • Hey Doug,

    At the risk of speculating, I doubt any shoe is inherently going to cause injury because you're gait will adjust to the new footwear (or lack thereof if you go barefoot/minimalist). Any form with a low or zero heel drop can cause an adjustment and calf pain as your soleus muscle and AT strengthen, but you'll get over it and be stronger than before. I think the most important aspect to any footwear is to focus on mechanically efficient form and not pushing yourself too hard. If you do that, you'll be kind to all your joints and enjoy running for years.

    I have never tried on Newtons, let alone run in them, but I do run in VFF's anda couple other minimalist shoes exclusively. I've adopted more of a mid-food than forefoot strike, but the transition through my stride I find is much smoother (less mechanical impact with each stride). From what I've seen on their website they look like they help you achieve the same thing.


    posted almost 7 years ago

  • @Lenny and @Marcus I think you are both right on target. I think what I would still like to know is if anyone successfully transitioned with these shoes without injury. So really it is a question of is it possible to gradually translation using these (or perhaps any similar) shoes or is there just some critical distance/level of effort it is very difficult to get past safely regardless of how careful you are?

    posted almost 7 years ago

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