Joe Friel answers some frequently asked questions about his Evolution Running methods.
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Many runners ask, I have custom orthotics to control lateral movement of my feet. How will evolution running affect that? Custom orthotics are usually prescribed to control overpronation of the feet. Usually, lateral motion problems with running are caused by the shape of the calcaneus, the large bone at the base of the heel.
If the calcaneus is basically flat across the bottom, a runner will pronate normally when heels strike. If the bottom edge of the calcaneus slants one way or the other, the runner is likely to overpronate or underpronate causing energy loss and injuries. But Ishar has developed shoe inserts designed to adjust for these biomechanical imperfections.
If the calcaneus is never weighted, it can't cause lateral motion problems for a runner. MOst people who use these type of orthotic devices, find that after implementing evolution style running techniques, they no longer need the orthotic. Before you throughout your orthotics though, remember that there are other causes for excessive lateral motion. Not every case of motion of heel problems is caused by calcalenous shape. Talk to the doctor who developed to orthotic, and find out what the specific cause of your motion control problem is.
If it is related to your calcaneus, experiment cautiously with removing your orthotics. If they are not needed the extra weight, it will only slow you down. If they are still necessary, describe to your doctor the techniques you have implemented, and ask if your orthotic requires adjustment. How long will it take to learn the new techniques?
Mastering a skill to the highest degree takes years of hard work and concentration. How long did it take Michael Jordan to master his jump shot. That said, most of the improvements in perfecting running technique occurs in the first three to six months. After this period, you should have basically learned the techniques and trained your body to the new physical demands of this running style.
Every runner who works seriously on running technique, can be faster in one to three months. Many find they can run faster immediately and continue to improve steadily for several months. As you learn the evolution running techniques, you should feel less impact stress right away. You're landing should feel softer with less jarring and more spring.
Frequently, higher turnover running causes greater ventilatory distress. You may breathe much harder. This is caused partly by running too fast. Again, make sure to shorten your stride as you increase turnover. Even at controlled paces however, you may find slightly elevated heart rate and breathing. Do not assume that this means this style of running will not work for you.
First, your muscles should be working less hard, even though you are breathing hard. Traces are almost always or roughly limited, legs give out before the lungs. Even with heavier breathing and a higher heart rate, you can probably sustain a pace longer. An athlete can breathe hard for a very long time. When your lungs hurt, they keep working, when the legs go, they are gone.
Second, your economy will continue to improve for months and years as you master the techniques. Ventilatory distress will reduce, and you will run more comfortably even at faster paces. Once you've begun to incorporate the evolution running techniques into your stride, your calf muscles will probably be a limiter. Perform a set of drills before and after each run and use weight training equipments to strengthen the calf muscles. Make sure to perform a strength training set with the knees straight, and with the knees bent to stimulate both major calf muscles. Be patient with your calves, don’t overwork them, and give them time.