Saturday, January 15, 2011

Newton's Natural Running Clinics - Highly Recommended!

A big thanks to fellow blogger and running friend Chris as he kindly alerted me to "Newton's Natural Running Symposia and Form Clinic" held in Houston at Luke's Locker both last night and this morning.  Chris had recently flown to Colorado to attend similar sessions, and it's clear that we both found them to be tremendously valuable.  I encourage all runners to keep an eye on Newton's related webpage as I'm sure they'll soon be scheduling more clinics around the country.

I've long been a huge fan of Newton shoes, and have commented on them in several blog posts including my most enthusiastic.  I'm convinced that my Newton shoes - with more focused training - have played a key role in my speed increases and form improvements.  Nevertheless, even while wearing these shoes it's crystal clear after the past two sessions that I've still got an imperfect gait despite trying since last summer to make further form improvements.

My gait (which has a knock-knee characteristic with an outward leg swing on the return) was a bit of a chin scratcher to Newton's excellent instructor Ian Adamson - so much so that he "invited me to their labs in Boulder for a further analysis" citing my "having the largest negative Q-angle of any male runner that he's seen".  After that serious sounding pronouncement I was relieved during the the group's road run (where we sought to apply our learnings while receiving individualized guidance), as Ian provided some helpful exercises which I intend to follow to hopefully somewhat straighten my gait.  With regards the frustratingly lengthy transition time needed to accomplish a permanent change in one's running form, I was encouraged by Ian's introductory comments: he's a highly accomplished adventure racer and a multiple world championship winner, yet it took him two years to successfully change his running form.

Wisely, the Newton training was broken down into two parts, the very interesting and informative lecture and the form clinic.  Many runners attended both sessions, though there was a large percentage of attendees who just attended one.  While both sessions were very helpful, I'd give a slight nod to the form clinic as it was the most hands-on with excellent individualized observations and recommendations. Highly recommended!

Updated February 2011 with a running gait related follow-up post:


  1. Newton's rock. I'm glad you liked it Mark. Did you know that Ian ran on the treadmill for 8 hours straight in Newton booth at the San Diego RnR Marathon expos last June. Looks like you had a nice run this morning.

  2. This sounds SO interesting. I did some running form clinics years ago with Danny Dreyer and found them enormously helpful. And I'm also very interested that you find the Newtons so great... Am quite tempted to give them a try, it's just that they're SO expensive to buy if I don't get on with them.

  3. No mention of your "invite" to Boulder?

  4. Petra - I was quite skeptical about the numerous Newton claims too when I first tried them nearly two years ago. After trying them on at an Expo and running around the hall with a Newton employee explaining their characteristics and encouraging me to transition *gradually* to them I bought them somewhat hesitantly fully aware of their ~50% added cost premium. Separate from their ability to help me somewhat with my (still imperfect) form - with significant associated speed increases - I was absolutely delighted to see in my last two Newton pairs that I'd gotten ~750 miles in them, i.e. 50% more than my prior Brooks or Mizunos). In any case, I recommend that you try them on at a reputable store which caters to runners and offers some type of exchange or return privilege to its customers.

    Jamoosh - Hope you benefited by our clinic too. Good point! I just added Ian's "invitation" for me to visit Boulder's labs and a reference to the exercises that he left me to try.

  5. Glad to hear you got so much from the clinic, Mark! Thanks for helping to spread the word about natural running.

    Sir Isaac