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The Best of SR: Barefoot Running, Diet, and Advanced Recovery (Grab Bag Edition)

Posted Aug 27 2012 8:00am

by Jason Fitzgerald

This is the final article in a 3-part series highlighting the best material on Strength Running. Today is the Grab Bag Edition with many topics like minimalism, diet for runners, advanced recovery techniques, and more.

Most of the articles on Strength Running are detailed “how-to” posts that go in-depth on particular topics. Today I highlight six of my favorites that cover a variety of subjects. These are some of the most popular posts ever on SR, gathering tens of thousands of views. One of these articles was even featured on Lifehacker!

I take pride in knowing that my articles are better than most stuff out there. In fact, I could easily put some of these together and charge for it, but I’d rather make 99% of my material free. I want to invest in you first so that when the time comes, you’re ready to invest in yourself – either with my paid stuff or others.

These posts will answer tough running questions like:

What can I do during the day that will help me with transitioning to more minimalist running shoes?

How can I lose weight while still eating the foods I love?

I’m so tired! Do I have to keep training?

How do I recover well so I feel good after a tough workout or race?

You may ask yourself “where does Jason get so many ideas for articles?” While my level of running nerdery is beyond what you would consider reasonable, I use one valuable tool to get many of my ideas: surveys.

Those readers on my email list know that I frequently ask what they’re struggling with or what they wish I wrote about. This allows my readers to shape the content on SR and get specific answers to their questions.

Today, let’s dive into some reader-inspired articles that have helped thousands design better training and reach their goals. Here you go!

Beast to Barefoot: How to Run in Minimalist Running Shoes

Minimalism is a hot topic right now – everyone wants to know if running in less shoe (like the Nike Streak XC racing flat) can help them improve their running form, prevent more overuse injuries, and maybe even race faster.

But like any new training stress, running in minimalist shoes has to be done gradually. Here I give you a 6-step outline of how best to transition, including running form techniques to make sure you’re being as efficient as possible. I consider myself a “cautious minimalist” so I don’t think you should ultimately try to run all or most of your mileage in racing flats.

A little bit of minimalism and barefoot running goes a long way.

For more on my running shoe philosophy, plus reviews of different types of shoes, check out the running shoe reviews page.

The Spectrum of Minimalist Running Shoes

Building on the previous article, this video post discusses my personal shoe collection – including my casual shoes. Minimalism is about more than just what you run in every day. Indeed, it’s about what you wear on your feet (or what you don’t!) for the other 23 hours of the day.

Your feet and legs respond and adapt to the environment you expose them to every day. Everything from going barefoot in your home to wearing stiletto heels to a party on Saturday night will impact your feet. This video talks about the “other” shoe choices just as much as your running shoes, which I think are also very important.

Hacking the Perfect Runner’s Diet: Food Lessons from a Lifetime of Obsession

One of my personal, all-time favorite posts, it’s also one of the few diet articles on SR. I don’t like to debate minutiae and wonder whether I should eat a plum or a peach because of the vitamin C content. Who has the energy for that?

Instead, using inspiration from Michael Pollan’s common-sense book In Defense of Food, I outline what I’ve learned from years of optimizing my diet. Included are 10 “principles of eating” that I think are more useful than any one diet. Nobody likes diets anyway!

Read through to the end of the article: I offer a challenge to anybody who wants to improve their diet. Who will take me up on it?

The Runner’s Eating Guide: 9 Tips for Keeping Off the Pounds this Christmas

Ah, the holidays. While it’s August right now, the advice here is timeless and can show you how to minimize the gains you’ll undoubtedly experience after huge dinners, plentiful desserts, and lots of booze.

This article struck a nerve and was even featured on Lifehacker for its tips to enjoy the holiday feasts but still keep your weight under control. Here I offer nine effective strategies for weight loss and appetite management – and none of them are “eat less!” or “just try harder!”

I even say bro in the post!

Finding Inspiration: Recharging the Legs and Mind

Committing to a big goal and doing the training over 3-5 months is tough. A big endeavor like a marathon, a 10k PR attempt, or simply an extended period of structured running will leave you fatigued – both physically and mentally.

I found myself completely uninterested in running after I ran 2:39 at the Philadelphia Marathon in 2011. Four months of diligent training and sacrifice left me mentally burned out (not to mention my legs were wrecked from the race itself). So I did something that makes most runners cringe: I barely ran at all.

This post is also mostly pictures of a family vacation to California, highlighting that a change of scenery (and it was some amazing scenery) can dramatically increase your motivation levels.

Taking time off to recharge your legs and mind is one of the best things you can do for your training. You’ll feel refreshed and ready to attack your next goal with vigor and enthusiasm. Go ahead, put the running shoes down.

The Definitive Guide to Marathon Recovery: Boston Marathon Edition

Anybody who’s raced a marathon knows that the day after is a lesson in humility: there’s so much muscle damage that you feel like you’re learning to walk again for the first time. Walking down a flight of stairs might be difficult – or impossible – and running is certainly out of the picture.

Marathons ain’t easy. With 26.2 brutal miles on asphalt roads, no wonder why your legs feel worse than after any workout or long run. The level of damage you feel makes proper recovery more important than ever.

To celebrate the Boston Marathon, I wrote this article to discuss the four main strategies you can use to manage the damage (my running recovery tagline!) and get back on your feet as quickly as possible. Plus, I included a fun video from the London Marathon that cracks me up every time I watch it.

It’s been a blast writing this “Best of SR” series. I could actually keep doing these posts and highlight more and more of my favorite stuff, but you can only pat yourself on the back too many times on your own blog. Then it just gets weird.

If you want to join the family and help shape the content of SR, just sign up here or in the form below. You’ll also enjoy:

  • Automatic entry into frequent giveaways that are only available for my email readers
  • Discounted coaching – sales and “name your own price” events that I never publicize on the blog
  • New resources that I add regularly to the Runner’s Gear Bag – a collection of free stuff only for subscribers

Photo Credit

Like this article? Here's more!

  1. The Definitive Guide to Marathon Recovery: Boston Marathon Edition
  2. Born to Run is Not Only About Barefoot Running: How Christopher McDougall Really Became an Ultra Runner
  3. Running Barefoot for Injury Prevention and Mechanics Improvement
Join 3,000+ Runners and Get Faster! Get the Strength Running PR Guide ebook and tips to run faster (without the injuries).

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