Dr. Jack Daniels: Five Questions On Minimalism, an RBR Interview, by Larry Eder


Dr. Jack Daniels, picture courtesy of the RunSmartProject.

Dr. Jack Daniels is a man who balances the scientific with the anecdotal. A consumate coach, and a man who translates how scientific theory can be practically applied to our daily running, Dr. Daniels coaches athletes with great talent and with great aspirations and normal talent. His thoughtfulness makes him one of the great coaches of our time.

Next Thursday evening, April 14, 2011, from 6-8 P.M.,  in Boston, MA, at the Cyclorama, you will be able to say hello to the good doctor and hear his thoughts on Minimalism and training. This event is sponsored by Saucony
( for more information, please check at the end of this post).  If you are in town, put the event on your schedule.

RBR, # 1. Where do you see Minimalism helping the runner?

Jack Daniels: Some runners may find that they need less footwear support than earlier realized or assumed. Minimalist running shoes allow the muscles and tendons of the foot to move naturally, which can result in increased foot strength and a more natural stride.

RBR, # 2. Is there a correlation between lightweight running shoes and foot health?

Jack Daniels: Who can determine what good foot health is; is it fewer blisters, fewer cuts and bruises, fewer stress fractures? If by lightweight you mean minimalist, with unstructured engineering and a lower heel to toe drop, then this type of footwear may help strengthen the feet and lower legs. Foot strength is certainly a criterion for healthy feet.

RBR, # 3. Is there a correlation between lightweight running shoes and running terrain?

Jack Daniels: I would imagine dangerous, abrasive footing was an early reason for making shoes in the first place, so going to no shoes or minimal shoes may present a problem on some terrain (very hot or very cold ground for example). Yet, lighter, more flexible, deconstructed shoes may allow the runner to have better proprioception, an awareness of the position of one's body in space, which may lead to better balance and efficiency on trails, for example.

RBR, # 4. It seems intuitive that the fitter the athlete, the lighter the shoe they can run in? Is that true?

Jack Daniels: It also could be just the opposite; maybe the less fit need lighter shoes. That would take research to figure out, wouldn't it?

RBR, # 5. Where do you see Minimalism and lightweight running footwear taking us?

Jack Daniels: Probably to more research that can focus on the pros and cons of it.

RBR will be speaking to Dr. Jack Daniels on Thursday night, April 14 at the Saucony sponsored event on Minimalism, for invitations, please rsvp here: https://www.runblogrun.com/2011/04/saucony-invites-all-to.html


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