You Must Walk Before You Can Run

I learned so much from your feedback on my Running Used to be Easy post. Thank you for sharing your insights and experiences. I’m certainly not alone in my frustrations!

MissZippy, an RRCA certified running coach and experienced runner, suggested a plan of attack 

Run .5 miles in my 0 mm heel drop Merrell Pace Gloves then switch to my Nike Frees.  

Why only .5 miles?

Shoe Review

My feet and calves need to slowly build their strength. 

Starting my run in the pace gloves will prompt me to focus on form & cadence from the get-go, creating muscle memory. Then, I can gradually increase my distance from there. 
Ideally, I will do this on the treadmill, so I can switch out shoes.

I can already feel tightness in my calves, but the sharp heel pain isn’t there.  You can learn something every day by reading MissZippy’s blog. I hope most of you are already!

I’m also going to walk Cooper in my pace gloves. More “strength training”. 

He’s happy as long as we are walking!

And, teaching my fitness classes in my Nike Free Trainers or pace gloves will also be a priority.

Nike Free Trainers

Get in mah belly. NOW!

I saw Lindsay post a delectable [healthy] treat on her blog. Banana soft serve.

1.5 – 2 frozen bananas
1 TBS peanut butter
1 scoop of protein powder

Combine in food processor. Seriously, the food processor makes all the difference. My blender didn’t do this treat justice. The consistency is truly soft serve. Topped with sliced almonds.  Even Coach was sold!

Have you tried 0 mm heel drop shoes?
-I have my eyes on one of the Brooks Pure models, Cadence, I think

What treat have you done a re-mix on lately?


  1. I keep looking at the zero drop shoes, but I think I’m going to wait and head out to the running store back home when we get stateside this summer. P.S. Gonna be in the PNW for a couple weeks at the end of June/beginning of July before we head back home to GA… blogger meetup?? 😀

  2. I’m excited to try Saucony’s new model of Kinvara. I have only used one type of shoe….ever. That soft serve looks YUMMY!!

  3. I’m toying with the idea of the zero drop shoes, mostly based on MissZippy’s website. I had a nasty case of Plantar Fasciitis in both feet last year, so I’m very cautious about making any shoe changes. I probably should be going the other way and looking for changes, but it left me a bit gun-shy. Curious to see how they work out for you.

  4. When Mike switched to running barefoot, he basically started out like a new runner. He stopped all shoe running and only ran barefoot, so he had to start at a half mile and sloooooowly build up. I feel like he was extreme because shoes kept injuring him, but I like your method of switching into different shoes after wearing the minimalist for a distance.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Until 18 months ago, I had always run in Nike Structure Triax. But I decided to try faster cadence, lower-heel shoes and started rotating Nike Frees into my shoe rotation. About a year ago I added the Kinvara and now I only wear my “heavy” shoes on the treadmill. Like you, I had nasty PF all last summer and fall. I couldn’t walk when I got up from the bed or a chair. I dreaded going for walks because my heels screamed so much. But somehow magically I rarely feel a heel twinge anymore. Because we had a great winter and a nice spring, I am running almost exclusively outside in my kinvaras. I recently added a pair of Sketcher Go Run. Except for a blister issue, they’ve been great. I’m eyeing the Pure Flows as they have a 4 mm too, like the Kinvaras. I’ve thought about the Pace Gloves but am worried because I do like a little cushion in my shoes. I’m a weenie that way. But maybe I’ll add the Gloves and use them for shorter runs.

    It is discouraging to have running hurt so bad. Or walking for that matter. I hope that you find some relief too. I didn’t find a cure–I just think the PF decided to take a break. Every time I feel a heel twinge, I get worried…

    Jackie in Iowa

  6. YAY for no heal pain and you are being smart do gradually increase your mileage! Love my 0 drop shoes…Altra’s are my favorite. I wish so bad I could come to one of your fitness classes!

  7. Amanda is smart. Listen to her. I have the PureConnects. They are sitting in my closet as I am afraid to try them. I don’t want to hurt myself.

  8. I emailed Miss Zippy about my PF issues awhile back– she was super helpful! I have the Brooke Pure Cadence but they’re 4mm. Still, it was quite a drop from normal shoes but it has made all the difference. PF is gone and I actually didn’t have to transition much– apparently that 4mm makes them WAY easier to run in than a 0 shoe. Or, at least it did for me! Good luck!

  9. I think a lot of my shin splints has to do with improper form. When I focus on my from I have less pain during my run if any at all. I notice from pictures I have a short choppy stride and have been focusing on midfoot strike and a more open stride.
    I have a pair of New Balance Minimus. I haven’t worn them in a long time I need to bring them out again. I currently wear Saucony Kinvara 2’s which are 4mm drop and love them. I also have a pair of Brooks Pure Flow which are also 4mm drop but have more support and cushion than the Kinvaras and they are slowly becoming my fav shoe. I would recommend the Pure Flows if you like your Nike Free’s.

  10. i did some 0mm but really felt like the saucony at 4mm works a lot better for me and has kept me more injury free.

    love the idea of adding the protein to the banana ice cream that I can go for!

  11. So happy to see you on this path! Keep at it and you will be so happy you did it. It’s not quick or easy, but SO worth it! Thanks for the link love!

  12. Average Joe running has gotten so much more technical in the past few years! Although I avoided major injuries over the years, I decided to go with a lower heel drop when I set my sights on faster running. I started with faster cadence and midfoot striking while still wearing my Brooks Ghost (11mm drop, I think) and worked through calf fatigue and minor foot cramping.

    Then I broke in my Brooks Pure Flows (4mm) over a couple of months, switching back to the Ghosts for longer runs. Once I was comfortable with longer runs in the Flows, I bought Saucony Kinvara 2s, and those are now my faves. I’m not in a full marathon training cycle yet, but I feel like I’ll be OK building mileage with these.

    Although I have zero-drop shoes (VivoBarefoot Evo) for CrossFit, I don’t like them for running anything more than a half dozen 400s in a WOD or a running ladder workout.

  13. All the best with the zero drop! I’ve been in Newtons for years now but still go back to Mizunos for over 10 miles. I’ll get there some day…

  14. Is the zero-drop a type of “barefoot” shoe? I’m trying to start running mid-foot instead if heel striking too – my running coach made me take my shoes off to try it! Now he wants me to practise just for 400m or so at the beginning of a run, which seems similar to what you’re doing. He said my muscles would take a long time to learn the new movements.

  15. My CrossFit coach wants me in zero drop shoes for lifting and running. I’m all about zero drop for lifting but I’m terrified to run in zero drop. I’m so used to cushion and I’m scared of the possibility of injury. I should follow your plan! Start slow. Lots of walks! Hope it works out and your back to your old running self again ASAP!

  16. Ooooh definitely making that PB and banana treat. The other day I froze banana slices with melted PB and chocolate on them… much on the same page!

  17. I need to order the GNC Lean Shake next to try. Every time I see it on your site I want to test it out! Glad to see you have a plan of attack. I love reading Miss Zippy’s blog too! Healing vibes to you!

  18. Hi, I’ve never commented here before even though I’ve been reading your blog for a while now *waves*

    I had calf pain for over a year when running so I ditched my regular running shoes and started running in Inov8 rock lites (mostly off road) and now I’m experimenting with Vibram five fingers. I don’t like to use the term going barefoot cause it’s not, instead I like to think of it as ‘re-learning’ running. I have taken my shoes off completely and run on a path in my local park and that has really helped me, but as I live in Scotland and it’s pretty cold and wet here right now I’ve been doing short runs in my VFFs and building up. It can be frustrating at times, but it can also be fun. Long term i hope I can run pain free again. Looking forward to reading about your journey :)

  19. Oh my gosh yes, I want to try the Brooks PureForm, I believe? Urggh. I ‘m too lazy to google, but yes—I think those will make their way into my life soon.

  20. They look very light weight!

  21. Thanks for posting that most excellent treat. I made it this afternoon after my weight workout!! Yummy!!!! :)

  22. wise words from a pro! yes, start slow and build that strength.

    now, i must go make that dessert!

  23. I have been seriously considering the Brooks Pure Cadence but I am nervous about breaking them in and getting used to running in them. I have even tried them on and the felt great but haven’t pulled the trigger yet. Goo good luck breaking in the Merrils!

  24. That misszippy knows her stuff :). I had to go to a low-drop shoe with my PF, as you know, but can’t run in the Gloves, they make my feet ache. But I do like the Gloves to walk around in while doing errands and such. My favorites are the PureFlows, they have lots of cushion for my old, achy feet. Lately, though, my Achilles has been bothering me some so I added a bit of a heel lift, which is a big no-no for those of us with PF, but he does help the Achilles!!!

    I have a mini food processor, I may have to try this and make a serving for ONE (me!) :).

  25. Wait – what’s going on Jess? I have been out of it for too long. You have PF? NO! I am struggling, haven’t run since the St. Patty’s Day Half when I ran in my Brand NEW Brooks PureFlow. Love them but was a total idiot for not breaking in slowly. They have more support than the true barefoot shoes so I think they’re a nice intermediate step. Hope to build up to them more slowly when I can start running again. Whenever that will be. Damn heel pain. I’ve tried on the Altras & Merrells & VFFs & thought they felt great on a test run but was afraid I would get carried away in them. I just decided to swtich to low/zero drop for all my casual non-running & work shoes too. Wore a pair of Merrell glove casual shoes today, loved them. Also got a couple pairs of Ahnu (not zero, but low drop) and on the lookout for other non-running, cute zero drop shoes.
    Best of luck, hope you are back on the running scene, setting fire to the Poulouse soon.

  26. The only time I don’t have any foot pain is when I’m in either my Vibram 5 Fingers (but people look at me really weird when I wear them, so I don’t wear them that often) or my New Balance Trail Minimus (which has a Vibram sole.) If my shoes have any rise to them, my feet hate me! Break into them slowly, and it’ll be totally worth it. I think the Cadence’s have a 4mm drop… I was looking at those, too, and was going to check them out… Hope the Merrells work out for you! They’re totally cute! And that’s pretty rare in minimalist shoes! 😉

  27. I caint help but Im here for your (and your readers’) knowledge :)

  28. Anonymous says:

    I just recently got the pure cadence because I was running more, but have really bad arch issues, combined with a messed up IT band on one leg, and was suffering from shin splints. They are fantastic for running! I wanted something that was more minimalist because I just prefer the super light weight, but I needed plenty of support and cushiony comfort.

    Lets just say that after having them for about two weeks, I ran my first ever 5K in them, and had ZERO pain in any of my bad spots! 5 star review from me!

  29. love making banana soft serve..isnt that such a good idea! made some last night!


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