personal training st. john's

personal training st. john's

image credit Airiarunning.com

“Do you want to run faster?”

Who doesn’t? The new Airia One running shoe says it can make you faster.

A few months ago, the Swedish company contacted me because of my running background and my website www.strongerrunner.com to test-drive these new shoes. I said yes, so as a discloser, these shoes were given to me for free.

I was curious to see how these shoes would feel because, as you can tell from the video above, the design is quite different from a traditional running shoe. Their website (http://www.airiarunning.com) says that this shoe is completely designed for running that you can’t even walk in them.

How they are supposed to work:

“Our theory: a biomechanical difference affects each stride. Muscles are utilized in unique capacities, and since our shoes alter the muscular usage patterns with a unique design, you will be able to run faster and/or longer, especially at your maximum efforts.” ~Airia One website

After reading the proclaimed advantages of running in the Airia One, I was a bit skeptical but very interested to see how they would perform. When I first put them on my feet, my immediate reaction was “Whoa, these feel super weird.” The website was right, they are definitely not made for walking.

Here’s a brief history on me before I continue. I’ve been running for about 15 years, 9 of them competitively. I was prescribed orthotics to help with flat feet, a bunion (right foot) and an IT Band problem (right leg). I wore orthotics in my trainers, racing flats, spikes and day-to-day shoes. After I stopped competing (2007), I weaned myself off my orthotics and was conscious of changing my running stride from mostly heel striking to forefoot or mid-foot striking, even on slower paced runs. I also started running in Nike’s first edition of the Nike Free. After some time, I built up my foot strength and am now completely free of my orthotics. I now prefer running in a lower profile shoe. My current favorite running shoe is the Mizuno Hitogami. Read more about it here http://www.mizunocda.com/running/mens/running-shoes/neutral/wave-hitogami.

So, having said that, with my change in running gait and foot strength, I was really interested to see the Airia One in action. Last side note, I’ve tried Newton running shoes (the running shoe with the lugs that also promote a mid-foot strike) at a shoe store only once, so I’m not able to comment on the similarities/dissimilarities between these two brands.

In my first run, it took me about 15-minutes to get used to them. They totally forced me to run on my mid-foot. My left foot felt fine, but my right foot felt a bit off (because of my bunion). I’m conscious enough to keep my leg tracking straight, but noticed in a slow motion video of me running (incline 1, speed 20.0 on a km-mode treadmill) that I over pronate on my right foot in the Airia One (additional expert commentary is welcome!). From the rear view you can see my left ankle also over pronates. This irks me because it could lead to an overuse injury due to poor running mechanics.

I’ve included a video of me running in the Mizuno Hitogami as well for comparison sake. In the Hitogami, you can see (in my opinion) optimal pronation in both feet/ankles.

Mizuno Hitogami vs Airia from Jon-Erik Kawamoto on Vimeo.

Anyway, I tried the shoes on concrete, gravel and grass. I ran a few easy runs (60% max heart rate) and also did an interval workout with them. The faster running did feel a bit smoother compared to the slower paced running. However, in all my runs, my right foot never felt right. I felt that these shoes exacerbated my bunion issues.

Summary

What I liked:
-the promotion of a forefoot running gait (and that’s about it sadly enough)

What I didn’t like:
-right foot felt weird the entire time while the left foot felt “normal” (if my right foot was more like my left (no bunion) I might have enjoyed the ride a bit more)
-right big toe joint felt a unique stress that is absent in the Hitogami (perhaps my lack of big toe joint extension – because of my bunion – was really challenged in the Airia One)
-the shoe felt a bit heavy (US size 9.5)
-the price seems expensive, so I’m curious to see how many runners would actually purchase this shoe (even though my pair was free) vs a pair of Newtons

I started training at JKC in 2016 because I’ve always had upper back issues that became aggravated through work. I sought out other training and physio, but experienced little to no results. A client of mine happened to be coming to JKC for a similar issue and highly recommended it. I have had great success and haven’t looked back! I always feel like I’m getting programs tailored to my needs and I’m never bored. I’m 30 weeks pregnant now with my second child and have been able to workout through both pregnancies here at JKC. Even on my least mobile days, I felt safe to workout because my programs were specifically modified for my needs.

I chose JKC originally to help prevent rowing injuries. I’m a rower and we won the St. John’s Regatta in 2019 but I rowed through a rib stress fracture and missed significant time in the boat during the racing season. Training at JKC consistently since the pandemic helped me stay injury free this year and made me the strongest I’ve ever felt, which helped me help my team win the 2021 St. John’s Regatta! Jon adds variety and mixes the exercises up well so that the workout goes by quickly and strength is gained. The gym is very personable and I like the eclectic mix of people that are there. JKC is much more intimate and personal than other gyms.

I had virtually no real experience using weights and felt intimidated going gyms. I avoided gym-goers using free weights, especially when hearing that loud crash, as they would drop weights to the floor. I thought this was to show everyone around them that they owned that area and that I shouldn’t go anywhere near! So I guess I just wanted to learn how to lift weights safely in a gym environment.

I spent over 18 years in the British Military, so I got to use some nice gyms. 99% of my time and experiences in those gyms was spent doing cardiovascular workouts, because I could just jump on a treadmill, plug in my head phones and do my own thing! JKC is different, because they have given me the confidence to use free weights and equipment that I had feared for years. Their demonstrations and knowledge is impeccable and I thank them for their continuous belief and support they show me at every session.

I am 62 years young and I started training with Jon in 2013. I originally came to join JKC as a recommendation from other family members that were onboard with Jon. Their enthusiasm for the gym experience was quite evident.  I was not to be outdone, so I decided to join as well. JKC, in my mind, certainly stands out from the crowd. I feel it’s a combination of the skill and passion the coaches have for their job and their clients. Each client is treated with the upmost respect and given time to explore their fitness journey without any pressure. JKC is certainly not a cookie cutter gym.The coaches customize your fitness program to suit your needs and your fitness level. This certainly makes sense because no two clients are alike.  This is where JKC excels! Jon, Thomas, and Craig keep the atmosphere at the gym light, but productive. A great combination that obviously works and makes the clients want to come back. Lastly, the camaraderie at the gym is everything. Meeting likeminded people who make you feel you are not alone in your fitness journey is everything.

I am turning 67 next month and I started my journey with JKC in 2018. Seven years ago I experienced significant foot pain which had a negative impact on my day to day activities. I learned that issues in other parts of the body need to be addressed to achieve a positive result. My doctor (Dr. Jessica Wade) suggested, along with some other therapies, that I could  benefit from the conditioning JKC had to offer. I previously had not trained in any gym. I observed how many gyms operated and had a sense that JKC would be more my style: training in a small group setting, having such personal attention, and a program meeting my specific needs is fantastic! I love the atmosphere at the gym. Everyone is accepted and you feel supported and comfortable.

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