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

JKC was recommended by a previous trainer who followed Jon online. He thought Jon’s approach to training was excellent. JKC employs well educated trainers who are very particular about technique and form. I have never injured myself because the trainers know what they are doing. They can always answer any questions I ask about my training. As well the trainers are friendly contributing to a relaxed and friendly atmosphere at the gym.

I saw an article in Men’s Journal that quoted Jon in about 2018 while traveling and was impressed that someone in St. John’s made that international magazine.  Jon spoke about an exercise called the Farmer’s Walk and I started working that into my routine at the YMCA. I tore that article out of the magazine and kept it, meaning to make contact, but got busy. Then I had lunch with an old friend Bruce Dyke. I hadn’t seen Bruce for a while and I remarked that he looked super healthy and fit. He told me about his, and his son Cas’, experience at JKC and then I remembered the Men’s Journal article! No coincidences!

The experience is unique on many levels – great people, camaraderie, passion, purpose, and dedication. Jon and Thomas are attentive, precise and understanding.  Their teaching has unlocked a new perspective for me with what our bodies are capable of. I still appreciate the YMCA, wonderful place, but I can’t imagine working out without Jon and Thomas now.

I originally chose JKC to help me rehab following back surgery. JKC was the first gym where a trainer took the time to help me identify my goals and tailor my workouts to achieve them in a safe and doable manner. 🏋🏼 Jon & Thomas are both highly professional and knowledgeable. 👨🏼‍🎓 With their guidance and informative explanations 🗣 they have enabled me to reach my ever evolving goals. At JKC I’m guaranteed fun 😆, interesting 🙃 and diverse workouts, with Jon & Thomas forever supportive and encouraging. 👏🙌👍👊

Tara Rector-Whelan

Personal Strength Training by Thomas King

I started at JKC after a good friend recommended it to me. She had been coming for about a year and I was envious of her great results. I felt sluggish after failing to motivate myself with various home workout routines. I love the fun and relaxed atmosphere at JKC. It’s such a comfortable gym space and I enjoy knowing so many of the people I work out with. Jon and Thomas make an effort to introduce everyone to each other and with all the joking around,  it starts to feel like a family. Not to mention the awesome results. I’ve always liked to run on a treadmill but I’ve never had the drive to lift weights on my own. Going to JKC makes me accountable which was what I really needed. I feel so much stronger and healthier than I did 4 years ago when I started.

JKC was recommended to me by my good friend Casidhe Dyke. Cas had been training with JKC for a while, and both he and his father had seen great results from the personal training that Jon and Thomas were giving them. I was and still am primarily a triathlete and I’ve always struggled with injuries. I was talking to Cas about incorporating more strength training in my program to try and prevent injuries going forward and Cas suggested that I give JKC a try. I reached out to Jon not long after, and the rest is history! After working with Jon and Thomas for a few months, I was getting stronger, faster, and most importantly, I was staying injury-free. I ended up being able to train the whole season without significant injury and posted a personal best at Ironman Copenhagen in 2018. A big part of that was due to the strength training and coaching I received at JKC.

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