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Minimalistic running

January 27, 2011

Running minimalism isn't only about shoe weight. Runner: Kyle Skaggs. Photo: New Balance

They say “less is more”, and it’s certainly true when applied to the running experience. Stripped down super lightweight running shoes is the hype, well at least for the devotees, the running freedom fighters, the gram & ounce hunters, the back-to-the-roots-runners, the re-born forefoot runners who have seen the light – that natural running is something fundamental human. Let’s run barefoot, or almost barefoot, or at least in minimalistic lightweight shoes and connect with our forefathers as well as the ground – and feel! Let’s run without hurry, without clock, without heart rate monitors, GPS-devices or music in our ears. Let’s just run! And why stop with that? All clothes should feel light, and when the weather allows we will run with as little textiles on our bodies as possible. Running barefoot, bare chested, without rings or necklaces. That’s fine by me. But let’s also run without the mental load, without thoughts. Let’s run with present minds, or even better: without the mind. Let’s run with our consciousness, being our true self, free of guilt, free of anxiety, past and future, free of time, free of preconceptions and expectations, free of the ego, free of goals or even purpose. That’s true minimalistic running if you ask me. That feels lighter than running without clothes – yes I have tried that. It was in the Utah desert. I was alone, or at least I thought so. But that’s another story…

Running weightless is about letting go of the ego. Runners: Elinor Fish and Me. Photo: Transrockies-Run

As one of several current running trends minimalistic running has several pointers, like focusing on the essential, like aiming for more freedom, like having a creative and joyful approach to the act and the experience. The act of removing, cutting down and adapting the material is also a way to make your running yours. It’s amazing what you can do with an old souvenir backpack, scissors and a shoe lace. Or form fitting a lightweight windbreaker by making pockets in the back from excess garment, cutting off an annoying collar, removing zips and straps.

First time I was introduced to the minimalistic approach must have been at 2-day mountain marathons, like KIMM and LAMM, or BAMM and FEM in Sweden. With a meticulous mandatory gear list, everything from backpack to toothbrush fell victim of knife and scissors. The brits at KIMM were very cunning, I recall, like using disposable plastic bubble padding as sleeping mattress. It also became very obvious that the shoes shouldn’t get much heavier when wet – which was the case with most normal trail runners 10 years ago.

Well, my point is that I admit that I’m definitely a minimalistic runner, loving to fly-run with my superlight X-Talons, chosing shorts over tights when I can, running bare chested when I can, even using ankle socks to feel as much wind and nature against my skin as possible, running without watch, always looking forward to the next run thanks to the experience of lightness, of natural eagerness, of peaceful acceptance, and with the possibility to enter the lightest state, when all thoughts evaporate and running becomes pure bliss.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 27, 2011 11:48

    Very inspiring reading, thanks.

    • fredrikolmqvist permalink*
      January 28, 2011 0:06

      Thanks Johan, and best wishes for your preparations for the UTMB 2011.

  2. February 12, 2011 11:41

    I truly enjoy your posts. Maybe I don’t comment often enough but there is just nothing more that needs to be added. Thank you for inspiration.

    • fredrikolmqvist permalink*
      February 12, 2011 13:49

      Thanks Ewa!

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