It’s My Way or the Highway

I can’t take any credit for this; but I have long been a reader of PsychBlog and their latest post struck a cord with me and am sure it will with a lot of other people:

It’s My Way or the Highway: Why People Are Evangelists for Their Own Way of Life

Does that sound familiar in the running community?

Even though the research they are commenting on is to do with relationship status, one of the conclusions commented on by PsychBlog was:

They wondered if the mind battles this apparent inevitability by rationalising and idealising the current situation, whatever it is.
Idealising a situation makes it more likely you’ll see it as best for everyone, rather than the something that happens to be right for your particular circumstances.

Where have we seen that same sort of process before? The research they are commenting on goes some way to explaining the fanaticism we see from the evangelists who tout the one size fits all approach to running. In other words, ‘it works for me, so it will work for everyone else’  type of approach.

As always: I go where the evidence takes me until convinced otherwise, and so does PsychBlog!

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16 Responses to It’s My Way or the Highway

  1. Mark Richard July 5, 2013 at 11:40 pm #

    Man in the mirror?

    • Craig Payne July 5, 2013 at 11:49 pm #

      It would be great if you could come back and answer all the many questions I have asked in response to your one liners. So far you have failed to do so. They contribute nothing useful to the topic if you don’t.

      • Mark Richard July 5, 2013 at 11:55 pm #

        I would if I thought you had an open mind

        • Craig Payne July 5, 2013 at 11:57 pm #

          It is probably easier for you to accuse me of that, than it is for you to defend your one liners. Thanks for proving me right, yet again.

          When people choose to attack me (ad homienium) rather than debate the issue with good scientific data or biologically plausible rationale, then that can only be interpreted as you can’t back up what you are saying.

          I ask you for the umpteenth time, please answer all the questions I have posed of you. Provide the scientific evidence and references to back up your claims. I will change my mind the minute you can provide the evidence to back up what you are saying.

          • Mark Richard July 6, 2013 at 12:10 am #

            When I see evidence of an open mind I will answer your questions.

  2. Mark Richard July 6, 2013 at 12:06 am #

    Have running injuries reduced in% terms in the last 20 years?

    • Craig Payne July 6, 2013 at 12:08 am #

      No. Your point being? You still not answering any questions.

      • Mark Richard July 6, 2013 at 12:12 am #

        Your industry has failed

        • Craig Payne July 6, 2013 at 12:18 am #

          How has that happened? It could be that shoes have nothing to do with (one study has already shown that – have you even read that one? – I assume you have not).

          All the attention to ‘minimalism’ and ‘form’ in the last 5 or so yrs has made no difference either, with the two most recent injury rate studies this yr showing no differences in injury rates, so has that failed as well?

    • Steve C September 5, 2013 at 5:04 pm #

      Running injuries are the same as they were 20+ years ago. HOWEVER….20+ years ago, the average runner was faster, younger, and 20 pounds lighter. I.e. they were an athlete. Today’s runner is slower, older, and fatter. Are we surprised that injuries have increased? But wait…the injuries have NOT increased, the injury rate is the same! Thus, it is possible (i.e. probably/likely) that improved shoes have kept these slower, older, and fatter runners healthier.
      It is never a good idea to look at one statistic without looking at all the independent variables!!!

  3. Mark Richard July 6, 2013 at 12:16 am #

    I’m not interested in your circular questions/debate or clumsy attempt at openness.
    I visit here occasionally to see if things have moved on.
    Once or twice I’m pleasantly surprised

    • Craig Payne July 6, 2013 at 12:25 am #

      So in other words, you can not defend what you are saying by answering my questions! All you have to do is back up what you are saying and I will believe you! Anyone can go and read all your one liners and my repeated questions. Epic Fail. Thanks again for proving me right.

      • Mark Richard July 6, 2013 at 8:37 am #


  4. Mark Richard July 6, 2013 at 12:17 am #

    Off for a run

  5. Dana Roueche July 10, 2013 at 5:51 pm #

    I completely agree that there has been an over-enthusiastic approach to the claims about minimal running shoes and I find it unfortunate. I speculate that some of the enthusiasm might be driven by an over reaction to what has gone on in the running shoe industry since the early 1970’s.

    Before the increase in popularity of minimal running shoes, if you look at running shoe marketing, what was being said in running periodicals and what was being presented in running shoe stores, there was this general assumption that more was better for the masses. Look at the general design of running shoes from the early 1970’s up until the last 4 or 5 years. The running shoe business is lucrative and competitive, the shoe companies have been compelled to try to differentiate their shoes from everyone else or die. They typically did this by adding features and function on top of features and function to their shoes. They added more cushion, more support, more stability, more traction, more, more, more.

    Until about 5 yrs ago, I watched the running shoe increase in weight beyond the typical design point of a 12 ounce US mens size 9 shoe up to 13, 14 and even 15 ounces. All of this added stuff had a serious weight trade-off. Yes, at the same time new materials and manufacturing processes were being designed to help reduce weight but it was a losing battle.

    As a result of the marketing push, the running population was being bombarded with decades of hype that they need to wear running shoes packed with all of this stuff in order to run with less injury and to run faster. It was not about whether this could be proven or not, it was just the general mentality shared by the industry and it’s customers, the runners.

    In 1993 about 20 years ago and coincidentally 20 years into the life of the modern running shoe industry, I started running ultra marathons focusing on 100 mile trail runs. I started to learn that maybe all of the brain washing I had received from the running shoe industry had a few holes in it. I had an epiphany at one point and realized that what the running shoe industry was saying was good for EVERYBODY, was not necessarily good for me. Not that what is good for me is good for everybody but that what the running shoe companies are promoting are just not optimal for everyone.

    Shortly after this epiphany, I had the fortune of running along side the Tarahuma in the Leadville trail 100 miler in the early to mid 1990’s. This was 15 years before Born to Run was published and 15 yrs before the minimal running shoe craze. While running alongside the Tarahuma and watching them run in sandals made with tire tread soles attached with rawhide laces, I couldn’t help but wonder that maybe what the shoe companies were selling were not necessarily the wonder cure. It certainly supported ideas I had about what the running shoe companies were selling.

    My belief has always been that regardless of what the shoe companies claim, there is no such thing as the perfect running shoe. There are just too many variables involved to even consider a one size fits all. This applies across the running population as well as for a single runner. I would simply expect better results in one type of shoe while running in the mountains of Colorado vs another type of shoe worn on the pavement in Death Valley California and would not wear the same shoe in both situations. I don’t have a study to prove it, I don’t need one, I know what works best for my situation based on experience.

    When the minimal shoe concept gained momentum, it was simply the result of increasing numbers of people realizing that what the shoe companies had been selling for 35 yrs may not be what was best for everyone.

    This all sort of got twisted around. The truly unfortunate part was that those who had personal success with minimal shoes ended up as a result of their enthusiasm falling into the same trap that the shoe companies have been in for the past 40 years. That is that the shoe that works best for their situation is the best for everyone. In the case of the shoe companies, their brand that is most likely loaded down with features and function is best for everyone.

    No, minimal shoes aren’t best for everyone. Cushioned shoes aren’t best for everyone. Shoes with heels aren’t best for everyone. Stability shoes aren’t best for everyone and so on.

    The good that has come out of this is that with the ease of communication these days, the minimal shoe advocates have gotten the running shoe companies to think a little about their product offerings and their customers, to think about their purchasing decisions. As a result, most of the major running shoe companies have broadened their lines to include several minimal shoe options in addition to their classic road flat or cross country flat. It has also spawned several new niche shoe companies that are focused on minimal shoes. The runner now simply has a broader set of options to select from than they did 5 years ago. I would suspect that with time, basic economics will sort out the extent of running shoe options.

    My point is that, while SOME (in other words, not all) minimal shoe advocates can be accused of idealizing a situation and seeing it as best for everyone, you can also accuse the shoe companies of doing the same thing for the past 40 years about their own products.

    The moral, use a little common sense and select the shoe that works best for your situation.

    • Mark Richard July 11, 2013 at 6:49 pm #

      Well said

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