Saturday, April 12, 2014
So the jury is still out on the new shoes. I've done four runs in them, and I ham fighting some unexplained uncomfortability inside the toe box area. Ok. So when I get fitted for shoes, I come in at a 10 1/2, but with the shoes running so narrow up front, I usually go all the way up to a size 13 (yeah, I know it's 2 1/2 sizes bigger.) Both the Ghosts I have are 13s and I haven't had a problem. The new shoes I got (Hoka One One Bondi 2) have a REALLY wide toebox. I mean the footprint of the shoe just about represents a sandle. I compared were my big toe sits in the old and the new shoes, and it's about the same place. The thing is when I run, I feel like my big toe is hitting against the toe box especially when running on a decline. So now I'm trying different ways of lacing up the shoes, so we shall see how it goes. I'm lock lacing to eliminate heal movement, and I'm bypassing the first few sets of laces from the traditional cross lacing to allow for more room (and tonight it was much better but it was on a short run.) So it's all trial and error at this point. These are high cushion (maximalist) running shoes, so they are designed differently the the Brooks shoes I've been running in. That being said, it might just be a matter of me getting used to the structure of the shoe. They do what they are advertised and provide constant comfort, especially in the forefoot where I strike when I land and there's no fatigue or soreness the following day after my runs. So I really want to give them a shot and figure out what the problem is. The cool thing that I notice by the wear of these shoes from my runs is that my wear pattern has actually shifted more towards the center of the shoe, so I'm using more of my foot when I run. I think that's made me a little more efficient especially with the faster run times.
Thursday, April 10, 2014
Yeah so FINALLY the weather is pretty much at that comfortable point (60s and 70s) after a BRUTAL and LoooooooooooooooooNG winter. I started this year with the challenge of running everyday of the year, and I think tomorrow will be the first 100 days. I'm burnt out, and actually have been for over a month. I guess it's the lack of scenery and the usual routes that's brought this on. I mean, without the rush of a subzero run (because I'm like the only nutjob out there) or 20 foot piles of snow in the parking lots, it's BORING! Many of my runs were just a mile just to keep things going and stay disciplined. Sure, watching out for ice and hard snow pieces on the surfaces I ran on get to be old and tiresome, so yes I'm VERY excited about warmer weather. A LOT less clothing, longer runs, BEING ABLE THE BREEEEEAAAATHE, and having more route options are perks that winter prohibits from me. Today was the first 6 mile run since January (I think.) I got new shoes last weekend and put them through a nice run. Well more of a challenging run with the ups and down and the loooooooooooong straight route that seems to go on FoooooooooreeeeeeeeeeveR until you start mentally breaking it down. This also was one of the tests for me to go through to see where I was currently at. In about 7 months I'll be running my 3rd half marathon on the Las Vegas strip in the Rock n Roll series. Even though I ran half the distance of the event straight through, I still want to attempt some sort of interval run for the full 13 miles. That's what I did last year in February to make sure I was up to the challenge for the first half I ran in July. There's a lot of thoughts I have from last years half and the training I did for it. The training got to be very monotonous, even thought they did get me ready for not just the 1st but also the 2nd races I did last year. But as I headed back from my run today I thought "Maaaaaaaan. Here we go AGAIN!" At this point I'm not sure what I'm going to do for training as I'm throwing around some ideas and still getting an idea of where I'm at. Now even though the new shoes I'm running in still take some getting used to with the thicker soles and extra cushioning, I still need to go back to working on some core, hip, and leg conditioning. I'm really not that far off as I wasn't in any kind of discomfort or pain on today's run, and I shaved another minute off of my normal pace from what I ran in my previous half (so not to shabby.) I want to be leaner (even though I'm of only about 10 lbs from the last race,) more versatile, and aerodynamic (kinda joking on that one.) Really though, I want to be about to just pace faster than before and just break into sprints during points of a run (gear shifting) when I want. So it's some "similar" ground work to what I did last year. So at this point, I'm thinking this may be the last time I go through this. Combined with running everyday and now the training (oh yeah and the goal still hanging out there to crack 1000 miles for the year,) I don't know if I want to do this next year. The other thing is that after running through downtown Chicago, running down the Vegas strip at night is the only thing I can think of that can visually top that. Everything else just seems like a long run in a different place (ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...........yawn.) So unless something REALLY grabs my interest, THIS half in November may be my last. The only other thing I MIGHT consider is a Hot Chocolate Run that is a shorter run that's pretty much through where the Chicago Rock N Roll half goes through. That would be a challenge for me in the colder weather in itself, and I REALLY want to run through that area again. But for halfs, yeah Vegas might be it.
Monday, April 07, 2014
My runs vary from one day to the next a lot of times, and with that so do the tools I take with. Some days I take my pedometer with the Mp3 and run for time and distance. Other times I just take the Mp3 and just run to escape all the mental thought I put into my runs. Then there are the ones that I don't take anything, and I just mentally run cadence through the whole run. Then there are times that I just throw on the shoes and knock things out as fast as I can (sometimes short on time and other times just feeling lazy and need full throttle it.) Last year I got a metronome and usually once a week I work on quicker paces. The thing that I'm finding is that my pace can only get so quick before I start sacrificing my time, stride lengths, and comfort zone. If I have to shorten my strides just to keep up with the pace of the pedometer to a point where I can't open up my stride, then I wind up with a longer timed run. Just because I'm taking more steps per minute, it doesn't mean I'm covering more distance within those extra strides. There's a sweet spot. Now what throws a monkey wrench in all this is that I have also found that as I open up my stride behind me and increase my lean, I can run a faster pace as well to a certain point. So there's a sweet spot, or a cut off point to where this all starts getting compromised. Reading some of these magazines and articles on some of the running websites drive me nuts sometimes, and the reason being is that they talk about paces between 180 and 200 strides a minute to run ideal races. This doesn't work for everyone. Aside from what I've mentioned here, body structure and conditioning (I think) plays a role. For example, the longer someone's legs are the more variable their stride can be (as I said "I think.") The other thing is how much they seek power either through their legs, or their core and hips along with flexibility and endurance. Some runners, me included sometimes, can even toe off at the end of their stride for that extra momentum (somewhat similar to what cheetahs when running.) So strength and running style are a factor, and with that so can be the ability to change running form as one runs. Shifting weight, lean, or center of gravity (as in Chi running) also can add momentum when the ideal angles are utilized. The more variable someone can be with their speed can make them run more efficiently as well (whether it be to adjust to fatigue, inclines, declines, changes in terrain, turns in routes, etc.) So once again, IT'S COMPLICATED! WOW looks like a kinda went all over the place here again. I guess my point was spilling off into more of an "everyone is different" statement. Still there's a certain point to where all of these factors and aspects come together in compromise to work as one benefit to a runner, thus being............THE SWEET SPOT. And you get there from trial and error.
Saturday, April 05, 2014
So I picked up a couple recent Competitor running magazines issues a couple of weeks ago, and one of them had their ratings on some of the new shoes that are out. I've been seeking out a possible new brand (well new for me) to run in, even though the Brooks Ghost series shoes have been good for me. Today I tried a few pairs of Skechers on. There was an outlet by were I was today, and I checked them out. Walking into a shoe store for running shoes is a little adventure for me a lot of times. A lot of times it's like bringing a gun to a knife fight. I walk in, and one of the first questions I ask is "Do you run?" If I get an answer with the words "kinda" and "a little" then I know I'm in the wrong place. For some reason, it escaped my mind that being at an outlet store I was probably NOT going to find the new shoes that the magazine I referred to was talking about (HEEEEEEEEEEEELLLLOOOOOOOOOOO.) I tried two pairs of the "previously" current models, and walked away VERY dissatisfied. I felt like I walked into a McDonalds expecting a REAL pub burger that you get at your local neighborhood bar. Just felt cheap. At first I was like "Wow, feels like slippers." Ran a few steps back and forth, and realized they probably felt like that because they had the LACK of support of a slipper. Yeah, so I left. I was still pretty determined to check these shoes out that I was reading about, sooooooooo off to one of the BIGGEST shopping malls ON THE PLANET (I think?) at a Skechers store. FOUND THEM! 2 rather appealing models actually. "BUT THIS IS NOT A RUNNING STORE" was flashing in my mind, when I was there. Yeah, I'm going to have to reseach thes two pairs a little more carefully. I did watch a couple video reviews before, but they were kind of vague. I need some NEGGATIVE feedback to get a better idea of what these shoes are about (yeah I'm weird and need to know all the ingredients in the enchilada before I order it. So it's either the GORUN 3 or the GORUN ULTRA (probably the front runner.) Still need to try Hoka One and Altra as well. With plenty of time before I wear out the Brooks I'm running in right now and the half marathon I'm eying to do in November, I have plenty of time.
Saturday, March 29, 2014
OMG I've been driving myself crazy with looking at which running shoes I'm going with next. I'm a forerunner/midstriker and an underpronator so my options are rather limited. You would think that he decision would be made a rather easy with the far less options than the traditional runner, right? WRONG! The first problem you run into is the lack of cushioning in the mid and front part of a pair of shoes. There are some out there that do cater to runners like me though (Hoka, Altra, Newton.) I tried a pair of Newtons, and they hurt my calves after about 10 minutes on a treadmill, and the from lugs that protrude from the forefoot of the shoe look rather awkward too. Granted it could have also been the treadmill too. Looking at the Hokas, they appear like a bulky pair of platform shoes (runners give them high marks though on long runs and life.) Same holds true for Altra, but they are more of a minimalist shoe and it just seems to go against the grain when you want comfort. Asics makes a few that report good ratings though out the front and rear of the shoe too (Gel Nimbus and Kayano,) but I just don't fee comfortable with all the advertising and retail availability in the brand. It reminds me of Nike, and that brand has seemed to changed it's quality through the years. Then there's the Brooks Ghosts that I've run in that have lasted A LOT longer than they were supposed too (they are worn down to a pair of flats now, but the Goretex liner got me through a SUBZERO winter.) The Ghost 6 is available in the GTX model again like the model 4 that I have. They are also a good rain shoe. The issue is that if I do go with them again, I'll be passing up the opportunity on a lighter shoe with added comfort, which will probably make me run even more efficiantly. So with all this in mind, it's going to come down to getting on a treadmill and trying ALL the shoes on a treadmill at a running store and making my decision from there. Hightops were SO much easier to buy. Looks good? SOLD!!!!!!
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