An admitted shoe geek waxes philosophical about running, triathlon, and life in general.
Comments welcome!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ran today in my old Air Max's. These are the shoes I ran in all year up to just a few weeks ago, and really didn't have issues. So a few weeks of using the Zoom.... whatever they are, and a few runs in my XC flats, and I decide to try the Air Max's to give my metatarsals a break. Well, that they did...

But running in them made EVERY little flaw apparent in them.

(1) Heel drop. The built-up heel was immediately apparent, and changed my foot landing to more of a heel strike, or even a full-foot landing. Wasn't painful, but I could feel... less efficient. My pace wasn't off by much, but I felt like I was having to put a lot more effort into it. Okay, so maybe it was the flu shot this morning... but I doubt it. Throughout the whole run I was toying with the idea sanding off all the lugs in the heel area.

(2) No material under the 5th metatarsal. I could feel it. Like my foot was falling over the edge of the shoe. That cutaway on the outside of the shoe, sure, makes the shoe a little lighter, but it needs to be re-shaped.

(3) The toe box... By the time I hit 3 miles, my little toes (especially on my left foot) were feeling like I was running on top of them. I have this sharp callous on the bottom of my toe, and I know where it comes from -- that narrow toe box that's just not the right shape.

So, yeah, if I'm going to be getting new shoes with more sole, they'll need to have a lot less heel build-up, be a lot wider at the toes, and have material under the 5th metatarsal. Unfortunately that won't be happening any time soon.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I ran on Friday, Sunday, and Monday... Metatarsals on my left foot are not happy. I have a run scheduled for tomorrow, so I think I'm going to go back to the Air Max's for that one and see how/if that helps.

So it feels like the 2nd and 3rd metatarsals, and it kind of hurts to toe off. I know... not supposed to do that so much. I'm also going to back off the speed again. We'll see. May have to swear off the XC flats for a while.

Friday, October 22, 2010

So, today's run had a bit of an epiphany to it. Started off innocent enough. An easy lunchtime run in my normal shoes, on the normal route, no real reason to hurry, just go along... I had my shoes tied a little looser than normal, which turned out to be a good thing. I was having some issues with the metatarsals in my left foot (the one I had surgery on in mid-2008), and consciously spreading my toes on that foot seemed to relieve it. Maybe the shoes ARE too narrow? Or maybe the configuration of the midsole is causing them to crowd up a bit? Anyway, that's not the epiphany.

About 3.5 miles into the 4.5, I just felt like upping the pace. And what happened is that my cadence jumped up a LOT. And the midfoot landing felt absolutely natural. Effortless. Didn't have to think about it at all. It was like those days back in high school running in spikes on the cinder track.

So what is the epiphany? Cadence. I've been reading a lot about changing to midfoot strike (even though I initially made this change in 2005), but this particular run just drove it home. More important than concentrating on landing the foot properly, more important than relaxing the foot, more important even than pace... Cadence.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I'm amazed at the pace I've been able to keep on my runs, especially when I've been purposely holding back, relaxing. I've been kind of relearning things I learned back in high school and not long after, about relaxing the upper body, the hands and neck.

Tomorrow morning I'm going to start adding another morning run, short, not more than 15 minutes. Adding frequency without adding much volume. It'll be in the dark, and cold...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

It's been a while since I've posted anything here. I pulled my posts as a protective measure, but now it seems a good time to open it up again.

I've made it through a season of traithlon, finishing a sprint on Memorial Day, and an Olympic in early September. Also did a 5K Open Water Swim in August.

It took almost 3 years to get back to this point, after foot surgery to correct Frieberg's Infraction in my left foot. I'd made several attempts to start back into running, but stabbing pains in my ankles within a couple hundred yards held me up. It took some work with my girlfriend to get me slowed down enough that I could jog without pain, using ankle braces along with the Air Max's I'd been wearing. That was at the beginning of this year.

By May I was starting to run without the ankle braces. And now I'm transitioning back to more minimal shoes. No, I'm not going to go out and buy Vibram Five Fingers. But I'll be doing a lot of my training in XC flats and road racing shoes soon. But I do like the look of the Altra line and the New Balance Minimus line.

As well, I've been working with the folks that own BuDu Racing all season, and my girlfriend and I have been helping out with the timing and running of several events throughout the season. Well, we've been approved to do our first "solo" event on November 6th. Looking forward to it.

Things I'm thinking of... Next season? Well, we timed an interesting sounding event this year called the Tri and Tri again. Essentially it's a back-to-back tri (swim-bike-run-swim-bike-run). I'd talked with the Budu folks a couple years ago about a "burrito" event, which is still a potential, but this is the same idea. I may do it next year. Also thinking of some offroad running races (trail races). We'll see.