Saturday, October 9, 2010

New Shoes

Today's run went a little something like this...

I'm easing myself back into running while trying to recover from my hamstring/piriformis issues. I was actually pleasantly surprised with today's average pace of 8:18 per mile. I was actually planning to take it a bit easier today but I felt good and perhaps these are to thank for that...

My new pair of Newton running shoes!!
Last week we headed down to Sheperdstown, West Virginia to check out a new "natural" running store. It's called "Two River Treads" and is owned by a physician and elite marathoner who preaches the benefits of running in shoes that mimic barefoot running and encourage midfoot to forefoot striking rather than heel to toe running (their motto is "the first running store to abandon the modern running shoe.") After reading the book "Chi Running" and doing some research about barefoot/minimalist running, I was a bit intrigued and decided to check it out for myself. I know a few people who run in the Vibram 5 Fingers (I find these to be a bit too extreme for my taste) and rave about them. After doing a trial run around the store's neighborhood, I decided to give these Newton Running shoes a go. They are minimalist shoes that have less cushioning and more forefoot propulsion to force people away from heel striking (the theory is that most running shoes these days are so cushioned and controlled that they force people into an unnatural gait pattern, a cause for a lot of injuries to the hip, knee and foot.)
I have struggled with some frustrating running injuries over the last few years and the idea that these shoes might help to alleviate these issues was very appealing to me. They were a bit more expensive than my normal running shoes (Asics Nimbus) but they are supposed to last twice as long (these shoes should last at least 1000 miles where most other running shoes start to break down after 300-500 miles.)
Because these shoes will force you into a more natural running pattern, they also require a "breaking-in" period. You start with running in them for just one mile the first time out, then you can add a mile each time you go out in them until you reach your normal running mileage. This breaking in period can last anywhere from 2-4 weeks. I just finished running my first 3-miler in them and I have to say I quite like them. I do notice I feel more tenderness in my calves and feet than in my other running shoes, which makes sense since they aren't as cushioned and I'm striking with my midfoot rather than my heel.
I'll be sure to give another review in a few months when I've had a chance to really break them in.

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