Monday, May 2, 2016

Life is too short to run in bad shoes

Some people are clothes horses... I like running shoes.  Over the years, I have gotten slower and older.  Because of this, I think, I have become pickier on my running shoes.  I used to be able to run in any shoe and not notice much of a difference.  Now, I seem to notice everything.  Most notably, I can really tell the difference between a flexible shoe and one that is not as flexible.  Actually, the less flexible shoes make me feel as if I'm running on bricks.  Maybe it's the lack of elastic recoil that has gradually crept into my tendons and maybe it's the compression in my joint spaces and disk spaces.  Whatever the case, it's pretty noticeable, at least subjectively.  Case in point:  my current ASICS shoes. I have been using Newtons for the past several years, and they are pretty flexible, which I like. Overall, Newtons have become my favorite brand of shoe, and specifically, the lightweight training models.  However, I have alternated running shoes for a number of years; it was a practice I started when I was working at a running shoe store, and I have continued it.  The theory is that alternating shoes:  1)  helps the shoes last longer as the EVA (midsole) has a chance to recover; 2)  decreases injuries as it subtly changes your wear pattern and foot strike (as long as the two shoes are different).  I have not idea whether these are true, but I'm a creature of habit.

Because Newtons are unique in their characteristics, I have tried alternating them with a more conventional shoe.  I have tried various different shoes from different manufacturers with varying amounts of success.  Recently, I tried the ASICS Super J-33's and they were pretty good.  I decided to try the ASICS GT-1000 when the J-33's wore out.  Why?  Oh, something different and I'm cheap (I found the GT-1000's on sale).

Well, after having run in them for 100+ miles, I'm ready to condemn them to the lawnmower shoe pile.  I don't know that I have had one good run in them.  By good, I just mean one in which I don't feel like I'm plodding along.  Although I do plod now, I'm not ready to admit it.  And I know that running in the ASICS, I am usually 20-30 sec/mile slower in them than the Newtons.  And it's not a comfortable, spongy 20-30 sec/mile slower feeling.  More, it's a feeling that I'm slapping the ground in a brick that has been tied onto my feet.

So, I'm moving on from the GT-1000's.  I have squirreled away a pair of J-33's that I'm going to start alternating with my current Newtons.  They are definitely lighter and much more flexible than the GT-1000's, so I'm hoping that things will feel better, and that running on bricks will be a distant memory.

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