Running quote of the week

“I love track running. There’s something about that red 400-meter circle that lets my brain switch off—no roads to cross, no bikes to watch out for.” – Kate Carter

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Me and my running shoes


To many, gear is gear. A pair of running shoes is merely a tool to faciliate the run. In some cases running shoes are a necessary evil, especially for those who would prefer to run barefoot but don't do that for practical reasons. I love running, that's pretty obvious to anyone who reads this blog. But it's not just running that I love, it's all the cool things that come with that: new technologies to enhance the experience and the other gear that you need to maximize performance and comfort.

When I first started running I was relatively indifferent to shoes. I had no idea what was important when I went to Foot Locker for my first pair of running shoes. These would actually be my second pair, having bought some in the early 90's during my earlier running days. I put myself into the hands of the saleswoman who admitted that she didn't run but said that she fits runners all the time and knows what works for most. I don't recall every shoe I tried on that day but the Nike Turbulence 13's that she recommended fitted me the best. I had a great 500+ miles on those shoes but in the end. after inspection, I'd wondered whether their neutral nature played into the upper leg pain I had experienced near the end.

Including those Nikes, I've bought a total of four pairs of shoes since my return to running last summer. I bought a pair of Nike Kutu trail shoes that were inexpensive but never felt right. My last run in them was so negative that I immediately put them away for donation. I replaced those with a pair of New Balance 460 trail shoes. I haven't liked the high-end NB shoes I've tried in stores but these 460's are great. They were inexpensive but they're solid performers with a good feel and nice response on both street and trail. No Gor-Tex or fancy features but they do the job well. I bought my Brooks Adrenalin GTS-9's the day after my 5K in May. These are good shoes, not as responsive as the Nike 13's they replaced but their stability properties have helped my upper leg problems. I'm not sure I'll get the same shoes next time but I'm pleased so far.

The last pair I bought were Asic Gel-1130's that I tried for the first time this morning. These are a few rungs down from Asic's top line but they are far from low end. The fit is nice - more comfort than the Brooks but only by a little. I set out to do a mid length run this morning after icing both quadriceps and I ended up covering 5.13 miles at a 9:19 pace. I thought I might have run a little faster than that but the Garmin doesn't lie (when calibrated correctly). The Asics felt really good and responsive and compared well against the Brooks. I's say the Brooks are probably better overall in terms of feel but not by that much. I will enjoy having the 1130's in the office, ready to take on whatever the streets of New York City can offer.

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