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

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

First outdoor run in the XLT's: interesting results

Today's run: 2.5 miles

I'm not quite sure what to make of this morning's run. My expectations were set to high for a performance boost that I hoped to get from the new Spira XLT's. I hoped the claim of a 15 sec/mile improvement was more than marketing hype. I've learned over the years that it's really not the shoe, but the person in the shoe, that determines outcome. Still, I was hopeful.

I was excited to try the new shoes on the road and I took off on a somewhat faster pace than normal, once my Garmin was ready. The XLT's felt good, not super-cushioned, but comfortable. I noticed the ride was high, compared to my Hattori's and Mirages, but I still felt like I was landing mid-foot. The slight uphill of the first road on my route was a good basis for judging the benefit of the Wavespring technology. I moved along well, but it wasn't a transforming experience.

Once I leveled out, I let the shoes do their thing. I probably pushed a little harder than usual, perhaps because I anticipated a dramatic improvement of my pace. I had no issues with the feel of the shoes but I wouldn't say they provided noticeable energy return. I knew I could have run faster, but I didn't want to add too many variables to the mix. My goal was to see if, during a normal run, I'd really see measurable improvement.

Regardless of the shoes, I felt good on this run. Like Sunday and Tuesday's workouts, my stamina has improved since I began my weekend base training. I crossed the threshold of my driveway, hit "Stop" on the Garmin and saw that I finished my run 43 seconds faster than the last run along that route. But that day it was windy and I may not have pushed as hard as I did today. Then again, it could have been the shoes. A few more runs will show whether I'm gaining speed, or if today was simply a fluke.

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