Showing posts with label New Balance 460. Show all posts
Showing posts with label New Balance 460. Show all posts

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Progress made on Boxing Day

My wife suggested that I should rest today since I still have eight more days away from the office for doing long runs. Her point would be better made if she herself didn't work out every day for 45 minutes, especially today when she is battling a cold. I figured if she was going to maintain her routine under those conditions so would I. Maybe I'll take a break on Monday.

One reason I really wanted to get out and run is that I'm driving myself (and everyone around me) crazy with my curiosity about the Tarahumara running technique and the best shoes for that style. I mentioned that I tried on some ASICS 2150s and Kayanos on Wednesday that felt really good. Exceptionally good in fact. Now I'm understanding the best way of strengthening the arch and the forefoot is to run with shoes that don't surround your foot with soft cushioning. Instead it's better to force yourself to adapt to shoes with less support. The impact of running on your legs can be up to twelve times your body weight. In the book "Born to Run" the author Christopher McDougall says""[it's] preposterous to believe a half inch of rubber is going to make a difference against, in my case, 2,760 pounds of earthbound beef. You can cover an egg with an over mitt  before rapping it with a hammer, but that egg ain't coming out alive." I get that completely.

So this morning I went out to run about 3 miles and I wore my lightest, least cushioned shoes (NB 460s) and continued to focus on cadence and landing front and mid foot. It was warmer than yesterday, around 39 degrees, with a slight rainy mist that left after a few minutes. I tried to stay conscious of the number of steps I was taking and I also worked to maintain my pace more evenly than yesterday. For the third time in as many days I returned home to see that I had run much faster than usual on recreational runs. Today I covered 3.17 miles in slightly longer than 27 minutes for an 8:36 pace. That's a 5K/4 mile race pace for me and I wasn't even working that hard. I'm having a really hard time justifying an investment in new shoes if I'm going to run like this. But you can't argue with the results, I'm not going back to my previous style. Of course that doesn't mean I won't try the Brooks GTS 10s out of curiosity. It just may mean that my next pair of Brooks is more likely to be the Green Silence.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Short and sweet

I had hoped that today's run would be the longest of the weekend and I was aiming to cover 5 miles. I was happy with my weekend runs with AG at Stillwell and around the neighborhood and looked to cap things off with a slightly longer Sunday run. The weather was not looking good and there was thunder but no rain. I was anxious to get out to run before the storm and I hit the street anticipating a fast return at the first sign of lightning. I pushed the pace and went west on Jericho Turnpike so I could make a loop around the neighborhood and cut in towards home if necessary. I decided to run with my NB 460's today to compare them to the Helly Hansen Trail Lizards and I was once again impressed with the versatility of the New Balance shoes.  About ten minutes into the run the sun came out along with the heat and humidity. It quickly became clear that I wouldn't be covering five miles under those conditions so I made my way back having run a total of 3.7 miles at 8:46/mile.

I finished the three day period with 11 miles, a little short of what I'd done on recent weekends. All the same I felt that Friday's trail run and today's brisk pace were worthy of contribution to the Garmin fund. I'm up to $100, a third of the way there. My next goal is to break 9:05 on a 4:00 AM run next week. I may help myself out by running again with the New Balance 460's. They may be made for trails but they do darn well on the road.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

In praise of the NB 505

At the time that I resumed running almost a year ago I only owned a single pair of athletic shoes. Those shoes were New Balance 505's; cushioned cross training/walking shoes that I'd had for years. I started my return to running by walking, covering two or three miles on the treadmill or in the neighborhood a few times a week. Up until then the 505's had served me well as the shoes I wore every weekend for almost any activity except for formal occasions.

Even with four of five years of use they still looked brand new and felt great whenever I wore them. They were perfect walking shoes and despite my assessment that I've put more than 600 miles onto these shoes they still serve me well since I don't use my many pairs of running shoes for anything but running. If my wife says we're going to Target or to the market I still reach for my 505's. 

It wasn't until I began adding some runs within my walks last August that I realized that the cushioning and stiffness of the NB's worked against me. I soon bought my first pair of running shoes (Nike Turbulence 13's) and moved to full time running. The rest, as they say, is history. Funny that when I've tried on NB street running shoes a few times since then I haven't loved the fit. However, my NB 460's are still a great choice for the trails.

I had hoped to hit the trails at least once this weekend but since my weekend schedule was tight I needed to stick close to home both days. Yesterday I covered 3.5 easy miles and this morning I went out early and was ready to move a little faster. It was about 65 degrees with moderate humidity and light winds so I worked a little on my speed and looked for routes with hills or long inclines.

After spending some time within the neighborhood I moved over to the western edge road and then went east to attack the lengthy hill on Jericho Turnpike before I re-entered the neighborhood. I ended up covering 3.7 miles at an 8:54 pace. I thought that was great considering the tougher than normal course. A brisk and challenging Friday run in Central Park and a rigorous run on Sunday book-ended three miles of CFMs on Saturday.  I covered a little less than 12 miles on those three days, a bit shorter than what I've been doing over that span but I'm definitely running harder these days.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

First impression - Helly Hansen Trail Lizards

I've patiently waited all week for the opportunity to try my new Helly Hansen Trail Lizard running/hiking shoes so I put them to the test this morning. We will be posting a full review in the coming weeks on Runner's Tech Review but I'll give some first impressions here.

Today's run was at Stillwell Woods Preserve that has many different trail conditions and surfaces. I started with a run across grass from where I parked my car to the trail head and noted that although I'd requested size 10.5 shoes they seemed very roomy in the toe box and at the heel compared with my Brooks, New Balance and Asics shoes that are also in that size. The generous toe box didn't concern me. I'd rather error on the side of it being too large versus being too tight. The heel was a concern because of stability and slippage that could lead to blisters. It wasn't pronounced and I had good socks so that didn't prove to be a problem.

I followed the paths I knew but quickly found myself in unfamiliar territory. I skirted some big muddy sections then came upon some steep inclines with large rocks and I put the shoes to the test. The challenge was well met, no issues with traction. I would have liked more support and snugness around the back but the shoes themselves felt more stable than I'd expected. I can also see using these shoes for straight trail hiking. I dodged a number of bikers along the way and encountered some very rough terrain with pronounced inclines and declines, the surface often consisting of rough sand and rock. I had no trouble with that but the shoes really felt good when I found a trail of hard packed dirt. The running there was a pleasure and I think these shoes compared favorably to the New Balance 460's in that respect.

I had a very small compass (the face was smaller than a dime) so I needed to stop a few times to get a read. I spent some time getting lost and with the hills I got very tired and took a couple of short rest breaks. At one point I crossed paths with a mountain biker who was also a bit lost so I looked at the compass and sent him toward the difficult trails that he wanted and headed off to complete my run. As I exited the trails I ran on grass but then cut over to the pavement to get a feel for running on the street. Here I saw a big difference between these shoes and the NB's as the Helly Hansens are clearly made for softer surfaces. I ended up running 5.2 miles, much of it up steep trails, and the Trail Lizards handled it all competently. The big test was how I felt after the run and I was happy to note there was no foot or leg pain and my biggest current concern, a slight groin pull, felt much better at mile 5 than it did at mile zero. Trail running is clearly kinder to my body than street running but I love them both. I'll be writing more about the Trail Lizards, my next test will be to face them off against the NB 460's over similarly rough terrain.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Not exactly heart insole

I was really hoping to publish today's post with the headline "Heart insole, I fell in love with you" after running with a replacement pair of insoles for my Nikes. I've been concerned that my shoes have accumulated too much mileage and that has contributed to the leg pain I've experienced over the last six weeks. The shoes still look pretty good so I don't know how to ascertain their true condition. Since the insoles, which take direct impact with every step, are easily replaced, I did just that.

The insoles I bought are Spenco Poli-Sorbs that retail for about $20. They come in size groupings so you can cut the extra material for a custom fit. I didn't do that and I suspect that's part of the reason I was disappointed.

Though I wear a 10 1/2 shoe and these insoles fit up to size 11's I was able to fit them into the shoes fine. The shape of the replacements are different than the originals but they're close. When I put them on they felt good, the extra padding at the heel was welcomed. There was slightly more material at the top but it didn't seem like it would get in the way when I ran.

I had a hard run covering 2 miles at about 8:52 per mile this morning. It was extremely hot and I suffered a bit until getting an energy boost at around 1.5 miles. The shoes felt okay as I ran but my upper leg pain was noticeable. Unlike when I ran with the other insoles, the pain persisted even after I'd warmed up. After I'd finished I noticed that the extra material had put enough pressure on the top of my foot to cause some slight abrasion and blistering. I can take care of that by trimming the insole but the real problem was that my leg hurt a lot after my run. I ended up wrapping a compression brace around my upper leg and that helped quell the soreness.

Now I'm wondering whether I'm better off cutting the insoles for a perfect fit and trying another run or just reverting back to the old insoles and hoping for the best. The race on Saturday is only 5K so it's not like I need to prepare for an arduous distance. The other choice is to run in my NB trail shoes. That's starting to sound like an interesting idea.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Trail shoe, meet treadmill

This morning, before my run, I realized that the foot pod for my Garmin 50 was still attached to one of my new NB 460 trail shoes. The effort to remove and then attach it to my regular shoes is minimal but just time consuming enough for me to think twice about it. As I've mentioned before, every minute counts in my early morning routine.

In the interest of time I decided to run with the 460s on the treadmill. I figured they performed well on the street so it wouldn't matter too much if they weren't made for running on a treadmill surface. Starting up was a little tough which I attributed to both the tread of the shoes and to some residual stiffness I have in my right leg. I'm planning to visit my orthopedist after my May race to get to the root of that problem which, at the moment, involves some slight pain and restricted mobility when starting a walk or run.

I got up to speed fairly quickly and the 460s, though not especially heavy, felt like I was running with comfortable work boots. As usual, my treadmill display shut down after about five minutes (as a technologist I am horrified by the failings of most running technologies I've used. But to be fair the treadmill is over a decade old) so I pushed the speed control blindly until the Garmin registered 7 MPH.

I ended up running 1.81 miles at an 8:50 pace. Although the use of these shoes on the treadmill was not ideal they're proving themselves to be a great buy. Tomorrow I'll aim for the same distance with the Nike's to compare experiences. I'm betting that under the same conditions, with the right shoes, I should be able to improve on that pace.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A well balanced run

My usual routine involves two longer weekend runs and then either an easy run or light elliptical workout on Monday morning. Since Friday was the start of my running weekend I should have made today's exercise more like a rest day. I mentioned yesterday that I bought a pair of NB 460s and I wanted to see how they performed. I thought about heading over to Stillwell Woods Preserve to test them on the trails but I was constrained for time and I really wanted to get a feel for the shoes on the street.

I dressed light and it was cool but not too cold when I started out. I chose an uphill road as my first leg to help with my warm up and to take advantage of the energy that comes at the beginning of a run. I was very pleased with the feel of the 460s. They are roomier than the Kutus with a higher toe box and, with the exception of some slight slipping at the heel of my right foot, they felt great. I was moving very well as I crisscrossed through the neighborhood streets but then I came upon some stiff headwinds coming from the west. I remember thinking how nice those winds would feel later in the run after I'd heated up a bit. Although I'd planned a relatively short run I was feeling good and decided to run four miles since I'm just 13 days away from my 4 mile race.

I felt as though the Garmin was over-calculating a little and a mapping on Gmaps confirmed that. I ended up running about 4.2 miles with an overall pace of 9:07, which I thought was good considering that I was completing over 11 miles within three days. I learned on my Stillwell run and confirmed on Friday that softer surfaces and hills are still a challenge for me. This signals an opportunity to build up those muscles. I think next Sunday I will run some trails as a conditioning exercise one week before my race.

Emerging Runner News: I am happy to report that the Emerging Runner was the number one blog on the Runner's World Loop in March.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

When all else fails blame the shoes

After watching the ever-changing weather yesterday we made a decision to head to Central Park at the end of the workday. It was still a bit misty and somewhat cool as we walked to the park and it seemed to be great conditions for a run. Adventure Girl led the way taking us on the Bridal trail along the western side. With respect to the weather I wore a light but non-breathable windbreaker over a short sleeve jersey and a hat. That turned out to be a mistake because the weather cleared soon after we started and I began to overheat very quickly. I also wore my Nike Kutu trail runners because of the rainy conditions and it was a good idea to have trail shoes since the running surface was muddy and uneven. I never really liked the Kutus that much, I bought them too small and while they are okay for shorter runs they aren't so good overall. Consequently, I had a tough time almost from the beginning and AG was gracious to stick with me even though I was maintaining a glacier-like pace around 10:00 per mile.

She had joked about being concerned about keeping up with me before we ran. That was not an issue and I have many things I could blame (clothes, shoes, heat, time of day) for my slow pace. In my defense it was a hilly course and I'm just not used to a surface like that. The intended course was about 4.5 miles but I had to stop at 4.3 miles (ave 9:53/mi) with the last half mile on a paved surface. My legs were tired during most of the run but I wasn't winded. We walked back to the office and it felt good. I had a great time and I wish I was a better running partner but now I know what I need to do in terms of preparing next time.

This morning I decided to do a relatively easy run to assuage my damaged ego and did a 3-mile run through my neighborhood. I felt pretty good and the difference between the Nike Turbulence 13s and Kutus was evident. I ran slowly compared to recent street runs finishing with an overall pace of 9:10. We went out to do some errands and while my wife shopped with the kids for summer swim clothes I tried on some running shoes. The place we were at had some good brands but not the high end shoes. I decided to pass on buying any of the shoes I tried although they were inexpensive but at the last minute I saw some New Balance 460 trail shoes on sale so I tried them and really liked the way they fit. I'm going to run with them tomorrow to see if they feel good running. If that's the case I might keep them at the office. I'm thinking about buying some shoes to replace the Turbulence 13s which are rolling up to 400 miles. I don't know if that's necessary since they still feel pretty good.

Today Adventure Girl is conducting a training session with her relay team on the trails in Prospect Park. I'm not sure she even broke a sweat yesterday so I think she'll be fine for that rigorous activity. My wife ran 30 minutes today which is very impressive and I'm hoping that we can get to the track again soon. I'm targeting at least 4 miles tomorrow. It would be great if these new shoes feel as good on the street as they do in my den.

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