Showing posts with label pool shoes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pool shoes. Show all posts

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Bethpage base run and a new pair of "minimal shoes"

Justifiable replacement
Today's run (Bethpage State Park): 5.9 miles

I needed to do some base building as I prepare for my next race, so I headed over to Bethpage State Park to run on the northern bike path extension. The section between the trail head at Bethpage and Old Country Road is a personal favorite, due to its rolling terrain and handy distance markers. For longer runs, I cross Old Country Road and follow the trail as far as I wish. Running it to the end leaves me off near my neighborhood, allowing me to run all the way home.

I managed to stall a full hour between the time I dressed for the run and when I actually left for Bethpage. Despite a later start, weather conditions were still good, due to heavy cloud cover that prevented direct sunshine. Humidity was much lower than yesterday and I felt energized as I took my first steps from my car to the trail.

My goal today was to cover 5 to 6 miles at around a 9:30 pace. My ideal goal pace for the Dirty Sock 10K is 9:00/mile (or better), which will be hard for me to achieve. The best I've ever done on that race is 58:26, so I'd need improve on that by over two minutes. My 10K PR is around 54 minutes, but that race wasn't a trail run held during the dog days of August.

I didn't quite make today's performance goal, but I came respectably close. The cyclists were out in force today and I was disappointed by their lack of trail etiquette. A number of bike riders zoomed by very closely without giving any "On your left" warnings. Are they aggressive because they resent all the runners and walkers on the path, or are they just selfish?

I was humbled early on by a woman who came off a wooded trail that intersected with the paved path. She appeared to be running at an easy pace as she came up beside me, but left me in the dust before ducking back into the woods. It's really hard to gauge a runner's speed just by looking at them. There was a group of high school aged boys doing a training run and a family of five (including three pre-teens) who were all running together.

Most of the run felt good. It was only near the end, when I faced the biggest hills, that I began to feel some fatigue.  Despite that, I pushed hard during the last half mile and I was surprised to have the energy to do that.

After I got home, my daughter and I went to Modell's in Plainview to buy ourselves new pairs of pool shoes. My old pair (top), which served me well for at least five years (including time on the road as "poor man's" minimalist running shoes), are starting to disintegrate. I'm not sure I'll use my new pair for running, but they worked great in the pool today!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Can't afford Hattori's or Vibrams? Try pool shoes

$15 minimalist shoes - and you can swim in them!
Today's run (street): 3.5 miles

Almost a year ago I went on a 2.2 mile run in my pool shoes to understand the minimalist experience. Overall, I found these shoes to be a credible alternative to running shoes but with some serious caveats. First, I ran without socks and the subsequent friction came close to producing blisters on my mid-foot. Secondly, I had not spent time adjusting to mid-foot running and going from my Brooks to this shoe on a daily basis would have been a recipe for injury.

A year later it's a different story. I'm happily transitioned to the Hattori's that provide a level of minimalism close to the water shoes but are measurably lighter and designed for stride efficiency. I do wish the Hattori's weren't so snug on my foot but that is becoming less of an issue as I use them. Perhaps they are beginning to stretch.

This morning I decided to revisit the "pool shoe as trainer" idea and went out for a 3.5 mile run in the neighborhood. I wore thin running socks to prevent the friction issues I'd experienced the last time. I needed to be careful this morning because elementary school graduation was happening and I had to be vigilant with hurried, distracted drivers streaming up and down the road. Closer to the school I observed many people jockeying their SUV's for a closer parking spot. God forbid they should walk more than 100 feet.

I stayed on the sidewalks as much as I could. The pool shoes allowed me to nimbly avoid buckled concrete around the trees that are planted in front of most houses. There was no doubt that my feet were doing their part to cushion my footfalls and I had no unpleasant landings on my heel. I knew I wasn't moving very fast but I maintained a mid 9:00 pace throughout the route.

Running in pool shoes did create more work than an equivalent run in the Hattori's. In terms of comfort, the Hattori's come out on top, being lighter and better shaped, with much higher quality materials in the liner and mid-sole. I'm looking forward to my next Hattori run so I can complete the comparison. I'm expecting that to be a much more comfortable experience.

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