Monday, March 28, 2005

I'm Free to do what I want any old time!

About a month before the Six Foot Track run I visited the Runners Shop to purchase a ‘Fuel Belt’. Mark had been using one and said how comfortable it was. While I was in the shop I tried on a pair of the new Nike Free running shoes. The size 12 were a fraction small but they felt good so I ordered a pair of 13’s – the same size as my Brooks running shoes. I collected them in the week before the Six Foot.

I took them with me to wear around while walking. The instructions that come with the shoes recommend spending the first two weeks “casually wearing them around the house, building up to light runs”. In my walks around Katoomba I couldn’t get over how comfortable they felt. They were like moccasins. I kept thinking ‘Wow! These are the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn in my life’.

Earlier in the year I’d followed some discussion about the shoes on CoolRunning. Later there was a Competitive Edge review of the shoes. One paragraph from this review summed up why the shoe was developed: ‘Thus it was felt that if a shoe could be developed that simulated barefoot running, it might indirectly improve performance. That is, the shoe itself will not necessarily improve your performance, but its use may lead to an improved performance, similar to including a core stability program in your training regime.’

This was all music to my ears! I used to do a lot of barefoot running years ago. It was nearly all on 400m tracks – mostly grass but sometimes synthetic. It may have been possible toughen my feet for other surfaces, but Murphy’s Law would have meant I’d be finding every sharp stone or piece of broken glass. My 1500m, 3000m, 5000m and Steeplechase PBs were all run barefoot. In recent times I’ve had a few Achilles and heel niggles which have made me shy away from barefoot running.

On the Thursday after Six Foot I wore the Frees in a 5000m race on the track. After quite a few walks this was my first run in the shoes. Of course this was in total disregard for advice in the instruction pamphlet about ‘careful progression’ and ‘stopping activity immediately if feeling undue pain or discomfort’. For me there was no pain (apart from the normal pain of a 5k race), just bliss at how good the shoes felt.

Now I can run in places ‘barefoot’ that I wouldn’t have considered previously. Like a rough dirt track, a bitumen bike path, a quartz rock strewn trail or frost covered grass. Of course I’ll continue to do some real barefoot running on warm grass and sand. It feels so good!


Blogger Hannah said...

You've gotta love good shoes. I'm in love with mine (Brooks) since I started running and can't believe that I used to wear cross trainers (even if they were very expensive nikes!)

I'm currently eyeing up those mi addidas shoes - purely because I'm a complete girl and love anything I can accessorise!

Keep on enjoying those runs!

9:15 pm  
Blogger Luckylegs said...

Oh dear! Will I look classy enough to go bike riding without snappy shoes?

Talking of 'heads', which you did, Jill's would be exactly the same as mine....i.e. just right!

Now Ewen, when & where will this auspicious event take place? Your choice. Will be in ACT around mid-day Saturday, returning home Monday a.m. sometime.

Do you think there is a need to notify the paparazzi (newspapers, fashion mags. etc.) re the time, place etc. of this soon-to-be famous event? LL

5:02 pm  
Blogger Luckylegs said...

Ewen, I got talking to a man & his dog whilst out running in the rain this morning; somehow got around to saying he rides motor bikes & has a Harley Davidson "Shovelhead"; do you know it? Told him I was going to ride a 1400 in Canberra...he was very impressed! He looks a bit like you in that Blogger photo!

5:23 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

LL, I know of it. I've never ridden a Harley though. The 1400 is much faster and smoother than a Harley. It's also more comfortable for the pillion (very important, that).

I will be 'at the school' from after lunch until the fun runs have finished - our club has a table at the Expo. I'm thinking as soon as you rock up and are ready to hit the highway.

It could be cool, so something windproof and warm on top. Also gloves maybe. Runners are snappy enough but don't offer much protection if you come off. But, that won't happen now, will it?

8:57 pm  
Blogger Clairie said...

9 more sleeps until Canberra

10:08 am  

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