Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Verdict Is In~

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I'm two weeks post half-marathon and have been thinking through what really worked in this training season and what I might change. Overall, I'm really tickled with the changes I made to prepare for the race. Considering that just a few years ago I thought I might not be able to run anymore because of my cantankerous knee, it's been a joy to learn a few tricks of the trade that have allowed me to return to the pavement.

*First and foremost, a more 'barefoot' running style has worked.

You may remember a post a few months back where I wrote about changing my running strike and stride. Those changes were made as a result of research I began reading about the injuries runners in expensive shoes were receiving. You can read more about the theory here. While I'm still donning running shoes when I head out to train, I now am in shoes that are very light and flexible with a tread that encourages me to stay more on the ball of my foot.

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The shoe on the right is from the pair I have logged many a mile on. The shoe on the left is the new pair I just got in the mail. Yes, there is some outside heel wear and tear evident on the old shoe. But when I think about what my previous shoes looked like, I'm delighted to see some tread left!

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But this is photo I'm most excited about. The central area of tread on my older shoes is actually worn! This was an area on my previous running shoes that always looked pristine, regardless of the miles.

This new style of foot strike has absolutely allowed me to clock more miles over the past months than I would have thought possible. If you're wondering about your own running style, flip over those shoes and take a look at your tread. It does tell the story of how you're contacting the road...and it may even tell you why your knee or ankle has been griping at you.

*If you find a shoe that works, don't change it.

I have to admit, once I would run the tread off one pair of shoes, I'd head to the store and peruse all the latest styles. I would often make my choice based on 'cool' factor and, of course, comfort. I'd hit the road in those new shoes, love 'em or hate 'em, and then start the process again after a few hundred miles.

It never dawned on me to stay with what worked.

Part of it was that athletic stores change their inventory every few months. Brand So-And-So sends a new design, the old models are taken off the shelf and people who are distracted by sparkly, new things (like me) come in and pick up the latest version.

Thank goodness I run with Jessica. She has scolded me out of this practice.

And provided me with a great website which carries the model that has worked wonders for me.

(ZB Sports, in case you're interested...and, no, I'm not being compensated for that shout-out...although I wouldn't object, should someone from ZB Sports happen upon the Octamom blog...)

I'm in Mizunos, the Wave Inspire 6. And a bonus of finding them online is that I can order them in a variety of colors. Which is a little important to me, for reasons I can't really explain. But my new neon pink version is making me very happy.

*If you decide to train for an event, make sure you build close to the mileage you will cover on the day of your event.

Whether you're considering a 5K, 10K or longer, look for training schedules that build you up close to the mileage you're aiming for. Jessica loved the schedule we used for our 1/2 marathon. She had used a program last year that only took her to 10 miles. When she came to race day, she felt under-prepared for the full 13.1 miles and felt pretty miserable at the end of the race. The program we used for the Chosen 1/2 Marathon took us up to 12 miles a few weeks before the race. We ran with full confidence we could hit the full mileage the day of the race.
You can find our training schedule here.

Jessica texted me from Florida over the weekend, anxious to get another training schedule in place. Her husband completed IronMan Florida this weekend. Nothing motivates you to keep going like a pack of uber-athletes.

Or intimidates you more.

But I'm ready to train again alongside my buddy, watching the sky turn from dark to light, the miles clicking beneath our feet.

In my neon pink shoes.

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