Posts Tagged ‘inov-8’

My latest running gear purchase arrived on Friday: a pair of Skechers GOrun. Like many, I was very skeptical of purchasing a ‘serious’ running shoe from Skechers, a brand more commonly associated with fashion, casual and lifestyle shoes.  After having read several very positive reviews from online resources that I respect, however, I decided that the GOruns would make the short list of potential future purchases.

I was debating between the GOruns and a pair of either Brooks PureFlow or PureConnects. My final decision was based on the following two factors: I have read reviews of the Brooks from online retailers, running magazines and retailers like Running Warehouse and Amazon. The reviews I read regarding the Skechers GOruns included several semi-pro runners, coaches, and enthusiasts so I felt I was getting slightly more personal feedback.  Reason number two, to be completely honest, was simply price. I have already invested a lot of money (for me) in this experiment and an opportunity presented itself where I could purchase the Skechers for about $30 less than either Brooks model. Done deal.

Maybe you’re wondering why I needed or wanted another pair of shoes if I’ve already made a few purchases. Especially if I want to save a few dollars, the easiest way is just not buy anything!  True enough.  I rotate several pair of shoes during my weekly runs, which include the Reebok RealFlex, Inov-8 Road-X 233, and Inov-8 F-Lite 195.  Each pair has its pros and cons, the Reeboks serve as an everyday casual shoe, as well as pulling duty on many of my longer runs where their extra cushioning is appreciated.  Having said that, I can at times feel a little lost in the Reeboks, my foot moving a little too much as the foam compresses and rebounds. The Inov-8 F-Lite 195 are my most extreme minimalist shoe, giving me immediate, unbiased, and unforgiving feedback.  I use them now mostly for my shorter, recovery runs, 5ks and also for cross training. My favorite shoe of the bunch is the Road-X 233. Minimal but not extreme. Flexible but with a little stiffness in the sole that I appreciate when pushing the pace or trying for a few extra miles.

The GOruns are just enough of what you need without anything more.  They are the perfect shoe to slide into place between the softer ride of the Reeboks and the precision handling of the Road-X 233s.  The uppers are incredibly light and with a roomy toe box the shoe almost feels like you are wearing a sock with a sole underneath.  The sole of the shoe is slightly curved, with a cut away or ‘missing’ heel.  When you stand tall, erect and with your feet close together you can actually fall backwards with the slightest lean since there is no heel to stop the momentum. This design also really seems to guide your foot into a mid-foot or forefoot landing, compared to other minimalist shoes that are still all too easy to heel strike in, if you are determined to do so.

Today was my first run in the blue and grey pebble crushers and I can say without reservation; all systems go.  I ran a 1 mile warmup, followed by 2 x 800 @ half marathon pace with 800 recoveries, 2 x 400 @ 10k pace with 400 recoveries, and wrapped things up with the run home of approximately three quarters of a mile.  No hot spots, no friction, just nice, care-free propulsion and landing without anything interfering with my perception of the foot strike and heel pull.

If you’re in the market for a light weight trainer or racing shoe, give the GOruns a spin. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

P.S. I purchase many running shoes one half size larger than normal to allow my toes to spread out, as well as accommodate any swelling that might take place during long, hard runs. The toe box on the Skechers is generous enough that I did not find this necessary and have a great fit with my normal shoe size.

 

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My wife rocking her Inov-8 F-Lite 195s

A detailed training log for the week is here.

What can I say?  Running is proving to be quite the motivating and contagious activity.  About 4 months ago my wife started walking on the treadmill 5 days per week after watching me catch the running bug.  She claimed outright, “I don’t like running, but walking is ok.”  So fast forward to last weekend and my wife decides to steal a bit of my daughter’s well earned thunder by running a 5k after my little girl took 2nd place in her 75 meter sprint event.

This weekend we celebrated my wife’s birthday and I purchased a weekend trip for two to the Marriott, Los Sueños Ocean & Golf Resort, in Playa Herradura, Costa Rica.  I decided to up the ante however, by timing the trip with the resort’s annual 10k event, the ECO RUN.  My plan is to run this event like any other training day, maybe even a little slower, to enjoy the scenery and atmosphere.  I also wanted to give my wife a new goal to shoot for.  It doesn’t matter to me if she walk/runs the event or whatever other method she might choose, as I don’t want her to feel pressured to run farther than she is prepared to.  But I did want to dangle a new carrot out in front to see how she responded.

Game on!

My training is progressing nicely thus far, knock on wood.  I am four weeks on my feet post injury and seem to be gaining a little clearer insight into my body’s likes and dislikes after each run.  It’s becoming easier to know when I can go for it, when I need to back off, and when following the schedule exactly is what’s called for.

I got off of the treadmill and ran a 10k on the road last week.  It was slow, but the pace proved to me that finishing was never in question as I long as I was honest about my fitness level.  I’ve been running many of my runs too quickly, and eventually burning the speed and distance candles at both ends will catch up with me.  Finally getting a grasp on reality (and my ego) my road runs are ultra slow, and I’m feeling much more confident in my ability to extend them in distance, towards my goal of 13.1 miles.

Tracie over at Run Inspired has a timely post on running at the proper pace and within a specific percentage of your heart rate max on longer runs.

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Don’t Stress Over Changes – Just Adapt

Since finishing my rehab and recovery I’ve completed three full weeks of running in preparation for the ING Miami Half Marathon in January 2013.  I made a decision to run only on the treadmill until I was covering distances of 10k or more, in order to give my body time to strengthen after the six weeks of mostly non and low-impact recovery.  My plan was to swap out a single weekly run to the road, and every other week I would swap out an additional treadmill run for the pavement.

Today my wife returned early from our association’s gym to inform me that the treadmill was dead.  Out of order.  No mas.

Lacking choices, I laced up the Inov-8s and headed out the door, eager to finish before the sun had a chance to rise too high in the sky.  I am already sunburned from attending my daughter’s first track and field event on Saturday. Honestly, I wasn’t excited about running on the road.  I’m paranoid about all of the different variables that could have contributed to my original injury: too many hills, running  too fast, shoes that are too minimalist, overpronation, muscle imbalances.  The list goes on and on.

But sometimes a lack of choices is just what you need.  The ING Miami Half Marathon is run on the road after all, not on a treadmill.

First road run in over 2 months

The challenges were immediate and pronounced as I took my first steps.  I use a metronome to help me lock in an efficient cadence of 180 strides per minute.  This is also a great tool to prevent over striding and makes mid or forefoot landing more natural and not something you have to waste a lot of energy focusing on during a run.

It literally took me the entire first mile to find the proper rhythm, stride and cadence.  By that time it was too late, I had already burned my powder.  I ran three progressively slower splits. No clearer evidence exists of a runner who leaves the gate too fast, finds the pace unsustainable and eventually labors through the finish of the run.  And I still had 3 hill sprints waiting for me at the finish, courtesy of Jason Fitzgerald.

So how does the death of my previously preferred training device impact my race preparation?  Simple, there are a few key areas I need to adjust and monitor:

stride cadence

stride length

pace management and awareness

recovery ability

The simple truth is that I eventually had to face this transition at some point in my training anyway.  So I choose to embrace it now, earlier than planned or expected, but inevitable nonetheless.

The only constant in life is change.

 

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To be a great comic, they say that timing is everything.  I believe in that theory, and not only as it relates to generating laughs.  Today is day 2 of recovering from an Achilles tendon strain.  My plans were for a relaxed and lazy day around the house.  A little cooking for the kids when they get home from school.  Testing out some new tennis ball massage techniques for my hamstrings and calves.  And maybe an hour of talking to my laptop while navigating a Rosetta Stone lesson plan in German.

An email arrived that took me completely by surprise.  My new running shoes had arrived and were ready for pick-up.

Inov-8 Road-X 233

Weird angle. I promise that neither my legs nor my feet are that stubby.

A few months ago when I began my latest attempt at running again I was inspired by all of the information I was digesting regarding barefoot and minimalist running.  So I did about a month of barefoot walking and walk/jog training on the treadmill.  Once I began running 3x per week for at least 30 minutes I transitioned to a pair of minimalist kicks, the Inov-8 F-Lite 195.

I love those shoes, and although I don’t have experience with any other minimalist models to make a comparison, I can’t imagine I could be much happier with another brand.  Well done Inov-8!

The shoes that arrived today are the Inov-8 Road-X 233.  I ordered this pair for several reasons.  I wanted a second pair of shoes to alternate runs in, so as not to destroy either pair too quickly and also so that whatever tiny differences existed in my gait with different shoes could help avoid repetitive motion injuries.  I know that’s probably a generous stretch of logic, but it’s nice to rationalize a luxury purchase when you can.

In addition, I wanted to add some diversity and flexibility into my choices, depending on where I might schedule my runs.  As the name suggests, the Road-X is designed specifically for road work,  and the F-Lite 195 is a general purpose fitness shoe that has some light trail capability with its slightly raised tread pattern.  The Road-X sports a 6mm heel to toe differential and weigh in at 8.2 ounces.  Not quite as minimal as the F-Lites  but well within my comfort zone.

Most likely I will not be writing up any type of review for these shoes other than to say that thus far I am very impressed with Inov-8, and would recommend their shoes without hesitation.  I don’t feel I posses the technical knowledge or running experience to dive further into discussing fascia bands, lateral this, and medial that.

After all, the only testing I will be doing in the immediate future is walking around the house.

Timing is everything.

 

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