Two different although very related topics. Mike and I finally bought new sneakers a couple of weeks ago after much debate. Buying new sneakers 3 weeks before a half marathon might not be the best idea but I figured I can always wear my old sneakers if my new ones don’t feel broken in enough.So Mike and I both decided to go with (drumroll…) Skechers! We both liked how it felt running in Skechers during Runologie’s Skechers demo day. We both planned on going with the GORun 4 style that offers a low heel-toe drop, flexibility and snug fit (Mike and I don’t typically get matching running sneakers – just a coincidence we liked the same brand). Having run in the GORun Rides during demo day, I found them to be too cushioned for me, too much shoe and too wide. I tried on the GoRun 4’s afterwards and they seemed to fit the bill, offering a 4 mm drop and just enough cushioning. However, when I tried these on again when we were sneaker shopping, I realized they were too far out of my comfort zone. If I had 2-3 pairs of sneakers that I rotated, I could add these in for short runs but since they were going to replace my monster stability and cushioned Saucony Omnis, I needed a shoe that was more of a baby step to a minimalist style. This conclusion led me to the GORun Strada style. The Stradas feel a lot like the GORun 4 but beefed up with more stability and cushioning. Although heavier than the GORun 4, the Stradas feel much lighter than my Saucony Omnis and, although pretty cushioned, the foam feels soft, bouncy and lightweight under my feet, not weighing me down. I’ll do a full review after I log a few more miles on my Stradas. Note: Mike went with the GORun 4 style.
How could I resist the flashy day-glo color that screams Skechers? I was looking forward to some bright sneakers after years of not-very-exciting Saucony Omni colors.
As I’ve mentioned in other blog posts, Runologie doesn’t sell mainstream brands (Asics, Nike, Brooks, etc.), choosing instead to focus on niche brands such as Salming, Skechers, On and Altra. Mike and I’ve enjoyed trying out all these unique brands during the demo days. Runologie employees really know what they are talking about, as they are all very experienced runners, and helped me find the perfect fit Stradas (seem to run small – sized up to a 10 from my 9.5 Sauconys). Additionally, when checking out, they told me that Kara Goucher, the famous long distance runner and Oiselle/Skechers/nuun spokesperson, runs in Stradas (!). Sold.
So back to half marathon training/breaking-in new sneakers. The Rock ‘n Roll Raleigh Half Marathon is coming up in just about a week and I’ve run in the new sneakers about 5 times, including one long run this week. All the runs have been pretty slow since I haven’t wanted to push it too hard in new sneakers. Because they are a new brand and fit, I’m feeling soreness in different areas including ankles and shins from using more stabilization. I also started getting a blister on the ball of my foot (just need to build up some calluses and I’ll be fine), perhaps from less cushioning and landing slightly differently. Unfortunately, I can’t remove the insoles in the Skechers Stradas to put my Superfeet inserts in.
For our 11 mile training run, Mike mapped out a route along the Black Creek Greenway in Cary, a new route for us! Since we didn’t get a run in last weekend, we ran our long run in the evening this week (perhaps a reason for the sluggishness). It was a beautiful night for a run and the Greenway was surprisingly not crowded at all. Running a new route really makes the time fly by. We joined up with this Greenway about two miles from our apartment and had to cross several busy roads before getting to the more secluded portions along creeks and through wooded areas. The Black Creek Greenway is one of the longest Greenways in Cary at 7.1 miles and connects to several other Greenways. We ran by a huge dog park, skate park, playgrounds and a track. I also liked how this trail runs by some businesses in case you need to use the restroom or refill your water bottle – thanks Jimmy John’s!
This Greenway route also had many hills. Good and bad. Good for hill training, especially with the upcoming Rock ‘n Roll Raleigh Half Marathon’s hilly course. Bad because hills are hard. After uploading our run to Garmin Connect, we were able to see that, for a run less than 13 miles, this is the most elevation gain we’ve run. Of all the runs we’ve done since we bought our Garmins in July 2013, this run was 7th for elevation gain (after our long marathon training runs on the Custis Trail in Virginia and the Richmond Marathon)! So even though we weren’t too fast, I’m impressed with our time given the time of day, new sneakers and hills!
Overall, I’m feeling pretty good about the half marathon in about a week. My sneakers are feeling more broken in, I was able to get in a speedy run today and we’ve gotten some solid hill training in. Although we’re not following a specific half marathon training plan, we usually try to run a long run of 10 or 11 miles a couple weeks before a half and then take it easy for the next couple of weeks, running a few times per week of 3-5 miles. Mike and I were both pretty sore after our 11 mile run this week so only got one other run in this week. This weekend we’ll shoot for 5 miles and run a couple of times next week, leading up to the race, between 3-5 miles per run. I’ll also do yoga a couple of times next week, in between runs.