I hope everyone had a great Christmas and is gearing up for an amazing start to 2017. I have been keeping busy over the last few days completing the Festive 500 and man did I do it in style with some truly incredible rides around Sydney. But alas, this is not a cycling blog, nor is it a triathlon post. Instead this week I want to talk about running. In particular I want to do a bit of a review of some of the shoes I have been running in this year as well as talk about a new pair of shoes I have been using for the last few weeks. The reason for this is that I have run faster this year then ever before. This has been surprsing to me because I am actually running much less I have in the past. I attribute a large part of my improvement to the focus on building bike strength. But I also believe that having access to so many different great running shoes from Mizuno means that I am able to use certain types of shoes to meet my specific needs.
Now to give you some examples of my running progress in 2016. My half marathon PB went from 1:23 down to 1:19. I finally cracked 18 minutes for a 5km run and have a PB currently of 17:28. My fastest ever 10km time is 37 minutes (and this was during a half marathon) which was down from 39 minutes. Off the bike I took my 21.1km run split down to 1:25 from 1:30. As you can see, these are all significant improvements. In particular I am so happy with my ability to consistently run under 90 minutes off the bike now and am confident I will be able to get that number down even lower. But apart from talking about how great I am I do want to go into detail about the three different types of shoe that I use the most. I will talk about 3 different types of running: training, racing and speed. Each one is a different shoe and the reasons that I like them are obvioulsy for different reasons.
My go to training shoe (and the shoe that I raced in up until this year) has always been the Mizuno Wave Rider. Late this year Mizuno released the Wave Rider 20. This is the shoe that I spend the majority of my time running in. My first ever pair of Mizuno were a pair of Wave Rider 17's and I loved them so much I have literally gone through 4 pairs of them (I have one more brand new pair sitting in my cupboard.) I never really used the 18 or 19 but when I got the 20s I noticed a number of differences to the 17. The Waverider is a much softer ride than the other shoes that I use, The added padding in the sole allows me to put in some serious kms without the impact playing too much havoc on my legs. Now I dont want you to imagine some of those super thick soles or anything like that. The new cloudwave technology means that your feet feel a much softer impact. At the same time the shoe offers great support and it is actually a surprisingly light shoe. I am a person who does not love super soft shoes to run in. I like to feel what my foot is doing when it makes contact with the ground and I have found that depsite the support that this shoe offers I am still able to understand what is going on with my foot when it makes contact with the ground. The Wave Rider is a neutral shoe so if you have either supination or pronation they are not the best shoe to start in. But if you are able to run in neutral shoes and like to pound the pavement I would say look no further. This is a great shoe to really rack up the km's in.
As I mentioned, I have traditionaly raced in my Wave Riders but this year after signing as a Mizuno ambassador and having access to their full range of shoes I decided to try the Hitogami. Now the Hitogami is a vastly different shoe to the Wave Rider. It has a much thinner sole which really allows you to feel the road as you run. For me, as a triathlete this is super important because off the bike you can feel a bit weird and by knowing exaclty what is going on with my feet (which are sometimes numb) quickly, I am able to find my rythm very quickly. I have done every race this year in a pair of Hitogami and the combination of the amazing feel for the road and the extremely light weight means that I cannot recommend them highly enough. I even find that the light-weight design and materials used mean that even when they get wet (trust me, in triathlon your shoes are always wet) there is no issue with rubbing or blisters. They are also extremely easy to slip on in a hurry when you are coming through transtion.
Would I train in these shoes? I do sometimes do some of my tempo sets in the shoe or any race specific training. But I would be a little nervous about doing the majority of my kms in them. Not because there is anything wrong with the shoe. It is more that they lack the support of a shoe like the Waverider. I have run fast 5kms up to fast half marathons and I would run in this shoe if I am ever stupid enough to sign up for another marathon. Of all the shoes I have run in this year, these are my absolute favourites. If you want an incredible pair of race flats then you need to try on the Hitogami!
Now this is where things get exciting. I was lucky enough to get my hands on a pair of the Mizuno Ekiden 11's. Now this shoe makes the Hitogami (already an incredible light race flat) look like a pair of clogs. It is the lightest pair of shoes I have ever put on my feet and has an incredibly thin yet comfortable sole which really allows you to feel the road under your feet. But what I love most about the Ekiden is the grip the sole has. Unlike the Hitogami, the Ekiden features almost stud like grip which I have really noticed when I have been doing speed work. It really feels like all the power I put into my stride is transfered into speed with no slipping or wasted energy. For such a light shoe I am surprised by how roomy they are too. I even had to go down half a size in them. Now I am not just saying this stuff because I got the shoes for free. But honestly, every run I have done in these shoes has been incredible. I even managed to run my 5km PB last weekend on Christmas day in these shoes (and I have not been running well lately). Now I know it isn't all in the shoe but this shoe has exceeded my expectations. When would I use this shoe? Definitely in a 5 or 10km race, no questions. I would probably also run a half marathon in them as well. I am racing a half ironman this weekend and I wont be running in them but that is more to do with the surfaces I will be running on more than anything. I will test these shoes out on a long run in the next few weeks and if they are comfortable I will give them a whirl in April at Challenge Melbourne.
If you are a beginner runner or are bigger (not just weight but general size) I would probably say do not race in these shoes. If however you like to run in race flats and are looking for a very fast shoe then I would highly reccommend the Ekiden 11 to you. The Ekiden 11 is exclusively available at Running Science so if you are curious about this shoe go in and have a look. Fletch is an absolute legend and will defintely get you into the right pair of Mizuno's to meet your training or racing needs.
I hope you all have an amazing start to 2017, Stay safe and remember to TRI!