Pushing My Pace on Today’s Long Run – 3/22/13

Man am I tired! It has been a looonnnggg week, between racing Sunday, a great Interval Workout on Monday, going up to see Dad, the snow storm, my fantastic 5K time trial Wednesday, with everything going on, it made me wonder how I would do on my 13+ mile long run today.

It was a colder run than I expected, but I dressed as well as possible for the conditions and got to try out some new gear, which did okay, but not exactly what I wanted for one thing. The wind was just enough to be a pain, but not really anything that I worried about. One thing that surprised me was that I was able to run without my gloves after 5.0 miles and they didn’t feel cold for the rest of the run. Usually my hands get cold really easy and stay that way, so that was something that was different.

Surprisingly, I had another great run for this time of year! I was scheduled for 8.0 miles of my long run at an 8:18 pace. While this is not a race pace, it is still a challenging pace for me to maintain. So how did I do:

I was shocked that I was doing as well as I did through 8.0 miles, only one mile split that was over 8:18 during those miles, so I went ahead kept going to see how long I could keep the pace going (I know, but I had to do it). I was able to keep it going through 10.0 miles. However, I started to just run out of mojo going through Mt. Vernon Ave in Augusta (which is always a tough area for me to run) and never got it back, when I got on the rail trail.

I attribute part of this to not having any fuel at 9.0 miles, like I usually do. Now that I know that, I can plan to re-fuel appropriately during my long runs. However, it has also been a busy week and my body is pretty tired, so that had a little to do with it also.

The Superiors did a good job on the run, but my right Achilles started to bother a little between miles 7.0 and 8.0 miles and my right foot started to hurt a little after the 10.0 mile mark, both of which slowed me down a little. I need to use a different style of sock than I used today, but the calf sleeves worked great.

You know something though, I was pretty damn happy with this run! To run a 1:47:23 on training run, an 8:11 pace for 13.11 miles in March is well WOW!!! To say I am way ahead of where I was last year at this time is a complete understatement.

RunLog 3/23/12

Looking at where I am this year compared to last year, really makes me realize the difference that a year of consistent training makes. Doing 10.0 miles at almost a 10:00 minute pace was hard for me last year and this year I am running 1:41 per mile faster pace for 13.11 miles and while I was tired, I wasn’t totally beat after the run.


Looking at Minimalist Running Part 1 – Definitions


Pick up a running magazine, look on a book store shelf, running shoe store, go to a running blog or website and so many people are talking, writing and vlogging about minimalist or barefoot running.

The worst part from my perspective is that most of them are using different running or running shoe styles terminology interchangeably, dependent upon the manufacturer or writer and that it confuses the hell out of most of us.

So what are barefoot, minimalist, transitional, traditional, or motion control shoes?

There is so much information, misinformation, contradictory information, stupid information and yes believe it or not – even some good information out there about all these different styles. Now I don’t claim to be an expert, just an ordinary runner and consumer, who has played around these concepts for a while and tried a wide variety of running shoes over the years that I have been a runner.

My comments are unscientific and based mainly on my own experiences moving back to more minimalist running footwear, from the heavy motion control running shoes that I was told that I needed to be wearing for many years.

So in my opinion what is bottom-line about all the hoopla surrounding minimalist/barefoot running movement all about?

  • Form – it supposedly assists ordinary runners to run more naturally, which is supposed to reduce running related injuries.
  • Money – shoe companies want to make money selling runners their shoes and have healthy profit margins for their stockholders and/or investors. This is not something new, different or even a bad thing, but it is how things work and sometimes we forget that shoe makers and retailers, need to market and sell products that more consumers will buy and have that as their first priority, not always what is best for the individual runner.
  • Dogma – This one always gets me to chuckling – when one side or the other become extremist and then choose to interpret anything and everything through the lens of how great their “way” of running is and heaven forbid someone disagree or dare to challenge what they “know” to be the only way.
  • What Works – This is the hardest thing for most of us to find. What works for us, not the shoe company, not the running store, not the guy or gal down the road, but you and I. It usually takes a lot of time, money and experimenting with many different shoe styles to find what works “best” for our individual needs.

We are all somewhere on the running shoe continuum of barefoot, minimalist, traditional or motion control running shoe styles. Where we are on this continuum depends on our own preferences and what is working or not working for us.

A while back I wrote about Is Barefoot Running Right for Me? and came up with the basis for the following definitions that I use when I talk about barefoot or minimalist running – no they are not the same as everyone else’s, but they make sense to me and that is what matters for my purposes.

  • Barefoot – nothing between your foot and the ground.
  • Minimalist – From extremely thin sandals to 4MM drop, stack height 15MM or less and lightweight – under 8 ounces running shoes.
  • Light-Weight Trainers (what many call Transitional) – From 5MM to 9MM drop, stack height 16 to 25MM and that weigh under 11 ounces.
  • Traditional Trainers – 10MM or more drop, stack height greater than 25MM that weigh over 10 ounces
  • Motion Control – 12MM or more drop that weigh over 12 ounces and have specific devices or design features to control pronation or supination.

You don’t have to agree with my definitions and probably have your own, but these work for me and give me an idea of where a shoe is on my continuum. Also I completely agree that there is a lot of blurring of the lines by many running shoes that do not easily fit into the narrow niches I have conveniently made.

A good example of this would be the Mizuno Ronin 4 (which were a personal purchase and love). It is listed in the Running Warehouse as a 10MM drop,  25MM Stack Height, 7.2 ounce running shoe.

It has been described as a racing shoe, performance shoe or lightweight trainer, dependent on who is doing the talking or what site you are reading.

The Ronin 4 cuts across three of my categories, but for how I run and see things, I would call it a traditional (light-weight) trainer that could be used as a racing shoe.

I realize that my definitions are not perfect, but when I put those all the factors together, it is a good reference point for me to think about where a shoe is on the continuum and whether it is what I am looking for in a particular shoe, when I am shoe shopping (which seems to be all the time).

My definitions cut through the marketing, hype and put shoes where I believe they fit for me.

Maybe these definitions will help you cut through some of the hype and help you find the style of running shoe that you are looking for and what you believe will work for you or individual running style.

That is the end of part 1 of this series on Looking at Minimalist Running – Definitions.

Next week, I will explore how moving to how these different styles of running and running shoes work or do not work for me.