Sometimes you just need a little more time and to make some adjustments in a shoe for them to show you how they will really feel for running. Since Friday’s run in the Altra Torin 3.5, I was really wondering if they were going to be running shoes or a decent pair of walking shoes?
While I liked some of the things about the Torin 3.5 on the first run, wearing them around the past couple of days really didn’t make me all that gung ho about wearing them.
So I went about making a few minor changes to the shoes:
- Re-lacing the laces to change a few things and going to the last eyelet, which really helped to lock down the heel without having to tighten up the upper yellow lock downs quite so much.
- Getting rid of the heel inserts and going with the zero drop only
- Remembering that running in zero drop requires a slightly different running form than my regular stride
- I also read a bunch of old initial reviews on some of the old Altras that I have run in before and realized that even in my first runs in some of them that I had many of the same questions about the shoes, until I got used to running in them. That slightly different stride thing again.
Enough of the background stuff!
What happened on my second run in the Altra Torin 3.5 today?
I drove into to Waterville to run a different course from the Hannaford on JFK. Which meant that I also used my GPS watch to get a decent guestimate on the mileage. Yes, I updated the watch and when I used it yesterday on a course where I am pretty sure of the mileage markers it was very close to what I would expect.
While the new for me course in Waterville has a few bumps on it, it is a pretty flat and fast course where I can relax and just run, versus knowing that I have to fight the hills too. The weather was just about perfect for a nice run being sunny and in the low 60’s when I started, although there was a bit of a breeze in a few sections.
Starting out I really wasn’t sure about what kind of run this was going to be, I had planned on an easy run, since I had run a bit harder yesterday. So I went out comfortably focusing on getting used to the Torin’s zero drop.
Did I ever tell you that I run differently when I use zero drop shoes? Well today really showed me how much differently. I won’t say that I don’t heel strike, because I am very sure that I still do most of the time, but I do feel more efficient when I am running with a lower heel height.
Also the minor changes that I made to the lacing seemed to make a big difference in how my foot felt it was being held. There wasn’t any of that loosely-goosey feeing that I had on Friday. Although I have a feeling that I would go with a true to size 8.0, if I get another pair of Torin 3.5.
I went around the new bridge and came out on Silver Street, although for some reason or other there was a lot of traffic and crossing the road was a bit of an adventure. Once I got on the other side everything was pretty easy from then on.
Oh yeah, when I got to the first mile spit before the light, I was rather shocked! Coming in at around a 8:30 pace, without trying made me go mmmm. I didn’t attempt to speed up and just kept running comfortably and kept churning out at about the same pace until I got over on the bumps along Martin Stream.
Even there I felt strong, but I was going by effort and naturally slowed down going up the bumps. Once I got back on First Rangeway I wanted to see what the Torin 3.5 would feel like at faster paces, so I picked it up a bit. Especially once I hit the Cool Street connector.
The last mile was in the 7:35 range and that is without getting into racing effort levels. I just maintained a steady harder effort going down the inclines and back to the finish. While I ran faster for me in them, once I got down under 7:30s they felt a little awkward and less smooth than other shoes that I run faster in.
Often the first run in a pair of shoes is not the run you expect and at least I know that it makes me pause and think are these going to be shoes that I actually want to run in or not?
It also makes me stop and think about tweaks or how I have run in similar shoes in past. Which often gives me ideas about how I can improve the fit/feel of most shoes to make them better for me.
In the case of zero drop shoes, since it has been a while since I really ran in them, I needed to go back and re-read some of my older posts, which let me know that it takes a few runs to actually get back into that running style. The ability to let my forefeet splay out and toe-off naturally is a big part of the changed stride I think.
Although Altra doesn’t recommend running 6.0 miles in your first run in zero drop, it really didn’t seem to bother me all that much during the run and my calves still feel good tonight. I guess running in the 6mm drop Beacons has helped a little in that department, so at least I am not coming straight from 10-12mm drop shoes down to zero drop.
I was very happy with how the left Achilles felt during the entire run, but I do want to continue to work on strengthening my lower legs more. In some ways it would be nice to be able to run more in Altra shoes again.
The reality is that
After running in the Altra Torin 3.5 today and having a nice confidence building run, I am planning on using them more as running shoes than walking shoes. They will be a part of my running shoe rotation going forward.
In fact, I liked them enough that I got my winter shoes out a month early and will start using them as my primary walking shoes.
Yeah, the Wildhorse 5s are pretty bright, but for wandering around, without boots most of the winter, I have found the Wildhorse series to be very, very good. Plus people will notice the shoes and realize that there is a person attached to them.
I don’t plan on doing a lot of running in the Wildhorse, but by next April they will be pretty well worn-out I have a sneaking suspicion.