Obligatory New Shoe Post

A couple of posts back I was surprised to find my running shoes were more than a year old. Last week, I hit up Moti on Whiteladies Road to upgrade my Mizuno Wave Inspire 8s to a Wave Inspire 9.

I also bought some new Mizuno running shoes. At City Sports in Cambridge I tried on all kinds of models, but ended up buying the same Mizunos I’ve been practicing in. They’re light, and the cushioning of the sole is a little hard. As always, they take a while to get used to. I like the fact that this brand of shoes doesn’t have any extra bells and whistles. This is just my personal preference, nothing more. Each person has his own likes. Once when I had a chance to talk with a sales rep from Mizuno, he admitted, “Our shoes are kind of plain and don’t stand out. We stand by our quality, but they aren’t that attractive.”

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, Haruki Murakami

I’d have agreed with that assessment up until I bought my new Wave Inspire 9s. They look like this:

20130427 IMG 0878

…which, frankly, stands out. But it was the only colour that Moti had in my size (I could have got the far more reserved white-and-red in a 9½, apparently) so I went for them anyway.

I did 5K down the towpath with them yesterday — having learned my lesson the hard way by hobbling back through Leigh Woods with a blister that time I got new shoes and went for a long run, first time out. So far, though, these shoes are pretty good, garishness notwithstanding, and certainly don’t seem likely to provoke any blisters.

It was quite a revelation to put the new shoes on in the shop and remember what new running shoes are like. They felt light, and cushioned, and I could feel the support — I have a tendency to overpronate, so I need a bit of stability from my shoe. The old shoes were so worn that all of that had disappeared, but shoes die so gradually that I’d not really noticed. The new shoes definitely add a bit of cheery “bounce” to yesterday’s run.

So, I think I’m going to put a reminder in my calendar for six months’ time to buy new shoes. It’s not like running, as a hobby, is exactly pricey. Even buying two pairs of shoes a year works out at less that £15/month, which is pretty good for a hobby (I don’t buy much extra gear; it’s probably £20/month in total tops, including clothing and water bottles and race entry fees.)

Oh — and if you’re into reading as well as running, Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is a good read. Recommended.

Recovery Run

I think it’s quite fortuitous that this is the week I’ve been reading the chapter on avoiding injuries in John Bingham’s No Need for Speed.

One of the things he talks about is how to pay attention to your body; how to listen to those early, gentle aches and pains that mean you should back off for a day or so, instead of pressing on and turning the ache into a pain and then into something more serious.

So, seeing as my thighs have been aching quite a lot since Sunday’s run — not surprising, as it’s the most hill I’ve ever climbed — I left an extra day, and tried to do a pretty minimal run tonight.

And I’m glad I did, because even the slow 4K was quite a slog, and my right hamstring did whinge a bit at me. Nothing serious, but I’m going to take the advice in the book — otherwise there wasn’t much point in me buying it! — and take another couple of days off, and then go out for something on Saturday and see how I feel.

If I feel good, I’ll do the normal weekend around-the-Downs run. If I don’t, I’ll cut it shorter.

Still, really enjoyed the 8K in the woods on Sunday, and it’s good to open up another longer, hilly route that goes through greenery and ends up at a café!