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.

New Shoe Happiness

New Mizuno Wave Inspire 8

It has been pretty nippy in Bristol recently, though we escaped the blanket of snow that covered the majority of the country last week. It’s 2C outside right now, in the middle of the day, and I was told that there’s more cold weather on the way.

I took advantage of a slight gap in the weather on Sunday to wander out for a quick jog in my new shoes.

I didn’t go very far — after all, the last time I went running in a new model of Mizuno Wave Inspires, they gave me a blister, and I ended up limping home from Leigh Woods. So, learning from my mistake, I did a 5K that didn’t take me too far from home.

As it turned out, the Mizuno Wave Inspire 8s feel far nicer than the 7s did, and I agree with the nice man in Moti that they seem to be a return to the Wave Inspire’s previous good form. So, hopefully that’ll add some extra encouragement to get out and run, even if it is a bit nippy…

New Toy

Garmin Forerunner 305I took a new toy out running with me last night. I’ve been thinking about getting a heart rate monitor for a while now, and when I found out that RunKeeper lets you easily throw Garmin devices’ data at their website, the Garmin Forerunner 305 — currently on offer for around £110 on Amazon UK — seemed like a good choice.

So, it being bonus month, I decided to treat myself. This little GPS watch seems to work fine, though I’d probably be happier with the vibrating alert offered by pricier models than with the quiet beeping from the 305, which means I can’t really run with music if I want to pay attention to its alerts.

But mostly, I bought it for the heart rate monitor, so I’ll probably run with this recording my position and heart rate, but with RunKeeper telling me what to do through my headphones while I’m doing a training session.

The web upload to the RunKeeper site is great, too. Thanks to a browser plugin, there’s no fiddling around with exporting files, or any of that annoyance. You just plug the 305 into its little docking station, go to the RunKeeper site, and choose which track from the watch you want to upload, straight from your web browser. Nice.

So, if you look at my latest track on RunKeeper, you’ll see a third line, for heart rate, has joined the elevation and pace tracks in the graph at the bottom.

Now, of course, I’ve got to do a bit of reading up about heart rate-based training…

If you’re in the UK, enjoy the nice weather and tomorrow’s bank holiday! I’ll catch you later on in the week…

Grump

Bluebells in Leigh Woods

I’ll start off with a nice happy picture, just to show that some of today’s run was quite pleasant. These are a few of the millions of bluebells currently carpeting Leigh Woods, which makes the woods even nicer than usual for jogging.

And it was also a nice sunny day, as you can probably tell. But those are about the only good things. And now I’m grumpy.

I started off running feeling okay-ish. It’d been a while, because of my recent bout of flu, but I mostly seem to be over that; even the residual cough is far less enthusiastic now. But I wasn’t feeling 100%.

I wasn’t helped by RunKeeper (or, perhaps more charitably to RunKeeper, maybe the GPS on my iPhone) having one of its occasional “funny five minutes”. I realised something was going a bit odd when I got the “you’ve run four kilometres” voice prompt really very soon after the 3km voice prompt. Then, thirty seconds or so later, RunKeeper told me I’d got to 5km, and that I was averaging 4 minutes per kilometre. That’s about 15kph, or, to put it another way, significantly faster than I’ve ever run.

So, my RunKeeper log of today’s run is pretty screwed.

Worse was to come. At somewhere around the real 5km mark, I realised my shiny new Mizuno Wave Inspire 7s were giving me a blister. One bit of the right shoe, in the instep, seemed to be rubbing a bit.

I carried on for another half a kilometre or so, then had to start walking. No sense in making things worse, I figured.

So, basically I gave up and limped back across the bridge to Clifton Village, and now I’ve got to see if I can send these shoes back. Annoyingly, this is the first pair of running shoes I bought from the internet, rather than in lovely local shop Moti. D’oh.

So, that’s my joy of running today. Better get out there again soon, and probably in my old, reliable — if slightly worn down — shoes. I don’t want to have running associated too much in my mind with pain and grumpiness. Bah.

Getting Out There

I’m going to try to get out twice on weekdays this week, because it’s been ages since I’ve done that. I seem to have degenerated into a one-midweek, once-at-the-weekend pattern, mostly since the Bristol 10K. I think I need to start building the average miles up a bit again, and get out when I can.

Today’s jog was very much the same as the last, just 5K out along the towpath and back. It wasn’t a brilliant experience. It was muggy and I was tired, and I just got out there, did it and came back, stopping only to play with my new camera a bit.

New camera? Yes! To mark my first stone of weight loss since I took up jogging, I bought myself a better pocketable camera, this time going for the Sony Cybershot DSC-TX1, which is a nifty little thing, and may turn out to be better than my late, lamented Panasonic Lumix FP8. Only time and a few pictures in better light and better weather than we had tonight will tell.

It’s certainly better than the Lumix FP3 that I used as an intermediate replacement. I quickly learned to dislike the FP3, with its annoyingly useless touchscreen and rubbish, noisy image quality. What’s the point of 14 million pixels if six million of them are displaying sensor noise? Grr.

So, I think this is a good purchase, and a nice reward for losing 16lbs so far. Maybe if I lose another stone, I’ll get myself an iPad…

Sore Feet

My feet seem to be a bit achey after running recently. It suddenly occurred to me that, even though it only seems like a few weeks ago that I bought a new pair of shoes, it might actually have been rather longer.

And that’s where a blog comes in handy. I first bought proper running shoes on 29 August last year. They seemed to do me okay until I started getting an achey hip and some other aches and pains in February this year. So, that’d be about five months.

It took me a while to figure out it was the shoes that were the problem, so I didn’t buy a new pair of Mizunos until the beginning of March. Which would have been, erm, about five months ago.

So, I’m thinking that maybe these are early warning signs that I’ve nearly worn out another pair of shoes. Especially as I’ve probably run more in the last five months than I did in the five months before, because I wasn’t doing that much long-distance stuff back then.

Hmm. Five months doesn’t seem long for a pair of shoes to last, but I’ve heard people say they replace their running shoes every six months. And I am heavier than your average runner. It may be time to treat myself again…

The Joy of Shoes

IMG_0666.jpgSo, picked up my new shoes on Friday — Mizuno Wave Inspire 6es — and walked lots in them yesterday to make sure they felt all right, and that nothing was rubbing.

And they were fine, so today I went out into the gorgeous Spring sunshine and did a simple 5‑and-a-bit‑K, just around half the Downs, cutting along Ladies Mile instead of doing my normal longer loop. I didn’t want to go too far, first time out in new shoes.

The new shoes definitely feel different — but they feel different like my old shoes did the first time I put them on, six months ago. I can feel them pushing my feet out a little bit, compensating for my tendency to over-pronate by pushing me a little more onto the outside of my foot.

So, hopefully what’s happened is what I suspected, that over the last six months my running shoes have gradually lost their magic as they’ve had seventeen stone pounded into them with every step, fifteen kilometers a week, and that’s what’s caused me to start aching a bit more recently. I’ll start to see if I’m right this week, if my mid-week run doesn’t make my hip ache so much. Hopefully it’ll feel easier than last week’s effort, too…

This May Be the Beginning of a Week Off

20100228-20100228-IMG_0654 2.jpgAs you know, I’ve been having problems with my hip — well, in fact my hip and the top bit of my left-hand gluteal muscle, or “upper arse”, as I believe it’s technically known. I reckon it may be down to shoes, so yesterday I went shopping.

In Moti, the advice was basically, “well, if you’ve done fine in those shoes for the last six months, probably best just to get this year’s version of the same shoes.” Which seems sensible. Unfortunately, they didn’t have my size in stock, so they’re having them sent along from another branch, and they won’t be around until Friday.

Which I don’t think is terrible news — John Bingham’s advice is to give aches a rest before they become actual pain and debilitation, so I may simply skip my midweek run(s) this week, and go out in my nice news shoes on Saturday, assuming everything goes to plan.

As I’ve noticed that my weekend runs don’t seem to give me anything like as much gyp — probably because they’re over more varied, and sometimes softer, surfaces — I went out today for my normal weekend run, and did 7K, which at least didn’t feel like it was making me ache me any more than I already ache, and certainly felt a lot better than Wednesday’s 5K.

Today’s picture is from the work being done to fit new lock gates at the Cumberland Basin end of the Floating Harbour. This is pretty important, as if the lock gates fail, the whole floating harbour could empty pretty suddenly. With some interesting implications for Bristol, bearing in mind it’s mostly the weight of the water that holds a lot of the harbour walls up…

Hard Work

That was really hard work. All I did was my normal weekday 5K, but I just felt completely energyless. Hmph. And my hip’s aching again.

I’m starting to wonder if I might need to replace my running shoes. I bought them pretty much exactly six months ago, so they must have travelled a fair distance. And of course, they’ve had seventeen stone of Matt pounding into them for all those kilometres…

Also, looking back, I said “my left hip is sore” in my final entry of the C25K — just three days before I bought my trusty Mizunos, and I don’t remember my hip troubling me again much after that until now.

I’m sure it’s not all to do with the shoes. I’m a bit knackered anyway, I’ve not been going to bed early enough. But I think there may be some link. So, on Saturday, I think I might pop along to Moti and buy myself a pair of new running shoes…