My Intentional Training: Step 1- Speed Work Shoes
For the better part of the short time I’ve been running with any seriousness, I haven’t given much thought to many of the various highly detailed training plans out there. In reality, there seem to be about as many different training plans available as there are runners to attempt them. Each month, Runners World offers several different training plans/strategies for a wide range out intended outcomes- increased distances, speed, specific races, core strengthening, gait adjustment, breaking in new shoes…you get the idea.
Over the past few years, I’ve certainly increased my distances, weekly mileage, and average speed, and I’ve been quite pleased with the results. The decrease in my average paces has mostly been the result of pushing myself to run with folks who are always just a bit faster than I am Slowly but surely, I’ve found myself keeping up with the same folks that I watched disappear around the bend just a year ago. These changes to my running ability have given me pause to consider a more intentional approach to my training.
Alas, I thoroughly enjoy ultra-running and trail running, as well as a quick few miles over the lunch hour. Although I don’t currently have many races on my calendar due to my academic and work commitments, I’m still trying to keep my endurance up and increase my weekly mileage as much as I can. Part of this goal, for me, means becoming a bit more intentional and actually building legitimate speed work into my weekly training plan. Now that the weather is finally turning, I can get outside even faster, and any of a number of training plans/strategies have the advantage of being accomplished in a short amount of time. It’s amazing how “speed” work does that, eh?
Before I settle on the adjustment to my training plan, I thought it would be prudent to explore a new pair of shoes for speed work and shorter distance training. Whether you call these shoes racing flats or (near) zero-drop shoes (the categories certainly overlap but are distinct), they are definitely a particular category of shoes, and quite different from the stability, high-mileage Mizuno Exlirs that I regularly train in. For the most part, the particular shoes I’m exploring more closely are lighter weight, have a smaller heel-to-toe drop, but are still designed with mild to heavy pronators (such as myself) in mind.
My own research has narrowed my choices down to three different shoes, but I won’t be pulling the trigger until I can try them on.
If anyone has any experience with these shoes, or has suggestions for shoes I haven’t looked at yet, I’d certainly love to hear them!