Back in February, I did a run clinic and learned something about running form that immediately improved my performance. At the clinic, in addition to teaching me POSE running, the instructor also challenged me to change my shoes. I was running in the Nike Structure, which is a perfectly good shoe for the kind of shoe it is. She challenged me to try a zero-drop shoe or a transition shoe towards the zero-drop shoe. I didn’t right away because I had just purchased a few pairs of my Nike shoe. (When I find something I like, I tend to buy a few pairs because shoes change so frequently.) Then a few weeks ago, I went back for a refresher clinic and, again, she challenged me to change my shoes.
This weekend, I finally bought a pair of zero-drop shoes. This is what I bought:
See how there isn’t a huge wedge at the heel? My old shoes had a huge sole, so I could heel strike and the shoe absorbed the pressure. This shoe discourages heel striking and forces me to land more on the ball of my foot.
I tried them out this morning on a 20-minute run. They felt different. I could tell immediately that I was bouncier than I normally feel. When I was done, I checked my watch and saw that I’d been running at a 10:54 pace. Usually, when I just go out easy without thought to pacing, I’m in the 11:20 to 11:40 range, so 10:54 is a little quicker than normal for me at that level of effort. Now it’s possible that I was just rested this morning because I’ve rested much of the last week. (With the exception of one swim, I did nothing last week.) But I think it’s more likely that the shoe forced me to adapt my form, and that change made me faster.
I’m excited to see what happens from here. I’m going to alternate these with my old shoes for a while to give my body time to adapt. Even with this morning’s short run, I can feel my calves more than usual. But pretty soon, I hope to be in these shoes all the time. Running with better form. Running faster.