June 22, 2011

Runners Brain or Fashion Brain?

Guys, I am having a dilemma. While, my Karhu’s have helped me knee problem, they are extremely heavy and I feel like I need a secondary running shoe. What I want, is to be faster. And to not have knee pain. I have been lusting over the Nike Free’s for a while. They are light weight but I have heard bad things about distance running in them. 
I did a bad thing. I tried them on. They felt fantastic. I talked with the guy at Hibbett’s- where I normally wouldn’t buy running shoes, but I was browsing and he seemed extremely knowledgable. He flat out told me that with my heel strike, these shoes would be my worst nightmare, but he also told me about the Free technology that simulates barefoot running therefore it strengthens the ankle muscle and blah blah blah. He got me thinking though, he said that “natural” runners( those who hit more on the balls of their feet) have the shock of the strike in their muscles and not in their joints and cartilage like a heel striker does. 
I am afraid I am doing THE ONE thing that a runner isn’t supposed to do and am choosing a shoe based on looks. He put a special insert in the shoe and I tried it on with my normal running sock and it felt fantastic. 

I am looking for this shoe as a secondary running shoe, not a primary. Something to start out with 1-2 mile runs to help improve my speed and hopefully my running “style”- is that the right word?

Anyway, so last night I went to run a mile- to help my speed and tried to stay conscious of how my foot was hitting and stayed more on the mid-foot area, and I could feel it working my calves more and different muscles in my feet. I felt much better and didn’t get as tired as I normally would and ended up running almost 3 miles.

I am also still having a breathing problem… I am not sure if I just suck wind and therefore my mouth and throat get dry and so I stop to drink some water, but I am getting side stitches. How can I fix this? I think it might be becoming a mental block too.

So, my questions are.. Am I letting my fashion brain overtake my smart runners brain on a shoe purchase? I have enjoyed the Karhu’s but would rather get back into my Vomero’s and maybe a pair of Free’s for shorter distances. What do you think?? Opinions, people!!

And what can I do to help my breathing techniques?

Leave a comment to Runners Brain or Fashion Brain?

  1. My husband had Frees and LOVED them…totally wore them out. He wears a New Balance Minima now just because he wanted to try something new. Anyway, I think it's a great idea to wear something to work on form. The guy said that the shoe was your worst nightmare because of heel strike but that is definitely something that can be worked on. I want some minimalist shoes (but not the toe shoes – those freak me out) for some cross training, short distance, AND because they look fabulous:-)

  2. This is just the running coach in me. If it's not broken, don't fix it. If your current shoes are not causing issue and you just feel they are too "heavy", I wouldn't make the change. Just me.

    Try chewing gum when you run, this can help regulate breathing.

    Haven't forgotten about your plan, just been swamped!

  3. I just got this exact pair for my birthday (the color is fun but it definitely doesn't match with everything!!) and I'm loving them. I should have got the Saconys that I was fitted for but I was vain and caved on the frees. So far it hasn't hurt!

  4. I may have to agree with TMB above…if it's not broken, don't fix it. I switched from my regular dependable shoes to a different brand at the beginning of this year, because they looked better on my feet and were less clunky, and because some friends told me they loved them (and because when I tried them on, they felt awesome). All of a sudden three-four weeks later, my knee and hip were killing me and I had to take two months off :(

    It could have been a combo of the new shoes and a little over training as well, but I switched back to my old ones and now feel no pain at all. In retrospect I wish I had never switched shoes, because now I'll always wonder if those injuries could have been avoided completely (and I could have saved myself about $120!)

    If you think about it, shoes could be considered the most important piece of the puzzle for a runner, because it's what supports your entire body as it's going through the crazy force of the road. I would skip the fashion on the shoes, and invest it in a cute running skirt or sweaty band instead ;-)

  5. I have major knee problems (4 surgeries) and was so nervous to switch to a minimalist shoe. I bought the Saucony Kinvera and LOVE THEM! I would never go back to another shoe. I started using them only on the treadmill for shorter runs but now I use them as my only running shoe. It really does strengthen your feet and legs. I say go for it but start slow and switch out the new shoes and the old ones.

  6. I have no idea about breathing because I don't think I do it correctly either. I'd love to hear the advice though!

    Also I haven't had luck running in Nike shoes, which bums me out because all of my clothes are Nike!

  7. I think they are cute but I haven't had any luck with Nike either!

    I agree with the chewing gum thing! It really does work. I also focus on breathing and nothing else!

  8. I switched a few months ago to New Balance Minimus shoes. I was constantly battling shin splints, knee pain, hip pain, etc. They have seriously helped my form. I'm transitioning now into Vibram Five Fingers. I try to run without my ipod too so I can listen to my footfalls because when I heel strike, I can hear it thunk loudly.

    Your calves and possibly arches will be sore. Foam roll, lots! For your arches, treat it like PF, freeze a water bottle and roll it under the arch of your foot. Or use a tennis ball to massage the arch. It will help a ton. Take it slow!

    As for the breathing, I have mild allergy induced asthma so this time of year it's a pain for me to breathe at all, let alone when I'm running. If you have issues with allergies, take a decongestant about 45 minutes before you run. Hydrate a ton because it dries you up. Try a handheld water bottle and sipping water.

  9. I've heard chewing gum helps – however I can't make it work for me. One way to strengthen a breathing pattern is to spend about 10 min a day focused only on breathing and inhale deeply through your nose and exhale completely through your mouth. This pattern is the best way to get the most oxygen and it will help you on your runs as well so your throat and mouth don't become dry. Also really focus on filling your belly with those deep inhales and then empty your belly instead of your lungs. This will help condition your body to inhale and exhale deeper and take deeper breaths.

  10. I would love to run in these shoes because of the cuteness factor, but it's not worth the risk in my own life. I have had great success with Asics Kayano, and I'm not going to change it up now. Have you been fitted at a local running store? I would love some Nike Free shoes to kick around in, but when it comes to serious long distance running I definitely need a supportive shoe.

  11. I don't know much about shoes in general to be quite honest. I go to a running club/store here in Chicago to get fitted, and I just go with whatever they recommend. I usually luck out, because the Brooks Adrenaline shoes come in decent colors:) But it sounds like these won't be your primary shoes, right? I've always heard that you should have two pairs and rotate them, and as long as they feel great and you have another pair, why not?

  12. I love, love, love my NIke's and I run distance. So does my boss and he loves his too. I have a slight knee problem and they have not given me any trouble.

  13. I've been curious to try Nike Frees as well. Buuut with my history of injury, I'm kinda of the camp, if it ain't broke…
    They ARE super cute though! I've thought about getting a pair for track work to check that out. If I don't like running I them, they are super stylish for kicking around town!

  14. I LOVE The Nike Frees. They are so comfy on my feet and they have actually made my feet stronger and I have been able to run longer and faster (plus I feel pretty in them because they're so pretty..haha) Good luck!


Leave a Reply