I have worn Brooks Adrenalines for almost a year. They were my first pair of real running shoes. I have proudly worn Adrenalines, ever since.
On June 18, I picked up my latest shoes: Brooks T7’s
My decision to go to a more minimalist shoe was months in the making.
January – started studying about proper form, mid-foot strike, leg swing. Which lead me to Chi Running. I began practicing, but at the same time I was nursing a groin/hip injury.
Lesson #1 : When hurt – STOP and allow yourself to heal
March - attended Chi Running Workshop and all the information came together. A week later I injured out my hip on a Half Marathon (not because of Chi Running). I know the only reason I stayed upright was my ability to engage my core and keep my legs in balance. During the 4 weeks of PT and Rehab, I put more energy into practicing Chi Running and I began to wean myself off from my shoe inserts.
I returned to racing on April 23. That was the last day I wore my shoe inserts. After reviewing pictures and videos – my form has allowed my body to run naturally, stay injury free since then and PR in 4 out of my 5 races since April.
As I continued to train and run – much to my amazement WITHOUT inserts – I found my stride/form improving and I was feeling the road much more. Thus, being able to make the necessary corrections to prevent injury and make my runs more efficient.
Although I am running injury free, my feet were beginning to feel very heavy after any run over 6 miles. I knew this was also contributing to my long run fatigue.
I decided to TRY to drop down to a more minimalist shoe = racing flat. At the least (I thought) I could run in a lighter shoe during race days.
I went to my favorite shoe store – Foot Solutions in Henderson and we discussed my options. The owners, are also runners – so I know they know what I feel and can speak from their experiences too.
We decided the Brooks T7’s were the best option for my immediate goals.
As I said, I picked up my shoes – and when I tried them on I felt like I wanted to twirl around in the store. At least for that moment, they felt great.
Below is a picture of the heel height between my Brooks Adrenalines and the T7’s – big difference, huh?
I spent several shorter, slower runs with the T7's shoes. I also used those runs as an opportunity to take what I have learned from Chi Running and see if I could continue to adjust my stride.
Good news, I could body sense even better than before. Which means I can make adjustments in my stride.
Better news – I didn’t feel like kicking off my shoes the moment I got home. Which ALWAYS happened in the last year.
To further break in the shoes, I would wear them all the time around the house and even jog up and down my stairs. It was amazing how much I could feel my feet and if I did feel a tightness in my calves, I could adjust, oh so slightly and it the pain would go away.
The Right Shoes + Body Sensing = Winning Combination.
I had another 5K race this past Saturday and from the advise of a few good runner friends who are barefoot runners – they advised me not to wear my T7’s for the race (which was VERY hilly). I wore my Brooks Adrenalines (which I still love those shoes!) and got through the race just fine.
Last night, I ran 7 miles at a medium tempo pace. It was the longest run I have done in the T7’s. I gauge not how I feel the moments after the run – but the next morning.
Note: After every run (regardless of tempo or distance) I ALWAYS ice my knees, shins, hips and ankles. Then, before I go to bed, I self-massage. Even if I am not in any pain.
Surprisingly – I felt great this morning. A little calf stiffness – but I always feel slightly stiff the next morning after a run of 6+ miles.
I am sold on these shoes – but I MUST say this again. It’s been a GRADUAL process to get me to these shoes, as it will be a GRADUAL process to take me down to the next level of Minimalist shoes. I began this process in January – 6 months ago.
If you are considering going more Minimalist – take your time! Learn proper form (I recommend you study and practice Chi Running). The shoes are not the answer if you have not practiced the technique and given yourself the time to make the move at the right time.
I feel like I am continuing to break these shoes in and I am looking forward to my first long run in them, next week. I am 7 weeks from my next half marathon – and I plan to be wearing the T7’s.
Thanks to Brooks for making such great shoes for my running and races, to Chi Running for teaching me how to run naturally and of course, Foot Solutions in Henderson - for fitting me in the RIGHT shoes for me.
(c) C. Ragsdale 2011
Celebrate Your Finish,
Charlene L. Ragsdale - Las Vegas, NV
Certified Sports Nutritionist, Athlete and Public Speaker
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