My Second Park Run: New Shoes Make A Difference!

Last week, I wrote about my first parkrun experience. I titled that blog entry "A Humbling Triumph". The triumph was in completing my first parkrun, the humbling came from realising just how slow I run.

Still, I had three goals, which were:

(1) Finish the run,

(2) Don't be last, and

(3) Don't take more than twice as much time as the person who came in first

Coming in 81st (of 86) with a run time of 34' 44", I managed to meet all those goals. As I said, it was a triumph.

To reward myself for this success, I went to the local running shop and bought myself a new pair of shoes to run in. I could have done this months ago, when I started the Couch-to-5K programme, but I decided not to invest money in any kit until I proved that I would stick with running. Completing my first race seemed sufficient proof. Time to trade in the nearly dead trainers that I have been using for both casual everyday wear and running; time to find something better.

After a fair bit of time in the shop, I ended up purchasing a pair of Brooks PureProject shoes. For those who are not familiar (as I wasn't until a week ago), these are not your typical running shoe. They are tighter than normal and rather lightweight, in an attempt to recreate the advantages of barefoot running. I was skeptical, and nearly went for a similarly priced conventional running shoe... but I decided to take a risk.

This week, as I was advised, I scaled my running back. Apparently, the new style of shoe requires some time to get used to. For my first run of the week, I used the podcast for w5r3, running only twenty minutes instead of my normal 5K. For the second run of the week, I used the w8 podcast, ramping up to twenty-eight minutes. And today, my third run since moving on to the new shoes, I ran a 5K once again.

How did I do? I mentioned earlier that last week's parkrun time was 34' 44". This works out to about 8.6 km/hour. That is very consistent with earlier runs that I have timed myself over a period of several weeks -- I always came in between 8.6 and 8.7 km/hour.

In contrast, today's 5km time was 30' 59" -- I shaved nearly four minutes off my time! Holy macaroni! With the new shoes, I ended up running 9.7 km/hour! That's 12% faster than last week, thanks to these new shoes -- amazing! I'm not quite at my goal of 10 km/hour (i.e., 5km in 30 minutes)... but I am one heck of a lot closer!

Very excited by this! (Can you tell?) If I can use the 5K+ podcasts to squeeze out just a little more speed -- only another 3% or so -- I will have met my goal of running 5K in 30 minutes! Awesome!!

12 Replies

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  • That's amazing, well done! Do the new shoes have go faster stripes on them?

  • Ha! Apparently, they must! :-D

  • wow! My jaw just dropped! Really? I'm in awe (and perhaps a little glad I wasn't able to join you with my manky old trainers today!) I have been toying with making the leap and buying proper shoes, but the expense put me off. That is astounding progress, well done!

    Incidentally did you go to the place in Headington? How was it? I'm expecting to find running shops very intimidating, which is perhaps another reason I haven't ventured in there yet! I am starting to get niggles that I can't ignore and feel new shoes may be key to sorting this..

  • Also I was glad to be able to help you achieve last week's goal 2! :)

  • Just barely! You were, what, three seconds behind me? Pure luck, as you and I kept going back and forth the whole time last week. ;-D

  • I know! My jaw dropped as well when the text with my time came through. I knew I had gone a little faster than last week... I had no idea how much! I've been smiling ever since. :-D

    I did indeed go to "Up & Running" in Headington to get my shoes. I had a really positive experience there with Stuart, one of the salespeople. No pressure, and he really knew his stuff. I also felt rather intimidated going in, being a brand new (and highly UNaccomplished) runner. But he was welcoming and friendly, and I really didn't feel talked down to.

    Based on my own experience there last week, and in today's run time, I would definitely recommend you try out some proper shoes. If you like, I can join you if you decide to go to Up & Running. I live across the street, literally a 90 second walk away. Just let me know! Hopefully we'll both be zipping across the ParkRun finish line in under 30 minutes sometime soon!

  • Hi, I got some shoes today! Very exciting stuff. Went to Sweatshop in Milton Keynes as I'd heard how great their service is and how good they are with returns (just in case). So have come back a fair bit poorer, but excited to take the new shoes (I have Brooks too) out for a spin tomorrow!

  • Oh, excellent! Have you gone for a run in them yet? How are they?

    Did you also go for the PureProject line that Brooks makes? That's the one that is supposed to replicate the advantages of barefoot running. It's an odd-feeling shoe... but it seems to work well for me!

    I won't be at the Oxford ParkRun this coming Saturday, as I have a prior commitment that morning. However, I will be back next week (Dec 1st). Maybe see you there and we can race along in our new shoes?

  • Hi, I have just come back from my first run in the new shoes and they seem pretty good! I don't know my distance as mapmyrun is playing silly beggars (really irritating!) and didn't map it properly, but I think I was going slightly faster, though possibly this is all in the mind! It definitely seemed comfortable, I look forward to breaking them in properly.

    I didn't get the same ones as you, I was quite conventional and got Adrenaline GTS 12 - no doesn't mean much to me either!

    Hopefully see you on 1st, am planning to be there then!

  • Wow ! Very impressive, well done !

  • Well done - that is fantastic! I enjoyed reading your last blog - I am looking at going for a park run once i've graduated and am feeling quite nervous about it - your blog has made me feel better about it. Those new shoes sound amazing. Worth waiting for.

  • Woah, that's a fantastic slice off your original time. Really impressed!

    I think I'm going to have to get down to a proper running shop and get analyzed. I picked up a pair of cheapo Nike runners when I started C25K which cost me ยฃ30 and even though they've been ok, I want to want to wear a trainer that's right for me. Maybe as an xmas present to myself :)

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