OKC Memorial Marathon: These shoes were made for runnin'
Preparing to run a half marathon or any distance race, you need good tread on your tires.
I’ve been running in Brooks Glycerin for more than a year and had my current pair since sometime last fall, and while they’re still in pretty good shape, they’re starting to show some wear on the bottom. I figured before I got too far along in my training for the half at the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, before I got too close to the race to properly break in new shoes and before my Brooks got too long in the tooth, I’d better get some new running shoes.
My friends at Red Coyote were happy to help.
- Related to this story
- Video: Jenni Carlson training for the marathon (2015-02-13)
I went into the running store in the Classen Curve area about a week ago. Red Coyote has become a sponsor of my blogs about training for the Memorial Marathon, and Burke and John Beck, the owners, wanted me to come in and use their gait analysis to see what I needed.
I was totally on board — especially since I’m a Red Coyote regular.
I’d done the gait analysis twice before, once when I first started running about seven years ago and once after I’d had my daughter. I figured enough changed with pregnancy that I wanted to see if my gait had changed either.
The gait analysis is painless and revealing.
Jeff Beck, Red Coyote’s general manager, put me through the paces. I took off my shoes, rolled up my pants and stepped onto a treadmill. Then, Jeff told me to start the treadmill and set it at a comfortable jogging pace.
Normally, folks doing a gait analysis run for about 30 seconds.
But I was joined by one of NewsOK’s videographers, Tim Money. He was rolling his camera as I ran, and apparently, 30 seconds isn’t quite enough when you’re on camera. I ran nearly two-tenths of a mile, then after a short break, I ran another quarter of a mile.
Heretofore, Mr. Money will be referred to as Tyrant Tim.
Seriously, I’m glad I wore white or I might’ve sweat through my shirt!
Once Tim finally had the footage that he needed, I stepped off the treadmill and back to a computer screen. This is where the gait analysis is done. As you run, a camera that is set up behind the treadmill is trained directly on your ankles and feet.
Admission: my calves and ankles aren’t all that great looking.
Bummer: I’d just gotten a pedicure, but you couldn’t even see that!
But Red Coyote has technology that allowed Jeff to slow down the footage of my gait and look at it frame by frame. Where does my foot make impact with the ground? How quickly does the rest of the foot impact the ground? What position is my ankle in at impact? Does my ankle roll in or out? How do my toes come off the ground? How does the right foot compare to the left?
My gait is unique to me, of course, but it has elements that are similar to lots of folks. I’m a heal striker; that’s what hits first. My ankle stays very stationary throughout my entire step. And my toes come off the ground very uniformly.
What does all of that mean?
To me, it’s all interesting. I’m definitely more mindful of my steps as I run since I got that analysis. But to Jeff, my gait analysis gave him an idea of which shoes might be best for me.
After checking my shoe size — I’m an 8, but for running shoes, often you size up to make sure your toes have enough room — Jeff brought out three options.
First was a pair of New Balance. They were lightweight and comfy, but when I went and ran a few steps on Red Coyote’s stretch of two-lane indoor track — yes, Red Coyote has some track IN THE STORE! — there was a ridge near my big toe that rubbed me a bit.
(Something to remember, just because a shoe doesn’t work for you doesn’t mean it’s a bad shoe. The same shoe might be perfect for everyone else, but if it doesn’t work for you, keep looking.)
Next, I tried on a pair of Newtons. I’d honestly never heard of Newtons, but Jeff told me that their shoes are either loved or hated by runners. They either work or they don’t. There’s not much middle ground.
The pair of Newton Fates that Jeff put me in had some interesting technology. On the bottom of the shoe, all along the ball of the foot is a ridge of tread that extends below the rest of the tread. Jeff told me that the ridge has space behind it and the ridge essentially compresses into the sole of the shoe as you run. But when it does, it then acts like a trampoline for your foot as you push off for your next step.
Sounded way too fancy for me, but as I put them on, I knew I had to at least run a few steps in them. They were super light and super comfortable on my foot.
Walking over to the indoor track lanes was interesting. The ridge on the bottom was very noticeable. My toes were elevated off the ground, which felt extremely odd.
But once I started running, the weirdness disappeared. The impact of my steps collapsed that ridge just like Jeff said it would.
The Newtons felt really good.
But Jeff had one more shoe for me to try, and he saved it for last for a reason. It was a pair of Brooks Glycerin. Exactly what I’ve been running in for more than a year. Likely to make me feel like my feet were home.
I tried them on, and yes, they felt great. They ran great. They felt extremely familiar, and that was a good thing.
But when Jeff put me in one Newton and one Brooks and had me run a bit, I realized that the Newtons were the ones I wanted to go with.
Yeah, new running shoes!
But here’s a cool deal that Jeff told me about — because of the technology in the Newtons, the shoe company will take back the shoes no questions asked after a month if you don’t like them. Jeff told me that I needed to ease into using them. Use them for two short runs and for cross training the first two weeks, then three short runs and cross training the third week and then for everything the fourth week. Then, he told me to bring them back to the store if I didn’t like them.
I’ve now worn the Newtons for a week of training, doing two short runs in them. Jeff said that I might notice some soreness in the lower half of my legs as I adjust to the new shoes, and I have had some. But nothing terrible. Nothing to make me think I can’t give these shoes a few weeks to see if they work out.
So, thanks to all the good folks at Red Coyote for putting me in a new set of wheels for my first half marathon. Hopefully, they’ll be carrying me across the finish line on April 26.
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Red Coyote has a training program for the marathon and half marathon. Contact the store at 405.840.0033 or go to redcoyoterunning.com for information about how you might get involved.
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