Racing Flat or Minimalist Shoe-I Do Not Care

Over the course of the past month, I have started running a couple of miles again, about every other day.  This time I am trying to do it smart, instead using my typical “just do it” and get myself re-injured approach.

Back in June when I was going through physical therapy for the knee, I talked with the therapist a lot about using minimalist running shoes instead of the heavy duty motion control shoes that I have used for past few years.

I had almost always ran in light-weight trainers or racing flats in the past, but based on the recommendations of the “pros” at a very good running shoe store in Southern Maine, I switched to a heavier motion control shoe, based on my stride. However, while going through my running logs, I found that when I used lighter shoes in training that encouraged me to run more on my forefoot, I ran more consistently, with less injuries.

However, we decided that it might be best to go with something with a little more support where I had just undergone arthroscopic surgery and I got a medium motion control running shoe.   The shoes were good, but they don’t encourage fore foot striking and I was pounding the roads heel first.  Which was aggravating my knee and some other areas, so I shut it down for a month to let everything heal again, think about what I wanted to do and if I should try running anymore.

Then while we were cleaning up the garage, I found an old pair of Nike Air Flow in my duffel bag, that I had bought when they first came out in 1989. For some reason I kept them for that time when I started road racing again (they only had about 100 miles on them according to my logs).

Well I have never started road racing again, but they are everything that minimalist running shoes are considered today – light, flexible, low heel, etc., so I decided that I should give them a try to see how they did, instead of going out and paying a lot for a pair of minimalist shoes and then finding out that they don’t work any better than the motion control shoes for me.

The Air Flow encourage me to run more on my forefoot and since I have been running in them, my knee doesn’t bother nearly as much as when I run with a heel strike (yes I have tried it out).  It appears that for me to run more, that I need to be using a minimalist shoe that encourages forefoot striking.

Another strange thing is that when I did an Internet search for the Nike Air Flow, I found that Nike re-released them this summer.  I can’t figure out if they are simply releasing them as minimalist shoes, racing flats or retro shoes and to be honest I don’t really care, I am happy running in my old shoes and to just be running again more comfortably than I have in 4 years. However, I might have to look into another pair if these continue to work for me.

The reality is that I am running again using a pair of minimalist running shoes from 1989, only back then we called them racing flats or lightweight trainers.  I don’t plan on running marathons or even more than a few miles a day, but I do want to run and it seems that I do better with what we now call a minimalist shoe, so I will run in my Nike Air Flows until they wear out :-).

Gee if they are re-releasing old running shoes, I wonder if Adidas will ever re-release their blue Marathon Trainers?

Now that is a retro-shoe that I would buy, with the Dillinger Web and the trefoil outsole, I had 4 pairs of them and hated it when I couldn’t find them anymore.  Sometimes I wonder if running shoe companies make things more complicated than they need to be for us runners.

So if anyone hears of a re-release of the Adidas Marathon Trainers let me know (or knows where I could find some), I have a feeling that I would start running in them again.  I just have to remember to take out half of the cardboard bottom to make them more flexible.

All I know it is good to be running again and I have a feeling that I will just keep my shoes very simple, not Asics Tiger simple, but using the marketing term of the day – minimalist.