Newton Kismet 2 – 50 Mile Review

Well it has been an interesting month in running shoes. The shoes that I bought at a premium price and thought would be the solution to many of my issues, are not the ones that I will be writing about. Actually they still have under 10 miles on them and are sitting in their box in the closet, with me having no plans of using them for running anytime soon.

No, the shoes that I found have worked the best for me were ones that bought on a whim and wasn’t sure that I would even use them all that much. Instead they have become my go to running shoes and yes, most everything else shoes too.

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They just fit well and are comfortable.

The Newton Kismet 2’s that I bought on closeout from Left Lane Sports for an easy on the wallet price.

They are my 4th pair of Newton’s and without a doubt my favorite pair. I thought when I ordered them that I would use them to tweak my running form, because the front lugs do help me think about how I am running. Continue reading

Why Chi Running?

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Chi Running by Danny Dreyer

This post was one of those that was hard to write, because it forced me to really look at why I have decided to use Chi Running practice to help me run more efficiently.

After all making a commitment to use one program over all the others that are out there is a pretty big deal.

This is the second time that I have decided to use Chi Running, the first time I was not ready to actually give it a realistic chance to succeed and moved on after little more than a month of using it.

Fortunately for me and often unfortunately for my body, the biggest issue that I have, is that I have gotten older over the last five years. I am learning the hard way that my now older body is no longer forgiving of a running form that has multiple issues with its running mechanics.

So in my infinite wisdom, I have decided it is time to fix some as many of those issues with my running mechanics that I can. I going to do this despite recent studies that seem to indicate that runners screwing around with their running form may not have as much success as the programs and their proponents would have us think.

Too Many Options

However, attempting to wade through the myriad of coaches, methods, studies, books, magazines, blogs, websites or programs out there that claim they can improve your running is daunting to say the least.

Once you get beyond all the business models (they are all in the business of selling their version of “proper” running form), marketing hype, vocabulary differences, philosophies, etc., and get down to what all these different businesses are basing their running improvement programs on:

  • improved running posture (run tall, how to hold your arms, running with all parts of the body going in the same direction, etc.)
  • use your core
  • a lean
  • a shorter stride where you land under your hips
  • increased stride rate/cadence
  • increase speed or mileage slowly
  • use a variety of training runs to achieve your goals

The biggest differences seem to be in the process each of these businesses use to take you from your present flawed running form to their “new and improved” running form.

There are many runners and “experts” out there who don’t believe that changing your running form programs work and that the biggest solution to running better was simply to…

“run more”

then you will be a better runner.

Personally, I would love to simply “run more” and my body would probably eventually find its most efficient running form – if I was able to run consistently.

Unfortunately, my problem is that I haven’t been able to run consistently. The most common result of my running more – is to run, get injured, rehab/let things heal and then repeat the cycle, especially over the last five years.

That is the reason I need something that will provide me with more structure and focus on finding that most efficient for me running form versus the hodge-podge mess that I have used and has not worked for me.

Why Chi Running?

From what I have seen all the different methods have their pros/cons and it is up to the consumer (runner/me) to decide which method best meets my present needs and goals.

My reasons for choosing Chi Running are:

  1. Familiarity – I started the program before and have a working knowledge of what is going on.
  2. Philosophy – I like the Eastern philosophy behind Chi Running and while some scoff at the woo factor that it brings to the table, it feels right to me.
  3. Competitiveness – I am finally accepting that I ain’t all that good of a runner, even when I am not injured. At this point in my life, my best running is far behind me, but I still harbor fantasies of racing well – at least in my age group. If I can run consistently, the speed I have left will be there.
  4. Long-Term View – When I was researching which program would be better for me, Danny Dreyer was speaking in an interview I watched and this quote stuck in my head. I may not have captured it perfectly, but this is my interpretation of what he said and it really hit home for me.

    A performance based mindset can’t be sustained indefinitely, sometimes have to let it go and allow things be how they are, which is not always how you think  they are or want them to be.

  5. Journey – As I have gotten older, I have finally begun to realize that sometimes the journey is as important and sometimes more important than reaching the goal itself. What happens along the way often changes who we are and how we do things.

Once I got beyond the marketing hype and into the substance of Chi Running, I found the philosophy and methods best matched the direction I want to go. Running is a part of who I am and is more to me than a physical activity that I do.

I have found that you have to put in the time and effort to improve our running beyond where you are now and it will not happen overnight. There will be failures, head scratching, backsliding, in addition to successes. Any improvements I make in running efficiency will need to be earned and become a part of the runner I am and will be.

A question that Danny Dreyer asked in one of his videos and resonated with me:

What can you learn from your running besides putting your shoes on and going fast?

I think that is the right question for me and one that I want to answer.

The reality is that

I have to believe at age 60 there is a program or system that will help me improve my running mechanics to the point where I can carrying my fat arse down the road, trail or track in the most efficient way possible for many more years.

There are many out there who are making a business out of improving a runner’s form, who are willing to help you achieve their version “perfect” running form – for a price. Chi Running is the form improvement business that appears to be the best fit for me.

However, no program/method/practice will make my running effortless, that it is marketing hype, which is shared by most of the other businesses, I looked at. I chose Chi Running for reasons far beyond the hype and all those great testimonials of how great it is. Although if they didn’t have them you would wonder where they were.

Running is a lot of repetitive work, where you have to get your arse moving and actually do the work to see any improvement or even to simply maintain what you have earned before.

Will I follow Chi Running implicitly without question or change – nope.

I am me and that means that I am not the same as anyone else. There will be times along my journey to that more efficient form that I am searching for, where I will find something else works a bit better for me than what is presented in Chi Running. I will add it to my practice, while incorporating whatever it is into my interpretation of the philosophy or principles of Chi Running.

Through my research I know that Chi Running is not for everyone, but it does seem like a good fit for the kind of runner that I want to be moving forward.

Who knows maybe I will even find some answers to Danny’s question.

What can I learn from my running besides putting my shoes on and going fast?

 

Saucony Guide 9 – 20 Runs Review

A bit of a change in how I decide when to review a pair of running shoes. Since I went away from basing my running on miles and started using time, having a 50 mile review seemed odd. When I thought about it, something that seems a little more accurate for me, is the number of runs that I did in a pair of running shoes.

Twenty runs seems to be a nice round number of times to run in a pair of running shoes. It is typically over 70 miles, but not quite to the 100 mile mark. I feel a little more comfortable reviewing shoes, with this level of experience than I do the lower bar of 50 miles.

Getting back to the review.

Well I have 20 runs in the Saucony Guide 9’s for a total of 12 hours and 30 minutes of running, plus more than a little time walking around in them. So I have a pretty good idea of how they are working for me and I am pretty sure they are broke in fairly well.

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They are dirty, because they have been run in

In my journey into the world EE-width running shoes, I wanted to see if I could expand my options beyond New Balance’s offerings, to another brand that I have always loved – Saucony.

In the past the biggest issue I have had with Saucony shoes has always been the width of the toe box. So it seemed like a great idea to give their EE-width running shoes in my actual size 8.0’s a try. Continue reading

Too Much Going On – Week In Review 4-9-17

Yeah, too damn much going on this week, Dad’s hospital visits, battling some Plantar Faciitis crap and still trying to get a few miles in.

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First and foremost.

Dad is doing okay, he went inpatient to the hospital twice this week, which got everyone a bit stressed out, got a couple of transfusions, stress tested, was told by one doctor that he was just getting old and could go home for the second time (same one who released him too soon the first time), who in turn got told to not to bother ever come back by my sister and after that change treatment improved a lot.

A little excitement, a few chuckles and more than a little worrying about him made for a very long week. However, while he is still weak, he seems to be stable, home and hopefully making progress. Time will tell on this one.

Running Continue reading

Initial Impressions – Saucony Guide 9

Yes, the Guide 10 is out, but as usual I am a day late and a dollar short, so I got the 9’s.

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Why another pair of shoes already Harold, I thought the 860’s were doing great for you?

Ummm the 860’s are fitting my feet perfectly, but they are also a pretty heavy duty motion control shoe and I am pretty certain that the v5’s irritated my left foot PF and running in the v6’s keeps it aggravated, just a bit too firm on the medial post. So although I do love the fit, I don’t believe for running that either of them are the answer and I like to rotate my shoes, so having one pair to run in is not what I prefer.

I have learned that I tend to run a little better with shoes that have some stability features and/or have a wider footprint in the forefoot. While I was very tempted by some of the New Balance and Hoka offerings in EE-width, I decided to go with the Saucony Guide 9’s. Continue reading

Goat Head SoleSpikes Review 2 of 3

Last week I got Sole Spikes from Goat Head Gear and did my initial review here. After a week or so, I like to do an interim post, just to show how things are going.

Since I installed the SoleSpikes last Sunday, I have worn those running shoes 2-3 times a day, walking the dog in some pretty nasty and icy conditions, but hadn’t used them for running until today.

Sole Spikes vs Sheet Metal Screws

During my initial review post, I stated that I was going to keep SoleSpikes in one shoe and put sheet metal screws on the other shoe to compare the two options, last Wednesday I was finally able to do that. TheWife said that she wanted me to do her old running shoes as well.  She was impressed by how I was able to go places that she couldn’t go nearly as easily in her YakTrax.

Here is what I found out while installing them.

Cost $3.99 at local hardware store

 

The SoleSpikes are just a bit shorter than the sheet metal screws and this proved to be important when TheWife put on her shoes. One of the front sheet metal screw had popped through and tried to tickle her toes, while the SoleSpike shoe didn’t. The difference in length is not much, but it is enough to make a big difference.

We now each have a set of shoes with one shoe having SoleSpikes and the other Sheet metal.

Wearing the Test Shoes

We had a bit of an ice storm this week, so it has been a great week to continue testing the SoleSpike versus sheet metal screw setup. Here are some pictures of the testing grounds we have been walking on to see how the SoleSpikes/sheet metal screws do.

There has been a lot of ice/snow mix and then snow on top of the ice. Both the SoleSpike and sheet metal screws have made a positive difference as far as the ability to move around on ice and snow. I do notice that my sheet metal screw leg is more tired after walking – they do tend to slip a little more. The SoleSpikes have a 4 prong tip and the sheet metal screws are have the screwdriver slot down the middle, which I believe helps the SoleSpike bite into the ice a little bit better.
I ran in the spike/screw running shoes for the first time today and they did make a difference in being able to run or not in several places on the Rail Trail in Augusta. After yesterday’s fiasco run down back in shoes without the metal hardware on the bottom, I wanted to to try out my “ice” running shoes.

Be careful

 

Just because you have spikes/screws on the bottom of your shoes, doesn’t mean you can run at normal speeds – you can’t when you are on ice. This is especially true when you get into “hard” or “glare” ice you have to slow down and pay attention to what you are doing. The spikes or screws can not penetrate very far into the hard ice and you will slip if you are going too fast for the conditions.  I almost went on my butt a couple of times when that happened. I slowed down pretty quickly.
However, they did not interfere with my gait at all, even when running on bricks or tar (they were a lot noisier that’s all).
The sheet metal screws are already starting to shoe some signs of wear compared to the SoleSpike. It will be interesting to see how the wear patterns emerge at the end of the month, when I will do my final report on the SoleSpike versus sheet metal screws.

Some observations

 

that I have had while wearing the shoes:
  • Be careful of the shoes that you choose to put either SoleSpikes or Sheet Metal screws in to ensure that they do not come up through the bottom in an area where there is less sole.
  • Ensure if you are going to use your these shoes for running, after you add the SoleSpikes or sheet metal screws, that they don’t bother you when you retired them or that they are not completely worn out. Otherwise those problems that those shoes were creating for you while running in them will come back and may even be magnified, because you have the metal hardware in them and the conditions you are using them in are probably pretty nasty.
  • If you take the SoleSpikes or screws in and out of your shoes a few times, they will not stay as well.
  • Don’t walk on hardwood/laminate floors they scratch them pretty easily.
  • Remember to take off your metal equipped shoes before going into a store, they are noisy and slippery on tile.

The reality is that

so far both the SoleSpikes and sheet metal screws work well in the conditions that I have tested them. The SoleSpike right now has a definite inside track to be a better choice and performer overall, but I will have a better idea of how much better at the end of the month.
I know that these the SoleSpikes/Screws in my shoes has given me confidence go places that I never would have gone otherwise on our walks – we would have just turned around. So far I am very impressed and am glad that I have them.
FTC Disclaimer – I was provided this product free of charge to review it on my blog and received no other forms of compensation to do this review. My opinions regarding this product will be my honest observations, based upon my experience while I am using this product.

 

Goat Head Sole Spikes Review

Last week I was on Twitter “bragging” or was that complaining about having just run in snow/ice and how slippery it was. Matthew from Goat Head Gear asked me if I was interested in reviewing a set of their SoleSpikes on my blog.

Since doing product reviews is one of the things that I really enjoy doing, I said sure, as long as he didn’t mind an honest review of his product.  The product was sent with the understanding my review would be my honest opinions of how their product worked for me.

When I got home from the The 33rd Annual January Thaw 4.5 Mile Road Race yesterday, there was a package on the table for me. The package was from Goat Head Gear and inside was this:

It was a package of the Goat Head Sole Spikes and driver to install the spikes on my shoes, this kit costs:

After I got them and looked the SoleSpikes over, I got very interested, because during the race yesterday, a couple of the guys had sheet metal screws in the bottom of their shoes and hadn’t had the problems slipping and sliding around, like I and many of the other runners did.  Here is a picture of the road conditions yesterday.

The first thing TheWife said when she saw them was “you aren’t walking around the house with those things in your shoes”, I didn’t argue a bit, these spikes would really screw up (okay lame) the laminate floors we have.

Close-up view of the Solespike // from Goat Head Media gallery

This morning before our walk, I decided to put the Sole Spikes in my old Saucony Pro Grid Propel Plus shoes.

Instead of using my cordless drill, which would have made the job really quick and easy, I used the provided driver.  It only took about 10 minutes to do it by hand.

Pretty quick and easy. With a drill it might take 2-3 minutes.  While I was doing that TheWife brought her shoes over and said “if there are any left over put them in my shoes”.

She had been watching and looking at what I was doing pretty closely and got pretty interested. There were not enough left over for her shoes and I have some plans for hers and these shoes too, which I will talk about later.

Nope didn’t walk on the floor – I know better than to do something stupid like that, especially with TheWife watching me like a hawk ;-).

Initially walking around outside with the SoleSpikes in the bottom of my shoes felt weird, but once I got on the driveway, I immediately noticed that I was walking on it instead of slipping and sliding around – so far so good.

TheWife put on her YakTrax and we decided to go down back and really check them out and see how they worked, here is the testing area:

This is the road down back – lots of ice.

As people have driven on it, the road has several sections of ice and snowy ice. When it gets this way, we often choose to walk someplace else, not a good place to fall and hurt yourself in when it is -2 with the wind chill.

In this picture I had just tried to spin around, it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.

This picture is where I tried to see how quickly I could scuff up the ice, while keeping my other foot still.

Here I was dragging my foot backwards a few times about 4 feet to see if any of the spikes came out – they didn’t.

I was very impressed with how the SoleSpikes worked!

The only problem I had with them was on the clear/hard ice sections, they slid around a little then (crampons would work good on that ice), but as long as I stayed in the white ice/snow ice, I had no trouble or issues with slipping or sliding around. I did like – when I walked on the tar, it didn’t feel unnatural and I was able to walk normally, although a little louder than usual – the SoleSpikes didn’t change my gait.

Goat Head Sole Spikes worked as advertised.

This quick test also answered a bunch of questions that I had about putting the SoleSpikes into my shoes:

Would I feel the spikes through the sole? – Not a bit with these shoes. However, they might bother on a thinner soled shoe, so that is something to consider when you are putting SoleSpikes into the sole of your shoe.

How would they do on tar? No issues, but I would think that they would wear a lot more quickly with wearing them on tar/concrete.

Can I take them out? Yes without a problem, but it does compromise the sole of your shoe (puts a hole in it) so probably will affect how long you could use those shoes.  I chose an old pair of road shoes, so that I would have a good platform for the screws, but almost any shoe would work if you are careful with spike placement.

The biggest question I have and my wife asked while we were walking, was why pay for the Solespikes when you can just go down to the hardware store and buy sheet metal screws for a lot less?  According to the Goat Head Gear site the reason is:

Sole Spikes made from cold-forged, heat-hardened, corrosion resistant stainless steel for maximum durability

This is the other part of the test. Tomorrow I plan to go down to the hardware store and get some sheet metal screws. Then take the Solespikes out of one of my shoes and put them in one of the wife’s shoes and then put the sheet metal screws in the other shoes. This way we will have an unscientific way of comparing how Sole Spikes wear versus sheet metal screws after a few weeks of wearing them outside.

Looking outside with all the snow, ice and the nastiest weather of winter still to come, I know that these shoes will get a lot of use and time to see how this simple test works out.

So far I have been very impressed with how well the SoleSpikes worked. I would not have dared to go walk down that road this morning in running shoes without having something else on them. I will be interested to see how the wear test goes.

I do know that if I had these before my race yesterday that my time would have been a few minutes faster, than it was.

This is an initial product review post, where I give my first impressions of a product and then within a month, I plan to do a follow-up review of the same product to tell my thoughts about it after actually using it for while.

FTC Disclaimer – I was provided this product free of charge to review it on my blog and received no other forms of compensation to do this review. My opinions about this product will be my honest observations, based upon my experience while I am using this product.

Saucony Peregrines – After 200 Miles Review

Over the course of the past three months, I have steadily increased my running, both the distance and the speed. Part of this story is the shoes that I have worn – Saucony Peregrines.

I did a lot of research last fall, both on the Internet and in my running logs to figure out what type of shoes that would best fit my personal running style, as well as what I ran in when I wasn’t injured.

What it finally came down to for me at least, was that I didn’t get injured as often in low heel height, light weight shoes that help promote forefoot striking.

I may be all wet, but I strongly believe that when a runner is mismatched to a shoe style that is at least part of the reason that running injuries happen.

There were several shoes that fit that description, but I also run in Maine during the winter, run a few trail runs, as well as running on the roads and dirt roads. I have used trail shoes in the past for winter running with very good success, so I was looking for a lightweight trail shoe with somewhere between a zero and 8mm drop.

After looking at and trying on different styles and other trail shoes, I settled on the Saucony Peregrines. They felt the best in the store (they didn’t let me run outside in them) and I have had good luck with Saucony’s in the past, so I bought them.

How have they done?

They are a great shoe! They have done everything that I have asked of them and below is a quick video review of my Saucony Peregrines:

Sometimes a video and pictures give a better idea of how these shoes look after the 200 miles than me writing and rambling on and on about them.

For a pair of running shoes with over 200 miles on them the Peregrines have held up extremely well. I am not easy on shoes, the soles tend to wear out rather quickly and the uppers tend to get ratty as well. In all of my other Saucony running shoes, my left foot wears the fabric/cushioning inside of the heel down to the cup and makes it so I can’t wear them for running anymore (blisters). This has not happened with the Peregrines, which means I can keep running in them :-).

From what I can see now (unless they have an auto-destruct sequence built-in at a set amount of miles), my Peregrines should be able to go another 200-300 miles, before they are retired to less strenuous duty.

Now is the time to start researching, to figure out what my next pair of running shoes will be.  Especially since they have to be put in the budget and planned for. After all I am starting to put more miles on my shoes and should have another pair to rotate in when these have 300 miles on them.

I do know that I will start with the Saucony Peregrines at the top of the new running shoe list. For me to choose something different, I will have to have my socks blown off.  There are the newer zero drop or 4MM drop shoes that have piqued my interest from Altra, Skora, New Balance and Brooks. Even the Vibram Five Fingers are a possibility.

However, if I had to choose one pair of shoes today, a new pair Saucony Peregrines would be back for round 2. They have done everything I want from a running shoe on roads, trails, dirt roads, snow and slush. Plus they are a nice looking shoe.

FTC Disclaimer:  I have not received any sort of compensation for doing this review. These running shoes were a pair that I purchased and have personally used.  The views posted in this blog are my thoughts on a product that I have used and liked.