Three shoe trick

Last week my running training didn’t go according to plan, after three solid running days early in the week, my schedule was interrupted by some work and travel commitments. Sunday arrived on the back of three days off running, but on one of those days I at least managed to sneak in a medium intensity gym session. Like runners the world over, more often than not Sunday might be a longer run of 60 – 90 minutes, depending on my training objectives and fitness at the time.

The days off running combined with the strength training session left me feeling pretty perky on Sunday so the thought of a steady longer run just didn’t appeal. My fresh, but not particularly fit legs wanted to run fast and be let off the leash. A big session wasn’t on the menu because I’m not exactly at peak fitness at the moment; so I improvised a workout around three training paces and wearing three different shoe models. This allowed me to work on a few things and also to test out three shoes I’ve been wearing for slightly different purposes and paces.

It was a hot day and the right time and exactly the kind of session where heading to a local shaded and undulating 1,000m loop provided the perfect environment for the training planned. Here’s how it went:

Multi-pace fartlek session

Free 3.0 version 3 were on the feet and I ran two steady laps in about 10 minutes for my warm-up. A quick jog to the car and a shoe change into Saucony Kinvara 3. I then completed a fartlek at repetition pace (mile race intensity) 15, 30, 45, 60, 40, 30, 15 efforts with equal time slow jogs between. Two laps covered (2,000m) while giving these reps a decent nudge and putting some power through the ground. Another jog to the car and shoe change into Adidas Boston 3.

Another fartlek followed, this time at tempo pace: 60 seconds on, 60 second jog, 90 seconds on, 90 seconds jog, 60 seconds on, 60 second jog, 90 seconds jog, 90 seconds on. Two laps were covered trying to focus on rhythm and efficiency rather than raw speed. Another jog to the car for a change back into the Frees.

One lap jog warm-down and head back to the car: the entire session was done and dusted in 45 minutes and about 7.5 kilometers were covered. This type of session isn’t necessarily text-book, but it does offer a basic structure that can be used for runners coming back to fitness, looking to break up training or even for those working on technique. The short efforts, changes in pace and changes in footwear provides a good chance to practice some strong running patterns without completely blowing a gasket.

Suggested modification

What I’ve outlined above isn’t a beginner session, but with some modification it could be used by less experienced runners. Changes I might make for a beginner or a runner returning after a long break include:

5 – 10 minutes warm-up
10, 15, 20, 30, 20, 15, 10 second rep pace efforts – recovery walks of same duration
30, 45, 60, 45, 30 second tempo pace efforts – recovery walks of same duration
5 minutes warm-down

* only one or no shoe change for this session. Remove the longest effort segment if you’re less confident or fit.

How did the shoes perform?

Wearing the Free 3.0 for a warm up and warm down is classic use of these shoes but not something I’ve done much of. Usually I’d wear them for the entirety of a run and even use them for a faster session. So for me I didn’t learn much more about shoes that I already know and like. However, when they went back on for the warm down they did feel particularly good.

The Kinvara as I wrote recently, is for me at least, a go fast shoe. This was the first time I’ve used it as a rep pace option and I really enjoyed it, enough to pencil them is as the go to choice when doing reps on trails. The forefoot cushioning gave me absolute confidence that I wouldn’t encounter any accident stone bruising.

The Bostons I’m still getting to know; this was their second outing after a 60 minute easy run. My initial thinking is they are a good choice for Marathon runners and tempo pace work – they encourage you to get a bit more forward, supporting a rhythmic and rolling stride. I’ll be doing a review on these after I’ve fully broken them in.

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