I was unceremoniously kicked to the curb this morning by coach Gary. Says his work is done now that he has lead me to sources of great wisdom at my local library. Enter coach John to fill the vacuum.
John has experience with both kinds of shoes; Piranhas and the MT100. I had blogged that I was considering starting over as a beginner and building up my mileage slowly sticking with the Piranha now that the 100's are not a viable option. While I have a pair of heavier shoes (people call them trainers--whatever that means), I don't find a lot of joy in running with them and, perhaps as important, I am concerned that they will just reinforce poor technique and delay the day that I can run properly in a light weight shoe. John was quick to advice that I not abandon the shoe with the big clunky heal so quickly and that I continue to use them on long runs. He suggested I attempt to emulate a mid to forefoot strike with these and still make progress with what I'm trying to achieve.
John's input was brief and to the point; what you would expect from a great coach. A couple of sentences in a comment on a blog entry. I knew instantly that I had to follow the master's instruction. I am not wise and learned enought to understand why of course. But I just knew that following this simple direction would lead to someplace better with my running.
This morning I ran three with the Piranhas. Then after work today I ran five in my trainers. It was a fantastic five miles with a key discovery. What I found was that I could indeed run with a mid to forefoot strike with these shoes. The effect of the heal became not to get in the way, but to act as a spotter for my tired feet and calves. If I needed to, I could collapse into the heel for support. But like a spotter, it's just there when and if I need it. Having the trusty spotter there, I was free to let my feet reach down into the pavement and kick up behind me. After the five miles was over, my feet and legs felt great. Like they had been worked but not strained.
So thanks Coach John for the wise counsel. I'm going to do more of this and alternate between the Piranhas and the trainers. And I might just learn that the 100's are back in the mix before long, as I'm now wondering if it wasn't the shoe, but the ham footed runner using them.
Oh, and to Coach Gary. Don't give up on me; I'll get to that reading assignment. I promise.