It’s been an exciting week chez Running Princess. Not only have I continued to see positive results from my training, but on Tuesday I took delivery of new running shoes. And not just any running shoes, the new Adidas Ultra Boost shoes, marketed with the slogan “the greatest running shoe ever”. Since all runners know that you can never have too many pairs of running shoes, and intrigued by this confident declaration of their calibre, I jumped at the chance to buy a pair in the online pre-sale. Having them arrive on a running day was a real bonus!
I already have a pair of Supernova Glide Boost shoes which I really like for 10k-ish runs, but these new shoes seem to be aimed at the distance runner and most of the reviews I read suggested they would be great for marathons and that they would suit both heel strikers and mid/forefoot strikers (i.e. me) alike. Since I am currently rotating a number of different shoes across a couple of different brands, I thought this claim warranted further investigation (by which I mean buying a pair, running in them and seeing what I thought – I’m a sucker for a new pair of running shoes!).
But before I get too carried away and this post becomes entirely devoted to my new shoes, let’s backtrack a bit and have a look at my training plan for the week. Everything that I did in January seems to have had positive results, so on reviewing my programme at the start of the new month there seemed to be no need to make any real changes. And so the pattern continues:
Monday – swim/sauna
Tuesday – 6 miles hilly
Wednesday – conditioning
Thursday – rest (parents’ evening)
Friday – Metafit
Saturday – Parkrun
Sunday – 14 miles
I was a trifle tight for time on Monday thanks to a meeting after work, so my swim was a little shorter than previous weeks, but I probably had less of a break between my lengths. Each week seems to bring with it a little more consistency, but I know I still have work to do before I can feel confident with my stroke. I’m getting there though and the persistence is paying off.
But of course it was on Tuesday that the real excitement began. Steve had told me that the shoes had arrived (he had also ordered a pair and was like a kid at Christmas waiting on them to be delivered) so as soon as I got home from work it was time to open them up and see what all the fuss was about. Everything in the pre-launch video had made them sound superb, but of course everyone will respond in a different way to a product based on how well it suits them, so I was prepared to be disappointed.
First impressions were favourable. They felt light and I could see that there was more foam compared to my other Boost shoes. The only real test, of course, was to head out for a run. I had planned to extend my run slightly anyway to make it 10k as I had entered a virtual race (something I am aiming to do at least once a month this year) and was keen to compare this run to my successful run in my Glide Boosts the previous week.
Almost immediately I could feel the difference. Like I said, I was prepared to be disappointed, but these shoes felt like nothing I had worn before. They felt light and almost minimal, but at the same time well-cushioned (exactly what I need for distance runs) and stable. I’ve absolutely no idea how this marrying of two seemingly different types of shoe is possible, but there you go. While I felt that I wouldn’t want to run a marathon in my Glide Boosts, these felt like a shoe I would want to run longer distances in and I felt comfortable in them throughout.
As for performance, I tweaked my route a little from last week, but a good chunk of it (mainly the hilly part) was the same and my time at the 6 mile point was comparable. So far so good.
In all honesty, Tuesday felt like a really magical run. I had new shoes, was running well, and in the second half of my run these gentle snowflakes started floating down from the sky, making the whole world look pretty magical. In fact, when I got home I told Steve that my shoes were so good that they made it snow and I was riding on a runners’ high for the rest of the night. Even Molly was pleased with them as the box they came in was just the perfect size for her!
On Wednesday my legs still felt good, so there were no ill effects from the new shoes on that score either. I completed my conditioning exercises without issue and felt well recovered from my run the day before.
Thursday, however, threw a bit of a spanner in the works. You may have noticed that it was designated as a rest day this week thanks to it being a parents’ evening. This was a known commitment when my training programme was written and therefore my training was worked around it. Now ordinarily, that pesky parents’ evening would be little more than a minor inconvenience to my training. I would have a bonus “rest” day and everything would continue as normal. But this year I’m doing Jantastic and have a target of 4 runs per week. With a running session missing this week, I would be down by a run on my target and the competitive part of me just can’t allow this to happen so I had to find a way to sneak another run into my week.
I considered a few options for fitting in an extra (short) run and eventually decided that the best thing to do would be to run to Metafit on Friday. I ruled out a recovery run on Monday since I actually think it’s important that I DON’T run on a Monday and have some pool time for recovery. Fitting a run in at any other point on Thursday is out of the question given when I have to leave for work and the fact that I would be back late. I also ruled out a bonus run either before or after Parkrun so I could focus on my performance over 5k. So a run to Metafit it was. I wasn’t sure how I would perform in the class afterwards, but I actually found that the run acted as a decent warm up (I kept the pace reasonably easy). Not something I would want to do every week, but as a one-off it wasn’t an issue.
After missing Parkrun last week I was looking forward to returning this week, however there was a small question mark over whether or not I would make it as I had to take Molly back to the vet for a follow-up check on her sore eye. I knew it would be pretty tight for time so arrived nice and early (wearing my Parkrun kit!) and was pleased to be taken straight away meaning I could get her home and settled and still make it round to Parkrun just in time.
It was a crisp morning but since there hasn’t been much rain recently I didn’t expect the paths to be icy and thought conditions might be favourable for a PB. My best time at Parkrun so far is 25:59. I know that in good form I can run a (just) sub-25 5k but figured I wasn’t quite there yet. I did, however, think I could chip a bit off my time and maybe bring it down to about 25:30.
I no sooner arrived than it was time to head to the start area where I chatted to some others, then we were counted down. I set off feeling quite comfortable and glanced at my watch. Clearly going too fast with a sub-8 minute mile but I figured it would give me a bit of a head start on a PB even when I slowed down later.
But I didn’t slow down.
Somehow, I managed to knock out 3 sub-8 minute miles and not only got a Parkrun PB but set a new personal 5k PB by finishing in 24:11! Officially my previous 5k PB was 25:13 so I’m thrilled with that. Another positive training gain and although it’s going to take some hard work to beat that time, I now feel that a sub-24 minute time could be within my grasp this year. And as if a PB wasn’t good enough news, out of a field of 192 (the biggest Parkrun field I’ve run in) I was 59th (my highest position), 8th female (again, my highest position) and first in my age category for the first time. I wasn’t even wearing my new shoes, just my trusty trail shoes (aka my Parkrun Shoes). An absolute triumph all round and I couldn’t stop smiling for the rest of the day 🙂
A solid run on Saturday meant that I was feeling good ahead of my Sunday long run. At 14 miles this brought me to the new training milestone of a run longer than half marathon distance. I decided to wear the Ultra Boosts to see how they fared over a longer run. Once more I was very happy with how they felt and my overall time put me right on my target marathon pace so I was pleased with my performance as well. I still felt strong and able to go on when I finished (always a good way to feel at this stage in training) and I’m maintaining my cadence throughout the run, even on steep uphill sections, so my drills are clearly paying off. Over the coming weeks I’ll be deciding which shoes I want to wear on race day so will be experimenting a bit more with my new shoes compared to my previous shoes to see which I prefer. At the moment, I’m just pleased to make a strong start to February, be feeling strong and be feeling the benefits of my training to date. I’m excited to see what happens next.
What are your go-to shoes for your longest runs?
Do you rotate your shoes or stick to the same ones?