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LESS IS NOT ALWAYS LESS:

Recently I noticed again that the closer it gets to racing season (triathlon) the more people start looking around for light weight racing flats to make them run faster. Unfortunately going less weight doesn’t always correlate to faster times, especially with a fatiguing sport like Triathlon.

A lot of athletes think that the pain they experience when running in a racing flats is the pain correlated to running fast, not always true as in most cases it will be your body screaming at you that there is something wrong.....you are going to hurt yourself! If you look at the anatomy of a racing shoe compared to your training shoes you will see it’s got less “meat” in the midsole area and usually a narrower arch area. This is where most of the saved weight comes from, but at a price! You feet and lower leg muscles need to be stronger to compensate for the “less” in the shoes, and most athletes aren’t conditioned enough to jump into “less” shoes. In most cases after a session in these types of shoes you will feel tight calves and depending on your foot strength even tight/stiff feeling in your arches. This is fine if you give your body enough rest to recover and adapt slowly, but can evolve into BIG problems such as Achilles injuries or metatarsal problems due to the amount of pounding your feet and legs have to absorb that usually get taken care of by your nice cushioned trainers.

Don’t get me wrong I love racing shoes and I also fall into the trap of buying the lightest that’s available, but have to do the necessary exercises to adapt to these speedsters. When you want to invest into some lighter shoes, check around and you will see that most brands have shoes that cater for different distances you want to race, or different types of athletes. Common sense and practicality also has to play a role when you want to buy racing shoes, I mean a 100kg athlete cannot run a marathon in a 129g racing flat.....well maybe if he is Chuck Norris J

My advice is to ask around what is available and read some blogs to see what other runners say, but keep an open mind as most people don’t say positive things on the net. If possible ask the guys running in the model you like his opinion, but remember it must feel comfortable on your foot.

Happy running and remember your feet put you in contact with the road and take a lot of abuse every time you step out the door to relax the rest of your body, treat them well!  

 


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