With our final training run in the books prior to Saturday’s Congress Avenue Mile – it’s time to talk about something that all runners – and even a lot of non-runners love - new shoes! As most of you know this mile race will be my first ever at that distance – everything from training, race strategy and even the appropriate footwear is new to me.
Usually this would make me feel a bit nervous and uneasy heading into race day. But given the length of the race and the pace that I need to set over the first 1/4 mile to run a mile somewhere in the 5:00′s on Saturday, I am trying to embrace and channel as much “nervous energy” as I can.
Starting out fast, falling into a quick pace and then finishing strong is the game plan for Saturday. Just like I approach a marathon by breaking the race down into smaller bite-sized segments, I am doing the same for the mile.
I am looking at the race in three parts. The initial 1/4 mile where I would like to run :03 to :05 seconds faster than my goal pace, the middle 1/2 mile where I would like to run :03 to :06 seconds slower than my goal pace, and the final 1/4 mile where I hope to close strong and come in right on goal. Sounds like a reasonable plan – the problem will be in the execution of that plan as I simply do not have the number of 400 meter intervals under my belt to automatically “know” how fast I am running.
When I am out on a typical training run I simply “know” what a 7:00 mile feels like vs. a 7:20 mile. Without checking my Garmin I “know” how hard to push to run a 6:58 or how much to back off to run a 7:25. Without glancing down at my watch I can just run those splits “by feel”.
That is a byproduct of running more than 1,500 miles a year since 2005 at that pace, under those types of conditions. I simply do not have that internal calibration when it comes to running at a pace below 6:00/mile. This “sprinter” stuff is all new to me – so to level the playing field a bit on Wednesday, I went out looking for an edge.
It is widely accepted that reducing the weight of your running shoes by one ounce reduces your time between :01 and :02 seconds per mile. That may not sound like a lot, but over the course of a 5K (3.1 miles) or 10K (6.2 miles) – those seconds are a very valuable commodity if you are going for an age-group victory or a PR.
I had never owned a pair of “racing flats” before and was very interested to see how the shoes would feel on my feet and just how much lighter the shoes would be than my faithful Asics Gel Nimbus 11 trainers. Here in Austin we are fortunate to have a lot of great running stores. After doing my research I was looking for a pair of Brooks T6 Racers. The folks at Hill Country Running on S. Lamar had a pair in my size – so it was time to shop.
Since the Brooks T6 Racers are “unisex” they appeared to run a little on the small side. The size 9′s that I tried on were too snug in the toe box, but as soon as I put on the 9 1/2′s I knew I had found what I was looking for. For good measure I tried on the Asics Racers as well as a pair of Pumas – but the Brooks were by far the most comfortable.
Much, much lighter with a lot less cushioning these shoes are obviously not built for long training runs and marathons. But for short races up to the 10K distance – they have enough cushioning to get the job done and are LIGHT!
The tale of the tape showed that my new Brooks T6′s weigh in at a scant 6.1 ounces. My Asics Gel Nimbus 11′s a robust 12.4 ounces.
Time reduction: 6.3 ounces X :01:5 seconds – 9.45 seconds/mile
Even at only a 1 second reduction per ounce per mile we are looking at a decrease of more than 6 seconds. Saturday is shaping up to be a very interesting day on Congress Avenue. Weather is calling for 73 degrees, partly cloudy skies and only a 10% chance of precipitation – which here in TX is the equivilant to “no chance in hell of rain”.
I wasn’t the only one at the Marruchella House to score some new running gear this week as a mysterious Nike Box arrived from Aunt Sue and Uncle Baird in Chicago. Our daughter to be’s first pair of running shoes arrived – which I have to say are pretty awesome.
At less than 1 ounce, those bad-boys look like some fast racing flats!
So we’re going to take a day off from running on Friday, take it easy Friday night and show up on Saturday morning ready for a “Ricky Bobby” kind of race. If you are going to be at the Congress Avenue Mile on Saturday and are hoping to see me in action – make sure you get there on-time.
Our heat goes off at 8:10 a.m. – I don’t plan on being on that course very long.
Shake N’ Bake.
Click here for live video coverage of the race on Saturday morning: