Friday, June 28, 2013

Running in the New Balance Minimus Hi-Rez...

You are what you consistently do, right? So I seem to be a runner...  maybe I should start blogging more about that instead of just the occasional, not-very-consistent recipe post.

In some ways, I feel a little lost, a bit adrift right now. My next race isn't until September, when I will do the Capital City River Run Half Marathon in Lansing, MI. I'm looking forward to it. It's supposed to be a nice flat course, but I won't be PR-ing because I will be running alongside my friend as she attempts her first ever half marathon. Her current pace is about a minute per mile slower than mine, so I'll be out there encouraging her.

Having no race planned for a while, I feel a bit in limbo. Although, let's be honest, I'm not sure I want to be racing in the heat of the summer. WOW. Give me the 5 degree days of winter back instead of the 90 degree, humid days. I've been trying to get out the door by 6 a.m. for my runs to beat the heat, but my body isn't quite used to going that early yet.

In the meantime, I've been trying to work on my speed and my strength without losing my endurance. My current plan is to repeat a two-week schedule until it's time to ramp back up to double-digit runs.

1 mile max speed, strength
Run 4 miles
8 sprint intervals, strength
Run 4 miles
Run 6 miles
1 mile max speed, strength
Run 4 miles
8 sprint intervals, strength
Run 5 miles
Run 8 miles

As for gear... first, I owe New Balance an apology. After ranting and raving about the seam on the Minimus Zero, I worked with them and they decided my shoes must've been defective. They took them back, even with a ton of miles and sent me store credit. In the interim, I tried other shoes. I went to New Balance and tried on other models, but found nothing else in a zero drop that fit quite as well. If I went outside of a zero drop, I felt it, and it was immediately odd. Yes, even a 4mm drop felt strange. 

I tried a pair of Brooks from the Pure Project line. The first time I went out, they felt awesome. Every time after that... I could feel the padding, and I felt like I had a dinner plate strapped to my feet. If you're looking to get into minimal shoes, but want some padding still, they are a great shoe, and I would recommend them. They definitely weren't the shoe for me though. 

So with one pair on it's way back to NB, and one pair making me crazy with every step...  Problem. I had another Half rapidly approaching, and had no shoes. So... I went back to the Minimus Zero. Ahhhh.... like sliding into your favorite pair of jeans. I ran the Ann Arbor Half Marathon in a new pair of Minimus Zero, plus compression socks instead of sleeves. I got an EPIC blister from slamming into the front of the toe box as I went down Ann Arbor's lovely hills (can you feel the sarcasm?), but did not have problems with the seam. It is still there, so I may need some padding on my socks for long runs, but they are definitely the shoe for me. 

Now I owned a new pair of Minimus Zero AND had store credit to New Balance. After reading a few reviews, I decided to try the Minimus Hi-Rez. I wore them for my sprint workout yesterday and figured I'd give you all some feedback. 

New Balance Minimus Hi-Rez.

First, look at these. Weird, right? This is NOT the shoe to get if you are just transitioning to minimal shoes. I moved to these from the Minimus Zero. I wouldn't even recommend moving to these from the "minimal" Brooks shoes. These are next to barefoot. Putting them on feels like putting on a sock with laces. 

Bet you can't do this with your running shoe.

These shoes are extremely flexible. The soles look funny, but work to give you much, much more connection with the ground and what your foot is doing. Each individual piece truly lets your foot move freely.   As I said, I used these for my sprint workout. I jogged to the park at the end of our block (roughly two-tenths of a mile) and then did 8 intervals of 30 second sprints with a minute and a half of walking recovery, and jogged back home. 

The Minimus Zero is my go-to.. you know what's going on, you're connected, you're minimal. But wow.. when I jogged off in these... I could feel running. If you've ever questioned your footstrike, you will know it in these. I've gone for runs, sworn up and down that I have a midfoot strike, had the husband video me and yup, heelstriking like a champ. Ok, not that strongly, but you know what I'm saying..   in the Hi-Rez, I could feel every footstrike and adjust on the fly. 

Sprinting in these shoes was a blast! I was up on the balls of my feet and could feel it. It was actually... fun. Even the walking recovery was fun, feeling each foot land and truly feeling connected.  I did run entirely on sidewalk, which was still damp from rain. I stepped on a wet leaf at one point while sprinting, and felt slippage, but was gone too fast for it to effect me. Taking these out on a long run, I'm not sure how they would react to terrain, but I'll test that eventually. 

The one drawback I noticed was that I came home with a blister on the top of my pinky toe, and a teeny blister atop my foot where my big toe connects. It was my first time out though, and I did not wear a sock. It could be materials that need to break in a little, could be that I need a very thin sock. It did not feel like a sizing issue, so I'll play with that a bit. 

Overall, if you're a barefoot runner who wants just a little protection, or a Minimus Zero devotee that wants to try the next step closer to barefoot, try the Hi-Rez. I won't promise they'll replace your every day shoe, but you will feel the fun in running again. 

Note: This post was in no way sponsored or compensated. I purchased this shoe and wanted to share with you my thoughts on the gear I use. 

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