Wait ages for a bus … and then three come along at once. Well, in this instance, it was more like I’d been waiting for an air-conditioned coach and all I got was a Megabus. Still, better than walking, right? (actually, probably not but my analogy needs me to say so).
Anyway, waffle aside, I had been waiting ages to improve my performances. Anything. A scrap of improvement would have kept me happy and motivated. In the last 15 months, I got one single measly PB: admittedly, it was one helluva PB (35:14 for my 10k) but that was it. A lonely landmark amidst a sea of turd-ish performances: 6 half marathons in a row with frustrating, disappointing times, 2 marathons beset by injuries and a bunch of fairly innocuous performances in the rest of my distances.
And then, in the space of the last 10 days, I get 3 PBs. Admittedly, 3 PBs in distances in which I have zero interest in: the Hour Race (a mind-blowing hour of running around the Tooting track (just shy of 39 times in my instance, a ginormous 51 meters further than last year!)), a 1,500m track race (a half second improvement on my 2016 PB in 4:39) and, increasingly meaninglessly, a 15 second PB at Tooting parkrun in 17:22 (and it’s a known slow course).
So … that’s kinda good I guess. That said, I know I’d swap all three of these entirely unimportant improvements for a single second off my half marathon PB in terms of preparing me both mentally and physically for the London marathon in 2 weeks’ time. Still, at least I have something positive to run with.
One thing I won’t be running with mind you are my Nike Zoom Fly shoes. Unanimously described by the running world as the best shoes ever (I’m paraphrasing) in terms of performance improvement, I found them absolutely … awful. I know I’m in the 1% here but it’s worth sharing it on the off chance someone stumbles on this. At £130 a pop (I’m most certainly going to be re-selling them … ), it’s quite annoying to discover after your first 5km in them that they make your feet burn. And, by that, I don’t just mean the slight pain that new shoes normally give: I mean a full-on blow-torch under the forefoot.
The shortened reason why is that the shoes are incredible inflexible which is what gives them their performance-enhancing magic-blabla with a stiff plate running through them. If you are a heel strike runner, then it really helps propel you forward. If you are a forefoot runner, you don’t benefit as much from it. If, too, you have notoriously damage-prone underfoot fascia near your toes, then running in these inflexible shoes is akin to smacking your hand 170 times/minute against a concrete wall. It’ll start hurting pretty damn quickly. More ‘standardly flexible shoes’ spread the impact which reduces the pain. These … don’t. So, to my millions of readers, consider the above before splashing out because all your clubmates who bought them massively improved their times. Having said all this, I have a lovely pair in size UK11.5 if anyone’s keen: it’s the best shoe ever, no downsides. Promise. 😉