Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Shoes, Black Ice, and Cadence

The kids had a two hour delay yesterday because of temps in the teens and black ice on the roads. I had a run on the schedule and was especially excited because I picked up a pair of the Brooks Pure Flow the day before and I was anxious to test drive them. I wasn't going to let a bit of asphalt slip-and-slide get in my way.

I love these shoes. They have a wide comfortable, stretchy band across the instep, are light, cushiony, and supple, and have a minimal heel-to-toe drop that is similar to the Saucony Mirages that have been my preferred shoe this year. I have been waiting on the Pure Flow because I like to switch off between two different shoes and had not really found anything comparable to the Mirages. I was hopeful this would be that shoe and was not disappointed.

Now I don't like running when conditions are slick but will do about anything to avoid a treadmill.  It's been about two years since I've been on one!

I headed out in little choppy careful steps, feeling the effects of yesterday's leg workout. (The 135 lb stiff legged deadlifts did a number on my hamstrings and glutes.) The shoes provided good traction and although I could sense the icy spots, I never truly slid.

The ice (and revolting hamstrings) caused my cadence to go up from my usual 90 to the mid-90s for much of the run, higher than usual. I was resigned to the fact that it was shaping up to be a very slow sloggy run. When I looked at my Garmin data afterward, I was happy and surprised to see that it was actually a pretty decent pace for me.

Funny what a little increase in cadence will get you! 

Coach is big on keeping run cadence around 90 and not letting it drop and this little accidental experiment drove that point home. Not that I plan to run like a hummingbird, but I can better appreciate the negative impact of reduced cadence on speed now that I experienced for myself what bumping it up can do.


After a few weeks off from running followed by a few weeks of base-building aerobic running, race specific training is beginning. I took a peek at the long run schedule Coach put on my Training Peaks annual training plan and got that familiar marathon prep feeling -- a mix of nervous and excited. I'm less than 15 weeks out from the Boston Marathon. With this Saturday's long run set for 12 miles, I like where I am.