As much as I hate to admit it, after nearly 300 miles of cycling and 14 miles of running this last week, these old legs are feeling a wee bit tired. It especially didn’t help running at over a minute faster than my normal pace during this morning’s run. I actually had to pause mid run and walk about 20 paces to settle myself down a bit.
It’s time to listen to my body and give it a little rest, so no brick today, and I’ll probably skip cycling tomorrow too. After all, rest is an essential part of training, so rest I will, with iPad in hand to plan out our half marathon training plan, after all, there are only 208 days left until the Space Coast Marathon.
In the meantime, I found an informative chart on the Running Bug which breaks down the anatomy of a running shoe…I’m a stickler for proper technobabble…I hate having to call something a thingamabob.
Fiona Bugler (@therunninged), a prolific runner, Running Bug Reviewer and running shoe expert guides you through the key components of your running shoe.
The upper is the top of the shoe. These days the upper is made from breathable mesh and other materials to keep your feet dry, fresh and cool, and synthetic leather for protection.
The purpose of the upper is to secure the foot in place, and it’s sewn or glued to the midsole. Some brands weave in dynamic high tech fibres and reinforcing straps (referred to as overlays) either made from synthetic leathers or TPU to help keep the shape of the foot and most importantly the foot in place as you twist and turn.
The midsole is arguably the most important part of shoe, and is made from spongy material, such as Ethyl Vinyl Acetate (EVA) or Poyurethane foam, between the outsole and the upper.
The midsole protects your feet from impact forces. Technology is continually improving such as ASICS Solyte and SpEVA, Brooks’ DNA, and Mizuno’s AP materials, all designed to absorb shock.
A device located on the medial, or inside, part of the shoe, placed in a shoe to reduce over-pronation. Medial posts are usually made of EVA that’s denser than the rest of the midsole (a dual density midsole) and the size/shape dictates the amount of stability that it provides.
A shank stiffens the shoe under the arch, making the middle portion of the shoe firmer. Some shoes wrap the shank up the medial part of the shoe (or arch side) adding stability and allowing it to function like a medial post. Minimalist shoes may not have a shank.
The outsole is the sole of the shoe that makes contact with the ground. The outsole is usually made up of durable carbon rubber, the material used for car tyres and a lighter more flexible blown rubber and it has tread for traction.
“Brands place different rubbers in different strategic places to enhance performance. For example in the heel strike area Brooks uses a hard-wearing rubber (they call it HPR – high performance rubber) and a softer blown rubber in the forefoot to aid cushioning and ‘toe off’,” explains Martin Exley from Brooks.
|HEEL: COUNTER, CUFF OR COLLAR AND TAB
The heel counter, cuff or collar wraps around the heel of your foot and is a solid, plastic material or foam inside the shoe that’s designed to hold your foot in place as you run.
The heel tab surrounds the Achilles tendon and helps lock the shoe around the heel – it’s also called Achilles tendon protector or Achilles tendon notch in walking shoes.
This is the front of the shoe, the part where your toes sit. Roomier toe boxes have emerged in recent years in minimalist shoes, as they allow your toes to move and claw at the ground as you run.
You will need a degree of movement in the toe box as when we run our feet swell up, sometimes as much as an extra half a size. Trail shoesoften have extra leather or plastic on the outside of the toe box to protect your prized digits against flint and rocks.
New Balance define a shoe last as “a 360 degree model of the foot used to create each shoe’s heel width, instep height, toe box width and toe box depth.”
Lasts can be curved, semi curved or straight. “There are different lasts for supinators, neutral and pronators,” says Nick Pope. “Whether it is curved or straight depends on the shape of the medial line of the last bottom. Where the arch is higher the inward v is a curve (curved last). Where the foot is flatter the inward curve under the arch is less defined (straight last).”
The other meaning to Last is in the way the upper is attached to the midsole, and the type of last used will indicate how stable or flexible a shoe is.
Shoe height has become very relevant with the emergence of minimalist shoes. Here’s a great definition: “Simply defined, heel-toe drop (or simply “drop”) is the difference in outsole plus midsole plus insole height (known as stack height) between the heel and forefoot of the shoe.
“In other words, it compares the amount of “stuff” between your foot and the ground in the heel and forefoot. Yet another way to look at it is that in a 4mm drop shoe, the heel would sit 4mm above the level of the forefoot.”
“Anything with 4mm or less heel to toe drop height is considered minimalist. A true minimalist would be considered a zero drop. A more regular core shoe would usually have in the region of 24mm heel height and 12mm height at the toe,” says Martin Exley from Brooks Running.
10K Running Plan
Run Time: 40:44
Stopped Time: 0:58
Distance: 3.74 miles
Average: 10:54 /mile
Fastest Pace: 9:26 /mile
5K This Month: 9.92 miles
5K This Year: 86.33 miles