Shoes for “Time” runners

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As I described in my previous post there are 3 different types of runners and they tend to buy and wear very different types of shoes. “Time” runners pursue getting faster and beating their own times (and others) That´s why  “time” runners tend to prioritize lightness and responsiveness vs cushioning. They tend to spend more on shoes and like to discover new technologies that will improve a few seconds per km, they analyze  pro-athletes to copy their equipment etc.

Time runners as “starters” tend to buy motivated by price and weight of the shoe. They usually look for thinner shoes that they feel will not be a burden in their run. They usually look for specific well known brands (Adidas, Nike) but “lower end” models Structure or Tempo depending on the budget or more advanced ones as Vomero, Boston etc. Some runners may even buy from local shops ending up with very local shoes that have probably less global impact (Puma, Saucony etc.) Usually heavy (>80kg) time runners tend to find difficult to get the right shoe for them. Those runners want trustful shoes but they have not learned yet about other brands.

“Amateurs” they tend to buy “mixed” shoes that allow them to train and race. They look for “renowned” shoes and brands Kayano, Vomero, Nimbus etc. but they can also try new other brands New Balance, Asics etc. They are more courageous in what they buy.

The fun starts then, with “serious amateurs” and “Pros”. They tend to have (at least) 2 pair of shoes, and they differentiate for long runs and for racing/intervals:

  • For long runs with greater cushioning and larger drop (>8mm) Epic, solar, Ghost, rider etc. or with less drop (<6mm) if they feel they want to be more minimalist. On this topic it is probably good to say that I have been strugglying for years to find shoes of this type for “heavy” runners (>80kg).
  • For racing or intervals really light, flexible and responsive Cloudflow, Boston, Vaporfly, Zante and probably all those with lower drops (< 8mm)

 

Shoes for “distance” and “experience” runners

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Most of the runners start as “distance” runners as they probably want to get in shape, to lose some kilos or to “refresh their minds”.

So it is very normal that most of the runners buy their first shoe from well-known brands (depending on geographies) considering mainly price (opportunistic), cushioning capabilities and style. And depending on runner target (age, income etc.) they will focus more on style or price.

With this in mind, most of the “distance” runners they will tend to buy 50-120 EUR pairs, some with excellent style, but in my opinion heavy and not flexible enough shoes (I am a time runner…) from different brands:

  • Nike: All kind of models and prices. Style became key for Nike and for some time I thought that was the only thing they were doing but finally they have decided to do a bit more…
  • Adidas/Reebok: I think they are pushing to push Adidas as a Pro brand and leaving Reebok for the starting/stylish models . There are still some “heavy/cushioned” models for stylish and non
  • Asics: Another global classic with great supporters. Some of their models cover from starters to serious amateurs e.g. Kayano, Nimbus
  • New Balance: well balanced shoes with not too much noise but great implementations for all types of runners
  • Saucony/Brooks: for runners that like to “study/compare” before buying and specially for US runners. They have excellent models for all levels e.g. Ghost 11
  • Puma: lost in translation. Incredible how much marketing punch they have lost

As running is becoming more and more popular (you can rely on a friend in the office) and shoes are becoming more complex (type of feet, surface, distance etc.) and pricey most of “starters” have changed slightly their buying process. Amateurs and Serious amateurs are becoming great “business developers” with their recommendations (word of mouth) Moreover many of the runners are moving quickly to digital channels. (before they will go to shops and try for later buying online, now they are confident that they will be able to change them)

Advice on buying (more to come on this)

  • Brands are starting to change their channel strategy getting greater contact with their customers (online channel, promoted activities etc.) and offer direct promotion (30% discounts in different periods and discount codes)
  • Online retailers have great discounts with older models but it is less and less evident. They usually specialized in specific brands. Amazon has not been able to really beat this one. (except for On running in Spain)
  • Local shops have become either clubs or “experience” shops (apple type) with limited profitability (pricey) but “great” services (footprint analysis), latest models etc. limiting the sustainability of old corner shops.

Finally more advanced “distance” runners they tend to mix with “experience” runners. As traditional distance runners, pro marathon runners may tend to run with traditional shoes (drop >8mm) experience runners tend to buy new maximalist and minimalist shoes as they have discovered new ways of running (natural way)

Type of runners…

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Elite/Pro:

  • 20-30 years (some even older)
  • Some big influencers (>100k followers)
  • Fully dedicated (>40hours/weekly)
  • Full training plan with professionals (coach, nutritionists, physios etc.)
  • Sponsors and training kit

Decisions:

  • Running calendar and key milestones

Serious amateurs:

  • Mostly >30 years
  • Ex-pro, coaches and real running passionate
  • Some micro influencers (>10k followers)
  • >15 hours/week
  • Complete running kit and lost the count of running shoes
  • Coach or club most of the times

Decisions:

  • Type of runner you want to be:
    • Beat yourself / the professionals (time)
    • Extend your reach (ultra, trail etc.) (distance)
    • Try new things (Triathlon, duathlon) (experience)
  • Complete training plan depending on your decision

Amateurs:

  • Variety of age but mostly >28
  • Starting to travel to running events
  • 6-10 hours/week
  • Simple training plan (web/friend based) or daily routine (5-10km)
  • 2-3 pairs and completing running kit (web and friends)

Decisions:

  • Half marathon and marathon targets
  • Defining who they want to be: time, distance or experience runner even they area not really conscious about it

Starters:

  • Variety of age and reason to start running:
    • Loose weight/get fit
    • I need a change in my life
  • Solo pair runners (usually buying its first target)
  • Limited training and probably only due to accessing to a race due bc of friends/company

Decisions:

  • 5km/10km first target
  • Is it really for me?

Running brands…

Talking about brands in running…

Large mammoths: Nike and Adidas with $30bn and 20$Bn are the largest equipment manufacturers in the world. In my opinion they lost the position in the 90s and 00s without real innovation and allowing new players to come in. Recently they have launched different innovation programmes (boots, vaporfly, react etc.) to gain back to innovator position. They are able to make large innovation investments while expanding business into equipment (pants and shirts) and moving into lifestyle (not only performance) and experience (digital channels etc.)

Wanabe: Puma ($4Bn), New balance ($3.7Bn), Asics($3Bn) and Mizuno ($1.6Bn) are strugglying to find the right strategy (brand, design and digital development) and in many cases not getting enough growth. Some are trying to go back to specialization in terms of sports (and some back to running) and customer type

New Hipes: Under Armour ($4Bn) and Lululemon ($2Bn), they still need to prove if they are a lifestyle brand/design or a real innovation and technology/performance companies. Growing quickly specially in some markets but not really running specialists

Running specialist:  Saucony ($500m-1Bn?), brooks ($700m), On running ($100-200m?) Important innovations considering size but lagging behind in branding and digital experience

Road and trail: Hoka one one ($150m?), altra ($50-$100m), salming ($10-$100m) focus on trail/road with great success within triathlon groups. Developing their expertise in “natural” running with zero drop but maximalist

Others: Other brands developing with less success (Vibram, Hommo Sandals, pies sucios) focusing on natural and minimalist running.

Fiverbrands

 

NEW BALANCE FRESH FOAM ZANTE V3 REVIEW

The New Balance Zante V3 are very good price (60-70 euros), quite light and with a new cushioning technology but I never got “in love” with them. They have some success with triathletes and recently I got questioned about the new Zante V4. (thanks JF) I have not tried the V4 but today I ran with the V3 and got my thinking around. We are talking about a “near to” minimalist shoe (6mm drop) with some good and bad things for me:

The pros:

  • It is a very light shoe (c. 250g.)
  • The cushioning technology is supposedly to be excellent but only for light/medium weights (<80kg)
  • The look is very nice. Not stunning, no super personality but sometimes I like things this way
  • Very comfortable upper. No issues with it at all and they look highly durable
  • Good with rain and slippery floors
  • If you have a minimalist technique you can ride at 4.00min easily but I found it difficult to go beyond that (my technique is not great nor my shape) If you don´t have a good technique you can end up with stiffness in your calves

The cons:

  • The cushioning technology is not for >80kg people. I found them too soft at landing but I never got the feeling of a full cushioning. So for me it is a yes but no kind of thing…
  • I would not ride more than 10km ( I am 84kg)
  • There is very limited rebound which is normal in a minimalist shoe but somehow will impact your performance if you want to give the extra mile
  • Another thing which hopefully has been corrected: I used them in the gym for some time and I found that they stink very quickly… easy to solve but a pain if you need to hide your shoes in you workplace as I do…

I don’t think it is a competition shoe but probably more a training shoe if you want to ride on a minimalist shoe. If you have developed the minimalist technique you will probably find these shoes very good but I still require a bit more drop and cushioning for my old style running technique.

Other reviews that I follow: (in Spanish)

https://www.solereview.com/new-balance-fresh-foam-zante-v3-review/

https://www.runnea.com/zapatillas-running/new-balance/fresh-foam-zante-v3/1963/review.html

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Arms swing and position for long distance runners

This is probably one of the first things they told me when I started to run in Club Marathon some 20 years ago. By then my coach, was a devoted runner, probably with not all the modern techniques with him but with incredible experience and know how.

Arms swing and position is very relevant for long distance runners. I recall an impact of 7% but no clue where this number comes from. Let´s say it can be relevant to achieve specific targets.

Swing is supposed to be in compass with the legs but the key thing is that we should not exaggerate the swing as we will be losing energy. On the other hand we should not, as many people do specially when tired,  press their arms to their body. (as in the picture) This is good for some sports as preventing direct contact with their chess in hits but not for running.

Arms position should try to keep 90º between arms (I found it too much but I would no consider less than 80º)

Hands position should be in line with forearm and fingers relaxed. I tend to do a yoga position style which probably is not perfect but allows me to relax all the way. I usually position the thumb on top of the other fingers. I usually tend to close a bit more the fingers than in the picture but leaving enough space for the fingers to breathe.

If your shoulder hurts after/during a long run it is usually (or at least for me) due to work stress or position when sitting more than running. It is good to stretch and to combine some exercises (push-ups. arms circles etc.) Also consider check the position of the rest of the body (hips, back) and lateral misalignment.

I found interesting the site:

http://www.runaddicts.net/tips-tricks/the-importance-of-a-proper-arm-swing

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