Sunday, June 29, 2014

Runners, Runners Everywhere

Had my knee injected a couple of weeks ago with "Durolane" (stabilized hyaluronic acid) to relieve the painful arthritis that I've been dealing with for a few months.  The injection takes 3-4 weeks to reach it's peak effect and can be expected to be last for +/- 6 months.   Lots of water running; the introduction of the Alter G (anti-gravity treadmill); and walking has kept me moving.  I'm approaching the 3 week mark and have been running very conservatively for 30 min (2 min run; 3 min walk intervals) without issue. Lots of standing and hills on my bike will aggravate my knee, but it settles by the next day.  So far so good...

The other thing I considered was a change in running shoes.  This gets a bit more complicated - lots of reading and talking to people.  So I've basically got 3 pair of runners on the go....

Asics - Gel Nimbus
I've been using these for a number of years and chose them for the amount of cushioning they have. Not convinced they are the wrong shoe for me, but thought I'd explore some other options.  They have ~8 mm heel elevation, which I have only recently become aware of in comparing them to the Hoka's and Altra's.

Hoka One One - Bondi 3
These shoes have a huge sole of spongyness - 4 mm heel elevation.  It feels like the sole splays out as you strike the ground to absorb the shock of foot contact.  I'm still trying to be a mid-foot striker, but I find it hard to tell if I'm successful or not.  Not a fan of the laces, but easily changed. The lateral side digs into the bottom of my malleolus (feels "bruised" after a run of an hour.) I find my heel slips in them, which is another reason to change the laces out. Unsure about these ones, although I'm running on the anti-gravity treadmill for 1 - 1.5 hours at 50% of my body weight.   I know marathon/ultra distance runners who have switched to them and find them very tolerable.

Altra - Olympus
I'm trying these shoes with caution as they are a "zero drop" shoe (flat foot, similar to barefoot running or minimalist runners), but have a very roomy and wide toe box.  I've had several knowledgeable sources say to work up to wearing these shoes because the Asics are 8mm, Hokas are 4 mm heel elevation, so I may have an increased risk of calf/achilles strain with the sudden change in heel elevation.  I think this is reasonable and common sense advice to follow.  I do like the fit - especially the heel cup in the women's size and the lower lateral side doesn't bump my malleoli).  The Olympus is the trail running model, but of the 3 Altra models, it has the most cushioning.

I haven't come to a final conclusion yet on which one is most suitable for me, but as I progress my running to longer duration with less walking (and injury free - fingers crossed xx) I hope to have a conclusion.  

Dang, runners are expensive.....

Happy training - Ciao, Cindy

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