Thursday, December 1, 2011

Tempo Run - 4 Laps

I ran a 4 lap tempo run today. I think I still haven't quite figured the tempo run out. I wore myself out again and had to stop to walk a bit. I was well-hydrated today, but I still tired quickly. I think I'm going through a phase. I hope it passes soon.

One reason might be my lack of sleep. I've been getting a maximum of 6 hours of sleep a night recently. I don't really notice it throughout the day, but I wonder if I would have more energy if I were to improve my sleeping habits.

I'm falling in love with my neo trails. It's so nice to be able to walk normal all day every day. I've noticed a definite difference in the way I walk now. I'm much lighter on my feet. Since I started barefoot/minimalist running, I've begun to carry myself much better. My balance has improved. I'm much more comfortable on my feet, especially when barefoot or wearing minimalist shoes.

For my birthday, I think I'm going to get a pair of Teva Zilchs. Eventually, I might also get a pair of VivoBarefoot Dylans. While my neo trails are good enough for now, the Dylans are better for casual wear. The soles are thinner, for one. I could wear my aqua lites, but with soles that thin and a price that high, I think I'd better reserve them for running. My neo trails should also eventually be reserved for trail running. I want them to last as long as possible.

I'm not going to buy new dress shoes just yet. I have two pairs right now. Some might say it's about time I got some new ones because they're well-used and worn, but I can't justify buying more shoes right now, and since I only wear them once a week, they'll probably last me a little while longer. However, when I do buy new shoes, I think I'll get some Vivobarefoot Ras.

Jason Robillard prefers the Merrell Tough Gloves for dress-shoes, but honestly, I think he is a little biased. Merrell seems to be the only minimalist shoe manufacturer that he talks about. I've seen alot of good come from Vivobarefoot, but I've only heard him mention them a few times. I'm glad that Merrell is making an effort to go barefoot, but Vivobarefoot is definitely more dedicated to the movement. Merrell could get by if their barefoot line never sold, but Vivobarefoot is all minimalist.

Plus, while Merrell has different shoes for different purposes, they aren't all that different from each other. Heck, their dress shoe has the same sole as their trail running shoe. The main difference between the true glove and the trail glove is that the trail glove's upper is more flexible. I honestly think the only ones worth buying are the tough and trail gloves because they do everything the others do. Hopefully their 2012 line has a little more variety and specialization.

That's where Vivobarefoot shines. While they have some multi-purpose shoes like Merrell's (Evo and Neo), they also have one of the most specialized road shoes (my aqua lites), and some serious trail shoes (my neo trails). They also have water-friendly shoes, hiking boots, dress shoes (that look much better than Merrell's tough gloves), casual shoes, etc.

They have the biggest selection of minimalist shoes I've seen. And they are true minimalist. Their shoes aren't the Nike Free, the Reebok Reelflex, or even the New Balance Minimus. Nike and Reebok are targeting people that really don't know the first thing about minimalist running, New Balance is targeting people that know the first thing, Merrell is targeting people that know the second thing, and Vivobarefoot is targeting people that are totally cool with wearing no shoes at all.

About New Balance, they're designing a new line that will be more minimal than their current. It's called the Minimus Zero. They'll be zero-drop and all. Anyway, I was reading an article about the development of the new soles. It mentions that the principal designer has had difficulty developing a midfoot strike, but running in the shoes he's designing has helped him out. I don't think they should have said that in the article. It's not the most reassuring thing to hear that the man in charge of designing a minimalist line of shoes is not himself a minimalist runner. Because of that, I doubt he has the best judgment of what makes a good minimalist shoe. I can't say I do either, but I think there are probably some people working at New Balance that know more about it than this guy.

But then again, New Balance, like Merrell, is selling its name. They don't have to make a shoe as good as Vivobarefoot's to make money. Vivobarefoot, as small as they are, have to really excel to stay in the running, and excel they do. Plus, Vivobarefoot has Lee Saxby on their side. I'm sure he gives them alot of suggestions for their shoes. He gives them legitimacy.

Maybe I'm as biased towards Vivobarefoot as Jason Robillard is towards Merrell. I don't know. I just feel that Vivobarefoot is more serious about it. Merrell, as Jason says, is trying to convert shod runners to minimalist running. Vivobarefoot, on the other hand, is mostly targeting those already converted. It's cool and all what Merrell is doing, but I'm already converted. I already bought my pair of Merrells. On to Vivobarefoot.

Then again, maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised by Merrell's new line next year...

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