I put $80 into my hobbies budget this year so that I could pick up a pair of race flats. These are running shoes that offer an advantage for racing. They are lightweight and the trade-off is increased injury risk and reduced durability. A rule of thumb is 200 miles on racing flats and 500 miles on standard running shoes.
I got so far as narrowing down my purchase to either the Saucony Fastwitch or A4. I was going to try them on and get some advice from my local running store.
Then I read Jeff Gaudette’s article on Competitor.com. To my chagrin he included a table to help you decide if racing flats are right for you. It is based on your 5K ability. Men who run sub 6 minute miles will benefit from racing flats, duh. Men who run between 6 and 8 minute miles will have some benefit, but it will decline as you move closer to that 8 minute/mile pace. For men like myself who take longer than 24 minutes to finish a 5K, “there is little benefit to wearing racing flats.”
I should have seen this coming. How can shaving 3 ounces on each shoe really compensate for being 240 ounces above racing weight? There may be some mental edge and I can certainly justify having a pair of racing flats in the closet. I participated in 8 road races last year and even with training time, a pair of flats should last me two years.
However, I also trained through most of those events as I was not competitive overall or in my age group. The increased injury risk would not have been worth moving up from 3088th in the half marathon to 3058th.