Friday, January 27, 2012

Racing Flats

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  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.

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