Thursday, October 30, 2014

It's All About the Shoes

I've been doing more walking lately.  Since Fall is typically running season, I've decided that since I can't really run I might as well walk.  And it has ignited a spark.

One of my favorite distances is the half marathon.  Anyone who listened to my endless complaining each time I trained for one might find this hard to believe!  But I really do like the distance.  It's long enough that you really have to respect the distance and train for it.  But short enough that the long training days don't take all day - even at my turtle pace.

So...I'm wondering if I could train for and walk an entire half marathon with the condition my hip is in now.  I think that in order to do this, I can't half-ass it like I've done in the past.  Oh, sure I would follow a training plan - two shorter runs and one longer run per week.  But I typically skipped over the cross training days, and my stretching left something to be desired at times.

But since getting started in triathlon, I've become quite the believer in cross training.  And my foam roller and stretching strap are permanent fixtures in my living room.

But the one thing that I remember about all three half marathons that I've done was how much my feet hurt by mile 10 of each race.  And that's where the shoes come in...

I've read good things about the Hoka One One shoes - they have much more cushioning than regular running shoes, and the shape of the sole is more rounded.  I've been meaning to find a store that sells them so I could try them on, but instead I got an e-mail from Running Warehouse offering Hoka's at nearly 50% off.  I figured it was a sign and just ordered a pair, and they showed up on my doorstep the very next morning. (And while I'm always one to say "Go to a real running shoe store and get fitted for shoes" I figured that since I'm walking and not running it might not be as important - plus I couldn't pass up the bargain!)

Hoka on the left; my Asics on the right.  See the heel cushioning difference.

I've only worn them twice and for less then three miles each time.  But can I just say OH.MY.GOD. these are like little pillows for my feet!  So soft and cushiony, if that's even a word!  And the round sole made walking seem so much easier.  Wearing my running shoes for walking always left my calves feeling stiff and painful - almost like shin splints.  But with the rounded sole, it's almost like my foot just rolls forward.

Now I can't say I'll be able to walk a half marathon in these shoes.  My feet might feel great but my hip is the real wildcard.  And honestly, I don't even have a race picked's just something I'd like to do sometime next year if I can.

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