A few weeks ago I heard about the new Free RN Distance shoe from Nike and this couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m a big fan of the Nike Free 4.0 and 5.0 with their lightweight and bare foot feel. From now until the end of April I will have to log much longer runs than I normally do to prepare for the Nashville Rock n ‘Roll Half Marathon. I admit I’m a little concerned about how my body will respond to the distance in the minimal cushioning of the Free 4.0 and 5.0 shoes.
The claim for the RN Distance is it provides more cushioning while still giving you the responsiveness and bare foot feel of the other Free models. This certainly got my attention so I had to get myself a pair. As usual I had to re-lace the shoes to make room for my high arches but other than that they feel great.
Today I had my first test run with the RN Distance shoes. The RN Distance has quite a bit more cushioning in the forefoot area and I was concerned I would lose that feeling of being in touch with the road. The shoe does feel slightly heavier but I’ve been running in the Free 4.0 and 5.0 shoes for two years now so I’m very familiar with their feel. If you are coming from another shoe with more cushion and control I think you will be surprised how light they feel. Even with the added weight compared to the other Free models I didn’t feel weighed down and the extra cushioning felt great. The bare foot feel wasn’t nearly as pronounced as with the Free 4.0 especially and only slightly less than the 5.0. Usually by the time I hit the five or six mile mark my feet are starting to feel a little fatigued. Today this wasn’t the case at all.
I’m very happy with the RN Distance shoes and will likely use them exclusively when my distance is more than 10K. If you want a neutral shoe that is lightweight and still gives a responsive feel you may want to check them out.
I never have a specific pace or distance goal set when I run. Instead, I run with a particular duration in mind. I just get dressed, put on my running shoes and hit the pavement and let my body and mind set the pace. The pace is never the same but once I get started I try to maintain my pace.
Here’s a look at my pace during my long run this past Saturday:
At first glance it might not look like the pace of this run was all that consistent. I’ll admit, I’ve done better but this still isn’t too bad. The first mile was a little fast compared to the other mile splits. It was chilly that morning so I usually start out a little fast to get my body warmed up and after the first mile I’m warmed up and settled in. Miles two through four are slower but what you can’t tell from this graphic is those miles included quite a few hills. All three splits are very consistent time wise though. Miles three and four are exactly the same. Miles five and six are fairly consistent but faster than the previous three miles. I like to finish strong so my pace will frequently pick up slightly on the last mile. It didn’t on this day for some reason but still the pace was consistent with the previous mile.
After every long run I study my mile split times to check my consistency of pace. I say study but in reality the process usually only takes ten or fifteen seconds. No need to over analyze. Just look at the times, think about the course and then quickly decide where and how you could have done better. After that, move on to the rest of your day.
This week’s training was just slightly harder than last week. On my Tuesday interval run I decided to give it a try on the treadmill instead of the road. I liked it enough I’ll probably continue to use the treadmill when the running intervals are at least five minutes long. My workout breakdown for the week is as follows:
Monday: 38 minute run. 3.45 miles at 11:01 pace.
Tuesday: Rest day (but still did some walking).
Wednesday: 26 minute interval run. 12 minute fast run/2 minute walk/12 minute fast run on a treadmill.
Thursday: 28 minute interval run. 5 minute slow run/1 minute fast run followed by 2 minutes of walking (x6)/5 minute slow run for a distance of 2.43 miles at 11:32 overall average pace.
Friday: Rest day (still did some walking).
Saturday: 65 minute run. 5.92 miles at 10:58 pace.
Sunday: Strength training & stretching.
The Saturday long run was supposed to be sixty minutes. I like to run in loops where I never or seldom take the same path more than once and I like to finish in the same location as I started. When you do that, you’re not always going to finish with the exact duration planned. I look at my duration goal as my minimum instead of a maximum duration.
I ran a little faster this week too. Not that I was trying to run faster–it just happens.
Time to wrap up this introduction now. Since that 10K race in 2013 I’ve finished four 5K races and six 10K’s. I’ve got one more 10K race scheduled for the end of February and that will be it until the half marathon at the end of April.
I’ve made slow but steady progress since 2013. I ran the Broad Street Ramble 10K at the end of October 2015 and finished the race with a time of 01:04:44. That’s over 11 minutes faster than 2013! My last 5K was almost a year ago and I finished it with a time of 31:10. I feel like I can get that under 30 minutes now.
The upcoming 10K is an event I’ve never ran before. Since my focus is on training for the upcoming half marathon I don’t expect to hit a new personal record (PR) at this one.
I’ll probably never get back to my 10K finish times in the 44-55 minute range from twenty years ago. I’m Ok with that. I do hope to break the 60 minute mark sometime during the Fall 2016 running season though. That’s my goal anyway and time will tell if I can do it.
After today’s run I’ve logged enough miles to retire another pair of shoes. While I could probably stretch this out another 25-50 miles but I’ve found with the Nike Free 4.0 and 5.0 shoes and my body build logging 300 hundred miles is plenty.
In an earlier post I mentioned you should keep a diary of your workouts. If you alternate between two pairs of shoes like I do, then you should also keep track of the miles logged on each pair. I have my shoe replacements spaced out so I need to replace a pair every four to six months. Your mileage may vary. If you have a lighter body build and wear shoes with a fair amount of cushion and or motion control you may be able to get 400 miles (maybe more) from each pair of running shoes.
I have never been a fan of Nike running shoes until I tried the Nike Free shoes. The shoes are as close to running barefoot as you can get while still wearing a conventional shoe. I realize they’re not for everyone and they do take some getting used to wearing. If you decide to try a pair start out by running no more than a mile in them and then extend the distance over the course of several weeks.
The shoe experts will tell you this isn’t the shoe for me, however, I’ve worn out three pairs and have over 150 miles on a fourth pair and I think they are great. Since changing to Nike Free I have been injury free. The 5.0 version have slightly more cushion than the 4.0 version. I do fine with the 4.0 shoes but I’ll most likely wear the 5.0 shoes during the half marathon in April.