Life in the Fast Lane


Hello, Better!

By 12:36 PM , , , , , , , ,

Over the course of the past few weeks, I've managed to run regularly; twice or thrice a week, with biking and swimming in between.

Somehow, though, up until over a month ago, I knew that my overpronation was still very much there. And that there was something wrong with my biomechanics; I just couldn't figure out what to do with it.

It wasn't until our recent company physical exam that I found out that it was because of the way my legs were aligned.

I have what people call "squinting knees", meaning they turn towards each other. I always knew they looked weird (that's why I never really liked to wear shorts or skirts), but I didn't realize until then that they led to my overpronation.

Photo taken last May 4th at the Energizer Night Race

Which made total sense. Since my knees aren't straight, they'd make my legs bend a weird way, and that 's why my feet are turned outward whenever I land.

So I made sure to stretch extensively before running and be conscious of the way I landed. I tried to shift from heel strike to midfoot strike, but because of my shoes, I would always go back to heel striking.

And then I thought: was it time to try out another pair of shoes? At this point, I reckoned:
  1. My shoes were still inexpensive compared to the other branded ones out there: my New Balance stability shoes were a marked down pair (i.e. less than PhP 2,000 or USD 50) and the Nike Lunarglides I had (in the picture above) were given as a gift.
  2. Maybe it was time to really invest in a pair of shoes that I would use for a long time.
After deliberating, consulting with trained shoe salesmen, reading up on forums online, and checking out what other runners were using, I came to this conclusion.

I wanted a pair of Newtons.

They would definitely be more expensive than any shoe I owned (running or otherwise), so I really had to ask myself whether they'd be worth it. But I prayed, and prayed some more — yes, I believe that even decisions such as these require prayer — and took the plunge.

Not only did I get a good answer. I got the best answer possible! I was given a discount on the pair I intended to buy, and I was offered a second pair (a much older model that had been in the storage room for a while) for a huge discount. Game on!

My 2013 Distance S (left) and 2010 Lady Isaac

And so began the transition from heel striking to midfoot striking. The day after my Newton purchases, I went on a test run using the Lady Isaac pair.

Immediately, I felt a difference.

Construction-wise, Newtons have reduced the height of the heel and increased the cushioning in the forefoot compared to other shoe brands. Because of that alone, you'll have a less of a tendency to heel strike.

Plus, they have this thing called "actuator lugs" (see the four red "bars" on the photo of the shoe below). They were designed to absorb shock upon impact and then release it on toe off. No wonder the shoes were named after Isaac Newton himself; because the brand developed this Action/Reaction Technology™.

Photo grabbed from here.

However, like many other runners have forewarned in blogs and forums, I did feel some initial soreness in my calf muscles and glutes during my first few runs. Because of my transition to midfoot running, apparently, there were some dormant muscles that needed to be awakened.

I've noticed, though, that I feel faster and my plantar fasciitis hasn't acted up, thanks mostly to the cushioning from the Lady Isaac. 

More importantly, I've been running more efficiently (especially with the red Distance S, which I've been using when I want to work on speed).

I'll see this weekend how Newtons fare during an actual race. I'm joining the Alaska World Milk Day Run on June 9 and taking the Distance S for a spin. Please whisper a prayer for me, or wish me luck.

Hopefully, this will be the start of minimal to no injuries, and I won't need to look for another shoe brand (my wallet begs me so). My knees will always look weird, unless I decide to undergo surgery (no thanks!), but I just have to accept them for what they are.

Running-wise, though, I'm a happy camper with my Newtons so far! The problem is: now I wanna collect ALL the colors. It feels like a throwback to my Crayola-obsessed days.

As the Newton tagline goes, "Hello, better!"

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