I’ve been on a quest these past few weeks to try and find my perfect running partner. Someone who is strong, supportive, hard-wearing, quick and, above all, comforting. And they need to be a size 8.
For many years I’ve ran in Asics, but was getting through pairs quicker than my bank balance could cope with. Both the Kayanos and GT 2000s didn’t last more than 400 miles before splitting and failing to support my over-pronating feet.
In 2016 I switched to Brooks and their Adrenaline GTS shoe. I was impressed; they felt really stable with much less flex than Asics, which I like. They also wore much better, only eventually giving up their cushioning after a whopping 550 miles.
The logical thing to do would have been replace like for like. But I’m not a logical person, so I was tempted by a new pair of Kayano 23s as a Christmas present to little old me. Sadly the fit just wasn’t right and they were way too big. I persevered for a dozen or so runs, blisters and all, before eventually conceding that it was a dud purchase and I’d be better off selling them on second-hand.
Back to Brooks then, only this time I’ve gone down half a size to get a snugger fit. Fortunately my local TK Maxx of all places had a few pairs of the GTS 15s on their shelves for the crazy clearance price of just £36.
I grabbed a pair (and in the 8 I wanted, lucky boy!) and so far, so good. Blister problem solved? I certainly hope so. These should see me through my training programme and the Manchester marathon itself.
Weekend long runs are into double figures now, with a ten miler last Saturday morning in the wind, sleet and slush. It wasn’t too slippy under foot, but very wet and by the end of the run my feet were soaked through.
I backed right off the pace for fear of yet more blisters, particularly on the muddy trail path that made up part of the final third of the route. But soggy feet aside, I’m very pleased with how I’m running at the moment. Consistently averaging sub-8 minute miles on my short and medium runs, then backing off to comfortable mid-8s on the longer ones. That’s exactly where I need to be.
I’m also slotting in some cross training sessions and aiming to do this twice a week. Just some stretches and free weights at home to work on my core strength, nothing mega but hopefully enough to enhance my stamina for that challenging last 10k of the marathon.
The serious training miles kick in next month and then in March I have the Stafford Half Marathon to look forward to, which has always been a good PB hunting ground for me in previous years.
Too early to say whether or not I can dare to dream about the four hour marathon yet, but after almost seven weeks of training and nearing the halfway point on my plan, everything is on track.
Except my savings, they’ve taken a hammering paying for all these shoes…
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