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Super Shoes: Can They Help You Run Faster or Are They Just for Elites?

by RunnersConnect: Coaching Community, Running Experts, Inspiring Runners, No Fluff Blog
March 24th 2023

If you’ve paid any attention to elite racing times or even had conversations with anyone in your running group, then you know all about “Super Shoes”.

If you’re a new runner, “Super Shoes” a... More

Hello, fellow runners. I'm your host, Finn Melanson. And this is the run to the top podcast podcast dedicated to making you a better runner with each and every episode we are created and produced by the expert team of coaches at runners connect dot net where you can find the best running information on the internet as well as training plans to fit every runner and every budget. If you've paid any attention to elite racing times or even had a conversation with anyone in your running group, then you know all about super shoes. If you're a new runner, super shoes are the general term for running shoes made for racing that contain a carbon fiber footplate that adds more spring to each step and thus improves running economy by reducing the amount of work our runner must do while running at a given speed coach and coach Andy, discuss how super shoes have changed the elite running landscape, but more importantly, discuss what super shoes mean for the average runner they'll talk about when you should give super shoes a try. Why you should avoid wearing them too often and how much they'll help? Hint everyone will be different.

You're gonna love this deep dive into all things super shoes, plus you'll take away some lessons. You can apply your own running. Ketones have been one of the most well researched chemicals when it comes to endurance performance. The only downside is that it typically takes two days of fasting for your body to produce stem in quantities that would help your performance. But thanks to Delta G, you can boost your keto levels to those seen after two days of fasting in just 20 minutes. Learn more at runners connect dot net slash delta G. If you're looking for better and safer headphones while you run, then you need to check out Ola Dance. Their open ear design delivers premium sound while still allowing you to hear your surroundings to stay safe. I'll tell you more about them later in this episode. But if you're looking for a great Christmas or New Year's gift for the runner in your family, head to Ola Dance dot com back slash RT tt everybody. Welcome to the runners, coach chat, coach Michael Hammond here. I've got coach Andy Cozzi with me as well. And today we're gonna be talking about the super shoes, the big big uh controversial topic in running of the last, you know, five or so years.

Um Actually sort of like an unknown amount of time. That's something we're gonna talk about is, is when did this whole thing actually start? Because it really started before everybody kind of became privy to it. So it's, it's funny when, when Andy and I started talking about topics that we should discuss on these coach chats. Super shoes was one of the first ones we right away just had like a zillion things to say, I think because we're both, we're both like, I mean, Andy still competes but we're both like, recent enough athlete needs to have seen the, the change in the, especially like the elite running world be so jarring, but we're not gonna, just gonna talk about elites. We'll talk about how it relates to, to everyday runners, how it relates to you. I mean, really just how, how this has totally changed the, the sport and, and change it has, I think you would agree with that. Andy. Oh, yeah, for sure. Yeah. Yeah. So let me just, yeah. Yeah. No, no doubt. Let's, let's talk about the timeline a little bit just because I, I think that this isn't just a, a bland like, you know, here's what happened. I don't want to bore everyone with like the history. I, I, the reason we wanted to talk about the history is because I think the history of it is actually really interesting.

Um The, the, the first part I wrote down Andy was talking about the, the 2016 Olympic trials because this is where they were sort of behind the scenes, like no one knew about them. I mean, I I, I consider myself pretty well ingrained in the running world and, and, and in the elite running world as well just because of like, I don't know, people, you know, and connections you've made over the years and yet I was, I was totally unaware in 2016, I, I wouldn't say I became kind of privy to them. And so more like 2018 thereabouts. But in 2016 at the Olympic trials, the way it happened was that some Nike athletes were wearing unreleased super shoes. I I think they were the vapor fly, you know, next percents or, or whichever one that was like the first like prototype. And this became a pretty big controversy. I I I pulled up an article uh that I remember reading this back at uh when it came out about uh Kara Gaucher talking about how so Kara finished fourth place just out of making the Olympics top three, went to the Olympics. Kara finished fourth, Shalane Flanagan was 3rd, 2, 29 19.

Kara Gauer was 4th 2, 30 24. So a minute back, you would look at that and think, OK, there's no, she had no prayer of Kesh or a full minute like that's pretty close. The controversy is that later on, Kara realized that Shalane was wearing these prototype Nike shoes that we now know, make you so much faster, but that was definitely not an understood a well understood thing at the time that was definitely, like, even when Kara came out and said that, I think that was still a little bit of a controversial thing to say and looks like, like it looks like, um, you know, sour grapes, like, it looks like sour grapes. Like I didn't make the team because, you know, it's kind of like saying the person ahead of you was doping or, or whatever. Instead it was the person ahead of me was wearing the spikes. But I think that that was a pretty dirty thing for, uh, you know, I, I don't like to just sit there and, you know, Nike beating up on Nike is kind of like a dead horse at this point. It's, it's, I mean, it's still worth it sometimes. But I think at the same time, uh that was a pretty dirty move, I think, uh like if they, assuming that they knew how much improvement that there would be with those shoes, that was a, a very nice way to put, it would be that it was sneaky.

It was very well. What's, what's funny about that is I was just listening to Kara and Dez podcast and I feel like I just keep bringing that up, talked about this. I know I am pretty much. No, I, they basically just talked about this on their most recent podcast. And uh Kara Raf referenced that there was actually a study at C U which is where she went undergrad. So she, so they, um, I guess they've been testing to see about how much faster these shoes could make them. So they were doing the research on, you know, understanding how these shoes were gonna work, what benefits there would be. And so they knew they knew that they were going to make them faster. I think that, and that's where, when, when they first came out they were calling them the, the 4% or something like that. I think it was two, wasn't it? 2%? At first? I thought it was 2%, whatever, whatever it was. Yeah. They knew, they knew they were fast. They knew they were fast. Yeah. Yeah. You know, no doubt that this, this wasn't Nike being like, oops, like these shoes magically make you fast. We didn't know that they made you this much faster. They, you're right. They were, they had their top engineers on this, they knew exactly what they were doing and, and I think it's, it's hard to say because you're like, you're sitting there in the battle of shoes.

The battle of companies. Of course, like before this whole thing happened, the concept of a company giving their athletes the best shoes was not a controversial thing to say at all. Like, of course they want to give them the best shoes and of course their athletes want to have the best shoes and of course they want to have better shoes than the guy or the G in Brooks or, or in or whatever, of course they did. This was just such a massive change that I think, and that's, that's really why are we, why are we doing an entire podcast on this? It's not because they're this tiny little thing. It's because it's caused a massive, huge shift in, in running. Whether it's a, uh, the elite world, it's been noticed the most because the elite world, we pay more attention to times and, and, you know, places and stuff and there's big money at stake a lot of the time. But even for average everyday runners, I mean, it has made a, a big massive difference. So, yeah, there, there's no doubt that Nike knew what was going on and, and I think that it's just a, it's, it's a very interesting thing to look back at the 2016 trials how naive we all were and how we had no idea what was, what we were in store for in the next, you know, six or seven years since then.

Yeah, it makes me think about, you know, did they have rules for how that was supposed to work? Did they did? I, I don't know if those are in place at that point. I know they have them now, but at that, At that time it was like a scramble, I guess it was more so the scramble was more from before the 2020 trials. And because that's where we saw a little bit more of this. OK. Now we're all becoming more aware and what are other shoe companies going to do? How are they going to match this? How are their sponsored athletes going to fare against these shoes we know are faster and so that's when they finally were like, OK, we have to have a standard, we have to test. these, there's got to be some and, and that kind of just like, brings up a whole new thing. Do you have to test new shoes? Do they, do they have to get them checked before a race? Like how does that work? Could somebody, you know, theoretically start to engineer their own shoes or do some stuff or manipulate them in a way that could make them even faster? And so like, where does it end? Where do we, where do we draw this line? That was kind of the thing that, Um and yeah, and I think you were right in 2016.

I was at that trials, I didn't have the, knew nothing about any shoes. I remember being asked by somebody or no one of my teammates. So I had never run a marathon going into 2016. That was gonna be my first. And one of my teammates at El had messaged the, they had sent an email out to all the girls and she similarly hadn't run a marathon and she was like, what shoes do we run in? And a bunch of people are throwing out like the new balance of 15 hundreds or something like that, which is literally just a flat, like a flat. It's nothing exciting about it. Not a whole, just, just a lightweight, almost nothing to it with a tiny bit of support for the distance shoe. Nothing, nothing exciting about it. And so, you know, it was, that wasn't the time where you raced in the, the lightest shoe that you could possibly run a marathon in without, you know, injury or whatever else. That was all that, that's all we knew. So, um it's pretty interesting to kind of see that, that transform. Now, those are like, you know, back in my day shoes, like, you know, wearing, wearing a basic flat is, is such an antique concept now.

But, you know, we talk about 2016 moving on to like it was 2018 and 2019 thereabouts when you started to see kind of the math adoption, you know, 2016, we just said it was like these top level Nike athletes that had this prototype 2018, 19, that's where you started to see. I mean, I, I remember particularly the 2018 Chicago was insane. I think it was just a really good day as well. Like it was a good weather day, there was good pacing and stuff, but the times were off the charts and I, I, I wrote down here talking about a, a buddy of mine who I, I actually used to train with. He's, he's, I think he's a year younger than me, but I trained with him back in the day and he, he definitely was at the time, we were always focused on the track and, and to be honest, and he knows, he knows this. I've talked to him about this since then. He just was, he was out of his element. He was not a track guy. I think his college pr in the five K was like 14 twenties or something, you know, not, not bad, but not, you know, we had a guy who, that season I think ran 13, 19 or something like that. So he was just way, way out of his element. But he kept training for the marathon.

He was a grinder. He could really grind those long runs. He definitely, he found his event once. He found like the half and the full. But he ended up, I remember in Chicago he ran 2 11 that year and it just blew my mind. Like my, my head just exploded. I was like, look, I knew this guy was having this really great progress and, and having a lot of success, but 2 11 like that's, that's not a joke of a time. And, and for Americans, you look at the list at least prior to the last few years. 2 11 is a pretty damn good time. You break 2 10 you're con you were considered world class as an, as an American, as a Kenyan, maybe not necessarily, but as an American, you're world class. So that definitely started to blow my mind. And then we moved into The 2020 trials which a as Andy pointed out here, um, that Nike actually gave the shoes to every qualifier. Andy, you were, you were, well, no, you, you were there as a, as a participant or as a, as you saw, kind of like what was going down there? Yeah, I had so I had, at the time I was part of a team here locally and we were sponsored by Solomon and that was a new sponsorship we had just gained.

And, you know, the, the, the road market was a new thing for them. They're very heavy in the trail market and they have fantastic shoes for that. And now they're trying to integrate into the road shoe market. And so now they're also now trying to keep up with the, these new racing shoes as it's very quickly developing. And uh I remember they had tried, they had came up with a prototype and going into 2020. I think that they also had, they passed a ruling where you, the something about the uh prototypes could be worn and, but then once you get to a certain date, no more prototypes are allowed to be worn uh in a race if they're not available to the general public. So that was a rule that came actually after the 2020 Olympic trials, it came, it kicked in later. Uh And so that didn't affect this. So you could have a prototype that's not ready for the public yet and we could wear them. And so they had kicked one over to us, but it didn't have the plate, it had some foam, but didn't have the high stack, this high stack. It didn't have the things that really made up those, those fast, you know, shoes.

And so I think that, that a bunch of our athletes that had qualified were sitting here being given free Nikes and just being like, well, what do I do? You know? Do I do? I, I want to, I want to run a strong race. Do I need to wear these? And it was definitely that space of like, you would go to a race and you would look down and all the Nikes were that really bright, vibrant color. You would just see a sea of those shoes. It was like everyone around me when I'd be at races would be wearing those shoes. And so it was like, well, do you make yourself competitive? You kind of have to. And so we had to kind of have this, this back and forth with Solomon of like, ok, well, what do we do with the shoes? Like, can we, and then some people didn't have the right sizes so a bunch of them ended up racing, having to race in the Nikes or they chose to. And it was kind of like a, a little bit. I remember at the time we were kind of like, well, that's a little sketchy. I don't know if we feel comfortable about that. Um, you know, they, they, a bunch of people decided to wear a shoe, they had never worn before on race day Because of what they were and what their reputation was, which was crazy and they're being given them for free.

So, why not? Um, so I think that made, made for pretty interesting trials. I don't know how it ended up changing things. Um, but yeah, that, that was also the trials and I wanted to bring up, I wanted to kind of see what your thoughts were on. The, there was 500 plus women who qualified. We talked about that last year and 200 something men. So there was an increase in the number of men between 20 16-2020, but it was only somewhere in the woods of like 50 more men, somewhere around there, whereas we're seeing double the amount of women. And so I wondered kind of, what, what do you think in terms of how these shoes have helped athletes? Why was there a bigger jump on the women's side? And I mean, I guess it could go down to other things, but we saw a huge jump on the women's side. Not so much in the men's. And do you think it was related to the shoes that perform on women differently, or do we think it's just that, you know, women in the, in the United States just kind of caught the bug and we were going for it. I don't know. It's a great question. I, I, I wonder about it myself and I, I did a little bit of homework, you know, before this on, on the standards.

Is this, does this sound right? Andy, I, I couldn't find like USA T F S actual, it's hard to find standards for previous trials, at least what I found. But is, am I correct that for men? It was 2 19 and for women it was 2 45. Does that sound right? Ok. So, so I, I think there's two things to look at. The, the first one is like, how does the, how do the shoes affect you? Like, what, how much do they actually help? I mean, we'll talk about this more. We have this written down as like a big section to talk about here in a few minutes. I think that, uh, to, to provide a little teaser for that, the more time and the more steps that you're in them, definitely, the more they help. Like there's no doubt about that. So, like just looking at it in basic theory, someone running a 2 45 marathon is gonna get a more benefit than someone running a 2 19. It, it's just it, that, that's what we're seeing is we're seeing the longer, the more time and the more amount of steps that you're in the shoes. So that could be one explanation is just like literally, the women are running a little bit slower. So thus, it's helping a little bit, I would personally say.

And this is just my, this is my personal opinion. I think that I look at a 2 45 versus a 2 19 and I see a 2 19 as a faster time than a 2 45. Personally, I do, I just do. I think that you look at it relative to the American records, men's American record. Kalli Kuchi, which is funny that that's still a pre super shoe. Well, it's a pre super shoe but it's a, during E P O era. We, we can talk about that another time but um 22 oh five for the marathon, women's is 2 18 insanely fast. That's crazy. But you look at two oh 5 to 2 19, 2, 18 to 2 45. That's definitely a, a much bigger gap. I, I think it was, I think it was probably more that personally, I think it was probably more that the time was just a little bit slower. Like maybe my best guess is what USA T F did before. This was maybe the because the 2 2016 didn't have quite as big of a, um, you know, as big of a number of women qualified. They just, you know, because it's the marathon trials, it's not such a huge problem to have a big field, you know, it's not the track trials where you're like, oh my God, we have 85 people qualified in the five K.

What do, how do we, what are we going to do? Three heats? It doesn't make any sense. The marathon is different. You just have waves and, and, or not really waves, but like the top seeded people get to start in the front. It's a, it's a relatively simple thing to, uh, accomplish logistically. So I think it was probably that simple, but I could, I could definitely see the fact that the shoes just affect it a little bit more, the longer you're out there. I could see that have, have, having, having had an effect. Yeah, I guess that, yeah, that makes sense. And I do think you're right, the 2 45 was a standard wise. It's interesting because I remember looking at the stats last week and I think, I don't, don't quote me on this, but I think I read that the women had more half qualifiers for some reason, which is interesting because that means that we had less people actually hitting 2 45. So, um, but I do think that on the women's side we're, we're also only looking at, you know, how many years of actually being able to compete in the US Olympic. So I think the progression of women's running has taken off in recent years, especially in the US. And so that probably does have a big impact as well.

But yeah, I just thought it would be interesting to kind of see, you know, what other, what other things could be at play here. Do the shoes help women a little bit more, maybe, maybe with the extended time on feet. So yeah, I do want to point out that as much as I said, like, like I feel like it's gonna look like bad for me to say, oh, that time is slower. I actually am a big fan. I I said this, we talked about this last week. I'm a big fan of them allowing more qualifiers in the trials. I thought it was super awesome in 2020 that there was I I should have looked up the exact names to give them their um their due. But I remember there was a woman who was like 42 years old had like two or three kids who qualified and I was just like, that's super bad ass. Like that's a great human story that we can build in. And again, it's not, the track trials can get dicey because it's like If you have in the 1500, if you let 70 people qualify and you have all these heats, you could have people that, that creates these problems where you have people tripping or falling, you could trip someone who is ranked in the top 10 and maybe has a chance to make the Olympics that you cause these huge logistical headaches in the marathon.

You just don't like other than just having more people on the course, it's more, you know, you got to provide more whatever. Like there's, there are logistical challenges but they're not the same as track. I think it's actually, I'm a big fan of having, ok. Yeah, you don't want it to balloon absolutely out of control. But I'm actually a big fan of having, uh, pretty healthy standards for or not healthy standards, pretty healthy numbers and thus not having the standards be like, so insane for the Olympic trials. Yeah, I think I, I do think that the jump for the women's side, they needed to boost it up. But I feel like the aggressive jump that we put in place is going to be is almost, and we talked about this a little bit last week about how do we grow the sport. And I think having something that feels almost attainable, but you're gonna have to work for it. I think it's still, it still creates a space where it feels special to qualify and be able to make it there. But I think it also needs to be something that we keep people involved in running and shooting for it and having goals to chase for it, uh, you know, as long as we can. And so I think, like, maybe, maybe we dropped it to 2 40.

That would have been, I think a little bit more manageable. I think that gives you all those people who ran 2 45 or low 22 40 threes. I mean, that's attainable for sure. But now we're looking at an eight minute drop. That seems, um, it's a lot, I think when you've, when you've started to grind out and, and you start to hit your top end speed in the marathon, you know, there's, it's, it's a lot harder to start dropping that big time as it is. Maybe when you're first kind of getting into it. So it'll be, it'll, I'll be interested to see how many, how many qualifiers we get out of this year. But, um, yeah, Clearly so much of it is about like, you know, maybe that 2016-2020, they're like, we want more female participants, but there was also the super shoes. So it was just, they lowered the standard and tons of people ran way faster. So it just went bananas. Also, if you think about it too. In 2016, the standard was actually 2 43 until about December of 2015. So then they, I think it was that they, they didn't release the worlds or whatever that they didn't reach the standard from the Olympic committee until, you know, in December at some time frame and theirs was 2 45 and the US can't have a faster standard than what was already in place for from the Olympic side.

So they had to boost it back. And so I think that was something that two people might have been close to the 2 45. But, you know, they didn't get it. So they, they are, they close to the 2 45. Not quite, um, but they are two minutes still shy of the goal, so they probably didn't try again. Uh And so, yeah, so there was that, that I think also came into play in 2016, which I had forgotten that happened. I remember it happening because, and my coach qualified that way. She had run, I think 2 44 she had, had twins, I think a couple of years before and was kind of slowly working Your way back into it. She ran 244 or something like that in Columbus and thought she didn't qualify. She was like, uh, well, I guess I'll take a break which it definitely threw off a ton of people going into LA. You know, you find out in December that you're running a race in February, like the biggest race of your life. Not enough time. Not, not, not a big, uh, yeah, not a big window there. Well, Andy, we'll work into, I, I, we had some stuff written down about like the track super spikes as well because I think that that's a really interesting part, but I, I, I'll breeze through this just because the ma, let's be honest, the majority of our listeners are road racers who, who are, are much more concerned with the, uh, the vapor flies and alpha flies and stuff than they are necessarily the super spikes.

But I still think it's been really interesting. What we've seen it was 2021 indoors is where you really started to see the super spikes take hold. I mean, I, my college coach, his name was Ben Thomas. He, he wound up, he left Virginia Tech, my alma mater and, and took the job at Oregon and it, uh, back in 2018 and 2021 indoors, he had two guys in the same race run 3 50 in the mile, like 3 50 point something in the mile. And my mind, you know, of course, your mind is just blown like these guys were half a second off. Bernard Lagat's American record. That's Bernard Lago. This is a, you know, one of the greatest milers who's ever lived. They were just barely off his time. Yeah. And, and he probably did that as a pro. He was, yeah, he was, he was a pro. He was in like the prime of his career when he did it. So, that was absolutely mind blowing. And it's funny, I remember I had a text thread with, with a few of my close friends and who, who I ran with in college and we were all talking about it and I was, of course, I was like, of course, it's gonna have to be me. I'm gonna be the guy who has to go there.

And I was just like, guys, this has to be the shoes like it has to be, this is crazy. And it was funny because I got some backlash for it. Uh In fact, one of my good friends said, well, I, I wrote this down somewhere down below, but one of my good friends said, hey, if it's, if, if something that people are doing makes them run faster, I'm all for it. And I was just like, do you, do you understand what that could be applied to like that could be applied to some, some pretty dirty things? But I, I, I, I was more so saying it because I was just like the, the mean is gonna improve. So the median is gonna improve so much it. That, that's where I think that's where people were going to start to accept it. So 2021 of course, that summer we had, you know, the Olympics, the 2020 Olympics was in 2021 of course. And a story that I remember in particular, I think it was Brooks that kind of like opened the floodgates here. But other other um, shoe companies did this as well. They allowed their athletes that were sponsored by these companies and I, I need to reiterate here. These people literally had contracts to wear Brooks or Adidas or whatever gear their, their sponsors permitted them to wear Nike spikes at the Olympic Games.

Like this is the biggest event of, of these athletes lifetime and of their contracts and they were allowed to wear Nike spikes. And that was definitely the point where I was just like guys, like if, if they're, if they're not having an effect, if they're not that much faster, why are these companies literally a allowing themselves to be like bulldozed by Nike and have their own star athletes running Nike spikes. There's no other possible explanation for that. Yeah, I mean, no company is going to forfeit their only way to have any amount of publicity is the Olympic Games, unless you're a title sponsor and you're paying whatever millions of dollars to actually be a sponsor. You cannot even talk about the Olympic Games. You can't even say the word Olympics. You can't even reference where it is. You can't say anything about it. So, and the athletes are all wearing Nike uniforms because they're the sponsor for the USA T F. And so this is the only place that they have their athletes wearing their shoes is when they're racing.

And if a company is going to say we'd rather you run faster knowing that their shoes aren't better that it's not going to come lightly. That's not a decision that's gonna be, you know, off the cuff. They're not going to be like, whatever, go do whatever you need, whatever we don't care. So, what a humiliating decision too. You're like, you're like, you're like, Brooks sports marketing head and you're just like, oh, man, I can't do this. I can't like no way, no way. We're gonna let our athletes wear Nike spikes. Are we really gonna do this? You're looking around you a little like board meeting and everybody's like, I mean, yeah, what, what are we gonna do? Have them go out there and get crossed because they're not wearing the, the, the best shoes that are on the market. So that, that's how crazy it was. I think that the next couple of years, you know, last year things got a little crazier but it was this year 2023 indoors is where things have just really started to. I mean, I used this word already but go bananas. I mean, times are absolutely out of control. The biggest one was definitely, uh, that first weekend in February where there were, what was it? 52, sub four miles at one meet?

I asked, I asked my wife, you know, my wife ran track at, at, at, in college. Like she, she's very familiar with track. She, you know, obviously I'm very involved in the sport. So she's, she's you know, she's up to date but she doesn't pay as close, near, as close of attention as I do. And I asked her, I said, hey, how many, how many sub four miles do you think there were today? Like, it was at the end of that, or this weekend? I think it was the next day. I think it was that Sunday. And she's like, like everywhere I was like, yeah. Yeah. Every, just, you know how many so for and she's like 40. Like that was like a crazy high number. And that's, we were talking about everywhere. Everywhere. How many so four miles were and I was like, no, no, no, there were 52 at one me, one single meat had 52 Sub four min mi. Wow, that's crazy. I mean, that's, that's a statistic that they keep a list on. And I know that because, and here in Raleigh we have this big event called the Sir Walter Miler and it was set up to make it possible for runners who have never broken for go for it. So the men were going for sub four minutes, the women were going for sub 4 30 arguably the 4 30 is a little bit more difficult. But um the, the, the number of sub four, you know that that is changing.

It's becoming like it's the standard, standard is becoming what like 3 55. I don't even know it's like moving this bar down a little bit. Um And so to see that many at one time, I mean, I think it was a big deal one time at Sir Walter that there was like nine that broke four. Like that's huge. That has exactly, that was a huge, you know, day for, for the Sir Walter Wilder guys, like all these guys are breaking for and that was before the super shoes. So, so yeah, we're definitely seeing a shift and that also brings up. So I had looked up to see, you know how there's been records just dropping like there's like lately and I think, you know, beyond just the sub four mile, we're seeing it just impact every event across the board. So right now our in the 2023 season, which indoor wise is only, you know, a couple months in right now, there were 123456789, 10, 11 women's records that have dropped just in the last couple of months, like, like we're talking like all time records and then there's even one, I mean, Caitlin Tuy who shout out to my, um my alma mater State go pack.

Um She has been running amazingly but she broke the 1500 m collegiate record on her way to the new mile record. So just insane stuff that's happening out there and not to discredit anything anyone's doing. It's just that we're setting a new bar And there's, you know, there's something else that's out there that's going to make people faster, but eventually that's going to level off and we'll start to see where, where everything new lies. That's the way I like to see it, I guess. So, the other interesting thing looking at that though was that there was 11 women's records who dropped, but only four men's records. And this is NCAA. Uh, so that's, I thought that was interesting as well that there's again, less, less men's records. But I think that the men again have been been uh you know, in the sport longer kind of chasing these, setting these records for a long time and really refining that. Whereas women are starting to kind of, you know, up the ante and, and become faster and faster. Everyone. This is coach Jeff stepping in for finn to talk about one of the products that we currently are super excited about.

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His name is Loy la la. This guy does not get enough love because he was otherworldly in college. This guy ran, I think he ran 13 oh seven indoors, which is unbelievable. And then he ended up running 13 flat outdoors as a Collegian. Like, like he was, he was, um, he wasn't running with his, like his college singlet. But either way, that's how good he was. That's the only reason that the five K record hasn't been broken was because he was broken by an absolute otherworldly superstar that is gonna be super difficult to uh to attain. But yeah, the, the women's records, the women's records have absolutely gone ballistic. And I think that's what happens though when you have a Caitlin Tuy who is a generational talent and has the best footwear. Like that's the thing there, there, maybe there's other people who have, who weren't necessarily a generational talent, but they had the best footwear that are going crazy. You get the combo of both. That's when you get a Caitlin Tuy who's just going ballistic and running in times, no doubt. Um And Andy, I had, I had to throw it up there. Uh So I was the 356th US sub four mile, uh, this year in 2023 there currently are no, just under 60 brand new sub four miles.

It's at 720 now. So by the end of the year, like it's conceivable that there's gonna be close to 100 brand new ones this year. And there's, there's so there's gonna be, uh, right now there's already double. What there were again in 2011 is when I first broke four. So it's not like it's been an eternity, you know, and there's already more than double of that and, and you look at the list. It's crazy how up to 29, up to 2020, up to 2021, they're about, you know, there were, there were solid numbers but they weren't huge. Now, the 2021, and 23 lists are gigantic. So that's what you're seeing. It's really wild how, how quickly it's happening. So, we wanted to talk about bring, bringing it back to not just like the, the spikes, but also more importantly, the, uh, the shoes in the, in the marathon, the road shoes. We wanted to talk about how much are they worth because I think that's where, you know, I think we can all agree. Hopefully, by this point we can all agree that they're faster. I think if anybody, I, it's funny, I love going on, let's run, uh, the, let's run forum let's run is so much fun. It's so, it's such a, people call it like a cesspool.

People call it like, uh, whatever. And it, it, it only makes it better to me. I, I just, I think it's so funny and, and anyway, there are still people on let's run who are, like, denying that the shoes have like, any impact. I'm like, come on, man. But, but in terms of like, how much faster are they? The, the general consensus and I don't say general consensus as in, I agree with it, but the general consensus has been 1 to 2% faster. Ok. So I wrote this down, you know, did some super quick like napkin math. It was two hour marathon, a two-hour marathon. So gi level would be 1.2 to 2.4 minutes faster. That's how much faster you would run at that level. Three hour marathon would be 1.8 to 3.6 minutes. That's a pretty substantial amount of time. Four hour marathon would be 2.4 to 4.8 minutes. So even with those conservative estimates, you're looking at almost five minutes, the funny thing is that I don't really agree with that. I think that that's too conservative. I, there was an article, a Washington Post article I pulled up that, uh, quoted it as let me, let me pull this up so I can quote it, it says an independent study compared different brands of super shoes and found that the Nike Vapor Fly improved running economy by about 2.7% at speeds of 16 kilometers an hour or six oh two mile pace compared to a control shoe.

I think based on what I have seen, You know, this is not super, super scientific in terms of what I'm just using. I'm combining that article combined with just what I have I have observed in the sport. I would say that 2.7 is probably a much more accurate number. And that would be again for that Elliot Capo level two hour marathon. 3.24 minutes. That's a huge amount of time. Three hour marathon, 4.86 and four, uh, a four hour marathon, 6.5 minutes. So, we're talking about some pretty major numbers there. You know, when you're, when you're running, if you're right around like a three hour marathon and you're possibly improving by five minutes. That's a pretty, that's a pretty massive number. Yeah, that's pretty wild. I mean, yeah, I mean, I, I, I, I'd like to think back when I ran, gosh, when I ran the, the, my 1 12 half, I remember I was on a list. I was like the 28th fastest American woman in 2015. It was the 28 fastest that year. So I was pretty high up on that list now.

I think like, we're like, we're seeing, I mean, even one of our former coaches, Fiona dropped her first, her first half marathon. And what one oh one oh seven? Is that what she ran? So, it's wild to see that. But it's interesting to kind of think about, um, it is making the, we're seeing it on the marathon distance too. We know, we just talked a lot about the track but just even knowing that there's those lists are getting, you know, we, we're seeing faster and faster times coming out of people, um, in all the distances going on the road and everything. So, um, you know, Andy, I think this is a good time to, you know, before we get too. I, I don't want to get too into like the nitty gritty because it's like most people have heard that before. I wanna, I wanna get controversial. I wanna get a little, uh, I wanna get a little down and dirty with this. So I think that what's interesting is that what you talked about earlier with you? You said like, how are these, how are these races testing? You know, how, how were they examining shoes? But by the way, in 2016 they definitely weren't, you know, they definitely weren't In 2020. Of course, that once they were giving them all out, you know, that now it's becoming a little bit more a thing.

I think that it's interesting because the, the argument that most people have made is, and I understand this argument. I really do is how are you gonna police it? Like, like, what is it worth, is it worth it to police it? That's crazy. There is a precedent for this. We can look at cycling. I, I don't like to look at cycling as much because cycling is so complicated. There's so much technology and so much hardware, but swimming is a really interesting one. So swimming has banned types of wetsuits before. Like, that's something that if you haven't, you know, paid close attention to swimming, you have probably have no idea. Well, first you don't even know what a wetsuit is. It's just a big, like, uh, the type of suit that people wear when they swim. Uh, and, and you certainly don't know that they make you swim faster. There have been wetsuits that have been banned because they just provided a crazy, crazy advantage. So there's not, there is a precedent for this. I think that where it becomes dicey, is that running? This is where it, it's, it's unfortunate in my mind to see this even happening because running has always been such a, such a simple sport, you know, like it's running has always been that type of thing where it's like, no matter your background, no matter your socioeconomic status, you know.

Yeah. All right. Like, maybe you can't afford the, the A six gel nimbus or whatever if, if you're poor. But like, at the same time most anybody can throw on a cheap pair of running shoes and go for a run. Right. And you know, that, that's been something that I think has been a very attractive thing about the sport for such a long time again. Not that there, I know people are gonna be like, oh, but there were expensive running shoes. I understand that. But it's, it was such an accessible sport relative to anytime anyone says that running is not an accessible sport. I'm like, dude, go look at literally any of these big like look at the country club sports, man. Are you kidding me? How expensive those are to like put your kids into or something like that. Running is a very simple, very basic sport. It's unfortunate in a way to see something like this happen where there's such a, I don't wanna say a technological leap is bad, but just such a Monumental shift to where there is a piece of technology that you have to have. Otherwise you are gonna be absolutely left in the dust. And not to mention they are very expensive. They, these are not cheap shoes, these are well over $200 shoes.

And I, but so anyway, I think that from a policing standpoint there, there's, I had two thoughts on this and I'll get, I wanna get yours as well. Andy. But number one, I think that there is a precedent for it, like I just said, talking about swimming. But at the same time I was thinking about this, this morning, I was, I was on a walk with my dogs and I was like, man, the problem is if you wanted to police it, I think the window on that already closed because we've already opened the floodgates for it. It would be really awkward to all of a sudden. Be like, all right, we're gonna make a, you know, co comes out the I O C or whatever and they make a big ruling and they say in, in the sport of running, you know, we're not gonna allow these super shoes anymore. We're gonna ban the, whatever we want, you want to call it the, the exact technology, we're gonna ban this. It's not allowed anymore. That would be extremely awkward because then what do you do with times that have been run over the last, you know, two or three years in track and, and five or six years in the marathon? Do you throw them out? Do you say, do you put an asterisk next to them? You know, what, what do you do? I'm, I'm afraid that, I think the, the window on that in my mind has closed and I think it, in my mind, I think it's just, we just kind of have to move forward.

Most people already have, but we just kind of have to move forward and accept that it's just part of the game. Yeah, I think, I think them though, at least getting ahead of the, um, just having uh the, the standard be that you can't use a prototype. I think that's the best thing that they could have done. I mean, it took them a minute to get there. But there's, that's the thing that caused the controversy in the first place is like, if you have shoe technology that's making runners faster, but it's not accessible to everybody by, in others in that are at the same level then and, and not everyone's going to have the opportunity to get a hand a hand on those before the race, then, you know, that's where we come into. And this is the problem I had when it all first started was that it's just like you have to have the Nikes and there's so many sponsored athletes that were like, oh, well, I can't wear those and it's not fair like, you know, I'm, you know, people who are competitive, I mean, De London, sponsored by Brooks, we saw, I mean, Molly, Puma, if Puma hadn't been able to create a similar option or prototype, would we have seen Molly even make it to uh our Olympic team?

Like, who knows? That's the, that's the kind of stuff that we're looking at and, and like you said, I think the, the accessibility I think is huge. It, it's, that's a barrier. Now, you have to have those, you have to have a super shoe and I pretty much all of them are upwards of 2 50 there's some, there's some options that are maybe cheaper, but like, how, how good do they compare to these, these shoes if you really want to be competitive, um, either in your age group to qualify for Boston or to qualify for, you know, a trial or just be one of the top runners. If you're an elite level, you just, you end up having to be able to purchase this $200 pair of shoe that's recommended you only wear for what, like 100 miles or something crazy like that. Not, not, not a long lasting, you know, shoe, not an economical shoe. No. And, and that was what I, the problem I had was that it was just creating a separation and the bigger thing that I had was that, you know, it's Nike who's already got a stranglehold on the sport as the sole USA T F sponsored or sponsor.

And then you also see them being the ones that have the most money to invest in the technology, you know, changes. And now we see runners having to run in them and this was before all the other brands were able to catch up. And I found that to be a frustrating thing because we're just creating more of a monopoly on the sport when some companies have this ability. And I know that's part of just, you know, being an edge in, in, you know, in the US, you know, that the capitalism, capitalism of it all, you know, that's part of what makes them good as a company, they're able to do that. But it, it just kind of, to me frustrated me that it just kind of is continually narrowing down into having to be in this one shoe that already has so much power over the sport as a whole. And so I, I remember being pretty frustrated and now I'm happy now that there's options, um, because there, you know, the shoes are also, there's different brands that fit people's feet differently. And, um, you don't wanna have to be in the one shoe if it doesn't work for you.

So at least happy from that standpoint, but I do hope that it doesn't, we don't start to see more of a divide and, and who can afford to run fast because I think that's a problem we have in, in a lot of sports in the US is that like, you kind of have to pay your way in. And now if that becomes something that starts to integrate, running in football, I think are the only two sports I saw that the other day where the high school, you can, you can make it in high school, you can make it as an athlete through your high school, which is the cheapest easiest because you're already there. You join the team. No, you don't need private lessons. You don't need to be part of a club. You can, you can do those things, but that's not necessarily going to be the things that make you good at it. It's, uh, you know, just being accessible to it. So I hope that that doesn't change that and I hope that there's still going to be a way to make sure that everyone has access to the, the technology. But I don't know how they'll do that. I would very much agree with that. Yeah, that, that's what I was saying. This isn't at this point. I'm not even speaking in practical terms because look, the shoes are here. It is what it is like, we can't, you know, you know, snap our fingers and have them disappear.

I'm more so saying like, if I could, I would, like, if, if I could make them disappear and have it never have happened, I would because it's just, it's just a, an odd thing to happen and, and I know people are gonna come out and say, uh shoe technology has been improving forever. Like you, you know, I ran in faster shoes than Jim Ryan did or whatever. And I'm not disagreeing with that, but it was like, it was very linear, it was very much like slow, steady growth, you know, slow, steady, getting quicker and then all of a sudden 2016 to 2020 just boom, just everything goes absolutely crazy after um after that, so they're here to stay. It is what it is. You know, theory, technically, technology always tends to become cheaper with time. Uh because of mass accessibility, mass production, you know, each of the companies are going to kind of drive their own prices down because if new balance can make one that's every bit as fast. But they say we're going to target a broader market and, and charge 50 to $100 less Nike is gonna have to respond. So, in theory, again, in theory, the capital, capitalist system will work there that it will make them more accessible over time.

But yeah, I, I love that concept of like, you know, the, the vast majority of the best runners in the world in distance running typically are not people who, who had like crazy private lessons or anything like that, go to tennis, go to golf, go to, um, I mean, yeah, I mean, even some of the more, maybe more mainstream type sports, soccer, soccer, you're not playing that, no doubt. Yeah, that, that, that's definitely the case. So I, I, there's definitely that part of me and maybe I'm just, you know, now I'm sounding like an old guy who like an old bitter guy who's like, oh, you know, whatever, but maybe there's a little bit of that where I'm just like, I want that purity to, to maintain and I hope this doesn't just like, ruin that, that element But anyway, you know, Andy, talking about like, you know, moving it again back, we, we keep getting, like, for, for me and Andy, it's very easy to get, like, really deep into the elite circle and kind of like the hypothetical sort of theoretical stuff. But, but scaling it back a little bit. Should everyone wear them? I mean, you know, obviously, yes, like, like, obviously you should wear them as much as I'm sitting here saying like, oh man, I kind of, I kind of wish in a way, I wish like I could make them have not happened at the same time.

Of course, you should wear them. It's definitely that question of like, why not, why, why the heck wouldn't you wear them? But at the same time, it's funny because I, I, I still have to point out how funny that is how, how much of a parallel there is between saying that and, you know, when you hear about pro athletes who, who uh who cheat, who, who use performance enhancing drugs and when they finally get revealed and they finally, like, talk about it. One of the big things they always say is, well, everyone else was doing it. So it's not really cheating, you know, and, and the funny thing is you can think what you will about that, but you look back at the tour de France, especially in like the nineties and early two thousands, everyone literally was doing that you know, Lance Armstrong is looked at as like the big cheater, big doper and he definitely did every single person that was in the top 10 of the tour ended up getting nailed or, or, or at least was connected to other guys who were, who were doping. So in a way as dirty as that sounds and as, as like scummy as that sounds, it's not necessarily untrue. So anyway, I say that to say, I say that to like, make the parallel between how odd it is that now we're talking about this thing just because it's been deemed, it has not been deemed illegal.

We're sitting there talking about it as well. Everyone else is doing it. So it's not really cheating, you know. Yeah, I mean, it's kind of like we push that edge and in sports all the time, right? I mean, caffeine for instance, gives you a, you know, it's like it gives you a boost. There is, there's no doubt, I mean, not everybody gets that boost. Technically, I think some, there's some, there is some genetics to that how you, how you are actually affected by caffeine. But there's things like that, that there's things that we can do now from a recovery standpoint, like supplements you can take, you know, beat beet juice, beetroot, whatever it is. You know, there's all these things out here now that can help us just continually just like ride that edge of just like is this illegal? Is this, you know what I mean? Um, I think we saw that with the Salazar stuff because we saw him kind of pushing the limit on what that looks like he was doing. He was doing illegal things to find that limit. But I think that we see this in a lot of places where, where we're, we're constantly kind of just trying to meet that point, not quite, not do anything illegal, but we're doing everything we can from the other side of that, that is legal to make sure we're optimal on race day.

And so I think that comes, that's where these shoes are kind of falling in line. It's like, I mean, we always, when we raced, we always wore the faster shoes because we wanted to be faster on race day. And so we're just following suit here. It's just that the technology has gone from one thing to the next. And I think, um, I mean, I, I was very reluctant to want to buy super shoes. I was like, all right, I ran all my pr s before that these were a thing. So my half marathon pr and my marathon pr still stand, they are not in super shoes yet. I'm hoping I'll break that this year in the marathon at least. But, um, I for a long time was like, I want to get back to my previous pr s before where I put on a pair of these shoes because I didn't want to feel like I'm running my pr because of these shoes. Like I was like, I have to get, I have to get fit enough. And then I was like, you know what, I'm running out of time. I am going to be 33 this year. Like I just need to go ahead and just put them on. Everyone else is doing it. Why not? And so I finally did last year, um, still building my fitness back up from some time off, but it's still kind of just like, I was like, I don't really want to have to go there.

I ran my pr S and I think a pair of like just under armor flats. That was, that was it. I don't even think under armor. They're not like a, a great well known shoe company, but I ran 2 38 marathon in them. So, you know, it's, it was so simple then. It was so nice. But, uh, yeah, I kind of kind of was like, I don't wanna, I don't wanna, I don't wanna make the shoes feel like the reason I'm running faster, you know, you need and you need some like, blissful ignorance. You need to be like, like, like if you, if, if you had just never learned why these shoes are fast, you're just like, oh, those are cool. I want a pair of vapor flies. Those look even though they look dorky as heck, in my opinion. But if you were like, if you just were like, oh, I want to wear those and then you run away faster. Just blissful ignorance. Like, wow, I, I did it, I ran faster but, you know, I always ran faster that way. I always was better when I didn't have any, any idea what I was doing, like the first time running any event and you just kind of go out and do it. Kind of, I feel like we kind of need to approach even this. Just kind of like, don't think about it, just think about it, do it. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Don't think, what are you thinking for? You don't need to think this is running, you just do it. These are just another pair of racing flats just, you know.

Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Ignore that, that insanely, like, comically large, like portion of foam that's below your foot. Uh, so, so in terms of like, why, that's something that I think has been really interesting is the debate of like, why the shoes, why are they fast? Like, why, what is it about them that makes them run fast? I, I've thought about like, um, there, there, there's this meme of, of, that's, that's typical. I see on the internet a lot where it's like, you have like, the really dumb person on the left. You have the really smart person on the, on the right. You have the kind of average person in the middle and the, the dumb and the smart person always are in agreement and the middle person is the one who's like overthinking it trying to whatever. And so I, in my head, I've thought of like that the one on the left, the really dumb person is saying like bouncy shoe run fast and then the person, then the, the person in the middle is like, no, no, it's because of like the adaptive changes in the, you know, stride frequency of the percentage bubba and then the person on the right, the smart, the really smart person is just like no bouncy shoes just run fast. So that's something I've thought about. It's like, is it really, is it just bouncy shoes go fast or is it, is there a little bit more to it?

That's been something that's definitely been a bit of a debate is like, what about the training effect? If you're gonna go do maybe your tempo runs or shit? Some people are doing easy runs and long runs and stuff in, in the super shoes? Is there a training, is there a training effect of not just I'm able to do my workouts faster because in theory that alone, that one variable wouldn't necessarily have a huge effect because if it's the shoe, not your body physiology that's making you run faster, then it's not really making you faster. I feel like I'm stuck in like a like an inception group here. But, but that, that the question is, is it, is, is it that, or is it just just that they make you run faster or is there possibly an impact, like less impact on the legs? Is there you are able to recover from those workouts faster? I think about like the spikes and I think about, you know, back when I trained even I, I was a middle distance runner and even I, I didn't wear spikes that much because they were so brutal on your legs. You didn't want to do a lot of your workouts. We didn't just go every single workout and, and throw on spikes.

You know, you, you'd want to do, have a little bit of your shoes on for most of your running, most of your training because of how hard those were on your feet. Is it different now where people can do more training in these things and have less of that, you know, impact on the body. Are they able to recover faster? And thus they're able to train harder. Sort of like I, I wrote it down on our notes that it's similar to performance enhancing drugs. I keep bringing up that parallel. And the reason I do it here is because when you think about like a lot of these drugs, athletes don't just take them to run faster on race day, they also take them so that they can train harder, you can, you're able to train, you're able to do more hard intensity, you're able to do more volume, more intensity, more mileage and you're able to recover from that so much faster. Is that effect happening here with the soup shoes? Yeah. I mean, from what I know they do help with your recovery so that the foam is a little bit protective so that you're taking less impact on. So, from what I know, that's true, I haven't done actually enough running in them to really know for certain.

I, I only have had them for what, less than a year at this point. I think the first time I ran in them was actually last year in March. So I haven't done a ton of practicing in them and I tried to actually, I try to balance it out because I know that there, there are downsides to running in them every day. I know that for a certain, um, but, uh, but yeah, I think from, from the, the running side, I, I kind of this when you wrote down the stuff about looking through the notes about the running economy. I kind of made me think about how we, we look at V 02 max and how someone with a high V 02 max would technically be slower than somebody who has a lower one because of their running economy. And so if these shoes are improving your running economy, would somebody who already has really high, good running economy. Would they get, they'd probably get, they'd get a much higher boost than someone who doesn't have as high of running economy. Right. We're seeing, we'd probably see a difference there. I don't know how that breaks down. Like, does, does your running economy change how effective these shoes are?

And so, so that was one thing that I was super interested in finding out. And so I found an article though from the Washington Post that talked a little bit more about, kind of, are they worth it for everyone? Does everyone have the same effect? And so I'm sure there's plenty of studies we could look at out here, but there was a Nike funded study that I think this one was, um, looked at running speeds ranging from 14 to 18 kilometers an hour or runners who can sustain between a 5 22 or a 6 54 mile pace. Um, and that improved running economy by, but you said this is what we have this 2.7% from in for someone who's going six oh two mile pace. But then they looked at to see if it was the same for slower speeds, the shoes would not be, uh, they hypothesized that they would not be as beneficial. So the new study looked at a 9 40 pace and a nine oh nine mile pace nine. Um, Yes, a four hour marathon is a 909 pace. So trying to see where it talked a little bit more about how there's a little bit less.

So they improve the running economy by only 0.9% on average while they improved by 1.6% at 8:03 pace. So it does seem like there is a somewhat of a difference. Um, I don't know if you were able to find any, any information about that out there about that. But could that come down to just some differences in running economy? The study only looked at 16 to 17 people? That's a very low sample size. So you don't, we don't know what those runners won, like, what's their form, you know, any of that stuff? So that's, that's something that I think that could poke holes in that a little bit. But I feel like the, this negligible difference that we could be looking at is probably not enough for you to, to not go ahead and try some of these out, test them out. You know, my, if you find, if you buy a pair and they don't end up working, you know, that's all right, you can go back to your other pairs and that's fine. You know, you don't have to buy them again. You don't have to keep racing in them. But, um, but yeah, I think from the angle though, of having them help you improve your speed and also help your recovery.

So even if they don't make you, you know, 2.73% faster. If you're recovering better from your races and your hard workouts, then, yeah, why not? Why not, you know, use them even if it's a smaller amount of change in how fast you are? So, I think that's something to think about too. Um, because recovery is equally as important as running fast in training. So I gotta, I gotta say, I gotta say, I'm surprised that the Nike funded study didn't just say like, like, actually you should, you should actually do every single run that you ever do in the most expensive pair of art. Like it just so happens that like every run should be done in like the highest price shoe, uh that doesn't last very long. Like, like I'm surprised they didn't like say like, oh no, actually this, this, this, you know, independent study that we secretly funneled money to. Uh, actually you should definitely wear this and all the other shoe brands. Those aren't any good. Like you shouldn't wear those. Those are no good. But I think that, yeah, look, I think that, you know, there was a lot of questions around this, you know, is it, does it affect different, our economy? Is it, does it affect different people differently?

Are there? You know, I, I pointed out that, um, this a coach, a former high level athlete, his name is Dathan Ritzenhein. He coaches the on, on athletics club in Boulder. They have a bunch of guys running cra, bunch of guys and girls. Alicia Monson too running crazy fast this year. And it was funny, he said something like, oh, it, it actually, I, I don't think they help elite runners as much. Like it doesn't, uh, their, their form the way he was saying it like their form is already really good. It doesn't really help. And I was just like, dude, get out of here, man. Uh it's, it's, it's current athletes and current coaches who are just in total, total denial of, of this. He was like, no, it's not affecting these guys that much. He has guys running absurd times, you know, never before seen just craziness. Like, let's be honest, man, it's affecting everybody. I think if you look at being an athlete that's, I mean, I'm in a different place because I was running much faster before I kind of went through some over training and other issues. But um at the same time, like the, I know generally, you know how fit I am when I'm in training and I, before the race that I did last year, I think I was actually pretty sure I knew what I'd be able to race, but when I put on those shoes, I was like, oh wow, like that workout felt a lot easier.

I think I'm able to run this pace in this race. And so like somebody who has been on either side, who was, is competitively racing? That's, those are the people that are going to have the best perspective on it. I mean, we're, and doesn't care. We're talking about this at some point. People who are currently up the ranks and distance running, they're not going to know any different between super shoes, not super shoes. All they gonna be relative. I mean, there, there's nothing, there's gonna be nothing to compare to. We we are you and I, you know, from the standpoint of like we trained and raced at a high level in regular shoes and like now I'm competing in these shoes. I know there's a difference. I can feel it, you know, i it's, it's just, there's, we know that's happening. We're seeing people run much faster times. Uh So I, I just, I to, to say that it's not, I think you just need the, I mean, some of these coaches won't be able to go back and retest compared to what they, you know. Um So yeah, look, they're, they're way faster.

I think that clearly there's not been any look. Sometimes it frustrates me in the running world. Sometimes when people we see this at runners connect a lot because runners connect, we tend to attract a very, a very smart runner, like a very smart person who is typically more analytical. We get a lot of like engineering types and, and they want to see the data they want to see the studies, they want to see all this. Here's the problem with that. Why would people fund studies about running? Like, they don't care. I hate to tell people, I hate to tell even, like, our audience this no, like people that are gonna put money into these big studies which are super expensive if you want to do a proper study. Yeah, a 17 person study is not a proper study. If you want to do a real study, this stuff is expensive. This stuff can be controversial in terms of like getting, you know, human test subjects or is a very controversial subject. Um Look, they're busy funneling money into cancer research. They're busy fun funneling money into heart disease. These things are way higher priority for research than running like there just isn't that great of data.

I hate to tell you. And the, the funny thing is the data that we do have sometimes we'll have these, these kind of maybe random studies that are like 30 years old. Next thing you know, there'll be another one that comes out more recent that we were just talking about this the other day that will, that will disprove it, that will say something completely different. This is why you have to balance things with, you have to balance. Of course, you wanna pay it as close attention to research and stuff as you can. You have to balance that with anecdotal evidence with human examples you have to. And that's where when people were starting to say and, and some of these studies were like, you know, studies quote unquote these really tiny, like in equals yes, 17 studies were like, uh, no, it's probably like 1%. I was like, look, man, look at the numbers, look at what's happening. There's, there's no way there's no way that some different training method or lifestyle alteration or whatever led to this massive of an inflection point in improvements in time. There's nothing except for a, a drastic massive change that could have led to that. So that's where like, I, I think that people with, with the super shoes, I think it's really simple.

I think, look, they, they make you a lot faster and I think everyone should wear them. I also think that everyone should wear them for some workouts if only just to get used to them. You know, don't, don't go out there on race day and have that be your, your first time. I know they're expensive. I don't want to have everybody have to go get several pairs of these expensive shoes, but do some workouts in them if they, if you find you do a temple run, you know, kind of like you said, like, wow, I, I didn't really feel very hard and, and I feel like I recovered quickly if you go do a workout in them and you feel like, man, like I feel fresh as a Daisy after that workout, it, it, it'd be great if you gotta balance that again with your priorities, with your goals, with your budget, you have to balance that. But if, if you can make that balance work and they work for you, heck yeah, like you should be, you should be doing, you know, a little bit of training in them. You should definitely be doing your racing in them. I think that, you know, this podcast in a way, it's good to discuss the subject. But it's funny how in a way it's almost redundant because it's just like, look, they make you faster and you should wear them. That's, yeah, that's the gist of this. That's the hardest. A couple cautions though that I found is that the wearing them too often.

And I think one thing that's becoming a problem, I won't see, think in the road or not, the road, the shoe market is companies wanting to put plates in pretty much all the shoes, every shoe and the plated shoes aren't necessarily something that you want to do all of your runs in. They do require less of your foot to work. And so a lot of times we're seeing more breakdown and the intrinsic foot muscles of people. And it also can put some additional stress in different places on the lower leg because, you know, that force is being absorbed by the foam in some ways. But then some of it is still going to take on to the lower leg and some of them, some of those shoes because of the foam can be a little less stable. So then we can sometimes see a tightening around the ankle joints and achilles issues. There's other things that have been popping up that so we want to make sure that we're still wearing for, especially for easy runs. You know, I think it's nice for some people that are like, oh, you know, I just feel so much faster. It's just so nice to be able to run every day in them, but that doesn't necessarily help us long term.

So while it may feel good in the moment, you know, we don't want to go, you know, another few months and end up with an injury that's kind of dragging on and we can't get rid of it. So I always caution people against running in them every day, do not do your easy days run in them. And then the other thing is on the track, wear them on the track. You will be artificially faster than you are on the roads because you have the combination of the, the plate with the foam and all that stuff and then you get the extra spring of the track. So if you're on an asphalt track, probably fine, it's just like running on the road. But if you're on a track that's rubberized, you're going to get an additional boost that's going to make you feel like you're a lot faster than maybe you are. So, just be mindful that you're using them on the track that, uh, you know, they, if you are a bit faster In your pieces, try to kind of find a middle ground there on, uh, you know, where you are fitness wise because I think it can, can give us somewhat of an artificial confidence boost that we're running way faster. And, and so how that translates to the road may not be 100%.

So they actually technically are banned on the track. You wouldn't be allowed to run a road or track race in them because they have way too much stack height, which gives it and it gives them too much of a boost. So they actually have some standards there. So those are the two things I typically try to, just to caution people on with these is to just kind of be mindful of when you're wearing them, where you're wearing them and how often so we wear them for a productive purpose, not just to feel better about your, your strava posts, you know? Right. And the other thing, and I, I have always found this to be helpful for me because I guess this is because when I in college and I'm sure this is similar to, for you, Michael, we had our training shoes, we had our workout flats, the, the shoes that we wore for our hard workouts, then we had our spikes and, you know, arguably the workout flats when you, I guess actually when we would do workouts on the track, for instance, if we were getting closer to race day and we had a hard workout coach would tell us to bring the spikes to the track. So that if the workout got hard or you got tired, you could put your spikes on and still hit the paces.

So we used to do that just towards the end. Only like the last couple of reps typically. Um, more prepped to get the Yeah. And I kind of enjoyed the tiny boost that you knew you were going to get from wearing your race shoes on race day. So you're working out, you're working, you're working on, then you wear your race shoe on race day and you're like a little bit faster. I always kind of liked that. So even in training now I try to, I have my race shoes, I'll wear them for a couple of key workouts and then I'll wear them for race day. I try not to wear them for all of my workouts. Just the key ones just to make sure they feel good. They fit good at the pacing. I can feel what that feels like in them. And then otherwise I try to use something else. Some other type of like workout flat that feels good. Uh, just to kind of have a little bit more balance in that way. Also, I like having my boost for race day. I like being able to put my shoes on and feel like right now I've got a couple of minutes, you know, you can't quantify that. I like that psychological element. We probably should have talked about this. Like, we didn't even have notes about this.

I should have thought about this because you're absolutely right. When, when we would bring our spike to a workout, it was always like, maybe we're gonna do the last few reps or maybe we're gonna do like a longer workout. But then at the end of it, we're gonna do like 100 and 50 m sprints in spikes. And it was just like when we put on our spikes, it's time to roll. You know, it's, it's no joke. We're not, I'm not going to do an 800 m repeats in spikes. We're ripping it in our spikes. And you're right that, that kind of, there's that psychological element of right before the race. When you go to put on those spikes, it's like it's game time. You know, this is, this is game time. I don't just put these on every, every day and that you're right. That, that's kind of a weird element that has maybe been introduced with the super shoes, the shoes more so than the spikes of, yeah, you got people doing these on, on straight up easy runs, maybe that removes a little bit of that, like, psychological boost that you get on race day of like, all right, like, it's game time, baby. Let's go, you know, when, when you go to get out your, your, uh, your shoes and I think that's kind of a bummer in a way because you're right. That's, that's such a great, like, it's like a, it's funny, I'm almost getting like, the nerves coming back, like a feeling because of that because yeah, when you go to pull out those spikes, it's real, you know, you're probably, you're like 5, 10 minutes from, from the gun going off.

You're like, uh, you know, there's no turning back now. It's time. But, but there's definitely AAA an element of excitement there and maybe even a legitimate psychological boost that you, that you get from putting those on. But either way, I think the, the more like the more practical advice that we're giving here, I think that psychological element is super important. I'm, I'm glad that we're talking about that, but I definitely think that the, the super practical advice here is like, do not wear them just to get it more of a dopamine hit from your workout times and your easy, certainly not your easy runs. If you're doing those uneasy runs then and you listen, if you listen to this podcast, if you follow runners connect content and you're doing your easy runs, you're trying to like make your easy runs faster by wearing valis. Get your head out of the sand, man. Come on. Like, what do, what do we always talk about? We're always about like, the, your easy ones should be slow, easy. Don't even throw away the watch sometimes. Don't worry about your pace. Come on. But, but you have room for some workouts. If it serves a practical purpose of preparing you for race day and, and getting used to that feeling of those shoes with your feet then then yeah, I could definitely see that being.

Um, um, but anyway, Andy, we, we're, we're a little over an hour. I think that, uh I do wanna leave just a one little tidbit. Um I, I wanted to share one because I think that throughout this, I, I'm, I'm, if I were to go listen to myself back on this hour, there's probably gonna be points where maybe I sound a little bit like bitter and a little bit like, like I said, kind of earlier, like as if I'm old and I'm just like back in my day, you know, we had a, um, I, I actually, so my, I, I set that when I was in college, I set the 1500 m record uh at Virginia Tech and a guy broke that record in spring 2021. So he broke it by, I was something like 20210.3, maybe like, like a hair. It was very close and there was definitely that, that thing in the back of my mind when, when you're an athlete and you set a record and it gets broken, you know, what are you gonna hear that athlete say publicly? They're gonna be like, it's, you know, this is what I, you know, I, I, I fully support record is meant to be broken. Like I, I love that the program has moved forward. But let's be honest, if you're an athlete who's trained really hard and, and you work, you know, you work your ass off or something and, and you lose it.

There's a little bit of hurt. There, there's a tiny bit of like, dang, I lost, you know, I lost my record. That was a special one. I worked really hard for that and it stood for almost 10 years. Um I definitely had a little bit of that moment. I, the funny thing is I, of course, I'm a grown-up. I, of course, I called the guy. I, I know him, I called him congratulated him was like, this is awesome. Go, go win a CCS, go, go, try to win N C A s. This is amazing, you know, but there was definitely, I remember going on a walk like the next morning and I was just like, dang, you know, like, I, you know, there's that feeling of if you crushed it by like four seconds, I would have been like, well, that guy would have smoked me in whatever shoes because it was broken by such little, there was definitely that voice in the back of my head of like, mm. You know, like, like, you, you as much as you don't want to say that, like, I try to be as transparent as possible that, you know, again, if I were trying to have good pr here, I would just be like, oh, that's so great. Like, this is records, you know, I'm so glad that, that I could have been a good force for this to, to move forward. But it's, there's definitely that element of like being a fairly recent athlete of seeing, just like, yeah, I mean, when I broke forward, it mean, it meant something like in college that actually meant something when I ran, uh, you know, my 1500 pr it, it meant something, there was something to that and, and it definitely, there's definitely that element of like, ok, now, you know, what was it a couple of years ago?

That guy Hobbs Kessler as a high school student ran faster than my 1500 pr I was like, you know, oh my God, mind blown. But it's there, there's definitely a little bit of that element and I, I don't, I, that's why I wanted to reassure, like, or, or really press forward that the concept of like I actually do support it now because it is what it is and technology is gonna move forward. Whether we like it or not. Um, and, and hopefully, I think that now as more of a fan of the sport and a, and a spectator, I think it just makes, it just makes it exciting, man. Like seeing yard, a goose run a 3 47 mile, seeing Caitlin Tuy run a 4 24. It's fun, man. It's exciting and, and honestly, it's kind of like, I look at it as like if, if the NBA and basketball were to set the goals at 12 ft, that would be boring because a lot of the guys wouldn't be able to dunk. Like, I don't wanna see that. I wanna see these dudes throwing it down like that's what I want to see. I don't want the NFL field to be 300 yards because the guys are literally gonna be huffing and puffing by the end of it. I wanna see guys scoring an epic touchdown.

So I think that maybe this is part of just that sort of, we got to get rid of, maybe this is part of like getting rid of the old guard of like sort of gatekeeping, track and field to be this like old school, you know, sport that doesn't embrace any of the new technology and the new stuff. Um And, and maybe part of like making it move forward and become a more popular sport because look faster times are fun in, in baseball. Uh drugs have been AAA hugely controversial thing in baseball because guess what? It's fun watching home runs, man, it's fun watching these guys hit tons of home runs, but a lot of them got to do big amounts of steroids in order to do it. You know, it's just, it's, it's a tough topic to talk about. We, we need that evolution in the sport or else we would still be serving wine on marathon courses as fuels. I mean, we need to go back To that. I think, I personally think we need to bring that back. How much more fun would a marathon be if you can have a margarita at mile 13? Right. Exactly. I mean, all that sugar basically. That's all it is. But yeah, I mean, the evolution of just like, well, I think when the marathon started out, there was like a walking event and it was like, never occurred to people that they, that they could run it.

And so like, there's just so much that that has changed. I mean, now women are actually able to compete in the marathon. There's so much that we, we should, we value and we should value about the evolution of the sport. And so this is just another thing and maybe I'll still keep my before. Super shoes, Pr S and my after super shoes P RSI don't know. But I, I was, I was joking, my, my father in law ran, ran track at Clemson. It was all American back in the day we were joking that, um, it's like, it's kind of like how, you know, in, in, in, when you think about what year it is, it's like, you know, BCE and, and ce, like before an era before Christ and, and, you know, common era, it's like in super shoes, it's like before, so be, be before super shoes and after super shoes, you know, it just, it is what it is. It's that much of a game changer for, for the sport. But anyway, I, I think Andy, I think that, uh, a couple of us old Geezers talking about, uh, about all this new brand new technology that we don't understand. I think, I think that'll do for us for, for today. But tru truly, it's, it's fun to see it, like I said, as a spectator now, it's fun to see it.

I think that the concept of like, hey, a technology that, that is, is more widely available that helps people run fast. I think it's pretty, it's, it's pretty hard to disagree. That that's a good thing. And, and I hope, I, I certainly hope that all of our listeners had, have at least tried them out and if not look, you know, go get yourself prepare because they're gonna make you run faster. It is what it is. So, any, any, any final thoughts for you? No, I think that I think you pretty much covered it. I think we had a good chat here on all this stuff. Very good. Very good. Yeah. Well, guys, I think that'll do it. Uh, enjoy talking with all of all of you today. Andy, as always lots of fun, we'll have more topics for you here next week. Thank you for listening and we'll see you next time. Thanks for listening to the run to the Top podcast. I'm your host, Fin Malan. And as always, our mission here is to help you become a better runner with every episode. Please consider connecting with me on Instagram at Wasatch Fin and the rest of our team at runners connect, also consider supporting our show for free with a rate on the Spotify and Apple podcast players. And lastly, if you love the show and want bonus content behind the scenes experiences with our guests and premier access to contests and giveaways and subscribe to our newsletter by going to runners connect dot net back slash podcast.

Until next time, Happy Train.

Super Shoes: Can They Help You Run Faster or Are They Just for Elites?
Super Shoes: Can They Help You Run Faster or Are They Just for Elites?
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