Running Reviewed: The Free + Some Compression

I covered the idea of "barefoot running" or minimalist running in this post, but want to share some thoughts on the new Nike Free Run shoe. I've never really been an advocate of the movement of "barefoot" running. One thing I have been an advocate for is running, + I see running barefoot as a tool to make you a better runner. The Nike Free Run is another one of those tools. Here's a shot of the shoe courtesy of Nike.com.
















I was never really "sold" on this shoe, but the new update (Free Run seen above) was in Fleet Feet Raleigh + I gave it a try. Though natural in it's feel, it still gives the user a bit of a shoe experience. I enjoyed that balance + though I have over pronated slightly in the past, I was able to log some short distances (3 to 6 miles) without any problems. The key to running + training in shoes like these, in my opinion, is to use them as tools. I could never make this my normal trainer, but sparse use of the Free has helped to strengthen my calves + glutes. Which brings me to these:
























Compression socks. Ever seen them? This is another product that I have always slightly balked at. The idea of them didn't seem strong enough for me. But over-training in the Free (because I liked the feel of them so much I did several runs in a row. Perhaps I should heed my own advice) caused a strain in the calf. The Free gets you up on your toes a good bit which for me, challenges my form. That in turn can cause a good bit of stress on the glutes, calves and achilles muscles. I knew this, but like most runners couldn't stop. What did I do?

I hurt myself.

And strained my calf causing a day and a half of rest. I bounced back with the help of CEP Compression Socks (once again courtesy of Fleet Feet Raleigh) + tried them on a short run. The next morning my calf was tight so I wore the socks as a recovery tool. By the afternoon I was ready to go for an epic 2 hour game of ultimate Frisbee. I don't think I would've been able to play if it weren't for the sock. Overall, it was comfortable to wear while exercising, but a bit too tight for wearing around the house for recovery. The compression is quite apparent when sitting, but quite active when exercising making it the most useful while running (which is what it is designed for). I had the black version and found the sock to actually be much cooler than I anticipated, even in summer heat.

Overall, the Free is a great buy + a great alternative to true minimalist running. Purists will scoff at it for it's black swoosh and corporate look, but it's use out of the box is great for any runner looking to adding some strength minimalist running to their workouts. And if you are like me + just can't slow down and listen to your body, you might want to look at getting a pair of those compression socks too.

Happy running.

-r

2 comments:

Juicy said...

Don't know if you know it or not, but Brent is HOT in those compression socks.

Kate said...

Saw this today and it seemed like something you would read: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/21/phys-ed-do-certain-types-of-sneakers-prevent-injuries/

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