900 Reasons to Buy Newton Running Shoes

Jul 31, 2012 by

900 Reasons to Buy Newton Running Shoes

New (Left) vs. Old

The couple of long time followers of my blog know that I am a big fan of Newton running shoes. I really don’t have 900 reasons to buy Newton shoes, but I do have a pair of 2011 Newton Gravity’s with over 900 miles on them.  That’s kind of 900 reasons.  Here’s a picture (right) of the my old pair with 900+ miles compared to a new pair. Notice how the lugs are worn toward the toe.


Why Newton?

I’ve used “traditional” running shoes, and I’ve tried “minimalist” running shoes. What I have found with the Newtons is they strike a balance between wanting the lower heel-to-toe drop of minimalist shoes and actually having some shock absorbation that the minimalist shoes don’t offer.

So, with my 2011 Newton Gravity’s over the 900 mile mark, I decided it was time for a new pair.  I was headed to one of my favorite shopping locations, Charlotte, NC,  and planned to stop in at the Charlotte Running Company to buy a new pair.  I still don’t have a local retailer. I could have ordered them online, but I wanted to compare a 10 vs. a 10 1/2.  I also wanted to try on a different model of Newtons called the MV2.

I arrived at the store late one Saturday morning a couple of weeks ago.  The had the 2012 Gravity’s but only in 10 1/2.  Unfortunately, these were too big.  Well, the manager (I think) got on the phone for a minute, then told me he’d be right back if I could wait about 15 minutes.  No problem.  I just drove 2 hours, so I didn’t mind.  I think he grabbed a 9 or 9 1/2 box of Newtons and headed out the door.

While waiting, I tried on the MV2’s.  These are sort of the ‘racing flats’ of the Newton line, geared for shorter distances.  They were way too tight for me in the toe box.  Oh well, I couldn’t afford two pairs of Newtons anyway.  I think they were yellow, too.  Not really my style.

Now I was “forced” to shop in the running store for a few more minutes. Darn.  The manager returned shortly with the 10’s.  These fit well and I took them.  I’m not sure if he met a guy in a back ally to swap shoes or happened to have a agreement with a competitor up the road to swap the 9 for the 10.  Didn’t matter to me.  That was great customer service.

Break In

When I bought my 2011 Gravity’s last year, they cautioned me to build up slowly with these.  The lugs on the sole really work your feet and legs differently.  I heeded their advice and only did short runs in them of two miles or less for a week or two.  I figured this year I was in the clear, having run in the old model for a year.  Nope.  The first thing I noticed was that the new shoes worked my feet and calves differently again, just like in 2011.  By mile 4 of the first run, I knew I better build up slowly again as I had some discomfort in my left foot and calf.  By the third short run, I was OK, though.  I still haven’t gone over a 5 mile run in them, but the discomfort is gone.  I’ll slowly build up to longer runs in the 2012’s while phasing out my 2011’s.


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Columbia Marathon 2012 – Additional Ramblings

Mar 14, 2012 by

Columbia Marathon 2012 – Additional Ramblings

Earlier this week, I posted my Columbia Marathon review.  Now that I’ve had a few more days to reflect, I have some thoughts to add.

Ideas For Next Year

Need More Cowbell

One thing the marathons I have completed (a whopping 3) have in common is lack of spectators.   Most, if not all, runners are used to this.  We train countless hours in solitude.  I understand watching long distance running MAY not be the most exciting thing, but on the rare occasion when there is a crowd, it is appreciated.  How can this be improved for Columbia?

University of South Carolina was on spring break, and that might have been strategic on the race director’s part, but as I ran down Green Street and then on Sumter Street in front of the U.S.C. Horseshoe, I could almost hear crickets chirping.   What about a U.S.C. pep band in this area or some bands in other areas?  What about a noise contest between fraternities and sororities as we passed the Greek Village on Blossom Street?

Contest Within The Contest

In the neighborhoods, we passed several churches, but only one had any people outside cheering (both laps!) – thanks Wesley Memorial UMC! .   Maybe  churches and other business organizations could setup unofficial aid/cheer stations.  Perhaps someone can come up with an idea to get  neighborhoods more involved to put on a display (adopt-a-street?, “Welcome to the neighborhood” signs?) and get a crowd.  Some humorous motivational signs up Trenholm Road would have been funny.  The runners could then vote on the best street/area at the end.  I think the now defunct Labor Day 15K at Ben Lippen did something like this.

Finish Announcer?

Maybe this is impractical for a large race, but one nice feature of some races is an announcer who lets the crowd know runners’ names as they approach the finish line.

Random Personal Notes

My quads ached for two days.

The official website lists the marathon as having 653 feet of elevation gain. That’s roughly the equivalent of climbing 65 flights of stairs.  I think that it had more.  Either way, it is no wonder my quads hurt.

Near the end, as I struggled up the Gervais Street hill the second time, a young girl blew past me.  “Curse, you, young person,” I thought, “How can you be that fast up hill at this point?”  Then I noticed her Newton shoes.  I smiled. “Go, Girl!”

One lady had a sign that said ‘Your feet hurt because of all that @$$ you’re kickin!’  I wanted to ask her: Since my @$$ was hurting so bad, was I the one getting kicked?

In the mid-late ’90’s I worked at a small, now defunct  start-up company in Columbia. We had less than 15 employees at that time, I think, and no runners.  This weekend, three of those former co-workers completed marathons, one even at the bottom of the world!  Congrats, Ben and Dean!

Here’s a video of Ben talking about his experience (6th video down the page, labeled 3 Friends Talk about the race): http://www.thestate.com/2012/03/10/2187014/videos-columbia-sc-marathon-2012.html

In the 13 weeks leading up to and including the race, I logged 353 running miles and 141 exercise bike miles, totaling 73 1/2 hours of training.  That’s just over 27 miles running and 5 1/2 hours of training per week.  My wife might argue that seems too little, but the GPS watch software doesn’t lie!

Here’s the video my son shot as I finished:




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Working on Form: Video Analysis

Aug 17, 2011 by

Working on Form: Video Analysis

Once Upon a Time

Back when golf was my obsession, I occasionally recorded my swing and tried to analyze my faults.  Many times, what I thought was happening was proven wrong by the video. Up until the last couple of weeks, I had not used video to help my running form. Now that I have an HD video recorder in my possession most of the time thanks to a smart phone, I figured it was time to use it.

What is good form?  Click here for a link to a good video on form at Active.com.

How am I working on improving my form?  I am concentrating on foot strike mostly, trying to transform from being a heel striker to a mid-foot striker.  I know I am a heel striker from race photos and shoe wear patterns.  I am working on this transformation through changes in shoes (reducing heel to toe drop) and experimenting with barefoot running to get the feel of not heel striking. I am learning to lengthen my stride by lifting the heel higher toward my rear end, instead of extending my forward step. Here is a video of me running in my new Newton Gravitas shoes.

What did I learn from this video? #1, I think this is going in the right direction. #2, I am definitely not heel striking, and #3, I can see how high my back kick was.  I was intentionally going with what felt like a higher heel lift than I normal feel, and I can see that it was much better.  This run was very short and it was tough to keep the form toward the end.  I will now have to work on hamstring strengthening.

Here is a video of me barefoot on the treadmill.


What did I learn from this video? #1, I seem to be way too tense.  I already figured out earlier in the year that I am an under pronator, and I don’t see much pronation there at all.  So, I need to relax and see if I get a bit of normal pronation.  #2, I might have my feet pointed outward a bit.  Just a minor thing maybe, but I could experiment with my toes pointed a little more inward.  Other than those 2 things, I was pleased with the foot strike.

So, just like in golf, the video proved very useful.  Feel free to comment.

Finally, here’s a link to a recent article at Runner’s World which asks ‘Does form matter?”


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