Monday, 3 December 2012

The Triumphs are a triumph!

You may recall that I  bought a pair of Saucony Triumph 9s a while ago. The Triumphs have an 8mm heel drop as opposed to the 12mm drop in my Saucony Guide 4s and I thought, after a bit of obsessive research, that this might help with the transition to becoming a mid-foot striker.   

But, during my training for the Aviemore Half Marathon, I was fearful of doing anything to upset my temperamental calves and worried that even a slightly flatter foot would put so much stress on already-stressed muscles and tendons that I'd do myself a serious injury and NEVER get to run a marathon.  Ever.  So the Triumphs have sat on the bedroom floor for months, looking all lovely and blue but not really going anywhere near my feet. Until last week.

I think that, since the AHM, my running form has taken a turn (or a lean) for the better.  I'm finding it easier to feel the lean through my ankles and my feet are landing more softly and less markedly on the heels (and sometimes there is indeed mid-foot striking), and I'm starting to understand how to keep my core strong and my arms and legs relaxed.  But, no matter how Chi my running feels, my heels still drag and my ankles and Achilles tendons still hurt.  Rather than assuming that this was somehow injury related, though, I started to wonder if maybe my evolving running form meant that the Guide 4s weren't so suitable anymore.

So, with the encouragement of Adam (who said, 'No, I can't guarantee that you won't tear something but stop being a baby and just give it a go!'), last week I took the Triumphs for a 2 mile run and then for a 3 mile run.  And I was AMAZED at how much better I felt.  No scuffly heels.  Landing softly.  And no pain during the runs or after.  My 6 mile run yesterday was back in the Guide 4s, as I don't want to push things too quickly.  Although my Achilles tendons hurt for the first half-mile (until I relaxed my ankles), it was easier to maintain good form for the rest of the run and I was able to stop the scuffling each time it started by leaning a bit and upping my cadence.  Again, there was no pain afterwards.

I ran a fast(ish) 10 minutes on the treadmill at the gym today in the Triumphs and, still, no pain as long as I kept my ankles relaxed.  Even more impressive, I can't remember the last time that I was able to run any distance AT ALL the day after a long run.  I'm usually too sore and too tired, but not today.

I've said it before and I'll say it again.  New shoes make everything better.


  1. This sounds fab,and so encouraging! I must admit, I have no idea how I'd think about relaxing my ankles (as opposed to, say, relaxing my arms or shoulders). I've always worn Saucony, so will definitely bear these Triumph 9s in mind when I replace my current shoes.

  2. It's probably more accurate to talk about relaxing my lower legs than just my ankles. Imagining that I'm pedalling a bike helps to remind me to keep my knees soft and bent and that seems to help with the ankles. So does pretending that I'm David Rudisha, but that might not work for everyone!