Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Nike Pegasus 30 review... aka worst reviewer ever.

I honestly think one of the best reasons to up one's mileage is to have an excuse for new running shoes.  Even better -- rotating running shoes (h/t: Runblogger) is linked to injury prevention.  The basic idea is this: a shoe provides a surface for your foot to strike.  Varying the surface by wearing different shoes (or running on different surfaces) stresses your body differently, and probably thereby reduces the risk of overuse injuries.  

Still, most days, the Nike Pegasus 30 are my go-to shoes.  I run primarily on roads and easy trail surfaces -- gravel, packed dirt, and grass.  If I need a more technical shoe, I pick a different pair (but let's save that for another day.)  

I think one has to take a weird downshot pic of one's legs
in order to blog about running.

There are two reasons why I'll never be a great shoe reviewer:
  • I'm cheap, because the toddler eats all my money, so I tend to buy last year's model.  So unless y'all have a time travel machine and arrived here from 2013, this is probably too late to help, especially because they're already on clearance everywhere.
  • I can never determine if I like a shoe until I've put a hundred miles on it, so it takes me a while to figure out the strengths of a shoe.
Shoe reviews are so specific to the person, but I enjoy reading them because it's really just vicarious consumerism.

Anyhow, I picked these up at the start of half marathon training.  Some background: I used to run in motion control shoes, because I was told I overpronate, but when I started running again last fall, I wore Altra Torins, figuring that zero-drop was interesting and that as I was a newbie I had no bad habits to break.  They worked well for a while but as I began to increase my mileage, I noticed that the shoes were really too wide in the midfoot for me to feel secure in the shoe and that judging from the wear pattern I was still heel-striking.  I wound up putting blue Superfeet in them to feel secure and at that point I was really defeating the purpose of the zero-drop shoe, plus, after 271 miles, they wore out.

So I went to the local running store, and their pressure mat, to my surprise, indicated that I have high arched feet with good mechanics.  Apparently a lot of walking, time spent barefoot, and obsession with core has changed my gait!  This is when walking, and I suspect that I have less control when running, but in any case, I figured I'd give a neutral cushioned shoe a try, and focus on making sure it had features I knew I wanted.  I tried on seven or eight pairs of shoes.

Here's what I wanted.  
  • Solid arch support.  I have high arches, and flexible feet, and I was planning to up my mileage considerably for the first time.
  • Cushioning that didn't force my foot to pronate inward (ruled out the Saucony Ride)
  • A relatively flexible and responsive forefoot.
  • A narrow midfoot with a relatively low volume as my foot is something of a pancake.
  • A wide toe box with no overlays over the bunion area.  I've had bunions since I was 12, which is awful, but there you go.  The only good thing about having bunions is that they work sort of like fire alarms for shoes -- I'll know within ten seconds if they won't work.
  • A sole with actual rubber on it.  I'd like this shoe to get me through all of half training without having to be replaced right before the race.  (This ruled out the Nike Lunarglide 5, which I think I would have loved.)  
  • A narrow heel.
One shoe off, one shoe on...

Things I cared about less than I thought I would:
  • Weight.
  • Offset.  My other pairs of shoes are 4mm offset.   I honestly can't notice much of a difference, possibly because the heel is so soft.
The Pegasus 30 and 31 felt great; the Pegasus 30 was on sale.  To be honest I think the 30 is a little more squishy than I'd like, but I love the way it hugs my foot securely, and I'm hoping the 31 will be even better as they dropped offset by 4mm.

I'm a mild heel striker, and I don't overstride badly.  I suspect as I get faster and fitter my form will improve.  The 30 is great for heel strikers as there's plenty of cushion, but it has plenty of cushion for midfoot strikers, too -- I know this because I shift to the midfoot when I run hard during intervals.  

Ground feel isn't superb, but the flexible forefoot is springy and I feel like I have the control I need to propel myself forward.  

I run about 80% of my miles in these shoes and after 100 miles, they feel great.  The soles are holding up well.
Where is the wear?
I tend to wear down shoes at the heel on the outside and squarely under the ball of the foot, on the assumption the shoe fits well.  You can see the beginnings of wear just under the forefoot:
Oh, there it is.

Not bad for a hundred miles that are mostly on trails!  I'm hoping they make it another 300, but 400 miles might be a bit much to expect out of a daily trainer.  So far, though, if they die before the half marathon, I'd be inclined to buy another pair, which is high praise.

I get the sense from the Internet that lots of runners don't like Nike because their shoes don't fit some people well.  But I have to say that if you have a relatively narrow foot and like support, this is a winner.  


Today's strength training:
-4x6 back squat at 85% 
-5 rounds: 6 push-ups, 8 two arm dumbbell presses, 8 lateral raises
- tabata: 4 minutes alternate air squats and bird dippers, 4 minutes alternate supermans and hollow rocks.

This is the sort of workout that doesn't look too bad until you realize that by rounds four and five of the push-up/press/raise circuit, every muscle in your body will be shaking.  Following that up with tabatas was pure evil. 

 I'm a little concerned that I'm not doing traditional cardio as cross-training, but I seem to be able to complete the long runs with no problems, so for now, four days of running and two days of lifting seem to be working for me.

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