This week sees the release of a shoe that is designed to give you a 4% performance boost . To put that in context for my goal marathon time of 2hours 40 minutes, if I purchased the Nike VapourFlys, I would run over 6 minutes quicker. Surprisingly they are sold out instantly and I don’t expect to be able to get my hands on these bad boys for a few months minimum. I mean c’mon, Nike have designed the holy grail of running shoes, 4% performance boost for no extra effort, you would be mad NOT to buy these running weapons of mass destruction.
Some people may bulk at the price of $350 AUD but I just spent over $3000 on an Elliptigo so I wouldn’t lose too much fitness while injured. (Money well spent by the way, I love my Elliptigo) $350 for 6 minutes off my marathon time, a small price to pay, hell I’d paid 10 times that !
These shoes could put EPO suppliers out of production, why waste money and risk being DQ’d if now, legally, you can find 6 minutes, more if you are slower ! Of course there are rumours they are not IAAF accredited yet but I’m sure your local marathon club will turn a blind eye as long as you don’t show off and break a world record. They even look cool and will probably add a few inches to my height as well. My vertically challenged running buddies Jon and Bart’s will wet themselves when they realise they can be 6foot tall , run faster, look cool and all for $350, is there is a God he just delivered to runners , big time !
So to the title of this post. Are these shoes just cheating wrapped up in a pretty package with a nice swoosh logo on the side. Personally I don’t think so, as long as they are ratified by the athletic governing body. If they aren’t and I am allowed to wear them to my local races, which I think will happen, can I still take the moral high ground? . Hell yes, Triathletes have been doing this for years. I remember when I first did my half iron man in 2001 I completed the whole course in speedos (budgie smugglers as they are known in Oz. ) and my bike was less than $1000. No fancy triathlon bike with aerodynamic everything, silly helmets taking from the Death Star scenes in Star Wars (I mean seriously?) , Zipp wheels costing the same as a small house on the Florida Keys and coaches reinventing the ‘wheel’ so to speak making something that really is quite easy so difficult. (Again is it me or has every triathlete got a coach? Maybe they get confused with all the different events?) So for us runners we finally get the chance to get something for nothing , well not really nothing but in the scale of things $350 for 6 minutes in a marathon is ‘nothing‘.
Shoes are so often overlooked when it comes to getting better times. So many people train in their Asics Kayano’s , a shoe that weights about half the weight of the owner and is built for the mass market who know no better. (Oops , there goes my Asics sponsorship) I have nothing against Kayano’s and have more than 10 pairs in my garage from a by-gone age where I believed the hype that you must change your shoes every 400k and you need as much support as an alcoholic on his first visit to AA with a bottle of Gin in his coat pocket. I, personally, now use shoes with less heal drop and run them to the ground, literally, believing that a show moulds itself to your running style and is good for nearly four figures of distance if looked after. (This is my personal opinion and every runner is different so make your own call.) This is more of the barefoot running school of thought. ( http://www.chrismcdougall.com/born-to-run/ )
You need your training shoe and your racing shoe, there is a reason there is a marked difference and the reason is weight. Your racing show is lighter and, according to physics, will make moving forward easier due to less weight attached to the end of your legs. For me I race in racing flats choosing the Nike LunaRacer (now that was a great shoe!) or the Adidas takumi sen 3 . These shoes are expensive and don’t last as long as everyday trainers but they are a must have when you are chasing PB’s. I reckon these shoes are good for 2-3 minutes over a marathon compared to heavier alternatives. Of course the market for every race shoe is now completely destroyed and if I had shares in any shoe company advertising racing flats I would sell very quickly, they are now dinosaurs.
On the bright side I hear Adidas is throwing its hat in the ring and organising its own sub2hour attempt and I’m sure they won’t be wearing the Nike VapourFly 4%, I’m hoping it will be the Adidas <insert silly name> 5% (or more) which will mean I will be able to go even faster. If this keeps up in the near future I will finish before I start and that will be a sad day because the need for training will be obsolete, all us ‘runners‘ will need to do is put on the latest Nike <insert silly name> and be teleported to the finish in the wink of an eye. Maybe, as with most things, the future is not as bright as I first thought. I miss the world before the internet, mobile phones, TV’s the size of a wall and social media but will I miss the world without the Nike VapourFly 4%, I’ll let you know once I get my grubby paws on a pair!!!!
Although runners have less opportunities to increase pace without actually putting in the hard yards…