Archive for the ‘Expert advice’ category

A closer look at the Diagonal Rollbar

September 1, 2013

Brooks shoes have a special feature to help counter overpronation issues. You can read more about the Diagonal Rollbar, Progressive Diagonal Rollbar and Extended Progressive Diagonal Rollbar here.

Let’s take a closer look at the Progressive Diagonal Rollbar.

3 layers of the Progressive Diagonal Rollbar

3 layers of the Progressive Diagonal Rollbar

It is made of 3 different midsole materials with 3 different densities. The innermost layer in white is the softest, followed by the middle layer in light gray, which is a little harder. The stiffest layer is the outermost layer in dark gray. This gives the shoe the additional structure it needs to neutralize the overpronating ankle.

How the 3 layers of the Progressive Diagonal Rollbar stack up

How the 3 layers of the Progressive Diagonal Rollbar stack up. The one on the right is a Brooks model.

The 3 layers of the Progressive Diagonal Rollbar are angled progressively. This way, it gives you the additional structure you need, without the discomfort of stiff midsoles.

Imagine a truck, that needs to be stopped from rolling to where it is not supposed to roll. A regular shoe probably has something similar to a rollbar, but it is not angled progressively. And it probably consists of only 1 stiff layer, instead of 3 layers. That will bring the truck to an abrupt and uncomfortable stop.

Stopping a rolling truck, the Brooks way

Stopping a rolling truck, the Brooks way

Now imagine if the truck can be stopped progressively, in 3 angled layers. The truck will still be stopped, without feeling like you are hitting a wall.

The Progressive Diagonal Rollbar is definitely a value added feature, that will benefit overpronators. If you usually experience discomfort or pain in your inner ankles after a run, look for a Brooks shoe in the Support or Control Category. The Adrenaline GTS is a popular favourite.

How shoes can prevent overpronation

August 26, 2013

Overpronation is what happens when your ankles roll inwards as you put your weight on your foot. If your ankles roll inwards while you are walking or running, then you are an overpronator.

Overpronators typically experience pain in the inner ankle area. Due to a misalignment of the ankles, compounded by the weight that is put on the foot at every stride, such injuries are common. However, choosing the correct shoe can help alleviate the pain or lessen such injuries.

Brooks shoes from the Guidance category have the Diagonal Rollbar. It is the grey matter at the medial area of the midsole. It is made of stiffer material, and it aligns your ankles back into a neutral position whenever your ankles roll in. The Diagonal Rollbar is useful if you have mild overpronation. Just a little guidance will do, to get your ankles back to where it should be.

A Guidance shoe - men's Ravenna 4

A Guidance shoe – men’s Ravenna 4

If your feet has moderate overpronation (slightly more than mild, but not severe), then the Progressive Diagonal Rollbar will come in handy. This can be found from shoes in the Support category. See how the grey matter increases its support as your overpronation gets more pronounced?

A Support shoe - men's Adrenaline GTS 13

A Support shoe – men’s Adrenaline GTS 13

If your feet are extremely flat and you have severe overpronation, the Extended Progressive Diagonal Rollbar comes to your rescue. It offers you maximum control, to get you “back on your feet”. Hence it is called a Control shoe.

A Control shoe - men's Beast

A Control shoe – men’s Beast

If your feet do not have any overpronation, then you do not need any of those grey matter diagonal rollbars. Go for a Neutral shoe, since your feet do not need any corrective structures. You can enjoy a smooth ride, all round! No grey matter needed.

A Neutral shoe - men's Glycerin 11

A Neutral shoe – men’s Glycerin 11

We hope this little piece of knowledge will help you find the perfect ride for your stride.

Do the Yasso!

August 17, 2013

Yasso’s 800s is a well-known training method to predict your marathon finishing time.

If you can run 800m for 10 times, and do it in 4 minutes each time, then your marathon finishing time will be 4 hours. If you can do it in 3 minutes 30 seconds, then your marathon finishing time will be 3 hours 30 minutes. It is that simple!

Here is the plan: Run 800m. Then do a slow jog for 400m, in the same time you did your 800m. Then run 800m again. Repeat.

For example, run 800m in 4 minutes. Slow jog 400m in 4 minutes. Run 800m again in 4 minutes. Keep repeating until you run 800m for 10 times. For Yasso’s 800s to work, you must do it for 10 times.

Do it with a friend, to stay motivated.

Do it with a friend, to stay motivated.

But before you head out to the track and turn into a speed demon, be properly advised. Yasso 800s is not an overnight experiment. Start the Yasso’s 800s, 4 to 5 months before your marathon. Your body needs to get used to it.

Run 800m for 3 to 5 times. As you get better, slowly increase to 6 or 7 times. Build towards 10 times. It will be good if you can do that 2 weeks before the marathon.

Yasso’s 800s can be used to measure the shape you are in, at any given point in time. If you can complete Yasso’s 800s in 2 minutes 55 seconds, then you are in a 2 hours 55 minutes marathon shape. Good for you!

It can also be used to train yourself towards a goal. If your goal is to finish the marathon in 3 hours 45 minutes, then try to run 800m in 3 minutes 45 seconds. Slowly build yourself up until you can do it 10 times.

It may be wise to lace up with a pair of Pure Project shoes to do the Yasso’s 800s. The Pure Connect, Pure Flow or Pure Cadence will help you to run happy!

Long Slow Distance

June 30, 2013

How should I train for running? Start with LSD.

We are not talking about substance abuse. Rather, LSD is the acronym for Long Slow Distance. As its name suggests, it means “you run long, you run slow, and you run far”.

How long is long? One hour is long enough. If you are a beginner, and if one hour looks too daunting for a start, then try 30 minutes. Slowly graduate to 45 minutes, and eventually aim for the one-hour mark.

Remember, the key word is do it gradually. You may aim to increase by 5 minutes per week. Using time as the yardstick is usually the main mental block to overcome. Therefore, start humbly and slowly work your way up, to run long.

How slow is slow? Slow enough to talk while you are running. The idea here is to keep running with an effort that is comfortable enough for you to chat with your running buddy. Go in a group, or make a date with your friends! You will find that it is a good way to bond.

The general rule is to keep running and do not stop. Run faster than your comfortable pace at your peril. Treat it like a game, “Whoever stops, must buy 1oo Plus for everyone!” By the way, the definition of running is “both feet must be off the ground at any one time”. If one foot is on the ground, then it is called “walking”.

Some LSD practitioners, such as John Bingham, is a well-known for combining walking breaks into LSDs. The walking breaks are staggered throughout the run, at disciplined intervals. Special note: disciplined intervals. That means, when it is time to walk, you have to walk, even if you do not feel like walking. On the flipside, even if you do not feel like running, you have to run, when it is time to run!

How far is far? The answer is, not more than double. If you are training for a 5km run, then your LSD should be 8 – 10km. If you are training for a 10km run, then your LSD should be 15 – 20km.

The “not more than double rule” seems less sensible (and more open to abuse) as your target distance increases. Imagine doing an 84km LSD if you are training for a full marathon! Or for a half marathoner to do a full marathon LSD. That is surely a mental block that we want to avoid.

LSD

For most average runners, these general guidelines will be good to follow:

  • No fewer than 3 runs per week
  • No more than 5 runs per week
  • No less than 1 hour per run
  • No farther than 25km on any run
  • One run per week, lasting more than 2 hours (after the 5th month of training)

Which shoe should I use for LSD? Brooks core shoes, such as the Glycerin, Ghost, and Adrenaline GTS works best for LSDs. They give you comfort for running long, and injury prevention for running far.

Run happy, and say no to drugs!

Avoiding pre-race jitters

June 16, 2013

Pre-race jitters strike all runners indiscriminately. A variety of ways are used to ease away that nervous feeling. Some do it by stretching out in warm ups. Some clown around with their buddies at the starting line. Some choose to zone out by themselves with their earplugs on, with their favourite playlist.

There are some common methods to overcome pre-race jitters. Of course, consistent training and mental conditioning is what you do, as standard preparation. The more prepared you are, the less likely you will have amateurish anxiety attacks, caused by thoughts such as these:

“Will I finish the race?”

“Is there a toilet somewhere?”

“What if I really had to go to the toilet halfway? The coffee and banana breakfast does not feel good.”

“Is my coffee and banana breakfast enough?”

“What if I get hungry? Do they give out energy bars?”

“Water. Will they have water at the water stations?”

“Will my shoe laces get untied and I trip over and fall?

“Are there enough medals for me?”

Those lingering thoughts, funny as they may sound when you put in on paper, are quite real to some runners. Especially those who are doing it for the first time. It may be advisable to find out where the race venue is before the race day, to familiarize yourself with it surroundings and facilities (like the ever important toilet).

If you have trained well and have made all logistical preparations beforehand, you will worry less about such things on race day. Arrive bright and early to the starting line. Think about all the hard work you have put in. Imagine how great you will feel after you are done. With months of training under your belt, all those anxieties will become very small to you. After all, those petty worries are basically about food, water, and toilets. And clumsy accidents.

pre race jitters

On the other hand, some extremely serious runners have a different set of anxieties. Elite runners have trained all their lives, and may have some tried and tested formulas. Some may be a result of years of dedication. While some may be downright superstitious, such as:

“8 hours of sleep before the race day.”

“Pre-race dinner has to be pasta. Is must be pasta.”

“The bib number has to be pinned on, center and straight.”

“One can of isotonic drink first, then one bottle of water after. Must be after breakfast, must be in that order.

“This song plays right after gun-off. If it doesn’t, then bad things will happen.”

“Race day energy bar must be placed at the highest point in the fridge. Any lower, then it is defiled.”

“Only the Brooks shoe is used for racing, and nothing else.”

Oh well. Whatever works, to put you in the right frame of mind.

The biggest race in Malaysia is coming in 2 weeks’ time. On behalf of Brooks Malaysia, we wish you a good final 2 weeks of preparation. And of course, remember to run happy!

The right shoe for your running style

June 9, 2013

Generally, runners run in two kinds of styles – heel strike, and forefoot/midfoot strike. The debate over the “correct” way to run is an ongoing one. Both ways of running has its own pros and cons.

Most of us who start running from a beginner’s level usually run heel strike. It is quite common for runners to land on our heels. The habit comes from the way most modern running shoes are designed, with too much cushioning at the back of the shoe. Coupled with a beginner’s usual mistake to over stride, heel striking becomes the “natural way” to run.

The beginner tends to take steps that are too big, to fuel the illusion of efficiency of covering the same distance with fewer steps. When over-striding happens, we will land on our heels. The excessive shoe cushioning absorbs the shock of heel striking. Hence the illusion of efficiency drives the habit, and the excessive shoe cushioning at the heel supports it.

But hey, as long as it gets us there, right?

Another method of running is forefoot/midfoot striking. Some will argue that forefoot running is the real “natural way” to run, because that is how our foot naturally reacts when we run barefooted. We do not slam our heels to the ground. We land as softly as possible on our forefoot/midfoot, to avoid injuring our feet.

Forefoot/midfoot striking drives the habit of taking smaller and quicker steps. Hence, efficiency is cultivated in energy conservation, in covering the same distance by using less effort or energy.

So it forefoot/midfoot striking the “correct” way to move forward?

Some runners who do not like the “beginner” tag will try to convert the way they run. From heel-striking, we try to change to forefoot/midfoot strike. The most common conversion error is, attempting to convert too quickly.

Ambitious converts try to convert from fully heel-striking, to fully forefoot/midfoot-striking, overnight. We tell ourselves that we will never land on our heels again. We force ourselves to take every stride on our midfoot/forefoot. However, heel strikers tend to have underdeveloped calves. Hence, an ambitious conversion may cause pain in the calves, which may lead to injuries, and may eventually lead to discouragement and a total stop to running.

If running no longer becomes a happy experience, then that is not what we want.

However, some successful converts turn out to have calves that are much stronger than before, and have managed to clock better running times. Some positive signs of midfoot/forefoot striking are an improved running posture, and consequently, a reduction of running injuries. And those who have felt the benefits of forefoot/midfoot striking, never turned back to heel-striking.

To be fair to heel strikers, many runners still land on their heels. Many of us have been running this way since we were born. Heel-strikers can also out-kick forefoot/midfoot strikers with very impressive times! Sometimes, it may still be better to stick to our guns and not change our stride.

So what kind of shoe should you be looking for, if you run a certain way?

core2

If you are a heel-striker, any shoe from the Brooks core range should be suitable. Brooks core shoes come with DNA technology, that incorporates non-newtonian fluid principles into the cushioning of the shoe. Look out for the Glycerin, Ghost, Ravenna, Adrenaline GTS, Trance and Beast.

pure2

If you are a forefoot/midfoot striker, any shoe from the Brooks Pure Project series will be good. The Pure Project series are made much lighter, and the structure of the shoe encourages you to land on your forefoot/midfoot. Look for the Pure Connect, Pure Flow, Pure Cadence and Pure Drift.

Whichever way you run, we only wish one thing for you. That you will run happy!

How to choose a Brooks core shoe

May 26, 2013

You have decided to get a pair Brooks core shoes. The thing is, there are so many to choose from! Let’s try to break it down, to make your options easier for you.

Basically, Brooks core shoes come in 4 categories – Neutral, Guidance, Support and Control. Imagine that Neutral Category is on the far left, and Control Category is on the far right. As you move from left to right, your feet are getting progressively flatter, and your overpronation is getting more pronounced.

Neutral Category

Neutral shoes are right for you, if you have neutral feet with no overpronation. It still works for you if you are a supinator.

The Glycerin and Ghost are the two most popular models from this category. If you like superior comfort and cushioning, but do not mind a slightly extra weight, then the Glycerin will be good for you. If you like your shoes to be slightly lighter with a price advantage, then go for the Ghost.

Sample from women's Glycerin series

Sample from women’s Glycerin series

Guidance Category

Now imagine that your feet are still neutral, and your ankles overpronate just slightly. If this describes your condition, then the Ravenna is what you are looking for. It comes with a touch of anti-pronation properties, to suit your needs. The Ravenna comes in the “normal” width only, and may not be suitable if you have wide feet.

Sample from men's Ravenna series

Sample from men’s Ravenna series

Support Category

Moving further towards the “right”, now your feet are flat, with moderate overpronation. You need a pair of shoes that can prevent your ankles from rolling inwards, that usually lead to inner-ankle pains.

The Trance and Adrenaline GTS are the two options that you have. The Trance 10 is the pinnacle of all Brooks shoes, sitting at the peak of the price pyramid, with out-of-this-world comfort from heel to toe. If you are looking for something a little more reasonable on the wallet that can deliver the same function, the Adrenaline GTS will be a better choice.

Sample from women's Adrenaline GTS series

Sample from women’s Adrenaline GTS series

Control Category

At the far “right”, your feet are extremely flat, and you have severe overpronation. This condition is quite rare, and not many people fall into this category. However, if you do, then the Beast is your solution if you are male. If you are female, then Ariel is your answer.

The Beast and Ariel are the heaviest shoes in our range. It comes with excellent anti-pronation properties, to cater specially to extremely flat-footed needs. You may not want this model if you don’t need it. But if you need it, you will find it to be a lifesaver indeed.

Sample from men's Beast series

Sample from men’s Beast series

Contact a Brooks Consultant if you need further advice.

Run happy!