When training for Twin Peaks last year I tacked onto the end of my training program six weeks of speedwork; this time for Leona Divide I only have four as it is a more compressed training cycle. Last year as part of the mental prep for the speedwork I entered a 5k race which would bookend the finish of it and allow me to measure my results; you can read all about that here. I also purchased some running flats, these would be the first pair of flats I ever owned; I initially tried Asics GEL DSs XIIIs (now retired) they didn’t work out so I moved onto Asics Gel Banditos.
Once you get over the rock’n’roll styling, these shoes are pretty minimal! Weighing in a slim 7.9 oz (compared to my 13oz Kayanos and XT Wings) they obviously feel very light. Their construction is pretty minimal and the uppers are virtually non existent with lightweight laces and very thin mesh upper. The bulk of the weight is in the sole where Asics has included some of the technology found in heavier shoes including; SoLyte and Gel and the inclusion of DuoMax which aids in with support for your gait.
That being said as you would expect the ride is pretty bare, they force me to be much more of a mid/fore foot runner and that in my mind is a good thing as I am less prone to injury that way.
One thing I would say is that these shoes run small, I ended up sizing up 1.5 sizes over my day to day shoe; they are a fraction too large so I compensate with a slightly thicker sock, they are also very narrow and I am unable to get my orthotics into them.
So what’s my opinion, well overall I can only describe it as these shoes want you to run fast, if you’re not sucking Os and feeling like your gonna puke at the end of the run they’re disappointed and trust me you want to please them! Once you get over the “oh these don’t feel like my old shoes” feeling your left with a woah look how fast I can go!
I’ll temper the above by saying that the longest I’ve run in them is 10 miles (this run), I could probably go to a half marathon distance but beyond that I think I would really start to miss the extra support and cushioning of my other shoes.
I my opinion speedwork is a cyclical task; 70% hard work, 20% mental and 10% goals/results; put in the effort and you’ll see the results, that will give you the confidence that you can run fast and setting goals will give you satisfaction when you reach them prompting you to put in more effort and so on. Of course having the right tool is also going to assist you in and these are definitely something I keep in my tool-box.