Road Tested: Pearl Izumi W’s syncroFuel Road II Shoes

Recovery runs are slow and boring, and I feel like they’re a waste of time. My coach assures me that doing it right (running 3 to 4 miles at a pace that would allow snails to pass you) helps your muscles recover faster after tough workouts. And then you’ll be able to push your legs even harder later in the week.

I’ve tried all kinds of things to make recovery runs more bearable. Running with music—but I tend to match the beat and my speed increases, even on slow jams. Catching up with a buddy is no good either, because I pick up the pace too much when I talk.

One thing that does help: Testing out new shoes. (This discovery is going to be rough on my bank account.) Having to slow down helps me focus on how my feet feel and the performance of the shoes. I recently tried the Pearl Izumi W’s syncroFuel Road II. Besides being cute, they’re really comfy—great for those who like to baby their feet on high mileage runs. I did experience some heel slip, but it was easily corrected when I lock-laced them. Do you know that trick? I tried to take a couple step-by-step picks to illustrate the technique.

Step 1: Lace your shoes normally. When you get to the top, create two loops (one on each side) by putting the laces into the last eyelets.
Step 2: Cross the laces over the front of the shoe, and thread them through the opposite loops.
Step 3: Pull tight and finish by tying as usual. Now the shoe will be extra snug around your ankle, correcting the heel slip.

Have you tried any Pearl Izumi kicks? Got any tips for making slow runs more fun?

I’m Blazing Some Trails

It’s a little tough to find trails here in NYC. But if you look hard enough, nestled in between skyscrapers and through streets, you’ll find them. A good place to start your trek: Central Park.

I’ve been hitting up the bridal path lately—it’s basically three sections of conjoined paths that wind around the park. (It’s flatter, wider, and a lot less rocky than the single track in this photo.) If you’re lucky, you’ll see a horse, but mostly you’ll find runners like me who want to get off the pavement for a bit.  I’m having such a great time playing in the dirt, checking out flowering trees, listening for birds, that I signed up for a 10K trail race in June. It’s part of The North Face Endurance Challenge race series, which kicks off this weekend in Bear Mountain, NY.

I’m so excited about training for it! I’ve been mapping out new routes in the park (to prevent boredom from going the same way all the time) and researching trails outside of the city, accessible by public transportation (hooray for small carbon footprints!). I’m also looking into trail shoes. Because a girl’s gotta have the perfect footwear for every occasion, right?

Do you ever run off road? Got any advice on trail shoes?

Originally posted in Running With It on Shape.com.

Running And Heels, For Me They Don’t Mix

Yesterday my quads were sore again. It felt like I’d run another marathon over the weekend—only I hadn’t. I’m being good about sticking to my recovery plan and easing back into running. I did my scheduled light run last night anyway, thinking maybe the muscles needed a little exercise to loosen up. Three miles of trails later (soft ground is easier on your body than pavement), my legs still hurt and going down a flight of stairs was no picnic.

This morning, I was reaching for a pair of pants I haven’t worn since last summer and remembered they were hemmed to be worn with heels. That’s when and it dawned on me—I wore cowboy boots that make me an inch and a half taller all day on Sunday. That’s why my quads are so sore!

 High heels throw your body out of alignment. To be able to walk in them without falling, you have to thrust your pelvis forward, which puts stress on your lower back and engages your legs muscles, from your calves up to your quads and glutes. I’d given them up during marathon training when I started having shin pain. So now, my body is used to being in flats and even walking around (and standing in a museum for a few hours) with the slightest lift gave my thighs a major workout.

Still, heels make my legs look hot! So I have two options: I can walk around in flats for the rest of my life, or I can go into training to be able to wear high ones again. (I’ll be wearing the ones in this photo to a friend’s wedding in October, so the choice has been made.)

Would you give up sexy stilettos and kitten heels to improve your running?

Originally posted in Running With It on Shape.com.