U.S. Olympic silver medalist, Meb Keflezighi, recently switched to a new lightweight shoe this year for both training and competition. Meb ran in the new SKECHERS GOrun shoes when he won the San Jose Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon this past October. Meb also ran the 2011 ING NYC Marathon in the same shoes. We caught up with Meb two days before the race in the SKECHERS showroom to learn more about the product and its benefits.
Meb said the lightweight shoes make it easier for him to achieve a natural stride. The elite marathoner has already logged 1,400 miles on GOrun shoes since the beginning of the year. He told us that the shoes have performed so well, in fact, that he has been able to run since August without orthotics. For those of you planning to switch to lightweight shoes in the offseason, here are Meb's five tips to make the transition easy and injury-free:
1) Walk before you run. Use your new shoes in everyday settings before hitting the road. Meb said the best thing you can do is let your muscles adapt to the flatter heels and lighter structure. Take them shopping and even to work.
2) Go short at first. "Do some 3 mile, then 5-mile runs," Meb said. Use the shorter runs to let your stride begin to slowly change with the lightweight design.
3) Try longer runs on the road. "Go for 7 miles on a road or smooth surface," Meb advised. Only after you feel good on the short runs should you run with the shoes on your regular workouts. Meb said that a smooth road is the perfect place to try out your lightweight shoes and your newly-improved form.
4) Focus on your core. Some lightweight shoes can encourage a forward lean to your run. The rest of your body needs the strength to follow. That means you need a strong core. Meb advised us, "Do lots of planks and improve your stability."
5) Stretch, stretch, and stretch. Meb also said to stretch regularly. In a sport that really doesn't have an offseason, at age 36, Meb knows how to perform well and stay healthy. Find a good post-run stretching routine and stick with it.
How did the shoes perform at the NYC marathon for Meb? Before the race, Meb said, "Sunday is a stacked field, but I always give it 110 percent." And that he did. He held solidly with the men's lead pack through mile 20. Finishing in 6th place, Meb broke his own personal course record with a time of 2:09:13.Sign up for your next race.
Paul Tyler is founder of Triessential.com. Triessential offers an iPhone application that provides training tips and motivation every day throughout the entire year.