Friday, August 6, 2010

Week in review August 6th 2010

Marathon training week 6 of 16.
I ran my long run (20 miles) with Bob again averaging 8:27 for the distance. This was about 35 seconds faster than my normal long run pace. I'm hoping this will be good for me, it hasn't caused any problems at this point at least. My typical daily mileage was increased to 9 miles and the pace was dropped to 9:01 from 9:07. I am now at about 50 miles per week. 60 will be the highest mileage in this training period.
I've been running about 4 miles a week in Vibram five finger shoes hoping they would reduce my chronic overstriding and get me to a more mid foot type stride. This has been a very slow and deliberate process to reduce the chance of injury. So far it has been working out pretty well.
Last week I listened to "The Living Barefoot Podcast" on one of my runs. They had a gentleman as a guest who has just started a new company with a new minimalist shoe called Paper Feet. These "shoes" are cut from recycled billboard vinyl. The advertising on the vinyl is not altered in any way so your shoes are unique and no two pair will look exactly alike. I promptly ordered a pair and waited anxiously for the mailman to deliver them.
The shoes arrived yesterday. They came in a clear mailing pouch so you could immediately see what "style" your shoes had. The shoes are actually more like slippers. They are attached with velcro straps at the heel, arch, and toe with the toe having an additional strap to hold the front of the toe to your foot.
I spent the day yesterday walking around in them and included a trip to the hardware store. I caught a few people casting puzzled glances at my feet. Having warn Vibrams for some time now I am used to this and actually quite enjoy it. At the end of the day I examined the soles of the shoes and found some of the ink had worn off but the fiber weave still appeared to be intact. The shoes were very comfortable to wear and I felt like I was cheating walking around in the store with "bare feet", normally a no no.
Today I ran a speed workout on the treadmill. For the warmup I decided to try the Paper Feet. I found a couple of things you should be aware of.
First when putting the shoes on make sure you have a full velcro mating of the heel or it will come undone. The best method of putting the shoes on was to fully fasten the heel first. Then tightly wrap the arch over the ankle. Finally wrap the toe tightly across the foot but leave a little toe room in the toe strap. This will insure you don't jam your toes while running.
The next thing to be aware of is being vinyl, they may be slippery on your treadmill belt. Mine was a rubber compound so it wasn't slippery but the hard vinyl side rails were very slippery when stepping on them. Be sure to hold the handrails when stepping on the side rails.
I took photos of the soles of the shoes before and after the two mile treadmill run. To my eye they held up quite well. I can't say how many miles I will get out of them but will keep a report going as I use them. I also plan on running on the roads with them next week and will again take photos before and after. In that way you can be the judge on how well they might hold up for you.
Personally, I like them. The cost actually is a three tiered approach. $9.00 plus shipping will cover manufacturing costs and is your first option. The second option is $15.99 plus shipping which is described as building a pair for the next person. The third option is $19.99 described as "You understand our story and live for our cause"
These shoes are made from recycled material with US labor. The company owner seems to be very socially responsible when it comes to the environment and labor market. This is enough in my opinion to want the company to succeed.
I have enclosed links to before and after wear photos of the bottom of the shoes.