I have always been a huge fan of Saucony’s slogan “Find Your Strong”.
To me this says we are all unique, that my “strong” may look different, but in reality we are all working hard to be the best version of ourselves. If we all put heart rate monitors on we would see how hard we are really working. The heart doesn’t lie and someone doing a 14 minute mile might be working harder than someone doing 7 minute miles. You just can’t judge someone from the way they look on the outside, a little metaphor, but oh so true.
Finding your strong also requires that you have the right tools to get you where you want to go. I have a large collection of “tools”, aka shoes, in my closet and I am very particular about which ones work best for me. Recently, I was sent a pair of the new Saucony Viratta’s and, if you judge these beauties by what’s on the outside, than in my book they get an A+. I think the colors are gorgeous, I love the bright hues in contrast with the black background. I did not feel like a circus clown while running in these, instead I felt confident and proud to wear them.
You may be saying, “great, so they look good, but how do they perform? What’s on the inside?” I have been wearing them for almost two weeks now, I wanted to take them out on several different types of runs to really be able to tell you what I think. So here we go… this shoe is different than any other minimalist running shoe I’ve ever run in. Why?
So as you can see, I am liking the Virrata but I want to add that if you have never run in a minimalist style shoe, then there are a few things you need to know.
First, running in this shoe is going to be a step above running barefooot. These are built on a 0 mm offset, meaning there is NO elevated heel like there is in a traditional running shoe. This is one of the reasons this shoe is so light. For my ladies, think ballerina flat not wedge heal, got it? What this means to you is, if you have never run in a shoe like this, you want to start slow, you will be using your calf muscles more and you may feel it in your achilles. If you suffer from chronic Plantar Fasciitis or you are just not sure what shoe is right for you, you may want to use the Saucony Shoe Advisor to help you find the right pair for you. Here are a few tips for runners who are purchasing their first pair of zero drop shoes:
1.Transition slowly: start with a 10% increase each week: example: you’re running 40 miles a week, the first week run in these shoes 4 miles, then add an additional few miles each week until you feel strong enough to make these your full time shoe.
2. Make sure you are gently stretching your calves out, using a belt or strap at least a few times a week.
3. Adding 5 X 50 yd. barefoot strides on a grass surface, ie: park, soccer field or football field. Start with 5 a week and gradually increase. Keep your strides easy in the first 10-15 yards and slowly add a little speed toward the end. Don’t go at an all out sprint, the point of these is to strengthen all of the little muscles in your feet that have not ever been used and to focus on a mid foot strike.
4. Walk First: Start by walking around in your Virratas and focus on your gate. Are you still heel striking? If so, try to allow your stride to fall mid foot, you may need to quicken your cadence a bit.
5. Put away your headphones. Try running free of distraction, until you change your gate, you need to really be in tune with your body.
For more suggestions on how to transition to natural running, see this article by Competitor Magazine: Safely Transitioning To A Minimalist Running Shoe
Why would you want to go to all of this trouble to change your shoes? Because there are many studies out there that indicate having a more natural mid foot strike reduces injury and allows us to reach our full potential as runners. For some, it helps us to “Find Your Strong.” I am not saying this shoe will be for everyone, but it certainly is at the top among the natural running shoe category and personally, I have seen improvement in my running since making the gradual switch over.
To learn more about Minimalist running, see this Runner’s World Article: Much Ado About Minimalism
One last cool thing about Saucony: if you post a picture of you and your shoes with the hashtag #FindYourStrong or #Saucony on Twitter or Instagram, they will post it on their website! I love that!
Saucony via FitFluential LLC sent me a pair of Virratas free of charge for this Campaign. All opinions are my own.
How about you? How what tools help you “Find Your Strong?”
Are you running in zero drop shoes?