Im writing this from a runnr’s version of Hell. I’m injured.
Allow me first to assure you that I didn’t sustain this strain of the ligaments around my ischium (around my hip) in the course of running. Blame the burpees I was doing with improper form. All said, done, and thankfully not torn, I’m commanded to the swimming pool for healthy, weightless laps for the next few weeks—with running to take a short backseat in the vehicle chugging my life along.
In the front seat sits the hope that I’ll be running fast again soon, that I’ll be joining the ranks of fellow runnr’s chasing down our version of Heaven: staring ahead with a feeling of weightlessness below your waist, your feet lifting off the pavement one after the other, your breath smoothly fizzing oxygen into your blood.
But running fast isn’t just a matter of pounding away at the ground with your feet. It’s a calculated balance of preparation, technique, and equipment—at least to run fast sustainably.
I mean I’m not that fast
While I’d say I’m a fairly good runner, I refuse to rank myself around the folks upon whom we stamp: beast. I’m somewhere around the pretty fast hobby-runner category, I mean if you forced me to create categories and fill myself into one.
But that being said, I’m one of those runners who needs to train diligently and with the right people to get ahead in the sport. I’ve learned that I always need to acquire the right equipment to help me perform as the best runnr version of myself.
Years back, I was a student of the poorly designed philosophy: I just need to run fast every time I run so that it’ll eventually get easier. Perhaps this is true for a few months, but it isn’t a sustainable philosophy. On the road to running Heaven, intoning this mantra, one may quickly meet injury or burnout.
What now sustains me is a commitment to purposeful training: sometimes we run slow and for long distances, and on other occasions we hit the gas hard and nail our interval splits. And these intervals are the arena I’ve blessed with the commitment that I’ll run as fast as I bloody can. It’s in this almost-holy place that I catch glimpses of runnr’s Heaven.
Intervals are important for improvement
One run blog put it well: The big advantage of interval training is that the total duration of work at maximum effort is greater than for one continuous run. You’re simply able to pour more of your best running into a given session than you would have had you kept my old philosophy of running in mind.
In doing this, on a casual one-to-two-times-a-week basis, you’re improving your VO2 max, and improving both your aerobic and anaerobic endurance. You’re setting yourself up to run faster consistently and you are committing to a philosophy of sustainable improvement—of being able to glimpse Heaven regularly.
And these glimpses are even easier to catch with the right shoes
On these interval runs I’m a bit pickier with my shoes. Although I’ve been generous in my giving fast running a supernatural tint, these are the weekly sessions I tend to mentally whine about. They’re difficult! Especially after a long, hobby-runner-with-a-day-job type of day.
Rather than reaching for the super-supportive-but-heavy shoes on my shoe rack, I’m most keen on my foot-rockets, the fastest shoes on hand. The idea: give myself enough extra stuff to make the hard run easier.
A general rule of thumb in this decision: if it has an air bag, a low heel drop, or a piece of carbon stuck somewhere in the sole, it’s the shoe to go for.
The New Balance FuelCell TC doesn’t have an air bag in it
But it has a low 10mm heel drop and a delicious full-length carbon plate—tucked between a generous soufflé of chewy, honestly-really-soft FuelCell foam. It’s also a glorious looking shoe, the crisscross of mesh beaming pastel hues of aqua beneath a summery slicked “NB” atop the bright purple FuelCell foam. And get this: the outsoles of the right and left shoes are differently colored!
These aren’t the sort of shoes that’ll batter you while you’re getting aquainted. They’re easy to run in right out of the box. The FuelCell foam is incredibly flexible and gummy, lending a bouncy feeling to the ground as you’re running. But this flexibility is elegantly obstructed by the rigid carbon plate in the shoe, giving you serious responsiveness with each foot strike.
The shoe didn’t do much to my running form. Especially compared to my experience of the Nike Tempo Next %s which regularly transition me from a clear forefoot striker to a borderline heel striker. Nonetheless, the kilometer splits spent in the NB FuelCell TCs are surprisingly and consistently quick. The synthesis of the foam and plate curled into a well-structured lace-up at the upper and an easy-to-appreciate fit at the heel creates a pair of shoes well-positioned to join me on my hard runs—on my intervals.
The toe box is big
Basically, it’s roomy at the toes, which is something I’ve learned to appreciate. Although I’m a bit Nadal-esque in my enjoying a tight shoe fit, the NB FuelCell TCs withstand runs without the sort of slippage I’ve been afraid to create in larger-feeling shoes.
I’ll keep it true to the TC acronym “training and competition”. This could very well be a race shoe. It’s fast, it’s comfy, and it’s downright attractive. But I’m going to tuck it under the category of “absolutely smashingly fast training shoe”. I recall diving head-first into a Youtube rabbit hole and finding a video of Jakob Ingebrigsten saying he runs as fast as possible during his fast runs and if that meant using carbon-plated shoes all the time then so be it.
This pair of shoes makes that sort of statement possible—neatly packaging fastness with comfort.
So while for the meantime I’ll be flailing around a pool, pretending to have a grasp of what I’m doing, I’ll be back and running soon. Slow before fast, but running nonetheless.
You’ll find this shoe in my rotation—a real star among the shoes in it to be sure. I can tell you that I’ve seen runner’s Heaven. I can assure you that it’s beautiful and bright.
And I look forward to seeing more of it in these bloody fast shoes.
Looking to #RiseUpAndRun towards becoming a faster runnr? Run today with the New Balance FuelCell TC! Head on over to runnr Bonifacio High Street today or chat with them through Viber to score a pair! Make sure to follow runnr on Facebook and Instagram as well, for more shoe reviews, running blogs and to stay up-to-date with all the latest on anything and everything runnr, the leading running specialty store in the Philippines. Happy running!