A little while ago I received an invite to the New Balance marathon expo breakfast to be the first to hear some exciting news. Although I wasn’t running the marathon, it gave me a good excuse to go along, meet up with Shaz to give her a hug and wish her luck for the big day, and also catch up with Adele who I haven’t seen since a Janathon meet up.
The first thing to hit me when we got to the stand (no, not the smell of freshly baked croissants) was the colour. Oranges and pinks and blues and greens and just, wow, lots and lots of brightly coloured shoes. As a lover of all (running) things neon it was a wonder to behold. We were told we would get a good chance to look and touch and play once the presentation had finished so we quickly took our seats.
New Balance have joined forces with Good Form Running, to bring their concept to the masses and hopefully help people make running a less-painful and more enjoyable part of their lives. The idea is fairly simple – that most runners were never taught how to run so have developed gaits that resist forward momentum and create unnecessary strain. With the introduction of the Good Form Running elements, they believe they can make anyone run more efficiently and be less prone to injury.
The four elements are: Posture, Midfoot, Cadence, Lean, a detailed description of each can be found here, and New Balance will be offering running clinics in their stores to introduce people to it. This is not like gait analysis, they won’t be trying to sell you a shoe, it’s intended to help runners improve and, I guess, to help make New Balance a top running shoe brand.
To demonstrate, they asked one of us to get on the treadmill so they could analyse our running. Cue lots of people avoiding eye contact (Shaz), or suddenly finding the stray bit of cotton on their scarf to be VERY interesting (me). One of the other bloggers (who I later found out was an ACTUAL journalist who writes the running blog for the guardian eek!) did the brave thing and got up. I reckon she was a plant as she had almost perfect form and cadence (they recommend 180 steps per minute).
I found the talk very informative – we were all given a gizmo that beeps at a rate of 180bpm so that we could try it at home. I’ve not been brave enough to try it yet as it just sounds so fast, however I am much more aware of my posture and try to keep my shoulders relaxed and my head up with a slight forward lean and it does feel like it’s less effort and more flow as a result.
Then we were allowed to play with the shoes, here are a selection of my favourites.
I could’ve spent a fortune. I know some people might read this, knowing that I’ve had a free pair of shoes and think I’m just saying that. I want to be honest, if I hadn’t been given them, I’d have bought them anyway. I’ve really suffered with my achilles since taking up running 2 and a half years ago, and worked my way through Asics and Saucony stability shoes before getting my first pair of New Balance. I started with the 860 and have never looked back. I ran the Blackpool half in a pair of 870v2 (the superlight stability shoes I reviewed here) and am currently training in those and a pair of 860v3 for the Southend half, and my achilles pain is no more. My Asics have been relegated to walking shoes, and when those new 1260v3 are launched I’ll be first in the Q!
Overall, I found the morning very informative, who knew that New Balance do special edition shoes? One for each of the majors – London, Tokyo, Boston and New York. They even do a special edition Disney pair, but you can only buy them at the Disney Marathon expo in Florida in January. I’m slightly gutted about that as I am running a half marathon in Disney next year to commemorate my 40th, but they don’t sell it at that one. Ebay here I come…