Sunday, February 7, 2021

Weekly Sweats: Launch

 

In this weeks' news: 31.5 treadmill miles, 3 strength workouts, and first (highly positive) impressions of the Launch 8.

I'm linking up with the Weekly Run Down, please head over to Kim and Deborah to check it out.    

Last week's cutback had the desired effect.  I was able to ramp right back up to my normal training load and soak in the fitness like a sponge.  Weather wise we've had more cold and more ice so I'm on target for my prediction of an all-indoor February.

On the positive side, I'm feeling very strong when I run.  My body isn't just keeping up with the treadmill, it's giving it a run for its money.  Obviously if I could be outside I would be outside BUT now that my body has accepted the treadmill I have to say that treadmill running is much less stressful on the body than running outside, and I'm soaking that up while I have it.  I'm also continuing to do two very slow runs each week.  I'll do the occasional speed burst here and there to pass the time but I really haven't felt like doing speed work yet and frankly I may not bother until I can get back outside again.  I feel like speed work off the treadmill is much more beneficial than speed work on the treadmill.  I also don't plan to run anything longer than 8 miles on the treadmill right now, on the theory that long runs off the treadmill are a word of difference than long run on the treadmill.  Within those parameters I'm getting a ton of mileage that feels good, what more could a runner want?

The only cloud on the horizon is that a few weeks ago I was rummaging around in a closet and something fell off the top shelf and landed on top of my right foot.  At the time it hurt and I could see a lump on my foot but things settled down and I forgot about it.  Fast forward to last week and I realize now why the shoes that I tried out that were just a little too tight bothered my foot so much.  The lump is still there and it's acting up.  I don't feel it while I'm running but it's continuing to talk smack to me and if it doesn't settle down in a big hurry Ima get a second opinion on it.  Hopefully it's nothing but if it turns out to be something I don't want to be all "hey I have a foot thing that's been going on for a while that I didn't mention before" so I'm mentioning it (and if I never mention it again, the reason will be that it turned out to be nothing).

Monday: Strength plus 4.3 slow miles.

Tuesday: 6.3 miles.

Wednesday: Strength & no running

Thursday: new day, nu shooz.  Took my nice shinny new Launch 8 out of the box and put them to work for 6.3 miles.  I was able to maintain a pattern of 30 seconds fast/90 seconds slow.

Friday: strength and 4.3 slow miles in my old shoes.

Saturday: long run day @ 7 miles, treated myself to my 2nd run in the Launch 8.

Sunday: closed out the week with 3.3 miles in my old shoes.

Shoe Talk

For the second time in as many weeks, a brand new pair of shoes showed up on my doorstep.  Last week I tried the Levitate, which did not work out for me, and this week I tried the Launch 8.  Never judge a book by its cover and never judge a pair of shoes by the first 13 miles, but my opinion as of right now is that I really, really, really like these shoes.

Because we have a moment, lemme tell you about my history with running shoes.  TL&DR, scroll down to the pictures where I start rambling about the Launch 8 or TL&DR see you next week;-)  When I started running I was on a budget and not running very much, so I put zero effort into shoes.  I went with whatever sneakers I could get for the cheapest that I could get them.  A few years into my running journey I started hearing chatter about shoes and spied a deal on a pair of Big Deal Brand Name shoes online and snapped them up.  This is most definitely not a recommended way to buy shoes BUT by fate these were the perfect shoes for me.  After I don't know, 3 or 4 YEARS it dawned on me that hmm, you aren't supposed to keep running shoes forever so I got another pair of the same brand and they just didn't have the magic of the original pair.  Eventually I made my first visit to a running store and got matched again with the latest model of the same brand, which were also my first pair of men's shoes (as discussed last week I have wide width feet and shoe brands are not exactly flooding the market with wide width shoes so lucky for me that there is an entire gender with wide feet).

As someone who reads a lot of running blogs, I of course heard a lot of raves about Brooks, and at one point all of the cool bloggers were raving about a pair of cute walking shoes, so I decided to try them and they were horrible.  The shoes had a weird insert that was incompatible with my foot.  I wore the shoes to work, so I did nothing more than walk to and from my car and sit around in an office in them and they hurt my feet terribly.  It literally would have been less painful to wear high heels for the day.  So the shoes went back from whence they came and I wrote off the entire Brooks brand as an influencer scam.

The Big Deal Big Name Brand shoes and I fell out once I got into half marathon territory.  With the increased mileage I found that I had to be fanatical about keeping my toenails trimmed and let me tell you that I am very enthusiastic about many things but toenail trimming is not one of them.  In the early days of doing 8-10 mile runs my feet started to hurt and I had to cut a few runs short.  I went back to the running store and told them my tale of woe.  They gave me a selection of Mizunos and Brooks to try on.  I was incredibly skeptical of Brooks but I could not deny that the Launch 5 felt right so I took them home with me.  It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship and FYI I was able to return to being very casual about my toenail trimming.

To date I've had four pairs of the Launch 5 and two pairs of the Launch 6.  I've retired four pairs at 500 miles and my current shoes (Launch 5 for outside and Launch 6 for inside) have mid 300's for mileage on them so the rough count is that I've run 2,700 miles in Launch.

I can't tell you exactly what the difference is between the 5 & 6, but there is something microscopically different that makes me prefer the 5's.  The 6's are just a touch firmer.  When the 7 came out, the reviews said that the 7's were firmer than the 6's and one particularly snarky review said something along the lines of "you're not kidding that these shoes promote fast turnover because they're so hard you won't want to put your foot on the ground"...whether accurate or not I could not get those words out of my head so now you know why I never got around to trying the 7's.  I didn't have to because there were quite a few 5's still in the marketplace for stupid cheap, so I had my twin loves of the perfect shoe and thrift.  But now the Launch 5 well has run dry and with 300+ miles on both of my existing pairs of shoes, it was time to start looking around and hey, great timing since the Launch 8 came out and the reviews have been quite positive.

From left to right you are looking at: Launch 5 (the shoe in the picture is a retired treadmill shoe that I use for strength training...it's identical to my current outdoor shoes except way less muddy), Launch 6 (current treadmill shoe @ approx 350 miles), and the brand new Launch 8 after 13 miles.

Any review that you read will tell you that the 8 is much more lightweight than previous models and I'm here to confirm that.  You can feel it but I wanted to quantify it so I got out my kitchen scale.  The 5's are 250 grams, the 6's are 258 grams, and the 8's are 223 grams.  I don't know anything about shoe technology, but I'm going to take a wild guess that most of the difference is in the shoe upper.  It's quite thin compared to the previous models, and now that I've tried all three the older shoes feel ridiculously bulky.

The backs of the new shoes are taller than the previous models, and I was concerned that might be an issue but once I got them on it's not something that I noticed at all so we're good there.

As far as the bottoms of the shoes, you know the things you stand on, that feels really good.  I can't tell yet it the 8's are "better" or if it's just the difference between brand new shoes and shoes with 350 miles on them, but overall I feel springy and peppy which is exactly what I'm looking for.

The verdict for now is that I'm quite happy with the new shoes and if that trend continues I'll be ponying out more cash for more pairs.  For right now I'm going to use the 8's for my longer/faster runs and the older shoes for the short & slow stuff.  Once the weather gets nicer I'll take them outside.

The real point of this story isn't how much I like the new Launch, it's that I'm really glad that I started looking for new shoes before I needed them.  This story could just as easily have gone the other way and the 8's might not have worked out for me which means it would be time to move on and start looking at other shoe brands.  With 150 miles left in my current shoes, I have time to try things out and I don't have to settle. (P.S. if I did have to move on from Brooks I think I would start with New Balance).

Tell me about your favorite shoes!  Any other Launch fans out there?



34 comments:

  1. I've heard such great things about the Launch but I need a little more support and the Adrenalines are my jam. My sister loves them too! Glad they are working out for you. Hopefully you just have deep bruise on your foot that will work it's way out.

    I wish I had the same feelings about the TM as you do! I may have to have a truce with mine, as this cold weather seems to be sticking around.

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    1. I think you and I have the same feelings about our TM's, it's just that you're braver with the cold & ice than I am...to my mind the TM is the only option so that helps with my 'tude quite a bit.

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  2. You've had quite the shoe experience so far! I hope you continue to love the Launches! Glad you're feeling strong on the treadmill lately!

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    1. lol, since they last so long it will be years before I ever write about shoes again! It's been fun.

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  3. Feeling strong when you are running is everything! Hold onto that for as long as you can. I am a Brooks Glycerin fan love the cushioning. Have a great week

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    1. Amen and high 5! You've had an incredible streak of runs lately.

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  4. Glad you ended up liking the Launches! I'm glad that I have a few different shoes that I wear so that if one of them stopped working for me I would have other options. I agree the treadmill sees to be easier on the body. I think all my easy treadmill runs this week helped me to have a strong outdoor run on Saturday.

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    1. Whew me too b/c if they hadn't worked I'd be searching for a new shoe brand.

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  5. I blogged about my shoes recently (and I think you read/commented), so I won't repeat too much of what I said LOL But, I while have been quite loyal to Brooks Adrenalines, the Mizuno Wave Inspires are a very similar shoe (to me, that is)...and seem to be on opposite years of good tweaks/bad tweaks. I'm about due for some distance shoes, so I'm leaning towards Mizuno...but I'll probably need an in-person fitting to make the decision. I'm glad you're enjoying your treadmill time ;-) I gotta admit my two TM runs actually felt pretty good...but they were run faster than I'd been running, so it may just have been endorphins...

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    1. I feel sometimes like shoes manufactures just change things to change things...grr. There's really nothing about the 6's that's an improvement over the 5's. The differences in the treads from year to year are kind of a "what the?"

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  6. Love that you're feeling super strong when running! I have a pair of Launch sneakers that I love but I can only wear them for shorter runs. I need more of a stability sneaker for longer runs.

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  7. I totally get those microscopic differences between shoes. I am the same way with my Asics Noosa Tri-Gel. They are all good, but my favorite is the 6 version. Again, those almost imperceptible differences that make a big difference.

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  8. Huge fan of the Launch here! So far I like the even number version. My first and absolute favorite is the 2. I also loved the 4s. Currently I have the 5 and not a big fan of it but I will get rid of them at the end of March anyway. Interestingly enough the tie dye shoes felt very comfortable. I also ran in the 6 and liked those as well. I have a new pair of the 7 but it is too late to return them so I will run in them sometime this year. So I'll probably get to the 8 at the end of this year. :-)

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    1. Shoe twin! I'm dying to hear what you think of the 7's. They've been on sale for a while so there are certainly some good deals there.

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    2. Once the snow melts, I will run in them.

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  9. Yay for feeling strong when you run - that's everything isn't it?!

    I've been a long-time Adrenaline fan but also love the cushion the Gycerins offer - they were my marathon shoe. I like to rotate two pairs and I'm due for a new pair. It's great that the Launch is working for you. I've heard great things about them so I'm curious...

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    1. I think the Glycerin and Launch opposites. I tried the Glycerin last year and loved how they made my feet feel but found that I got fatigued after a few miles. I read somewhere that if you have a heavy footfall that cushioned shoes will just make you stomp harder, which makes sense for what I experienced.

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  10. Glad your cutback week did the trick!

    I wore Asics for ten plus years, but when I got my custom orthotics they just didn't feel the same so I switched to Brooks. After a few years they hurt my right foot (I have Hallux rigidus) so I switched to Saucony trail shoes - only shoe in the store that didn't hurt. Now my Saucony's have made the toe box smaller and they hurt. I'm going to try your suggestion of going with the men's version. Stay tuned!

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    1. Ouch! I've certainly had shoe store visits where everything that I tried on hurt. I hope that the men's width do the trick. The downside is that I'll never have pink shoes;-)

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    1. Thanks Debbie! Feet are everything in this game.

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  12. Glad to hear that the cutback weeks worked for you. I think it's smart to pull back occasionally. Definitely helps me with motivation, too.

    As previously mentioned, I love the Launchs, but my go-to are Levitates. I am also trying the Adrenalines right now.

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    1. The Levitates felt really good, if it wasn't for the "sock" being too tight for my foot I would have been set. My stepson has the Adrenaline but he's already a size 10 so even in men's shoes I can't try his out.

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  13. Ow! Your poor foot! I hope that lump and the smack-talking go away soon!

    I never used to be able to wear Brooks. I was pretty devoted to Mizuno with a side detour to Saucony from time to time. And then the Adrenaline underwent a major design change and I was hooked. It happens like that sometimes. So glad you found something that worked!

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    1. Shoes are everything! It's exactly like dating sometimes to find The One.

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  14. I hate when shoe companies change their shoes. I've tried every brand I think. My foot area problem...since last Nov. I just bought a different style of Topos.

    Kudos to you on your treadmill runs. I could never. I just run outside or skip it. Luckily I have been able to get out there usually 4x each week.

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    1. Oh I will be so ready to get back outside! Just that I don't see the weather helping me out anytime soon:-(

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  15. I was always jealous of the Brooks sales when I wore New B alance. I'm glad a friend talked me into trying the Ghosts as they work well for me. Congrats on a solid week!

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    1. I tried on the Ghosts last spring but ended up taking the Glycerin home with me and of course long term it didn't work out. But I do love my Launch<3

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  16. Come over to the New Balance side! The shoes are nice and wide with a wide toe box (I practically need clown shoes, and the NB fit me.) Anyway, any running is better than no running and that includes treadmill runs! Nice job this week.

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  17. glad you love the 8's! shoes are so personal. I have worn Brooks before, but since my foot surgeries and problems with nerve pain there are only a few brands that make shoes with a wider toe box (my toes need the space). I was in Altras for a while but needed a bit more ankle support so I switched to Hokas. And to be honest, I've only ever had the Cliftons but I LOVE them and recently ponied up for 2 new pairs. Also from the 6 to the 7 with very minimal change. I may buy more just in case they go to 8 and suddenly the shoes are drastically different.

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    1. I love hearing about running shoes! But it is scary to know that the manufactures change things up every year and you just never know when your go-to shoe is going to stop working out.

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  18. Way to go on consistently using that treadmill. Your shoe history is interesting and I don't know many people who have such a loyalty to the Launch! It can be super frustrating when your favorite shoe gets a total makeover. I started out on a budget as well, and I bought whatever shoe I could find on sale at a discount shoe store!

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