If you had asked me ten years ago if I would ever be a runner, I would have laughed in your face. While I have always been involved in sports, when it came to running, I was never a fan.
That all changed five years ago when I laced up my shoes and went for a run as a way to relieve stress. Since then, it has become a big part of my life.
After getting a few races under my belt, I went to a local running store to get properly fitted for shoes. They watched me walk around, they measured my feet and looked at my gait. Soon I was the proud owner of Brooks Ravennas – the shoes that got me through my first marathon.
While the Ravennas (and even the PureCadence from time to time) have been my go-to shoe for years, I took a trip to the physical therapist where I learned that I may, in fact, be in the wrong shoe.
That’s right, the wrong shoe. I’ll admit, I felt a little like Cinderella’s stepsisters.
Since the closest running store is over an hour away, I headed to BrooksRunning.com to try their new Stride Signature shoe finder (they tell me runners will be able to get their Stride Signature tested in stores and at some events next year). I answered the questions about how I walk and how my joints move, and I found that I needed a neutral shoe (whereas the Ravennas have a touch of support in them).
However, it was the final option in the shoe finder that piqued my interested the most. After I answered the questions, I was left with four choices of what kind of experience I wanted while running– Cushion Me, Energize Me, Connect Me or Propel Me. I took a closer look at each of the four to get a better idea of what was involved in each experience:
Soft and protective, these shoes cushion each step and let you glide through you run.
Responsive and springy, these shoes add a lift to every stride.
Lightweight and flexible, these shoes create a natural connection to the run.
Fast and built for speed, these shoes propel your performance to the next level.
Instead of being prescribed similar models, I had the power to choose the experience I wanted! Since I was going to be training for both a half marathon and marathon, I knew that meant two completely different experiences. For the half, I wanted something that was lightweight as I was working toward speed, so I chose my shoe from the Connect Me experience. For the marathon, I needed something more substantial but that would help keep me moving forward for double the miles. For that, I chose the Energize Me experience.
With those categories in mind, soon the Brooks Launch 2 and PureFlow 4 showed up on my doorstep. My plan was to use the PureFlow for my shorter weekday runs, and the Launch for my long runs on the weekend.
First and foremost, I knew I needed to be careful – after all, I have been running in the same shoe for years! I did my best to reign in my excitement and break in the shoes slowly. After all, no one enjoys shin splints or blisters. Since these were designed to enhance my running style (not try to change it), the shoes worked well from the start.
The PureFlow 4 allowed me to connect to the ground, offering a lightweight experience. The first thing I noticed when I put on these shoes was how they immediately wrapped to fit my foot nice and snug. The inside cushioning was a welcome surprise, especially considering how lightweight the shoe is! As someone who tends to heel strike at the end of a training run, the rounded heel helps regain that mid-foot strike.
The Launch 2 was responsive, springing me forward with each step. The overall feel was similar to the Ravenna, however I didn’t feel the slight aches and pains I had been experiencing in the past (Proof once again, I was in the wrong shoe after all!). The Launch is substantial enough to take on the long runs easily, providing the support my body needs while also offering a responsive heel-to-toe transition to keep me going.
While it isn’t always feasible to purchase multiple pairs of shoes for each type of run, I really enjoy the opportunity that Brooks provides for runners to choose the experience they want to have. As I continue to work toward new goals, I can always change my experience!
About the Author
Megan began running four years ago. It started as a way to relieve stress, but running has become so much more. She has completed multiple 5K, 10K, half marathon, 25K and marathon races, including the multi-day Dopey Challenge. She loves to run local races in her home state of Michigan, yet also enjoys the magic of runDisney events. She is the author of a book that combines two of her passions, running and Disney! Magical Miles: The Runner’s Guide to Walt Disney World is a tour book that guides families through all aspects of a runDisney event, including resorts, restaurants, the races and more! As a gluten-free runner, Megan has insight on the best gluten-free meals at Walt Disney World.