How do the different shoes make you run faster?
Coach Jay - I just went to a running store for some shoes to get ready for track
season. This is my first time running track and I was a little overwhelmed. How
do I know what shoes will be the best for me or make me faster?
Hi Kelly. Glad to hear you're getting ready for track season and hopefully I can help you figure out what shoe to purchase.
First thing we need to establish is that Nike makes the best line of track and field shoes in the world. Period. Discus throwers, high jumpers, hurdlers and milers are all taken care of in Nike's line of shoes. That said, because you said you went to a running store I'm going to assume your running, either sprints or distance events.
If you're a sprinter, you'll probably run everything from 100m to 400m (even if you're a 200m specialist who hates the 400m, you'll probably find yourself on the 4x400m relay). While Nike makes some shoes for the 60m and 100m with a rigid sprike plate that runs the length of the shoes, I would recommend you wear something like the Zoom Rival S V, which has a "sprinter" spike plate under your forefoot, but is a bit more flexible in the mid-foot. This shoe is also appropriate for 400m runners who run the 800m as well, but if you're a true 400m/800m I'd go with the Zoom Rival M D as it's bit more event specific.
If you're a distance runner you've got plenty to choose from and if one shoe fits better than another, then you're decision is easy. The Zoom W3 is not only a great choice in my mind, but is highlights Nike commitment to women's running. The original Zoom W was the first performance shoe (i.e. spike) that took into account a woman's body and the fact that the Q angle at the knee causes a slightly different foot strike. The Zoom W simply had the outside heal shaved down to account for this, something no other company was doing. Anyway, it's a great all around shoe; you could run the 3,200m in it and also run a leg on on the 4x400m in it.
And that leads to my final thought. While I preach to high school coaches at clinics that distance runners should run the the 4x400m, by no means does a distance runner need to get a special shoe for that event. If you wanted another pair of shoes, I'd get a racing flat that you can use for some threshold workouts and for summer cross country workouts. Having a faster pair of shoes that you can run on every surface from cement to grass to synthetic track is nice and you'll feel fast when you put them on.
Best of luck with your track season Kelly and thanks for the question.
*Coach Jay's advice is provided as general training information. Use at your own risk. Always consult with your own heath care provider for questions relating to your specific training and nutrition.