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I was driving down the 101 freeway the other day. So I’m lying…I wasn’t actually driving. I was sitting there, creeping along at three miles an hour. The car right next to me happened to be a brand new Ferrari F430. We’re talking about a car that has over 640 horsepower. Top speed is around 220 miles per hour. It’ll get you to 62 in 3.7 seconds.
All of those stats are pretty impressive. But not on this day. That car was no faster than my Mini Cooper, which couldn’t go from zero to 60 in under a week. That’s the thing about freeways in L.A. It’s like a great equalizer.
I told you that to tell you this. Often as Americans, or even more so as human beings, we have more tools than it takes to get the job done. In the sports world there are examples everywhere. Just look at the fat guy who rode his $10,000 Colnago bike to the coffee shop on a Saturday morning. That bike can only be used to its fullest potential by top pros. Yet with the weekend warrior aboard, not only is it not being used to its fullest potential, but a lesser bike would actually work better in more ways than I care to mention here. But I digress.
There’s one situation where I found that something used in a race application works better than the stuff we should train in. That’s running shoes. Most people who have read this site have either read or are familiar with the book Born to Run. Christopher McDougall does a great job explaining what went wrong in the running community. The book suggests that you may want to try running barefoot or at the very least use a shoe called the Vibram Five Finger.
I’m here to tell you there is another solution I’ve come up with. I use racing flats. These are shoes that are generally meant for racing events only. But I’ve used them successfully in training. Because of the lack of a big cushioning heel, I get the same effect I would from running barefoot or from the Vibram shoe. The only difference is that nobody is looking at me as the wacky barefoot guy. If you need anymore reason to use a racing flat over a running shoe, here it is: they cost less and last longer.