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Running a marathon in minimalist shoes: What does Dr. Nick run 26.2 miles with?


So what shoes does Dr. Nick run in? I tend to train in many different shoes as a result of being able to test products and give my opinion on them. But what did I pick to run my recent marathon in? The New Balance RC5000. This was the first marathon I had done in since transitioning to minimalist shoes 4 years ago and I put a lot of thought into choosing this type of shoe. It is a racing flat but this had nothing to do with my choice – I’m not an elite marathoner!! In fact, I was even questioned about them after the race by the man who won with a time of 2:30. He had never seen them before. After explaining that they are “racing flats” but I’m not racing, he agreed “what ever works for you!”

Choosing this shoe.
Okay. You have to remember, the last marathon I ran I was wearing The Asics Gel Kayano and had not even had a thought about minimalist shoes. This was in 2005 and it would take me roughly 3 more years of understanding how these shoes were not working and how I should be running. The majority of my miles over the past 3 years have been in FiveFingers. My treadmill runs are always barefoot (unless I’m doing a tempo run) and occasionally I’ll do a barefoot run outside. I had run my last half marathon very comfortably with a 7:43 pace in a pair of New Balance Minimus Zero Road shoes. For a distance of 26.2 miles, I wanted a bit of cushion that I could more or less use to “cheat”. Meaning as your muscles tire toward the end, that small amount of cushion helps with the pounding but still let’s your foot feel the ground and not interfere with your form. The RC5000 was perfect. It weighs 3.3 oz (lightest shoe I own) and has a 4mm heel drop. The 4mm heel drop is something I’m not used to as all of my training shoes are flat, or zero drop. It worked great. I could feel the height difference but it was pleasant to have at miles 20 and up when the eccentric contractions of the calf musculature are fighting to lower the heel to the ground. It softened the heel landing at that point of the run. I do think anything higher would have positioned my foot in a manner that would have compromised my form.

The shoe itself has a small amount of cushion to the entire sole, but still allows you to feel the ground (see full review here). The tread is very minimal (basically just little soft rubber spikes) but surprisingly it didn’t wear down much! I didn’t train much in his shoe so that I could save its life for the marathon. I did several tempos in it to get used to the feel. Not sure I’d recommend it for everyday miles, but it was a perfect shoe for a marathon or half marathon in my opinion.

I had no issues with my feet at the end of the race. My forefoot/metatarsal heads were not sore in the least bit and I had no arch soreness. In fact, at miles 20 and up when everything starts to tire, my feet were the farthest from my mind as they felt great! Even the day after the race I had absolutely zero soreness to my feet, arches or heels. Of course I have prepared my feet strength-wise over the past several years through the many miles I have logged in minimalist shoes so I can’t give all the credit to the shoes. Having said that, they were the perfect choice for me!


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