Brooks Pure Flow + Running Naked

>> Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A while back, I mentioned switching from my long-beloved Nike Frees to the Saucony Virratas.

There wasn't anything wrong with Nike. I just hadn't switched brands in years and wanted to try out another pair of minimal, yet still cushioned shoes on the market. Stephen recommended the Virrata -- so I had high hopes. Unfortunately, after a couple test runs, I couldn't get the sizing right, which I read is a common issue.

Either too tight or too loose. So, I took them back.

I considered buying another pair of Frees (which would have been my 6th!), but ultimately decided I'd like to get something with a bit more cushioning for my upcoming marathon training.

On a whim -- and because they felt amazing when I tried them on -- I purchased the Brooks Pure Flows.

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I suppose I should mention that unlike most reviews I've read, this is not sponsored. I bought the shoes myself and have no affiliation with Brooks. Also: I like to run in my shoes for at least a month or so -- long runs, speed workouts, all different sorts of things -- before giving an honest, informed opinion.

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What struck me most was how comfortable the Pure Flows felt on my feet from the moment I put them on. I am used to running with a low drop -- so there wasn't much of a difference as far as how my foot was hitting the ground. The main change was in the cushioning. Nike is more stripped down in this regard, which has been fine and even helpful in strengthening my feet all these years.

But with all the miles I plan to log over the summer and into the fall, I thought it might be nice to add just a bit more shock absorption. The cushioning on the Flows is really lightweight, though, so I didn't feel like I added extra weight or bulk for a cushy ride.

Here are some features straight from the website:
  • The lightweight construction and lush cushioning of the PureFlow 2 are a perfect match.
  • Comfort features engineered in a lean way like a shaped BioMoGo DNA midsole that gives your feet a cushy feel without added materials.
  • Neutral to Guidance runners can experience a run for the senses without losing the comfort of dynamic cushioning.
  • With a wider Nav Band coming up the lateral side and grabbing the midsole, the foot receives arch support without the bulkiness of underfoot materials.
  • A center strike pod provides guidance in finding the natural landing zone.
These shoes have been very comfortable on long runs (I've done up to 13.1 miles in them) and supportive during some of my more difficult workouts like mile repeats. This is my first experience running in Brooks, but so far it's been a good one.

I suppose my only issue is when I run over 10 miles, I do get some rub marks on my arches. I have really high arches and don't wear socks, so I don't know if that's part of my issue. I also didn't know if I'd like the asymmetrical lacing system -- some wearers say it gives them pain in the arch -- but I've had no issues.

Overall, I'd give the shoe good marks. I'll continue wearing them and probably invest in another pair when it's time. They are even feeling good for what I think is the beginning of a bunion of my right foot. But that's an unfortunate story for another day.


The half marathon is just 4 days away! I have a yoga class tonight and then 6 x 400s at 5K pace tomorrow and then two rest days. I would be lying if I told you I feel confident at this point, more like freaked out.

Here's last week's workouts:

M: 13.1 mile long run in 1:50:00 -- 8:23/mile
T: 3 mile recovery run
W: 1 hour hatha yoga at gym
F: 5 mile pace run: 7:50, 7:42, 7:43, 7:40, 7:33, + 1 mile 8:20 (cooldown)
S: 3 mile recovery run

I've never been a fan of wearing a watch while training. I have, however, grown to appreciate knowing some of my stats to help push my training. Wearing a watch during a race? I just don't know what to do. I actually think I am going to run naked -- sans watch -- because I don't want to push the pace too hard and bonk in the middle of my race.

Or should I?
No. I shouldn't.

The danger with that is running blind and possibly missing my goal. Strangely enough, to get under 1:45 -- I only have to take like 6 seconds off my miles from my steady 1:46 finish (I've done three recent half marathons steady in the 1:46 range).

What should I do?! Stephen says I should wear the watch and not look at it until the middle of the run . . . but c'mon! I can't just ignore that it's there! Lots of exclamation points. This is definitely an emotional issue.

Whatever I choose, the race is going to come and go, and I will just run the best I can. I haven't actually raced a race to PR in a long, long time. I guess I'll feel cheated if somehow I don't reach my goal. I've put in the work. I've matched the paces. We shall see what happens.

Who else is racing this weekend?
Or do you run in the Pure Flows?
Any last-minute racing advice for me, please?!

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