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2 December, 2010

This week I’ve been considering which shoes to wear for the XC race this weekend. I don’t have the specialty spikes for this purpose, nor do I run enough XC to consider buying a pair, although if I can get my act together I’d like to perhaps run the series next year. Anyway, so two of my three pairs in service are almost totally worn out. My Sauconys are probably still half way, but I’m not sure the all-the-way-through grooves are a good idea for this course, given that it has so much sand and water.

I’m certainly not the first person to put screws in the soles of my shoes to improve grip, but I haven’t seen any mention of doing this to racing flats, specifically. For one thing, the soles are thin enough that even 3/8″ screw is nearly as thick as the sole of the adizero mana (less than 2mm difference between length of the screw and the thickness of midsole in the forefoot!!). It’s definitely a gamble that they won’t poke through during the race, though the insole and my sock is the last barrier between the sharp end of a screw and the sole of my foot. Yikes!

The idea of adding “heavy” bits of metal to my shoes is anathema on the one hand, but these shoes are really quite slick underfoot, and I think it’s worth the trade-off for better traction — especially as there’s quite a lot of grass on the course as well as potentially frozen ground which is steep in places.

Adizero Mana adapted for cross-country

So, this is the ghetto version of the probably more suitable IceSpikes:7x#5, 3/8″ hex-washer-head metal screws. Cost: $2. I put only seven in each shoe, which is also less than I’ve seen done before (hey, they’re minimal). I figure that there are paved sections, and too much metal not only adds weight but also doesn’t really work well on that surface. On the other hand too few would presumably mean too much load on each screw and more chance of them being ripped out (though I’d prefer they were ripped out of my shoe than ripping flesh out of my foot). I took them for a quick spin and they seem to work pretty well on concrete, with a balance of rubber/metal traction.

Yesterday: 8k.

Tonight: 8k (6x400m ~10k pace with ~200m recoveries).

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