So, How Many Hats Do You Wear?

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Pensacola, Florida, United States
Husband. *Dog Dad.* Instructional Systems Specialist. Runner. (Swim-challenged) Triathlete (on hiatus). USATF LDR Surveyor. USAT (Elite Rules) CRO/2, NTO/1. RRCA Rep., FL (North). Observer Of The Human Condition.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Stretchy Laces

When one has much to put in them, a day has a thousand pockets. - Friedrich Nietzsche, philosopher.

I believe in empty spaces.  They're the most wonderful thing. - Anselm Kiefer, painter.

I've written about the joy of elastic laces in the past; I truly do like them for the obvious reason of comfort.  Tension, once set at the beginning of the run or workout, does not lessen.  Even better, the tension on the foot does not increase when the foot swells.

But what do you do when there's an eyelet-to-lace mismatch; too many eyelets or too little elastic lace for comfortable use?  A "snug" fit without need to adjust the toggle might be acceptable when sliding the foot into the shoe for many.  But take a runner with a highly-arched instep, caused by a foot broken many years before, and let's say there is such a state as "too snug" a fit.

A revelation of sorts came to me when dealing with that pair of Asics Gel Noosa I referred to in passing two months ago.  Perhaps the shoe manufacturers and the lace makers have seen a future shortage of elastic laces.  Maybe they're cutting back on the length of the stretchy strings, because when I looped all the elastic in the classic "bar at the bottom, X at the top" layout there was no room for the fastening toggle, much less any slack.

When I looked more closely at the problem it struck me that I didn't need to use every last eyelet to ensure the shoe upper fabric would securely cradle my foot.  In fact, a "blank" eyelet between every two used for lacing gave just the right mix of security and comfort.  Joy returned again to my running.

The issue with the shoe eyelets appears also as an allegory for run training.  Think of shoe eyelets as days of the week on the calendar.  Runners who can fit a run in every day of the week without risking an overuse injury - soreness and aching muscles is one thing, overuse injuries is another - live in the best of all possible worlds. Runners who regularly deal with overuse injuries would do well to leave a little empty space during the running week.  Empty space in the calendar is a little slack; it gives the runner the option to tighten things up or let things relax.

Our running life isn't always swell...but sometimes it is.  Be ready and willing to find a way to adjust rather than meekly submit to the pain.

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