Best. Running. Tip. Ever.

I subscribe to all the running magazines, read a lot of the blogs, and receive 20 or so daily running emails from an ultra-running email list.  I am always looking for new tips. The running magazines will recycle their advice over the years, trends in running will come and go...try this flying buttress medial post with two inches of cushioning to avoid all your injuries, then a year later...who needs shoes anyway, run barefoot over shards of glass to toughen your feet up just like they do down in the remote jungles of the Amazon. I know it's recycled, and I know most of it can be condensed and funneled into one basic principle, just run, the more you do it, the better you'll get at it. I read the magazines anyway, looking for motivation or the next magical tip that will give my running a boost.

Surprisingly, the best running tip ever did not come from a book, a magazine or a blog, it happened completely by accident.

I recently bought some new road shoes online.  I found the site with the lowest prices on the shoes that I wanted, and for this particular pair, they were at least $20 cheaper than anywhere else. The only problem was that the discounted pricing didn't apply to the stealthy cool-looking black version, or the understated white version, no, those were the full-priced models. The discounted models were orange, and on my monitor, they looked like a dull, autumn, buttery orange...not too bright, but just bright enough to be $20 off. When the box arrived and I opened up the new Saucony Kinvaras, I had to shield my eyes, it was like that scene in Pulp Fiction where they open the briefcase and you never get to see what's inside of it, you just see the glow covering the face of Vincent Vega and Marsellus Wallace. These shoes were strikingly orange, a shade of orange that doesn't exist in nature, and I pictured a pair of black shoes on a conveyor belt going through the nuclear reactor in Springfield and these coming out the other side.

What the shoes looked like online

What the shoes look like in person
So, that brings me to the best running tip EVER:

Buy the brightest effing shoes you can find.

I just got back from my first run with these monstrosities, my best tempo run in months, and I flew. It is hard to run slow in these shoes, partly because I want to run faster than the speed of sound in order to not hear the comments as I ran past people on my early morning run through the Carlsbad campground, and partly because you just can't run slow in bright shoes. It's some kind of law. Just like you can't swim slow in a tiny speedo; only a fast swimmer can get away with some crack showing. My neighbor and world-class duathlete, Kenny Souza, knows all about this law of running.

Kenny "Kaboom" Souza knows what I'm talking about
I have never received so much attention on a run as I did this morning, running through the campground full of bored kids waiting for their parents to make them breakfast. Most just said "nice shoes," and I'll put the over/under on sincerity at 25%. Some just looked at me, smiled, then looked down, and quickly looked away. The older kids got a little more creative, asking me if batteries came with the shoes, and another telling me he could see me coming a mile away. By far the best comment came when I was running by a campsite and some college-aged kid took a break from waxing his surfboard, looked up at me and said "there's no place like home."

You just have to run fast when everyone is looking at you, and someone, I think it was my mom, used to say that nobody cares what you look like as much as you think they care. This morning, on my run, I proved that is complete and utter bullshit. Today, everyone seemed to care, and in my head, as an eight year old boy stared wide-eyed and open-mouthed as I past, I hoped this is what he was thinking:
Wow, that guy is flying, his feet are like a cartoonblur of orange circles. He's holding a 6:15 pace for the last 4 miles of a ten mile tempo run, all below his lactate threshold of 165 bpm and an oxygen uptake at threshold of 44.1. It must be the shoes.
What he actually was thinking:
Why is that jogger wearing clown shoes?
There's the greatest tip ever, use it, it's free and I hope it will save you thousands of dollars on books, magazine subscriptions, and coaching. I personally guarantee it will take a full minute off your 5K PR and 20 minutes off your marathon.

It's gotta be the shoes


  1. Thank you so much for posting this information. I tried to start running a few months ago and quickly gave up. Now I realize that I was not giving my body the training it needed to go from a couch potato to a runner! I will start my evening walks today.

  2. I run faster barefoot because I feel like I have to look good to prove the skeptics wrong.
    I buy top of the line soccer boots and then train harder because I don't want to look like a klutz out there in the best shoes money can buy.
    My next purchase will be the orange Merrell vapors. I considered the black, but this article helped me make up my mind.

  3. I stopped by your blog b/c google was suggesting you had some elevation profile info I'm looking for, but instead I read one the funniest posts I've seen in a long time on a running blog. Thanks for the chuckles. I'll see what else you've got. Keep writing.

    1. Thanks Stephanie. I appreciate the comment. Which elevation profile are you looking for?


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