Text: Noah Eubanks
Bilder: Max Menning |  Noah Eubanks

If this post were a film, it would open up to me running through a field of wheat prancing like a ballerina to the song "I Want to Break Free" by Queen. But since I am not a cinematic genius, I will just paint the mental picture for you.

Cue slow scan from head to toe, I am wearing sunglasses (because the sun is a-blazin’), my red speedo (because that's what people wear when they are prancing in a field of wheat), and the new Nike Free RN Flyknit 3.0. It’s a dream come true, I know.


Cue slow scan from head to toe, I am wearing sunglasses (because the sun is a-blazin’), my red speedo (because that's what people wear when they are prancing in a field of wheat), and the new Nike Free RN Flyknit 3.0. It’s a dream come true, I know.

For those of you who know me or have run with me on Kraft Tuesday, you know that my favorite shoe is the Nike Free. Everyone calls me crazy for running everything from 100m sprints to my long runs (through beautiful, golden fields of wheat) in my Frees. And the newest version has just been released!

Technically, from this point on I should have to write "Advertisement" because I am mentioning a shoe, but to be honest, I have been waiting 2 years for the next generation Free to come out. And if I knew that Nike was going to make us wait so long, I would have bought more so that I wouldn’t have run nearly 1000 km in one pair of shoes! But I didn't, so here I am, extremely excited for this new shoe. It even comes with it’s own training manual! Aside from my excitement I can share some helpful tips and reasons for training with you as well. 

As your friendly neighborhood running coach, I figured it might be reasonable for me to share my top reasons for training with the Free, and why I compete in a different shoe.


1) Change up your shoes. 

I don't know about you, but I do not like wearing clothing and I sure as hell don’t like bulky shoes. One reason is because my feet sweat and start stinking very quickly. The second reason being that as a kid, I would go to camp nearly every summer and spend 3 months wandering the forest barefoot. I believe that the constant engagement of my foot muscles is one of the main reasons for my athletic success, which is why I love the Free. This feeling of being in contact with the ground and being able to feel the different surfaces underneath my feet, while protecting me from broken glass, nails, needles and whatever else the streets of Berlin offer as a method of giving me Tetanus or Hepatitis, is priceless. 

I do have to say, that I do not compete in the Free. For competitions, I run in the Vaporfly 4% Flyknit. A.K.A. The Race Rocket, and it truly is a rocket because of how much energy it gives back to you. I honestly feel like I can’t stop running and that I am constantly going faster without having to try harder. 

That said, I would NEVER train in my 4% Race Rockets exactly for that reason—unless I am doing a competition trial run. In that case, it is good to give your racing shoe a pre-run before you race. The energy return makes it feel like I am flying because you spend so little time on the ground. For me, in order to train well it is important for me to feel my runs as well. To run, to listen, and to feel how my foot comes into contact with the ground.

2) Foot to ground relationship

Running is not just a torturous experience for me because I actually enjoy the feeling of my lungs burning, my muscles aching and that feeling like your legs are going to give out during a Mile-Repeats session in the KRAFT.Kiez. On top of that, the feedback I get from hearing the rhythm of my feet on the ground helps me enjoy my runner's high even more. I like running over the different surfaces of the city, whether it be pavement, bricks, rocks, sand, grass, and actually feeling what is underneath me. This engages all 52 of my foot muscles the same as when I was a kid in the forest and makes me a better runner with less risk of injury. 

3) Don’t be a hero

The Nike Free RN 5.0 and 3.0 are great shoes, but if you are just getting started running, or you have been running for ever, or you are somewhere in between the two and have not been training barefoot regularly it is extremely important to follow the plan. Your foot and your Achilles tendon are amazing machines, but they need time to get used to the change. So do it right. Take your time with the change and allow your body to enjoy this gift that we finally get to enjoy again. If you have questions about how to make the change easier/more fun or want to know the scientific reasons behind all of the points I have made. Send me a message! I will gladly NERD out with you!

Happy Hump day!
(I wrote this on a Wednesday, you know…)

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