Monday, April 27, 2015

Can Hokas save my running career?

Just posted this as a product review for Holabird Sports. Thought it told a pretty good story, so I'm sharing it here:

I have been a Brooks promotional runner for 20+ years. That ended in 2014. So, I am a ship at sea without a rudder.

I'm 58, probably 200+ marathon and ultra events to date. I am slowing down and the shock and jarring of running is getting to me. I have been watching the Hoka movement...this year at the Umstead 100 mile, almost half the field was Hoka.

So when Holabird offered an amazing sale price I got a pair of Bondi 3's. Amazing cushioning, but that wasn't enough. I'm desperate, so I slipped a pair of Dr. Scholl's Active Sport inserts inside. The ride is so cush it's like having mattresses under your feet.

Big problem is that I'm a size 13 and these play out way too wide. Maybe it's the big platform the shoes are build on, but with these Hoka's, I'm running on them, more than in them. But at this stage of the game, I'll adapt to get the cushioning I need.

Will Hoka's let me eke out a few more years, a few more miles? Time will tell.


  1. I was running Hoka's at the Umstead 100! Mafate 3 trail shoes rock. I got into Hoka's while dealing with a foot injury, but now I'm getting out of them to deal with a hip injury. And I swear I really don't get injured very often at all. I have a pair of Bondi 3's as well, and both pairs are only about halfway through their expected lifetime miles (around 300 - 350 miles each so far). So I should be able to get more, but I think I'm going back to my Mizuno's anyway for my fall marathons. When you get a new pain blame the shoes and get a new pair. Hope you like the Hoka's! They are really comfortable.

  2. Prof:

    For real? The accumulated wear and tear implies too little recovery time over the years? Do you run every day? For most of my 49 years of running, I was very limited by incipient injury until learning how to do preventive therapy and how to allow more time for recovery. Now, as someone much older than you, I can run longer than ever before. Am using Hoka Bondi (city) and Stinson (trail) as well as Addidas Energy (Bounce, city) and Merrill Top Peak (trail). Times have slowed but do pick up the pace on selected uphill trails to get the pulse rate up.

    It takes some effort for me to do faster running. Almost as if the body does not know how. Sooo, after a warmup, especially on the beach or dirt trail, I just do short 10-stride accelerations over and over. Before you know it, the body grooves and it becomes 20 strides, then 50, and so on--making sure to keep form.

    One season, on the desert trails, I managed to extend my runs to 6 hours. Running 90 minutes for a few runs, upping to 2.5 hours, then 4 hours and then 5+ hours after a few months. Normally, 3 hours is enough for me. Running once or twice weekly and doing other sports est. 3 times a week. For the longer times, resting many days between runs works better than running more often. Weekly totals may be minimal but run durations respectable. Once reaching longer times, it is no challenge to change the plan to shorter, more intense and more frequent workouts.

    Even when spent, I can avoid the very slow shuffle by lifting my knees, leading with the knees so that feet move in a circular pattern, not unlike your tank tread analogy. I changed from heel strike to forefoot over the last few years, even tried barefoot for a while. This was only after many tries, as I did not have the patience to give my calf muscles the time they needed to adapt. Now it helps to massage them and work them a bit before runs. Also, if they feel the least bit tight, I can revert for a while to a heel strike, which works like a charm. The toe strike helps cushion the skeleton when speeding up and on downhills.

    1. Very good, thank you for the detail. To be honest about six months ago I became a walker. And I'm doing the Bondi in the Stinsons just like you. I was getting so slow running it was more like a fast walk so I just started walking. Still doing about 4 to 6 miles a day.