Shoe review: Inov-8 Bare-X Lite 150

With all the craze about barefoot running, it’s not a surprise that more people have been mentioning this UK based shoe company. Without going into a (necessary) lengthy discussion about barefoot running, let’s look at the Bare-X Lite 150.
Here is the short version of the review: really cool shoe, I like it a lot, I run well in it, it’s functional, and, most importantly, it matches my outfits.

So, what’s cool about this shoe? First, if you like minimalistic shoes, you will love this shoe. It has a 0-rise between the forefoot and the heel

Second, it’s very light (6oz or so, which to me means nothing, since I don’t use these weird units, but it’s pretty light).
The sole is very flexible in every possible way, which is great if you like a very quick dynamic foot strike. The forefoot of the shoe is rather large. That will please runners with large feet. And hobbits. Another really cool feature is the lacing system. Something triathletes will be happy to have. That said, it’s probably not an ideal shoe for heavy runners (at least beyond 5-10km) given the minimal cushioning. And you surely don’t want to try it on the road in rainy conditions. The sole has very little grip. It will work fine on a dry road, but on wet roads, you’ll feel like you’re in the NHL. And you’ll probably hit something and go face down. That’ll make for a great facebook picture though.

Anyhow, beyond the looks, I actually took them for a run. Little warm up, followed with a 5x1mi descending from 11mph to 11.5mph, 3min easy jog in between. The shoes felt amazing. Light, responsive, and I really enjoyed the true 0-rise shoe. They are probably fine to run in without socks. All in all a great shoe. At just over $100, it’s a little bit on the expensive side. Blame it on the current exchange rate between the $ and the £. Stay tuned for a review of the trail counterpart of the Bare-X 150 lite. It’s red. It’s flashy. And it still matches my outfits.

A running experiment

During the winter (I can already hear the Canucks, PacNWers, etc laughing about our Southwestern winters), it can get a tad difficult to head out on the bike. It’s cold(ish), it’s often windy, it takes 53 minutes to get ready, and because you’re wearing 3 layers of gloves, you can’t update your facebook status while riding, so no one knows that you’ve been riding for just 20min but stopped at the Bean for a coffee and a 400kcal muffin nonetheless. Not fun. Swimming isn’t fun either. 25yd indoor pool? Come on now! How about 50m outdoor (and heated)? So, what’s left is…running.

I was looking for something stupid to do for the end of the year, and it suddenly came to my mind. I’m going to see how many 200km back to back running weeks I can do without getting injured. For you, unit-challenged people, that’s 124mi. Sounds stupid enough. On a side note, I have also this twisted fantasy of mine that this may make me a better runner. Oh, and I actually enjoy running. It’s liberating, and it’s a great way to meditate.

What is the plan exactly? Well, the plan is rather simple. Run. A lot. Every day. But since good runners are those with excellent running economy, I figured I’d add a bit of work to improve running form. Hill bounding and hill repeats. But no track, no tempo work, none of that stuff, although I will most likely include some 30-30 work here and there. So, here it goes:

  • Monday: easy am run, hill repeats in the evening. (25km total)
  • Tuesday: long run in the morning, easy jog in the evening. (35km total)
  • Wednesday: easy am run, hill bounding in the evening. (20km total)
  • Thursday: easy am run, hill repeats in the evening. (25km total)
  • Friday: easy am run, easy evening run. (25km total)
  • Saturday: long run in the morning, easy jog in the evening (40km total)
  • Sunday: easy am run, hill bounding in the evening. (30km total)

Wow, now that I look at it, it really sounds stupid. Awesome. Stupid is my credo. All that to say that if you have a little bit more sanity than me, which isn’t hard arguably, you can use the general idea outlined above to work on your running, and running form during the colder months. In the meantime, I’m going to head out for another long run. And hopefully, I will be in excellent running shape comes the racing season. If not, I’ll be injured, and will be blogging more stupid ideas.

PS: Do not forget to sign the waiver before attempting this plan. 


Random Q&A

Q. Hey coach, it’s cold outside, can I run on the treadmill?
A. Anything that makes you run works. Yes, it’s slightly different from a biomechanics standpoint, there is no air resistance, etc. But you are running and that’s the bottom line. A lot more could be said, but that’s the short answer. As long as you run, you’re good.

Q. How about vasa instead of swimming?
A. Heeeeeeeemmmmmm, no sorry, get in the water. Although vasa can be added to swimming, it can’t substitute to it. You can’t feel the water, you can’t work on body position, you don’t kick, so no. Add it to swimming, yes. Replace swimming by vasa sets? No.

Q. I want to crossfit. Can I?
A. Sure. It’s the ‘off season’ (see a previous post) you want to add some variety, why not. Actually, it’s fun. Is it going to make you a better triathlete? Depends. It will make you a better triathlete than doing nothing. But it won’t make you a better triathlete than swimming, biking, and running. Yes, there are multiple sites saying otherwise. There are also a few sites predicting the end of the world a few months ago…specificity folks, specificity!

Tire flipping isn't part of triathlon

Q. I have a hard time training in the winter. Can I take the winter off?
A. Yes you can. You will be slower next season. It’s really up to you. Ok, I was trying to not be too sarcastic, but I really couldn’t.

Q. I need to become a forefoot runner, what should I do?
A. You want to become a forefoot runner or a faster runner? Better biomechanics on the run does not equate being a forefoot runner. Nor does running barefoot make you a better runner. It’s a lot trickier AND simpler than that. Yes, at the same time. We will go back to this in a future post. There is a lot of information around lately talking about barefoot, forefoot, mid foot, and the wrong causal links. Focus on becoming a better runner, not a barefoot or forefoot runner.