Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Running with Yak's

By: Brent

Northern Indiana has the ability to snow. Snow hard. Snow often. Snow in May. It also has the ability to rain, AFTER it snows. We Hoosiers joke that you always get 4 seasons, just no tellin' when these seasons will hit and in what order. For that reason, my lovely wife made a purchase for me. Yaktrax Pro's arrived on my step, right as it turned 50 degrees out. So they sat...for a while. Luckily (I guess, for them) Father Winter decided to have another go of it and we have dipped back into the 20's and the snow has begun to float from the heaven's again.

Prior to Elizabeth's surprise purchase I too had been doing some research as I stumbled upon a Runner's World article about Ice Cleats. You can find that article here. I liked the description and the website of Yaktrax best, so when I told her about my future purchase, she informed me to hold off a couple days before I do it so I don't have two pairs.

When I got the Yak's I quickly put them on. You get your toe into the tip and pull the back on like a slightly small torn goulash, and then fasten the Velcro strap across the top. Easy and simple to get on. The bottom is like a crossing series of coils that dig into the surface. The overall comfort of them is pretty good. They can take a bit of fidgeting to get in a good spot. Myself having a huge size 15 foot, the XL size really gave me no issues. I am aware of the outer strap that rides by the little toe, but it's not in issue and I get no rubbing, just aware of it.

So my first run in them was a 3 mile run. The conditions were cold with old packed snow but the roads were only 40% covered. I had to run some shorter lengths on the pavement, which in the YakTrax's was not horrible, but I wouldn't encourage it for long periods of time. When I got to the snowy areas I was very impressed. They dug into the snow and felt very secure. The thing that I felt from them is now rather than "leaping" UP you pushed off and didn't think so much about your landing. I have been a pretty balanced, sure footed runner. No falls. The occasional odd ankle twist hasn't stopped me or made me tender, but in the snow I never feel "fast" because I feel like I bounce more than run. With the YakTrax, you can RUN. I did have on the occasional step, a bit of slip at toe off, but after a quick adjustment I didn't notice it happen as much. From slush to packed snow I always felt very solid in my stride.

My next outing with the Yak's was right after a full snow. As a big runner (200 lbs) I wasn't as happy with the feel because I cut through so much, I kept feeling the coils digging the concrete at toe off. Maybe in a lighter runner, this wouldn't have been so noticeable, but it was kind of annoying. With that aside, I still felt safe in the Yak's.

I would recommend these to just about anyone. It's a worth while $30 investment (or gift) that can't hurt. I would imagine there is a market for these in a trial running application, but I can't say if they would get all packed with dirt or not. I am hoping to run the Steve's Run 10k again, but would not recommend it with that much distance on the road.

I suppose the cheaper option that can be tried prior to dropping $30 into believing me is this. Has anyone tried this before? Just curious.......

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