Before I begin, you can stop with the old guy jokes. The title of this blog comes from the Disney classic, "Son of Flubber" from 1963. No...I did not see it when it originally came out, but I do remember the rerun as a kid. A classic underdog story of puny little Medfield College completely outmatched in the big football game against powerful Runland.
In have a constant quest to find any competitive edge I can in training--remember, I've actually worn Power Balance bracelets. I came across something for my feet that caught my eye. My long list or running injuries started with Plantar Faciitis in my left foot--the result of serious miles on shoes past their prime combined with two straight days on my feet at a trade show. Ouchie mama!
Since trying everything from a frozen water bottle, lacrosse or golf ball rolled under the arch of the foot and the infamous "guaranteed not to get lucky that night sexy Strassburg sock," and custom orthotics, I eventually rid myself of PF. Given my high arch and training schedule however I've continued to wear orthotics in my running shoes for the most part.
Not exactly an orthotic, Springbak promises "flubber" type results--turn an underdog into an overachiever. The insert is rather thin so it fits under your normal shoe insole and promotes speed, strength, height and endurance. Walk down memory lane with the flubber video and you'll entertain yourself and understand the connection. Faster and more endurance--words any runner would want to hear.
I won't get into all the science of the product, you can check out their site for that, but one thing that seemed to resonate with me was the claim that "There is a time honored formula for improving running speed: shorten footplant time and increase stride length. Running on a resilient surface such as a rubberized track will accomplish both." Think of the difference between running on a dirt trail, concrete path, and brand new high school track. I run my fastest on the later.
I've used the Springbak's on a couple runs now and can definitely see the difference early on. I could feel a bit more bounce in my step, but after 15 miles, it was a little harder to discern the flubber advantage. "When running, they allow over 80% return of energy. This in turn improves your running speed significantly.” This friday I've got a long run planned and will be sporting my Springbak's--every little bit helps when you're taking on powerful Runland College or a 20 miler.