Tools are important because it makes life easier for the individual, enhancing performance and helping the individual in a specific way. My weapon of choice in races is the ASICS Gel-Hyper Speed 4 (since it's a lot cheaper than the 5). It's lightweight, at 6.6 oz (maybe slightly more as the 6.6 oz as I wear a size 10.5-11). There's a story behind this shoe and how I got it. First of all, as I am an ASICS fan, I looked up the athletes that represent ASICS. I went to Ryan Hall, the American representative for the marathon this year in London, and saw the different gears he wore. I looked at the shoes and discovered that his shoe of choice was the Gel-Hyper Speed. Now, just because a shoe works for one athlete doesn't mean that it'll work on another... but the thing is, it's good to know what other athletes choose to wear, because they know what to race in. Look at multiple athletes and see the different kinds of gears that they wear in order to perform at their best.
I took the ASICS Gel-Hyper Speed 4 because a) it was cheap, b) it was light, and c) it was something a professional athlete wore. Learn from your superiors in order to grow. For the Black Mountains 12 hour race, I chose to wear the ASICS Gel-Hyper Speed 4 because it felt good, and for a 12 hour race, I needed something that would last, something that would protect my feet from the ground, and most importantly, something light that I would be able to run with during the 12 hours I would be running. The heel to toe differential seems to be about 5-6 mm, and has enough padding to protect your feet for a racing shoe. This means that during my long distance race, as my form became sloppier and sloppier due to the extreme conditions of continuous running, the cushioning would protect me a lot more than any other racing shoe would do for me. Now, this shoe is meant to be used on the road, but fortunately, it's alright on trails. Unfortunately, it does pick up a lot of pebbles or wood chips due to the pattern on the bottom of the shoes (which is why it's ideally a road running shoe). The flexibility is out of this world, allowing full foot control as you run. Having a tool that helps you and your form as you run definitely helps out. Especially when you are racing.
Now the ASICS Gel-Hyper Speed 4 is a great racing shoe, but personally, I wouldn't like to use it as a training shoe. I train with Gel Kayano 17 & 18 because they provide the ample amount of cushioning, but in turn, weighing a whoppin' 12.3 and 11 oz respectively. A sacrifice of weight for protection is definitely worth it for training, but the Hyper Speed is definitely for racing. I'm more than content training with a heavier shoe because when I race, I'll perform a lot better, running with a lighter shoe. No matter what the shoe is, it's important to keep your form up, whether in training or in racing, so that the difference in the shoe can stand out.
As for today, I was wearing another one of my ASICS training shoes, and ran 6.35 miles to The RUSH in 55:25, an average of 8:43 min/mile as a warm up to the gym workout. At the gym, I did my 15 pull ups, then 35 push ups, and cycled on a stationary bike for 30 minutes, followed by 15 minutes in the sauna. After that, I jogged back home 1.76 miles in 15:16, an average of 8:40 min/mile. It was an easy workout, but definitely something that'll help me get back into where I need to be.
Our shoes are our tools that help us reach our goals. Pick and choose the tools wisely because every minute detail impacts the overall outcome.