If you want to build a stronger running foundation you should rotate your shoes.
I’d like to begin with a Disclaimer: I’m not a Podiatrist, nor a Physical Therapist not even a Foot Magician. Everything I’m describing in this post is from my own personal experience as well as knowledge I have gained from running experts.
Running increases the muscular endurance of our feet, legs and even the hips. Using the same shoes on every run will work on the same group of muscles all the time. If you used one or even two pairs in rotation on different days you could benefit.
A Shoe for each run.
Personally, I rotate between three sometimes even four pairs in a week. I run my Long Runs with a cushioned 10mm drop (heel to toe offset). A flatter 4mm drop and less cushioned for faster runs. A zero drop less cushioned for medium long runs and easy runs. And from time to time a barefoot shoe for easy short runs and recovery.
By mixing up the shoes gives my legs and feet a more complete workout. It truly builds your lower legs much stronger. Something that I can definitely notice. Although the cushioned shoes are comfy, the more minimal zero drop do more good to your muscles. They stretch the fascia muscles and makes them more flexible. Also the Achilles and Soleus and many more muscles will benefit.
Rotate what you already have
Don’t go out and buy three different pair of shoes all at the once. Rotate what you have in your closet first. Take out maybe an older shoe that has some life still left on its sole. If you already have a shoe that has more than 100 miles on it now is the time to shop for a new pair. Talk to your local running store experts. Ask them for a different drop shoe than the one you already own. Make sure the shoe is the right one for your feet (Pronation). Once this pair reaches the 100 mile mark is time to shop for a new one. Throw that in the rotation, Soon you will have choices to make on your runs. Remember since you are rotating your shoes they will last you for a longer time till they reach their end.
Choose the right shoe carefully
Although I own a few pair of shoes from many different brands they are all the same in one way. When it comes to Pronation Control they all fall in the Neutral category. They may vary in drop, cushion and style, but they are all Neutral. You should know your Pronation Control category and always stick with it. If you decide to buy a pair with a different drop than you are used to make the change slowly. Allow for transition time. The bigger the difference in drop the longer the transition. Remember you will be stressing tissue that has not been stressed and you will be risking injury.
I believe shoe rotation is a great way to build an injury free running body!
When you hit 40 and you are a runner you are a Masters Runner. It doesn’t matter if you are a forever long time runner or a College Track star who took 20 years off running and now coming back or you decided to run for the first time in your life after your 40th Birthday. All Master Runners are not created equal of course but same rules apply to all.
First and foremost Be Kind to your body. At an older age your body is not as forgiving as it once was when you were 20 something. For newer runners choose your shoes carefully. Make sure they are made for your style of running and your particular gait. Shoes off the shelf at Target may be a great deal but don’t usually “match” every runners feet and although you could get away with it as a younger runner you will increase your chances of injury as a Masters. A gait analysis at your local running store will point you to the right shoes and your feet will thank you!
Run for the Hills. There is no better running strength workout than running hills. From Hill Repeats to incorporating hills into your Long Runs is a great way to strengthen your running body. For the Masters athlete this should be sufficient strength training.
For your Need for Speed. Schedule one day for Speedwork and add a set of 6-10 Strides of 20 seconds long (5K to Mile Race pace) towards the end of one of your weekly EZ runs and that should be sufficient speed training for the week.
Less is More. Junk miles are no longer on your training menu. Cut back on your miles. As we age we take longer to recover, avoid over-training due to miles pileup. For your Long Runs make sure the day before and after are OFF days. Add running drills once a week and yoga for runners after your hard runs. Yoga Recovery for Runners
Recovery, Recovery, Recovery. Do not skip on the most crucial day of your training. Even for the younger runners is important to take a day off after a hard workout but for us Masters is Mandatory. Your body needs the time to rebuild and extend the gains from the work out. Add days OFF to your training schedule even if it means you create an “extended cycle”. Instead of the typical 7 day training schedule you can extend yours to 8,9 or 10 days, so your Long Run is every 8,9 or 10 days and not every Saturday or Sunday.
So running in as a Masters is not all gloom and doom. You will need to adjust and in doing so you can enjoy a long running and racing career well into your retirement years.
They say that running is an inexpensive sport. All you need is a pair of shoes, shorts and a t-shirt. In some cases running can be also done barefoot and even in the nude although the latter is not recommended. For most of us running is a very simple pleasure and can be enjoyed in it’s simplest of forms or you can add gadgets and expensive sportswear to fit your budget. One thing that we all need though is a shoe that “fits”.
Runners shoes must be a good all around “fit”, by that I mean not only your feet feel good in them but also that the shoes are made for you depending on the amount of Pronation you parents gave you at birth.
For some of us when we run, the outside of the heel makes contact with the ground first, as we transition the foot naturally rolls some to the inside and then we toe-off from the front middle of the foot. That is called Normal Pronation (or Neutral Pronation). Some of us tend to roll our foot more inwards after the foot lands (Over-Pronation) and others tend to roll outwards after the initial land of the foot (Under-Pronation a.k.a. Supination). Every one of us lands, no pun intended, somewhere in between all these different forms. Unless you can determine what type of Pronation you have by looking at the soles of an older pair of athletic shoes
you may want to visit a reputable Running Store near you to have a gait analysis performed (everywhere I’ve been was Free) and they will put you in the right shoe. This is a sure way to make your running experience more comfortable and it will prevent unnecessary injuries.
I have met many people who say ” Yeah, I tried running but it hurts too much to run”. If they only knew…
The last pair of Adidas Bostons have arrived. The 2017 model will soon be out to replace the 6s. This is my 5th pair of Bostons. Adidas improved on the already great Boston 5 last year but I honestly don’t think they can improve it any more. I love this shoe! All my long runs are in the Bostons. They have a very comfortable feeling from the time you lace them on. The shoe has an amazing “energy return” all the way up to the end of it’s life which for me, average built 142lb runner, is around 350-400 miles (yep worth every penny!)
I ran close to 1500 miles in 2016 and 90% of that millage was done in the Bostons. It is the perfect hybrid running shoe between training and racing. I keep two pair of Bostons on rotation during training and one pair only for racing. I also run with a 4mm drop shoe for shorter distances just to change things up and strengthen different parts of legs/feet.
I’m anxious to see what Adidas has in store for us this year. As I already mentioned there isn’t much room for improvement with this shoe. Only one thing…..Adidas please come up with different color options this year other than the solid black, white and solid navy blue. Let’s add some flair to our feet for fun and safety!
Always keep a couple of pair of good running shoes on rotation while you are training. Retire your shoes once you start feeling your legs getting fatigued soon after the start of your run. There isn’t a good measure of millage that a shoe should be retired at. That depends on various factors as in the type of shoe, the runner built, the terrain you mostly run on and how efficient of a stride you have. Always go by how it feels. If your last couple of runs were not feeling good in the same shoe but the runs in the alternate pair were okay then you know is time to put this pair out to pasture!