Wow, it has been a few weeks since we have posted. While I apologize for that, it is only because we have both been so busy with great things going on in life. I am finishing up classes and clients right now, and planning an induction ceremony for my honor society. On top of that, I am less than three weeks away from graduating my Master’s program! But, more importantly, Misha has been training her butt off for the Triathlon that she competed in today, and she absolutely rocked it! So so so proud of her, I only wish I could have been there to cheer her on 😦 But I’m sure she’ll tell you all about it!
If you couldn’t guess, this post is about shoes. I have never really been that girl that needs 100 pair of shoes, even though you wouldn’t guess that when you look at my shoe bin. It’s more so an overflowing bucket because I have a hard time throwing away things. Even if they are on their last leg, I will wear them until there is nothing left. Plus, you’ll only find three kinds of shoes in my bin; flats, boots, and sandals. I have maybe two random pairs of heels or wedges, but those are only worn on super super special events (Seriously… I will probably be in flats or my bare feet on my wedding day!). I just can’t even talk myself into going through the agony and pain of wearing heels, no matter what the occasion is. I embrace my shortness and love every inch of my 5’1 self!
So I have never experienced the love that most girls have for shoes because I honestly just don’t care. That was until I became a runner. I now experience that same joy and love for the perfect shoe that all females can bond over, mine just comes in the form of a sneaker. As I have talked about before, every training season comes with new knowledge that I have learned from past training seasons. My last season taught me the importance of shoes, and how they can affect every aspect of your running. I went to Playmakers to purchase my first pair of shoes and just figured they knew what they were doing when they fit me with a neutral pair of Scotts. Well they did because I loved them. I loved them so much that I used them to train for my half marathon as well as for 25k.
Little did I know that the reason why I was experiencing so much pain in my feet when I was about half-way through my 25k training was because my shoes were donezo. I should have upgraded those babies long before I did, but again, I didn’t know how many miles a shoe could handle before they were no longer supportive. After doing some research following my 25k, I knew it was time for a new shoe. Buuuuut I loved them so much so it was hard to depart. So I tried to find those shoes again and after endless searching for that style and my size, it was time to accept that I would no longer run in my beloved pair of Scott’s. So during Playmakers semi-annual sale, I decided to venture out and see if I could find a new pair of shoes that would be just as perfect as my Scott’s were. Since there were so many shoes and people everywhere, I found a pair of neutral ones that looked cute, and purchased them just hoping they would work out. They were the purple Saucony Kinvara’s 3.
Even though that was a stupid decision to make based on color, patience and time, they worked. It took a few runs for me to be sold on them just because they were lighter than the Scott’s, and just felt a little different since I have a midfoot strike. But after a few longer runs I was convinced they would be my new Scotts. I have been using these shoes for my current training season for my first marathon. But again, after learning how important it is to upgrade your running shoes when they are no longer supportive, I knew I had to make a change partway through training, which I’m not going to lie made me nervous.
I did my research and read about the pros and cons of switching shoes in the middle of a training season, but the pros outweighed the cons when changed appropriately. Such as timing, it’s important to not switch shoes any later than 7-8 weeks away from race day. In order to break in a shoe and know that it’s going to work for you, you need to have at least a few good long runs in the shoes. After reading that, I counted and realized I was only 10 weeks out from race day! So of course, right away I started looking into different neutral shoes and the reviews on them. I became really frustrated after reading several different opinions and what not. I even went to Playmakers and bought a pair of Brooks that were a neutral shoe, and had to return them. They were 1.5 oz. heavier, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but I couldn’t definitely feel it. My cadence was off by about 20 strikes, and that’s a pretty big difference. After returning those shoes, I was back to square one.
Then I read a review about purchasing new shoes in the middle of training season, and it said exactly what I needed to hear to end all of my frustrations. “When switching shoes in the middle of a training season, you should just use the same shoes you’ve been training with since you know that they work.” Ummm, duhhh. I’m not sure why I didn’t think of that before, probably because even though I’ve been running now for two years, I am still learning so much about the sport. So of course I go to Playmakers and look for my Kinvara’s, and they have none in my size. Even though I was bummed, I was determined to find some online that I could buy. In that came another lesson learned.
So apparently when company’s come out with shoes, they typically make some changes and upgrade to a new version. Who would of thunk it. This is why some runners suggest that when you find a shoe you love, buy a few pairs, or buy a lot of pairs!
Again, finding myself defeated in the search of the Saucony Kinvara 3 in my size, I new I would have to get the closest thing to them; the Saucony Kinvara 4. Now there really is not much difference in the 3 and the 4 except that instead of using ProGrip on the bottom of the shoe to support the impact you make when you strike the ground, they use PowerGrip which is supposed to be more durable but without sacrificing the lightness the Kinvara’s are known for. To be safe, I went to Playmakers and tried a pair on, and I felt no difference between the 3 and the 4. It fit perfectly just like the 3 did, and was light and supportive. Unfortunately they didn’t have the aqua and orange pair that I really liked, so I stuck with the purple and purchased these ones.
I fell in love with these right away and am so happy that even though I had to go through trial and error, I found my perfect shoe! I even was smart and ordered another pair online, that were much cheaper and a different color. Again, I couldn’t find the blue ones in my size online, so I went with a different color but I have a feeling I’m going to fall in love with these ones too.
I did form a blister on my foot during my 18 miler this past weekend, which was my first long run in my new Kinvara 4’s, but I guess it’s expected with a new pair of shoes when you run almost 3 hours in them.
So what have we learned from this blog post?
1. Find the perfect shoe that fits you and your running style, rather than going off of color and style of shoe. For me, it’s a neutral light shoe that fits well to my foot and that corrects minimal pronation.
2. Upgrade your running shoe after putting between 300 – 500 miles on them. Personally, you should feel it when it’s time for an upgrade. If you’re feeling pain that you’ve never felt or your feet are really achy during/after a run, it may be time to upgrade.
3. Don’t upgrade too late before race day. You need to break in your shoes and make sure you can perform to your normal running standards on your long runs. If not and if you switch to a new pair just a couple weeks before the running, you could be looking at lots of blisters, bloody toes and breaking toenails, and ain’t nobody got time for that.
4. If you find a pair of running shoes that you love and that are perfect for you, don’t just buy one pair, buy a few! Finding the perfect running shoe can be hard and frustrating, so when you do, you need to make sure you have back-ups for when you need to upgrade and they no longer make your shoe. I would make a really bad comparison to men, but I’ll leave that to your imagination! haha
5. Do your research. I have learned so much from my own mistakes and from others. I really look to other bloggers and running websites, forums and reviews to gain more knowledge and to correct my running mistakes. Hopefully this post does the same for you!
As I talked about at the beginning of this post, I am going to be extremely busy the next few weeks, so I may be lacking in the posting department. But I’ll try and update as much as I can.
Make it a great day!
Have you found your perfect running shoe?!