Buying A Running Shoe

BrooksShoesIn a previous post from March 1st, I wrote about my need for a new pair of running shoes and my proposed selection process, such as it is. After a combination of research and happy coincidence, I ended up selecting the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 11, and could not be more thrilled with my selection.

The research part was a combination of online resources and the vast staff knowledge at Dick Pond Athletics in Lisle Illinois, where I purchased the shoes. The happy coincidence was that a Groupon popped into my inbox the week I was doing my research. The offer was to purchase a $50 certificate for $25, good at any Dick Pond store and since I was already going to make a purchase there, I jumped on the offer right away.

I visited Dick Pond and discussed my needs, past experience and future plans with the staff. They had me try on a few different pairs for sizing, comfort and I’m not ashamed to say, looks. They have an in shop treadmill so I was able to do a few miles before making a final decision. The Brooks ran a little smaller than the Kayanos, so I ended up with a size 11.5 instead of the size 11 that I had in the Asics. The brooks were also $40 less expensive, not cheaper, that the Asics so with the coupon, tax and tip I was out the doo for less than $75 dollars US.

I have already used them to run the Home Team Charity Run 10K in Chicago and they performed very well, with no rubbing, plenty of stability and an abundance of comfort. I realize this was a short run but was none the less a good test for a new pair of kicks.

Next step is to keep an eye out for clearance deals so I can stock at least one more pair for the next Disney Marathon. See you there.

Buying New Running Shoes

It is just about time for me to purchase some new running shoes, not according to the ‘Manufacturers Suggested Mileage’ but according to my wear patterns. I have a tendency to wear them out on the inside before I wear them out on the outside, or at least it feels that way. I try to do 500 – 600 miles on a pair before I look at getting a new pair and I try to keep at least two pairs around so I can rotate them. It is also handy to have a second pair on hand in case I get one pair really wet from a run in the rain.

Kayano 15

My strategy from the beginning was to find a brand that fit really well and me my needs as far as foot type, stride pronation etc. Turns out I needed a stability type shoe so with the help of Dick Pond Athletics in Lisle Illinois, I settled on Asics Kayanos. The year I bought them (2007) they were on model 13 (they have a new number every year), so I bought two pair and started rotating them. Good thing I bought two pair, since the following year they changed the toe box and the model 14 caused a rub on my big toe. I skipped the 14s and was able to find some clearance 13s online, which held me over till the 15s came out in 2009. I retired one of the 13s for a 15, then near the end of the year retired another 13 and bought two clearance 15s. I now have three pairs of 15s that I am rotating and have passed over the 16’s and 17s, so far.

Back to my wear patterns. The manufacturers suggest you only put 300 miles on a pair of shoes, but being cynical, I submit that they are just trying to sell you a new pair every year if not more often. I tend to wear out the lining at various touch points to my foot. I have been very fortunate to never have gotten blisters from running, except for one freak weather run at the Disney Marathon in 2010 when it was so cold my feet did not expand as they usually do when I run. Another reason I don’t get blisters is I am very aware of those wear spots and will replace the shoe if I start to get a hint of a hot spot, which is usually around the 500 mile mark with the Asics.

This post was actually prompted by a podcast I was listening to yesterday while doing a 5.5 mile run. I listen to Phedippidations quite often, a podcast for and about runners, and was catching up on some older episodes as I usually do. Steve Runner  (Walker is his real last name) produced a podcast called ‘Anatomy of a Running Shoe’ and it reminded me it was time to start looking for some new shoes before the weather gets nice again. This particular episode talked abut the important parts you should pay attention to when looking for a new shoe or when moving to a new version of the exact shame shoe. As I mentioned I ran into that with the 14s and might eventually have to move away from the Kayanos if the change too much. I am very happy with the Kayanos, but they are getting pretty expensive at $140.00 and there are other good stability shoes on the market.

Steve has a very strong opinion about Nike and their sweat shop practices, something I agree with him on, so if you are a Nike lover you might be turned off by the first few parody minutes of this episode, but keep on going and listen to what he has to say about shoes and what to look for.

What kind of shoes do you wear and why did you choose them?

On The Road (Treadmill) Again

I finally got back in the swing of things after my marathon induced deltoid ligament injury. I was able to squeeze in some time on the hotel treadmill following a client site visit, but I broke two of my basic rule of training.

  1. Don’t eat right before you run
  2. Don’t run after 8pm

Breaking these rules resulted in a very painful return to my road to recovery. I returned from the client at 8:30 and was dying to work up a sweat so I got changed and headed down to the exercise room for a quick 5K. The exercise room was just one treadmill and one bike but it was good enough to stay my craving for a workout.  The treadmill was angled so I could see the TV for some no volume distraction, but I could also see myself in a full wall of floor to ceiling mirrors. That was pretty depressing. I knew I felt heavy from not running full on for almost 3 weeks but the giggle factor was not very attractive, at least not for a guy. I felt like and it looked like I had swallowed a small balloon which was hovering just below my rib cage. The bloat from dinner was very distracting and I felt like I was working harder to cover the usual distance at my usual speed. Sure I have lost much of my capacity (you can loose up to 70% of you training capacity if you stop your workouts for 1 month) but the recent meal was just messing up my focus.

I always travel with my 4GB 3rd gen iPod and a Nike+ add on for my shoes so I can multitask and catch up on the podcasts I subscribe to. I don’t believe you can regularly multitask as you are dividing your attention or time slicing instead doing two or more things at the same time. Running requires very little concentration so it does allow me to focus my attention on something else and podcasts are perfect for that activity. Pacing is the only thing that usually requires my concentration. If any part of my body wants me to pay attention I know pretty quick and I can focus on that ache or pain instantly then get back to the podcast if I determine it is not urgent or a threat. I had just a tiny bit of swelling in the previously bad ankle and no noticeable pain so all in all, a good return to my training.

I am looking forward to the races in 2010 and want to get some of my old friends involved. If any of you in the Chicago area want to get off that couch and join in, there are many great local running clubs that can help you with that goal. I highly recommend Dick Pond Athletics and Runner’s Grove as sources for encouragement and mentoring. See you on the road.