March 13, 2013 by IowaTriBob
Several weeks ago I started noticing some minor aches and pains in my right ankle after some of my longer runs. It seemed each week the aches were getting more noticeable and I even started feeling some minor tweaks in my knees and joints. As I scoured the Internet forums and blogs for what could be the reason it became quite clear that one possible issue might be – my shoes!
It seems the general consensus (unless you own a pair of Newton’s) is that a typical running shoe starts to lose its cushioning and support anywhere from 250-500 miles depending on the type and brand. Checking my Garmin Connect account I realized that I’ve put around 350 miles on my Saucony Kinvara 3’s in a relatively short period of time. If nothing else, what a great excuse to go shoe shopping and check out all the latest run and training gadgets while I’m at it!
When talking with the rep at one of the local running stores and sharing with him a typical workout week, he brought up the idea of having 2 pairs of shoes. His rationale (other than just being a good salesman) was one pair of shoes for training and one pair for race days / race simulations / or short speed intervals. Keep in mind that my race days consist of 5K and 10k events this season.
The explanation provided was that the trainers could be a little heavier shoe providing a little more cushioning with a touch more stability. This in theory would allow me to add on the distance without the added stress of using flatter, less cushioned racing shoes. The race shoes would be lighter, more flexible, and provide less cushioning and stability (thus the lighter weight) for racing and speed.
So being a good listener and good customer, I’m the happy owner of a new pair of Nike Zoom Elite+ 6 for my training
and a new pair of Saucony Virrata’s for my racing.
In a separate post I’ll provide a more detailed review of each as I get more mileage and experience with them. However in the first week, I’m not entirely sold on the training pair vs. racing pair concept.
I’ve had 3 runs in the Nike Zoom Elite’s with distances of 8 miles, 5.5 miles, and 4.5 miles. Each time I’ve come away from the workout without the ankle, joint, or knee pains but have traded them for sore calves, hamstrings, and glutes!
I’m a forefoot striker and am used to running in the Saucony Kinvara 3’s with a 4mm heel to toe drop, so I was really surprised that going to a very cushioned forefoot shoe would cause anything but utter bliss in my longer runs! The soreness has gotten better with each run but its something that I can still definitely feel and its new and different from the previous 4 months of running… I don’t know if the soreness is caused by adding a few ounces of weight per foot or if its the bouncy cushion provided.
I haven’t had a chance to run in the Saucony Virrata’s yet but as I break them in around the house and work, they feel much more like the Kinvara’s that I’m used to.
I’m planning to give it another week or two but I’m starting to question the sales reps advice and my decision to follow that advice – especially so close to my first race, only 3 short weeks away.
So my question to everyone is – do you train and race in different shoes? If so, what is the difference between them? And, what was your experience like when you first went this direction?