Thursday, February 4, 2016

Discussion of the Week: How often should you change your running shoes?

In October 2012, I broke my foot. It was my junior year of high school and I was, at the time, still in the hay day of my skating life, and I was training for the annual South Atlantic Regional Championships, to be held in October. Additionally, I had just finished running my first half marathon in August, and was still on a high from the excitement and live I felt--that race turned me into a runner: those 13.1 miles made me fall in love with running. I felt so good after the race, I decided I was going to train for a full marathon. The Richmond marathon is every November, and I figured, what could be more perfect--I was about halfway there with my weekly mileage if I wanted to train for a marathon, so why not?! A week after my half marathon, I dove into marathon training,  slowly increasing my weekly mileage by the recommended 10%. In addition to logging 35-40 miles a week, I was spending about 2 hours on the ice each day. I was having be time of my life--but started noticing my left foot giving me a little pain. 
At first it was just annoying: a niggle and nuisance on a long run. Then it got worse...I was training on rough trails, and had to take my runs inside to a treadmill to compensate for the pain. Then it started getting really bad...I had to seriously reduce my mileage, and give up on my hopes of running the marathon in November. I was just focused on running at all at this point. Then it happened. I was on the ice one day-a Thursday-and I was going into a double flip. Right beige will took off, I felt a crack...well heard a crack, to be exact. I immediately went to my orthopedic doctor, and he did an emergency MRI scan. When I got the results a week later, my greatest fear was confirmed: I had a broken foot. 
After I recovered, I spent time talking at length with my doctor.  He referred me to a physical therapist...who just so happened to be an ultra marathon runner also. She analyzed my gait, stride, muscle imbalances, and last but not least, shoes. Turns out I had over 2,000 miles on my current pair of trainers...DANGEROUSLY HIGH MILEAGE for a runner...especially a marathon runner. 
She gave me a prescription for the exact type of shoe I needed, and off to the running store I went! I'm now on my 5thvpair of mizuno runners...and haven't looked back!

So, here's the question: how often does an athlete really need to change their shoes?! There's tons of debates on this topic, from what type of athlete you are, to how much you weigh. For runners, it's especially important--really for any athlete that's involved in impact sports. Generally, people recommend changing your shoes every 700-1000 miles. That number can vary on body composition, terrain, etc.
 Also, if one has had a history of injury, they shouldn't even wait that long. My PT recommended for me to change my shoes every 500-600 miles. 
Since my injury in 2012, I have been faithful to log my mileage and keep track of the miles I'm putting on each pair of shoes. I'm conscious to change my shoes every 550 miles (which works out to be about every 6 months, based on my weekly mileage), and have not encountered any more problems. 
Bottom line: if you get a good, high quality pair of running shoes and keep a thorough track of how much use your out into them, take good care of them, and replace them when needed, you should be fine. And keep an eye on it--don't force yourself to wait until you hit 500 miles...if you feel them getting soft or breaking down sooner, get new ones. Just like. I always say listen to your body, listen to your shoes, too! And keep on keepin' on :)


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