Monday, January 18, 2010

2050 miles

Today I was totaling up shoe mileage and so I thought why not make a post about it for the blog. Lots of people say to change them at 500. This is what I did with my first pair. Well I decided to test this theory out. So far I've ran over 2,000 miles on a single pair, with really no signs of stopping. My legs don't hurt and my running is still improving. Granted I did take some time off, but that was due to a lack of motivation and getting things in order, and not injury. I've had a few injuries over the past few years, the main one actually was from basketball go figure, but most of the injuries have just been nagging pains, which any runner experiences due to simply training.

So here I am in 2010, it's been a long journey and the same shoes I've had for years now are still trodding along with me everyday. There are a few reasons I think I'm able to do this. The first is that shoe companies generally want you to buy new shoes, therefore setting a mileage for a pair at 500 is somewhat logical because it's a decent amount of miles and time to run those miles, but perhaps a bit capitalistic. For instance, for runners who run 100 miles a week, this means 10 pairs of shoes a year. And so my running beyond the 500 point was a simple test of that ideology.

The second is that I'm a lightweight runner with a quick stride. I'm not pounding my knees as much as a heavier runner and each footfall has less pressure than that of my heavier counterparts. I'm not the greatest runner, but weight and form play their part.

Third is the type of shoes I purchase. They are lightweight and flexible, really just a slipper that protects me from trash on the ground and provides a minimal shock absorber to the pavement below. Because they have no large heel they mimic the barefoot running action. I am not a proponent of barefoot running, mostly because of the surfaces we have to run on, but I am a proponent of the theory that it will build proper strength in the leg muscles, as well as proper running form. If I lived in an area with dirt roads, lets say.... Africa, I would totally embrace it.

A fourth reason is that I give myself rest when needed. Rest is the number one key to prolonged running, and the times that I've neglected it have ended up not necessarily with injury, but a lot of fatigue and eventual breakdown of the body. High mileage needs to be adapted to, so although I don't fully agree with the 10% increase rule, I do agree that restraint can sometimes reap it's benefits. However, when you are running your best, lack of restraint (within reason) can sometimes give you the boost you need to get to the next level. Cut miles, run slower, and get your rest on easy days.

I have found no benefit in altering pairs, other than severe pain (due to different types, landing differently, less give, etc) The one time I deviated from this my foot felt like it was going to break in half. So I'm not a fan of that theory but I do wear different shoes depending on the surface, if it's a race, or the type of workout I want to run. If you are going to alternate shoes it should be with the exact same type of shoe and within a few hundred miles of each other to minimize the difference.

But I will continue on with this pair, logging miles and hopefully providing some insight that 500 is an arbitrary number at best, made up because it sounds high and gives you a reason to go to the shoe store every 2-3 months. Of course all the info I have written is generally about me, and my specific running physiology and shoe type. For other runners 500 may actually hold some truth to it, and for some shoes they may have a lot less miles in them. I really don't know, I'm not a scientist, but I do know how to record data. I'm simply offering you that data as an alternate idea to the proposed "rule" that I see so often used in running magazines and among runners. That's part of my nature, to test the rules we have about running and try to find the truth in them. I'll let the shoes do the rest of the talking :)

bf 90 miles

bf 2050 miles