Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Shoes and Strike

I'm still here!

I was thinking that I'd have lots 'o time to blog on Christmas break. Not so much with the kids at home! (including the BIG one-my husband)

So what's new with me? I'm on Day 2 of Peak Week for the Carlsbad Marathon, just 19 days away! My coach does not follow a 3-week taper, so this week will have me finishing at 56 miles, next week 44 miles and then race week! (20 miles + the marathon) I was a little nervous looking at my training plan when I saw that the mileage didn't back way off as per your standard marathon training plan... I asked him, "Where's my 3-week taper?" and he told me I'd been reading too much Runner's World. Hahahaha. At any rate, he just set a new American 50k record in the 70-74 age group, so I'm listening to him. His longevity in the sport speaks volumes to me.

In my last post, I wrote about the things that I believe have improved my running over the last few months. Numbers 1 and 2 were shoes and foot strike. Let's start with shoes.

I am currently rotating between four pairs of shoes:

Brooks PureFlow

Saucony PowerGrid Cortana

 Brooks Launch

Saucony Shadow Genesis

Why am I doing this? My coach advised me that it's good practice to rotate between 4-5 pairs of shoes because it helps reduce the risk of injuries based on repetitive motion. Makes sense to me. Each shoe is a little different, and it puts your foot in a different position. By changing things up a bit, you're more likely to avoid a repetitive stress injury than you are if you wear the same shoes day in and day out. Not sure if this is a scientific fact or anything, but dare I say that I have not had any injuries or even any significant aches and pains since I started this system.

Now onto foot strike... 

As I re-entered the world of running and the land of blogs, I started noticing more and more the *trend* of the mid-foot strike. Tired of constant nagging hip/knee problems, I decided that was the direction in which I wanted to proceed. Unfortunately, I did so way too quickly and ended up injuring myself. First came the persistently sore calves (red flag) and then the rest of my R lower leg seemed to fail. Still never got an official diagnosis due to not being able to get an MRI, but I am thinking that it was a stress reaction (precursor to a stress fracture).

I spent nearly 8 weeks on the Alter G treadmill transitioning (properly) to a mid-foot strike and shoes that support a mid-foot strike (Saucony PowerGrid Cortana and Brooks PureFlow). I haven't had my form analyzed (yet) or anything, but I think I'm there! Knees feel great and knock on wood... no more hip injuries. Finally!!!

Next time, I'll talk about my runs, strength training and magical compression gear. Stay tuned!!


  1. How cool that your coach is in his 70s and still rocking it! He's definitely got to be in the know.

    I have made the transition to new shoes and mid-foot striking also and I like the idea of trying a couple of different shoes. I feel like I still stress my feet too much and maybe a different pair of minimalists is the answer.

  2. this is an awesome post! what great info and i totally agree about the shoes. i am just now rotating in a couple of other pairs and think it is going so well for me.
    you are going to have an amazing marathon!!!!! i am soooo excited to read about the rest of your training and then all about race day!!!! your coach sounds awesome.

  3. You are SO fortunate to have access to an alter G! I am jealous.
    Those look like great shoe! I love the launch for speedwork & love the Ghosts 4s (another brooks shoe) too.

    So happy to find your blog. I have been busy too - sick kids and me too. I would love to hear what your concerns on nutrition are. Please email if you don't want to post it!

  4. Wow - your training is making me and my 2 weeks taper feel sluggish - way to go!!! I rotate between 2 shoes (minimalist for shorts, Adidas Supernova for longs) and I do think that the difference in foot strike really helps. I'm eyeballing a new pair to bring into rotation - I think I will after Houston ...

  5. i love this, allison. definitely something for me to think about...not that my husband will love the fact that I want to buy 3 more pairs of shoes!! ;) I love your progress, intensity, and sheer determination to get to that marathon finish line. You have had a CRAZY amount of stuff on your plate. You really are superwoman. Can't wait to read your race report.