Rotating Running Shoes

Rotating Running Shoes

running shoes

One way to minimize risk of injury, while maximizing the life of your shoes, is to rotate use of your shoes.

I follow Peter Larson’s  Although I don’t know Peter, it appears that he’s able to make a living blogging about running.  His writing is insightful and well researched.  The following story was recently published and makes sense.

For the last 20 years, I have run in the same shoe until it’s time to move on to a fresh pair (typically 450 – 500 miles).  I have been fortunate to avoid any “major” injuries.   However, because I pronate, I require a stable shoe.  Also, I’m somewhat of a heal striker, so I need additional padding.

Currently I have had success with the Asics GT2000.  Although this model is no longer produced, I’ve been able purchase 2 new pairs in the last 45 days (on Amazon for $75 and at a local sporting good store for $60).  I’m of the opinion that if you’re able to train in a particular shoe or if you have a couple of shoes you wear (a lightweight pair for the track or trail running shoes) that allow you to train for marathons injury free, then stick with that shoe.  If you can find a pair on sale, then make the purchase regardless of need.  These days shoe manufacturers are so quick to upgrade a shoe and take it’s predecessor off the market so you’re forced to pay $120+.

Peter discusses rotating shoes for different workouts.  Please take a look at the following post and let me know what you think.



The concept of rotating shoes is one that I have written about many times, as have others in the running blogosphere. Yesterday I posted about how foot strike changes with running speed, and I touched on the fact that different shoes might thus be appropriate for different workouts. I’ve also written about a study that suggests that rotating shoes might reduce injury risk.

The reality is that a segment of the running community has long recognized the value of rotating shoes for different workouts or to keep the legs fresh. However, there are more than a few runners who would never consider doing so and to whom the concept of a shoe rotation is totally new and a bit scary.

A fair number of the injured runners I see in the clinic do all of their training on roads in a single shoe (or maybe two very similar models from different brands). Often when I bring up the idea of rotating shoes the response is something along the lines of  “It’s OK to do that???” Many are receptive to trying something different, but when I tell them it’s ok to mix a new shoe in with their current one on different workouts they seem perplexed.

I’ve long wondered why running shoe companies and retail stores aren’t more vocal about this concept of a shoe rotation. It seems like a win-win (provided the runner can afford multiple pairs of shoes). I’ve asked a few retailers and brand reps about this, and there seems to be some sensitivity about the possibility that a customer might feel they are being pushed to buy something they don’t need. Shoes are expensive after all, and getting more expensive every year.

I was pleased therefore when I came across this post on rotating shoes on the Saucony blog. Sure Saucony is a very biased party here – rotating shoes means selling more shoes, and what shoe company doesn’t want to sell more shoes?

I do think that the article makes good sense, and it’s written by Spencer White, head of the Saucony Lab. Spencer is a good scientist, and I’ve spent a few days with him down at Saucony HQ (he did a full gait analysis on me with their force treadmill and 3D kinematic setup). He and I share a lot of common ground in our thinking about shoes, running form, and injuries, and this paragraph pretty much sums up my own thinking on why rotating shoes makes sense:

“Our bodies are best at doing one thing: Adapting to the environment and the stresses we expose them to.  For runners this means that our bodies adapt to the stress of running, becoming fit and strong. But… because running is so repetitive, it can occasionally overstress our bodies, especially when we increase training intensity. Every step loads the same tissues in the same way as the previous step.  Running shoes can affect how the stress of running is distributed within the tissues of your body.  By wearing different shoes on different days, you may avoid overloading any one muscle, tendon, bone, or ligament while simultaneously strengthening others.”

Spencer goes on to talk about shoes and speed:

“If you run at different speeds on different days, or on different surfaces (if you don’t do this, you should!), you may find that a shoe that feels just right at a training pace feels too mushy for intervals, or that the racing flat that works so well for a track workout just feels jarring when running more slowly on the run home. For many runners, a shoe that compresses more feels like it works better with their stride at slower paces, while a shoe that compresses less feels like it works better with their stride at faster paces.”

Read Spencer’s full post here.

I personally liken running shoes to golf clubs. A golfer would never play 18 holes with just a putter. Golfers have a bag full of clubs that each has an intended purpose. In a similar manner I think some runners would benefit from having a few different shoes to use for different purposes. Find the most comfortable shoe you can find for most of your mileage. Get a flat for days you run a bit faster. A trail shoe to maximize variation by getting yourself off of the road once in awhile. I think that by mixing things up you’ll avoid hammering your body with the same repetitive stress every time you run, and this might reduce your chances of getting hurt.

What do you think, do you find value in rotating shoes?

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Brooks Proposes Radical Shift in the Running Shoe Paradigm

Introducing Stride Signature – An Individual’s Unique Running Form Defined by the Body’s Habitual Motion Path

stride signature white paper, brooks research running form, what is stride signature, brooks paper on stride signatureAt Brooks we strive to create the perfect ride for every stride. As we look to the future, we are focused on improving the complex interaction between the runner and the shoe by widening the lens of our understanding of runner biomechanics.

Four years of prospective research studies on hundreds of runners and work with some of our key specialty retail partners has led us to an exciting breakthrough.  A breakthrough that will take us into the next era of how we assess runners and design footwear.

Today we are excited to share the first iteration of research that we believe steers us on a path to shift the current running shoe paradigm further in favor of the runner. We are calling this multi-layered concept Stride Signature. The goal of Stride Signature is to create a new holistic approach to designing and fitting running shoes that starts with the runner to optimize efficiency, reduce injury, and enhance comfort.

We invite you to read The Stride Signature white paper, where we will introduce a radical shift in thinking that will set Brooks on an exciting new trajectory in footwear design for years to come.

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Guest Blog: Running Myth- Good Running Nutrition is Complicated and Expensive

running myth on nutrition, running nutrition myth busted, nutrition myths for runners, nutrients for runners needs

See below for Kelly’s “Long Run Sandwich Bites” Recipe.

For every nutrition question you have, there are at least ten expensive nutrition products on the market that claim to have the answer.  It’s easy to be overwhelmed.  Luckily, good running nutrition can be broken down into a few simple principles.

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Thumbs up for good nutrition! Guest Blogger Kelly Egan breaks down nutrition basics for runners.

Carbs vs. Other Nutrients

Based on body weight, a typical athletic diet should be about 60 percent carbs, 15 percent protein and 25 percent fat.  To get ready for a race, “carbo load” by bumping up your carbohydrate intake for three to four days before the event.   Keep a food and workout diary if you make any changes to your diet to help you figure out what works for you.


Many runners have questions about supplements – which to take, how many, at what times, etc.  Skip those expensive pills and powders and spend your money on fresh fruits and vegetables instead.  A varied diet will provide all the vitamins and essential nutrients that your body needs. Plus, your body is able to absorb nutrients better from food than pills.  Fun fact: Consuming beets, a source of nitrate, has been shown to increase athletic performance!

Protein and Muscle Recovery

There is a belief that high amounts of protein, especially protein powders, improve muscle growth.  A benefit to this has not been shown – excess protein is simply converted into energy – or fat.  Save your money!  Immediately after your run, enjoy an ice-cold glass of low-fat chocolate milk!  It has a 4:1 carbohydrate-to-protein ratio and has been proven to help the recovery process.  For an added benefit, have another glass two hours later – ideally with a healthy, balanced meal.

In Summary:

  • A basic running diet should have roughly 60 percent carbs, 15 percent protein and 25 percent fat – but listen to your body. Consult with a dietitian or nutritionist for best results.
  • Keep a diet and workout log to help you figure out what works best for you.
  • Increase your carbohydrate intake for 3-4 days before a race.
  • Instead of focusing on supplements, eat a balanced diet instead.
  • For a natural performance boost, eat beets!
  • Chocolate milk is an effective and cheap recovery drink.


In addition to this brief intro to running nutrition, I’d like to share an easy and nutritious snack to try during long runs.  I came up with this idea after getting sick of bad-tasting gels and energy bars with a long list of ingredients that I couldn’t pronounce.

Long Run Sandwich Bites

You will need:

  • Bread – you can use whole grain or white, depending on what your stomach tolerates
  • Peanut or other nut butter – I like dark chocolate Yumbutter
  • Jam or honey

Combine all of your ingredients to make a sandwich.

  1. Use a knife or mini cookie cutter to cut your sandwich into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Pack a handful in a small sandwich baggie to take along on your long runs.
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Pack these little guys with you on your next long run for on-the-go, inexpensive fuel.


running myth on nutrition, running nutrition myth busted, nutrition myths for runners, nutrients for runners needsKelly Egan is a guest blogger for Brooks, as well as a member of our Inspire Daily program. Look for more posts from her on running myths in the coming months. Kelly is a fourth year medical student in Madison, Wis.  This year, she plans to volunteer in India, graduate from school, get married, honeymoon in Morocco, move across the country and get her first job – in that order.  To follow her adventures, please visit

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Guest Post: Running & Racing –

run for the prize

Running & Racing

Running races during a 16-24 week marathon training plan is one of the ways to best prepare yourself for a marathon.  Depending on what kind of shape you’re in prior to starting your training period, you should easily be able to run 1-2 races.  I recommend nothing short of a 10k and I wouldn’t go longer than a 1/2 marathon.  The reason you want to run a race is it will help you get the feel for preparing for a race or running faster pace than your typical training pace.  They will also get you used to getting prepared for race day activities (waking early, eating before the race, getting to the start line, etc).  Racing also gets you used to running with a lot of people.  Besides, the experience, it’s fun.  I love the post race entertainment and food.

Take a look at the following guest article.  Coach Patrick discusses racing to win.  I wouldn’t taper prior to the race.  Instead, just mix the race into your schedule. I hope you enjoy the guest post.


by Patrick Reed

“Don’t you know that in a race, all the runners run, but only one gets the prize. Run in such a way as to get the prize.” ~ 1 Corinthians 9:24

Racing is where the distance runner dances. It is the weekly or monthly — maybe even just yearly — prom. It is the proving ground, the laboratory. It is instant youth and it is Play.

I used to love the game of soccer so much — even in my collegiate days — because it represented a complete cosmos, ruled by fairly just judges, and its parameters were as clear as white chalk lines. The object of this bounded life’s pursuit was evident, the rules were agreed upon — and inside of this world, captivated by it, all else in the universe fell away. The game became all of life itself — and outside of the game was irrelevant.

Of course, that worked pretty well until 4th year hit — and graduation loomed — and then suddenly arrived! On that commencement day, so far from the eternal destiny of the soaring black and white orb, striking the net with an elegance fit for heaven; on that day of new beginning, I became the tired runner staring at his shoes, sitting on the curb and wondering what happened. I guess I hadn’t trained hard enough. I guess I hadn’t any plan.

BUT — I knew what I loved. I loved to play that certain game.

And now racing has become that itinerant play. Itinerant by necessity. For only a few of us can play for our living — and then, I have heard, the play is not so much play any more.

So what does the Apostle Paul mean by “Run in such a way as to get the prize”?

Clearly this much and nothing more: Run to win. And what is it we aim to win? Is it the heaps of gold bestowed upon the forward thinking practitioner, who aligned himself adroitly for an easy destiny? Is it to get to the finish first at any cost? Dope, deceit or deviance — you choose?? Or is running to win not really about what we think winning is at all?

For it must be possible, says the theology which stands behind and supports Paul’s words, that every man can “get the prize.” Each only must “run in such a way…”  What of this race where every soul can win? Is this the cheapest race — and is its prize, by the market’s definition, the most sordid and banal stuff?

No — emphatically NO!

And maybe, just maybe – your distance running addiction can aid you here in the way of the most elegant illustration. Each of us can indeed win in this game of life. Like the soccer game I so futilely longed to live within eternally, each life’s course is marked by clear boundaries and indeed has a just lawgiver and judge. Better still, the game is made for each of us – tailor made — and the gamekeeper wants, longs, dreams that we would win.

And only one thing is necessary: that we believe in the one whom He has sent. Namely, Jesus Christ – who died for you and me, that we may share in the new life he won in being raised from the dead on the third day.

To run to win — in this greatest race of all — is to believe. Nothing more and nothing less. All else is dross.

Run the race to win it — every day. I am racing right along side with you.


Coach Patrick

image credit: womanwithamission

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