If the shoe fits…

…put an insert in it.

Let’s talk about running shoes for the eleventy billionth time. (Previous discussions were had here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here).

Since my three pairs of Brooks Adrenaline 11s (aka Best Shoes Ever) have been retired ((RIP)) I’ve been on a wild freakin’ goose chase trying to find the next best thing.

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Road Runner Sports put me in two pairs of neutral shoes, but after a month-ish of pounding the pavement in them it was obvious I still overpronated and they weren’t working.

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I finished up my Philly training in Adrenaline 12s but … they just didn’t fit the same as the 11s. (And wasn’t a fan of the 13s either) Using a credit from my RRS account I picked up the newly released Mizuno Wave Inspire 9 at the end of 2012. They fit much better than the 8s I had wear-tested at a local running store. However after three months I ran into the same issue I had with the Adrenalines – achy arches.

At that point I had it narrowed down to two options: Brooks Ravenna 4 and Mizuno Wave Creation 14.

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I ran the Austin 10/20 in the Mizunos but was hesitant to continue training in another neutral shoe, so I switched to the Ravennas for Long Branch. No arch pain, but there was dull shin pain and I knew shin splints were just around the corner.

While cleaning out my closet last month I found an old pair of Superfeet I had completely forgotten about since I bought my (twice as expensive) RRS inserts. And then it hit me: I’ve been running without inserts for almost a year. No wonder I was having shoe issues. I put the old pair of Superfeet in the Adrenaline 12s and use them for trail running + hiking. I also picked up a new pair to rotate between the Inspires and Ravennas, which has been working out surprisingly well. Arches and shins are both happy!

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Well that was an easy fix. And much cheaper than looking for yet another pair of running shoes.

Do you use inserts? Have you ever?

Confessions: Part Deux

It’s been awhile since my last confessions post, and Michelle’s post yesterday inspired me, so I bring you: part deux!

I am terrible at quitting things.

  • Quitting drinking (had to, while I quit smoking – clearly NOT a long term goal), quitting smoking, quitting coffee. It doesn’t matter what the vice is – I will inevitably be terrible at kicking it. I eliminated coffee back in May, ramped up my workouts, and I had more energy than I had seen in a LONG time. I fell asleep at reasonable hours and was able to get up early with ease. I must quit (or scale way back, at the very least) again. I MUST. 

I haven’t cut/colored my hair since March 4th.

  • Clearly that whole ombre look is coming to me for free, but unintentionally. Holy rats nest. Hair maintenance frequently gets overlooked because I RARELY (as in, once every 3 months) do my hair. My mornings are all about the ‘wake up & go’ mentality. I wash it everyday after the gym, and it’s naturally curly. Blowdrying & straightening would be a serious waste of time, since I’d ruin it with sweat less than 24 hours later. Does my hair need some TLC? Hell yes. Do I want to put out the cash for it? Hell no.

I haven’t ran since last Tuesday.

  • Yup, my shin pain has returned. I’m not sure when it happened, since I was fine post-13 miles on 8/20. But when I tried to make it through my 4 miler two days later, I had to stop at 3 and even that was a struggle. I skipped my Thursday tempo run, Sunday long run, and Tuesday speedwork session. I’ve been filling those days with RPM, which may be my new favorite workout.

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  • Low-impact and you can give it every last ounce of energy you’ve got, leaving on an incredible endorphin high. I felt euphoric on my way home Tuesday night. Kind of how I feel after consuming an entire bottle of wine.

I am having doubts about next month’s marathon.

  • This feeds off the previous confession: injury. I’m trying to take off as many days as possible to heal, without setting myself back endurance-wise. Since the calendar switched over to September today, I’m less than 60 days out from my first 26.2 and I am feeling nervous, anxious, excited, worried. What if I can’t make a comeback? To make it through two months of training and have to come to a screeching halt and defer to 2012 is heartbreaking. I suppose only time will tell.

I bought another pair of running shoes.

  • I announced this on Twitter last week, with a desperate plea for an intervention. Twittervention?  Turns out I’m not the only one with a shoe problem. Anyway, yes, I invested in yet another pair of Brooks.
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  • I have a 30-day window to return them if they don’t make my shins feel like a million bucks. And just to clarify: I didn’t buy them just because I wanted a new pair. I bought them because my shins suck and I need a pair to make them happy and allow me to run a marathon next month.

What do you need to get off your chest today? Confess!

They’re baaaackkk!

I’m referring to my lovely friends, shin splints.

Yesterday, I completed my fourth run on the MCM training plan. It should have been my fifth, but I skipped my long run last Saturday. Yes, you read that correctly. I SKIPPED MY LONG RUN. If there’s ever a run not to miss – it’s that one. So kudos to me for being an idiot so early on in training. All because on Wednesday night I had a killer workout…

Never again. My next workout didn’t happen until Monday because I was so sore. Four consecutive rest days? Not cool.

Anyway, my shins felt slightly achy after my 3 miler on Tuesday night. I stretched and iced afterwards, and felt much better the next morning. Last night, the pain returned. WTF. I’m not sure if it’s just “hey welcome back to running” pain or “hey your bones are breaking in half” pain. I iced again last night for 3 rounds of 20 min each, and then rocked my CEP compression sleeves for an hour while I polluted my brain with RHONY.

Shins were feeling slightly better this morning, but I threw the sleeves on under my jeans today as a preventative measure. I’ll ice again tonight, and rest up for my 5 mile trail run tomorrow.

I noticed yesterday I run pretty weird at slow paces (11:00-12:30 min/mi) and normal at fast [well, fast to me] paces (9:15-10:30 min/mi).  It was just feeling much more natural to run a sub-11 min/mi pace. When running slower, I tend to land on the outside of my foot, then my foot rolls inward, and I push off awkwardly with my toes. I also can’t run in a straight line; I’m seriously all over the treadmill from the right to the left, as if one of my legs is longer than the other. But when running faster, I land mid-foot and normal. This little experiment of mine very well could have contributed to my shin pain, since I don’t usually run fast … ever. Or maybe I should be running faster, to fix my gait/stride? Maybe my stability shoes + green SuperFeet give me too much support, and that’s why I’m having shin pain / landing incorrectly?

I don’t know.

Honestly I’m sick of talking about my damn shins. I research and read articles, I visit running specialty stores, I try new stretches, I buy new shoes.

I don’t know what else to do. If I can’t figure out a solution soon, I think running a full marathon is completely out of the question 🙁

The Great Running Shoe Debacle

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Last fall when I first moved to Austin, I came to the realization I would need a new pair of sneakers. I had a couple pairs which I wore casually, but none I would be able to run regularly with.

After a bit of research and test runs in Academy, I decided on Asics Gel Nimbus 11. They fit like a dream, as if I was walking on soft, pillowy clouds. I used them for a few classes at the gym, and on the elliptical.

When I began training in May for my first half marathon, I slipped on the Asics and hit the road. A month went by, and I decided I needed a new pair. They weren’t worn out, but they just didn’t feel right. And hey, I’m a girl – I love buying a new pair of shoes 🙂

Enter Mizuno Wave Rider 13. I really liked how light they were and the way they looked, but after a few runs I noticed they weren’t quite supportive enough. I ended up wearing them to work instead (be jealous, I wear jeans & sneakers to work) and switching back to the Nimbus.

In the beginning of July, I was plagued by an intense case of shin splints. I was icing after every single run, stretching, and following a training plan that increased weekly mileage by no more than 10%. I took a few weeks off from training to allow my legs to recover.

I went to the Road Runner Sports website and answered a few questions from Shoe Dog to determine which pair was best for me. My feet are incredibly flat, so I pronate quit a bit when I run. At this point, I was using the Nike+ system and I was looking for a Nike shoe. From the results the website provided me, I chose Nike Structure Triax 13.

I am really not a huge fan of Nikes to begin with, but these really alleviated the problem. I was officially pain free. For about a month. This was just enough time for me to wear down the cushion on the arch of the shoe.

Next up? Asics GT-2150. The arch support in these shoes was the best out of all of the previous shoes, as it is a stability shoe. After an 8 miler and a 9 miler, the pain returned. Gah! It was at this point where I headed to Runtex to see if they could help. I was given a prescription for orthotics, and off to InStep I went.

The combination of the 2150 and orthotics was just what I needed! I ran the half marathon in them, and I had no shin pain whatsoever afterwards.

After my recent 10k, the outsides of my calves started hurting. This was a completely new issue, which I can blame the speedy downhill running I did for an hour. I think also it may have come from “over-correcting” my pronation problem.

Yesterday, I went back to Runtex on a mission to purchase a new pair of running shoes. A few pairs were recommended to me, and here’s the winner:

 

 

Mizuno Wave Inspire 6. I am keeping my fingers crossed this will be the LAST time I need to change running shoes. I am tired of having to take unplanned rest days because of shin pain, and most importantly? I’m tired of shelling out $100+ every couple months! Wish me luck!

What running shoes do you run in? Did it take you awhile to find the “perfect” pair?