Training with Racing Shoes
Hey friends, How was the weekend? I had a fabulous race and took in a couple trail runs with friends. Oh, and of course spent some time with mum.
Last week, I received a fabulous question from a reader that I thought deserved it’s own post:
Elite runners have race shoes and training shoes but how do they break in race shoes? Are they used as training shoes for a bit and then switch to race only shoes? How else would they know if they liked them or not?
It can be tricky to get the shoe thing right. I have written a lot about when to switch them up but racing shoes are a completely different thing. First of all, when you are training, it is important to cycle through pairs in order to stay injury-free. If you have any biomechanical short fallings, if you continue to train in the same pair of shoes, over time it will become imprinted in the shoe which will enhance the error and increase the chance of injury, so it is important to keep switching it up.
I train with a more padded shoe than I race in with lots of arch support. This helps to counter the long miles and high level speed work that I put my body through week after week. My current shoes are Asics Gel Cumulus 15.
My racing shoe, however, is zero drop and extremely light. I don’t train regularly in this shoe because the zero drop enhances my achilles issues so the arch support and raised heel is an advantage to me. For short and fast races though, the lighter, the better. I am currently racing in Saucony Kinvara 3′s.
A lighter race shoe is an advantage as it is significantly lighter and therefore, you will do less work. The longer the distance, the greater the profile should be. There should more elevation under your heel and less thickness under your midfoot.
Racing shoes usually achieve much of their weight reduction by putting less material under your foot. To prepare for that difference, you will need to let your legs gradually get used to that difference which will initially put more stretch and strain on your calves. Start by wearing your racing shoes for your short/easy workouts and then eventually use them for your quality workouts.
For me, I cycle my racing shoes into my speedwork training during the week so I know that I am comfortable running fast in them. I don’t often wear them for races longer than a half marathon, but I will occasionally put in a long run with them as well. I do not train often with them, but I make sure that I spend some time with them to make sure that by race day, they are broken in and ready to perform.
What about you? How often do you train in the shoes you race in?