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Strategy for Rotating Running Shoes (Marathon Training)


What is your strategy for rotating running shoes during marathon training? A great perks of being a running coach and blogger is that I have exposure (not always that I test, but I have exposure) to a great deal of wisdom regarding a variety of different types of shoes and running shoe wisdom and education. 

Strategy for Rotating Running Shoes during Marathon Training

A little bit about my running shoe background, for the uninitiated:

I grew up (like just about everyone else in the 90s) running in Nikes, from the Nike Air to gels to the Shox. I did the Nike ID Shox for years and years even with my orthotics, which I had custom made (my first pair) in 9th grade. The Shox worked for me because I they were neutral enough not to interfere with the orthotics and also because I wasn’t running enough for it to matter. 

Fast forward to 3rd year of college (2008). I start running more, I notice my knees hurting, I go to a running store, and they change me to Brooks. And my love affair with Brooks continues for another 6 years, from the Switch (support) to the Adrenaline (Support, and only 1 pair of these) to the Defyance (neutral-support) for my first half marathon and first marathon to the Ravennas (support, second marathon). I tried the new (at the time) Ravennas after that marathon, but the fit wasn’t right. It was time to move on.

I made a big switch and decided to throw myself in a completely different direction (but still in the gently supportive direction) with the Newton Kismet (review here). After going a little too minimal in the BOCO’s this winter, I took a reprieve from the Kismets with my old (dead) Ravennas but ultimately returned and ran my PR marathon in them (Phoenix) and qualified for Boston. Love the Kismet, but still I’ve looked for a good option that I could use to give my calves and feet a break from a more minimal shoe and also to rotate with the Kismets. 

As I reviewed last month, I tried the Mizuno Wave Enigma 5, but was left with arch pain. 

So I returned to one of my old friends, Nike. I have been lucky to work with Nike on some media events (like the Nike Free 3.0 launch), but I had yet to really test out the Nikes again. Consequently, I took myself to Nike for a running and gait analysis and got fit for new shoes. I took home the Nike Zoom Pegasus 32.

nike plus running gait analysis review suzlyfe

Also, my post was quoted in Business Insider talking about the Nike fit process! How cool is THAT?

And now I have one more shoe in my stable: the Nike Zoom Elite 8.

My Strategy in Rotating Running Shoes

First of all, if you are interested in why rotating shoes is generally a good idea, please see these articles from Competitor. In the past, I have had some difficulty rotating shoes (beyond rotating the same model of shoe, just different pairs), but I think it was more because I was rotating the WRONG shoes and in the wrong way.

These are just the shoes for running. I do most of my lifting in my Nike Free 3.0, which are completely minimal.

The Shoes and How I Utilize Them

An important note: I wear orthotics with all of these, and they are all neutral to neutral-support with more loving to the arch. That said, even if you choose completely different shoes, the same strategies apply!

Newton Kismet

The marathon and speedwork shoe.

I am utilizing the Kismets as my version of a racing flat mixed with my standard shoe (give me a minute). I am keeping them in the rotation for my medium length weekday runs, which are always 8 miles. I am doing this so that when it comes times for the marathon, I will have the option of wearing them. I say that I am using them as a sort of racing flat because these are my speed shoes–when I want to feel and go fast. The more minimal design and the POP lugs give me more pick up than a more traditional shoe while also promoting greater leg turnover for higher cadence. They also help keep me more to a midfoot strike. Thus, in the Kismets, I feel more back to my regular pacing and running gait.

Nike Pegasus 32

The workhorse, long run, and coaching shoe.

The Pegasus is my workhorse. Incredibly comfortable, just enough support, and my go to for long runs at the moment. The aren’t a speedy shoe (for me), and I tend more towards a heel strike in them, but I can put the miles in and not feel so nervous–very helpful when you are coming off of a stress reaction. I can’t say much more about them than that I ran Ragnar in them… without ever having put them on before. And I came out happy and healthy. Boom! They are like a pair of great fitting jeans and a perfect v neck t shirt: everything you need and you can dress them up or down.

Or such awesomeness as this.

Or such awesomeness as this.

These are the shoes that I travel with–they serve all purposes. The only snag is that they bring me more to my heel and I tend to run a little bit slower in them. (But they are great for coaching!)

Nike Zoom Elite 8

The tempo shoe

The latest addition to my line up is the Zoom Elite 8. I wanted something other than the Newtons that was a bit more traditional in shape but faster in feel. The Elites offer me that–there this less of a difference between the toe and heel, and there is more a rise/lip in the rear and front (if you compare the pictures, you can tell). That promotes quicker heel to toe foot turnover, which promotes speed. Also, they are a bit lighter than the Pegasus, so they are great for me to do speed work and midweek runs that are more tempo-based. Also incredibly comfortable, and very similar to the Pegasus, but they are different in feel, so don’t expect them to be the same!! I love the feeling of the arch-wrapping (promoted by the structure of the shoe) which is perfect for my not so great arches.

Suz and Erin Nike Run Club #RunwithHart Chicago

I hope you enjoyed looking at my shoe closet! Let me know what other topics you would like me to cover!

Check out this marathon coach's strategy for rotating her running shoes! #runchat #fitfluential #sweatpink Click To Tweet

Do you rotate different running shoes? Or do you stick with what you know works? No judgments, I did that for years! 

What are you running in right now? Have you always run in that shoe?

Any other marathon coaching and training topics you would like me to cover?

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