Saturday, January 17, 2009

New running resource; thinking about shoes

ORN: 5.2 miles, R3/W1

During December, I had a nice set of email exchanges with Marius Bakken, a member of the Norwegian Olympic team in 2000 and 2004 at 5,000m. He’s finishing medical school now and has started up two websites. We had a wonderful exchange and I think he adds to our knowledge, both as an elite runner and as a physician.

His first site is about our omnipresent challenge of selecting running shoes, while a second site is about marathon training plans. You may find it useful; I sure have.

All of which has caused me to wonder just why it is so hard to find a good shoe that works over the long haul. This has come back to my mind as I fight my current ITB issue. In my five mile run this afternoon, the ITB started rumbling at me again right at the five mile mark. Are my long-term trusted Brooks Beasts no longer adequate? Will I get to run a pain-free 10 miler anytime soon??

In my discussions of this matter with Marius, I wondered if there is a simpler way of diagnosing pronation. I’ve learned, with the help of the great folks from Naperville Running Company (a tip of the running cap to my pal Waddler for connecting me to them) that the wear pattern on the shoes I’m wearing now tell the best story of how well my shoes are or aren’t working. A wear pattern tailing to a take-off point at or inside the big toe is a sure sign of overpromation. Conversely, a wear pattern that moves to outside of the middle toe shows underpronation. Further, I’ve come to believe that a good shoe will compensate for my natural biomechanics and present a “normalized” approach to the pavement below. If that works, the wear pattern should be neutral. Somehow, finding the best running shoe should be experimental not theoretical.

Yet I’ve never read this or seen this clearly stated anywhere. In fact, it was only after years of running I ever could figure out just what “pronate” meant. I suggested Marius consider this in his new site…perhaps he will. In the meantime, living over three hours away from a competent running store, I feel a little stuck in shoe selection. Further, any experimenting with shoes is expensive. For a lumpy, large, overpronater like me, decent shoes run in the $120-140 range.

Do I look at the Mizuno Wave Renegade 4? The Asics Evolution 4? Or the seemingly invisible Loco Mojo?? Or persevere with the current pain with my trusted Brooks Beasts?

I overthink these things when I run. My wife is so grateful that I have a blog to blather on over such things, thus sparing her hours of boredom. Thanks for any thoughts and advice you might have.

And, shoot, how lucky can I be that overpronation is one of my big concerns?? I have nothing to be concerned about. At all. And I am grateful.

Persevere. Through issues big and small.


IronWaddler said...

Wow- great shoe analysis. I went to Naperville running they have updated their analysis with video. Although it confused me more, the got me in to a great pair of Asics.

Take care in the cold.

Sarah said...

It's not such a bad thing to overthink if its a matter of staying pain and injury free. But it amazes me that some people (like my hubby Marc) can run in anything without a care!

It also took me awhile to figure out the meaning of pronation and supination. Especially not helpful that Runners World insists you can tell by your arch. That's really too simplistic imo (and wrong in my case).

Bob A said...

Looking at the wear pattern on my shoes showed me that I overpronate on a slight to moderate scale rather than extreme as Runner's World's arch test would lead you to believe (flat as a pancake). The wear pattern on stability-control shoes like the Adrenaline or my favorites, Etonic Jepara SC (versus the motion-control shoes like Beast) is perfect so I know that's the level of pronation support I need.

There are other factors to consider, making shoe selection more complicated than just pronation control (or lack of the same). Cushioning (heel and forefoot), toe box room, heel width, durability, and one's weight (I'm on the heavy end of normal or the light end of heavy -- 5'10" and 180#) all play into the mix. For me, the shoe I've found that gives **me** the best mix of those is the Etonic Jepara SC (not the new Jepara 2 SC). I posted a bit on that shoe on my blog That model is no longer made but I found them at Sierra Trading Post for a really good price. The Brooks Adrenaline meets all my qualifications except they don't have enough cushioning for me and they last less than half as many miles as the Etonic Jepara SC. Mizuno Wave (I don't remember exactly which one I tried) were good but they had too much cushioning.

All that to say that you're right -- it's complicated.

Backofpack said...

What I hate is that when I finally find a shoe I love that loves me back, they go and change it! Then I have to start the hunt all over. Good luck figuring this all out Joe!

Darrell said...

Its crazy to think that after nearly 2 months post marathon that the ITB is still acting up. I'm right there with you. Mine is still misbehaving as well.

I did finally do a leg workout with the trainer at the gym tonight. I think it is about 80% at the moment. Hopefully this workout won't set me back. My appointment with the orthopedist is still two weeks away.

Off to ice, just in case.

Wes said...

I feel very special that I have been able to run in any shoe :-) Those are great sites though. I linked in the one for marathon training!

Unknown said...

Good luck with the shoe issues, Joe! I can't add much to the conversation since I have pretty good luck with my running shoes.

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James Darrel said...

It is important to think about your shoes. We must choose right kind of shoes for running.