What my old shoes say about me

My last pair of running shoes starting wearing out along the pinky toes about two weeks before the PEI half-marathon.

It was too close to the race to even think about breaking in a new pair of shoes. A friend half-joked that I might use duct tape to keep my feet from busting out. (I also couldn’t help but think of the Kenyan runner who won the Berlin marathon with his insoles flapping out the back).

Well I got through the half-marathon with no major issues. In fact, I almost made new personal best. But my shoes, which made it through one running season of moderate mileage, including two half-marathons, were toast.

They were good shoes: the Saucony Triumph. But when I took a look at my shoes from the previous season, also by Saucony, I saw the same wear in exactly the same location. The fabric was nearly torn along the pinky toes.

I went to see Alex Coffin at his shoe store on Saint John’s west side, and he suggested it could be that I’ve been landing on the outer edge of my foot. I’ve always tried to land on my toes, so not to pound on my heels and prevent injury. But landing on the pinky toes is no better. I realized that’s probably what I was doing. Then I looked at my PEI finish line photo.

april 2

It’s easy to see I’d been favouring the outer edge of my foot.

I’m not sure how long I’ve been doing it. I don’t get much hip or knee pain but if I am ever going to progress beyond half-marathons, this is something I need to correct.

So I left the store with a new brand- always a little daunting when you’ve been wearing the same shoes for years.

I got a pair of bright, pink Brooks, which have amazing support. But, new shoes or not, I still need to work on my landing technique.

Alex says it’s purely mental. I tried it during my last run, focusing on my big toe. I felt kind of awkward, but I’m hoping that before long, the correct form becomes second nature. And I get a few more miles out of these pretty new shoes.

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April Runs On

A writer who loves to run, often while chasing a toddler on the east coast

3 thoughts on “What my old shoes say about me”

  1. I’ve been working on my form for the past two years. I’ve transitioned successfully from heel to midfoot but there’s always something to work on.

    Google “ankling” drills. It’s something you can do for 5-10 minutes before running just to reinforce good form and mechanics. It’s helped wonders for me!

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