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A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I had an inexplicably painful run. This is how I described it:
…by the time we finished our third mile, I was barely able to run at all. We actually had to walk the last couple of blocks. The worst pain was in my calves, but I pretty much hurt everywhere from the waist down. Calves, quads, ankles, even my lower back.
I thought perhaps it had to do with muscle recovery – that I hadn’t allowed enough time for my body to recover from my previous run (the day before). So just to be safe, I decided to start spacing out my runs to every other day – not a huge deal since I usually don’t run every day anyway.
I don’t recall feeling an unusual amount of pain during those every-other-day runs. But remember, I’m not training for anything right now and these were just 3-5 mile maintenance runs. (I have no idea if that’s actually a thing. You know what I mean though, right?)
But then the pain came back. Last Wednesday, I ran a comfortable 3 miles. And I figured that 3 miles was a short enough distance for my body to be able to handle a run the next day.
I was wrong.
I went to the gym on Thursday with a 6 mile (treadmill) goal. But by 2.5 miles, I was in so much pain that I had to stop. It was the same pain as before – from my lower back all the way down to my feet, and especially pronounced in my shins. And when I got home and took my shoes off, I also noticed an ache in my right arch.
If I’m being honest, my right arch has been aching for weeks, but I decided to pretend not to notice.
So, okay. I hadn’t rested in between runs. But the pain just didn’t make sense. I’ve had less pain after a 13+ mile run. Surely someone like me who’s run hundreds of miles in the last 3 years should be able to handle 2 short back-to-back runs.
But wait. HUNDREDS OF MILES. I’ve run hundreds of miles. Exactly how many hundreds of miles had I run in THESE SHOES???
Despite keeping a fairly detailed running journal, I’d forgotten to write down when I’d gotten my current pair of running shoes. Social media has its benefits though. I was able to find this on Instagram:
I took this photo the day that I bought my Sauconys which, according to Instagram, was 41 weeks ago. Nine months ago. Nine months in the same pair of running shoes, with an average of about 55 miles per month. That works out to about 500 miles.
500 miles in the same pair of running shoes! No wonder I was in pain.
That night, I messaged my friend Bobby – he’s a running coach and is very knowledgeable about the biomechanics of running. He also happens to work at Jacksonville Running Company (love!!!). He agreed to meet me the following morning at the store and to fit me for new shoes.
Bobby was awesome – it was by far the most thorough shoe fitting I’ve ever gotten. And – despite the fact that I’d brought my 9 year old, who was home from school with a stomachache, and who made an obstacle course out of foam rollers and knocked over an entire rack of sports bras – he put me into an awesome pair of Brooks PureCadence 3‘s.
I’m trying them out in the house and on the road right now, and so far so good. I’m also foam rolling my calves (per Bobby’s instructions) 1-2 times a day. It was unbelievably painful the first couple of times, but it seems to be helping. I’ll keep you posted.
Takeaway: Replace your running shoes! Most research suggests that running shoes should be replaced every 300-500 miles. For a 50-ish mile per month runner like myself, that works out to around every 6 months. But more importantly, pay attention to how your shoes feel. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s probably not – and the first thing you should take a look at is your shoes. I need to remember that next time.
So how often do you replace your running shoes? And how do you know it’s time for a new pair?
p.s. If you get the title of this post, you’re totally my new BFF.