When Should I Replace My Running Shoes?

When should I replace my running shoes?

This is a questions I found myself asking recently.  My college running coach always wrote the date of the first run on the heel of new sneakers in black Sharpie. I thought that was a great idea, what better place to keep that important information than on the shoe itself? So, for years I’ve kept the date of my first run in the new shoes prominently written in Sharpie on the heel of my running shoes.  While this may be very responsible of me, I lack in my ability to keep track of my mileage and replace my shoes before they wear out.  I run in them long enough for the heel to feel flat, the ball of my feet to hurt and that pesky rock waiting for my foot to step on it to feel like it went right into my barefoot.  Finally then I decide that it’s time to retire my long time running partners. I relish in the joy of the cushion and feel of a new sneaker and feel like a little girl on the first day of school excited to try out my new gear.  I quickly fall in love with the new colors and extra support of my new running partners and soon forget about the shoe’s I was sad to retire.

But like the girl on the first day of school I am learning and growing as a runner.  Marathon training is keeping on my toes in regards to my gear and running routines. I’ve been very diligent in attending yoga to keep my legs lose and stretched.  I’ve been foam rolling regularly to keep my IT band pain to a minimum.  I use “The Stick” after my long runs and tempo runs to massage my tired muscles and I’ve been following my plan to a “T” and keeping my training log detailed. I’ve even gone so far to buy the new running skirt I want to wear for Chicago so that I can do some long runs in it before the big day. After all that the least I can do is keep up with replacing my running shoes.  It would be my luck that if I overlooked it my running shoes would cause an injury and derail my hard work.

Here’s a great link to an article I found on Competitor.com:

When Is It Time To Replace Your Running Shoes? | Competitor.com.

The advice in this article seems match up with all the other articles I read out there, everyone seems to agree there are many different ways to determine when your running shoes need to be replaced.  Some suggest replacing them every 6 months. I regularly purchase my shoes are Marathon Sports in Boston, MA and this what their recommendation is.  The problem when this however is that we all run different amounts of mileage in a 6 month period of time.   An ultra-marathoner may easily hit 1,000 miles or more, a marathoner may hit around 500 miles and someone running a 5K or who just enjoys a nice 3 mile run after work a few nights a week may only rack up 300 miles.  The consensus seems to account for and measure by mileage and body size.  The number that I found to be most common was about 300-500 miles.  A runner who is light weight could push the upper end of the spectrum and someone who is heavier should replace them closer to 300 miles. If you experience any discomfort in your shoes, you should consider replacing them regardless of the mileage or time.  The same could be said for any wear on the treading of the shoe.

The Sharpie on the back of my shoes says 3/14/11.  It’s only been 4 months but I’ve hit about 368 miles so far. I think it’s about time to hit the running store and get some new shoes!

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