A cool feature of the Garmin Connect web-site is that, in addition to tracking your running pace, heart rate, course, etc., you can also keep track of the mileage you are putting on your running shoes.
Most running experts recommend that you replace your running shoes every 300-500 miles, depending on a number of factors, of course. Click here for one such article… The Garmin Connect web-site takes the guesswork out of remembering how many miles you have run. Using the “Gear” tab from the home page, you can include any or all of your running or trail shoes. You can also assign them a “Default” case in which the mileage from your activity will be attributed to that particular pair of shoes. For instance, I assigned my Brooks Glycerin’s to all “Running” activities, and my Brooks Cascadia’s to all “Hiking”. The Garmin Connect home page keeps track of the mileage and will alert you when you have reached the maximum distance for that pair of shoes (a number that you set yourself in the “Gear” information). Having tried to go back and estimate how many miles I’ve probably put on my running shoes for the past 2-3 pairs, I really appreciate this feature!
So, last month, I received the “alert” from Garmin Connect on my phone that my shoes might be on their way out. Oddly enough, the day before when I was out on a run, the thought that my shoes might be about worn out crossed my mind. I just didn’t seem to have the same bounce in my step.
Prior to buying the Brooks Glycerin 12’s last August, I was running in the Asics Gel Nimbus. I liked those shoes but when I went back to the Runner’s Den to get a replacement pair, I took the opportunity to try on some other pairs/brands. The Nimbus model that I had previously owned was not available any more so I was going to have to make a change anyway. I liked the Brooks Glycerin just a tiny bit more than the Asics, so I went with those. And, I’ve always thought they were “OK”, but I didn’t fall in love with them. The toe box seemed unusually wide. They were, in a word, fine. So, here we are, in need of new shoes again 8 months later, and I wasn’t truly set on getting more Brooks.
(Runs For Cookies) Katie met Golden Harper, the founder of Altra and interviewed him in her blog here. She has really been liking running in Altras and many of my other Solemate teammates have recently given them a try too, with positive feedback. I decided to go ahead and give them a try too – although finding them locally at a nearby running store in my size proved difficult. I ended up just ordering them online from Amazon – which worked out well because they had an additional $15 off coupon at the time and free shipping both ways with Amazon Prime. It was worth a try, I thought.
Now, one of the “drawbacks” to me of the Altra, was that I think they look like clown shoes. That looks aspect wasn’t a deal breaker though, but they look like clown shoes because the toe box is really wide, wider than any other running shoe brand, I believe. This is one of the hallmarks of the Altra shoe, to allow your foot to be in a completely natural position and not, in any way, squeezed across the toe area. The other biggie about Altras, is that they have what they termed a “zero drop” between the heel and front of the foot. This is supposed to also keep your foot in a more natural position while running, which will hopefully correct improper running posture and mechanics and, therefore, reduce your chances of injury.
So, my Altras arrived in my giant size 11, and they felt pretty good. Reviews I had read online had me worried that they might be too small for me since some reported they had to go up as much as 1.5 sizes. At a good size 10.5, I don’t have much wiggle room to “go up in size” and still be within the sizes carried by most mainstream shoe sellers.
Altra also advises to rotate the shoes in slowly, starting with shorter mid-week runs for 1-2 weeks, moving into middle distances in weeks 3-4, and then long runs later in 5-6. Here is where I didn’t think this through very well. I have a half marathon that I’m training for in 4 weeks … and my Brooks Glycerin’s, the shoe that I’ve been training in thus far, are shot. This is really not the time to be breaking in new, and with a completely different shoe “fit philosophy”. Ideally, I should be rotating in the Altras with another pair or two of running shoes. Which I have done with my worn out Brooks, but I’m not really sure if running my half marathon as my first “long run” in the Altras is a great idea. I know it is not even close to a good idea, especially given my propensity for extreme leg pain late in the half marathon. I really can’t be experimenting with footwear this late in the game. So, I guess I’ll keep running with the Altras during a few mid-week sessions, but I do need another pair of Brooks, or something super close, to get me through the half marathon in Indy. Altra, and really all running experts, will say that rotating running shoes is a good practice, for a number of reasons. So, they’ll all get worn, eventually…and my Garmin Connect will help me keep track of the mileage too…