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Transition to a lighter shoe

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Transition to a lighter shoe

Post  ounce on Tue Feb 28, 2012 8:15 pm

How do you know when to get a lighter shoe?

I'm quite comfortable in the neutral, cushioning shoes I have (NB 993 and Nike Vomero 6) at 192 pounds, but when I get to the 170's and 160's, is cushioning a factor anymore for marathoning?

Inquiring minds want to know. Thanks for your time.
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Re: Transition to a lighter shoe

Post  Schuey on Tue Feb 28, 2012 9:58 pm

Ounce to be honest I think it really comes down to personal preference. If you are comfortable in the cushion shoe then by all means stay in them. I do believe that Greg C at one time raced in racing flats but has since changed back to a more cushion shoe.

You can still get a lighter shoe with some good cushion in them. My advice would be look around for some lighter shoes then what you are wearing now that have some cushion and see if you like that type of shoe. I would start off by using them on shorter runs and then running longer in them. You will either know by doing the shorter runs if you will like them or not. And if you do once you start wearing them for let's say 18 to 20 mile runs and you feel good in them then heck why not try them for a marathon.

I really don't think there is any real clear cut rule but again more what you like and feel comfortable in and what feels good to your feet and how the rest of your body handles a less cushion shoe for more miles.

Hope that helps.
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Re: Transition to a lighter shoe

Post  Chris M on Wed Feb 29, 2012 12:19 am

For me, the answer to the "how do you know?" question is that I KNOW I want to run in the lightest shoe that I can without causing discomfort or injury. Over time, I've moved down so that I basically train every day in a lighter weight trainer and do all racing including marathons in lightweight flats. Some could handle flats every day....not me. But some others couldn't run all the time in stuff under 10 ounces and I seem fine on that front so my view is that it is trial and error but with an overall goal of getting into lighter/faster shoes.

I just made up a transition rule on the spot. If you have completed at least 3 months in a row without any break in training due to injury, particularly anything foot related, go ahead and try something under 10 ounces as a trainer you wear for some longer runs. I wouldn't recommend trying a lighter shoe if you have had any recent foot or leg soreness issues from training. But if you do go to a lightweight trainer under 10 ounces and if you are still feeling fine after 2-3 long runs in something in that 7-9.9 ounce range and want to try a super light racer in the 5-7 ounce range, try one for a 5K and keep moving up to longer distance races only if you are still doing all this injury and pain free. If at any point you start experiencing foot pain during the transition, I'd back right off and go with the heavier cushioned shoes and work again towards getting 3 months or more of injury free running under you before trying again. The bottom line is that lighter shoes WILL help you run faster - seconds per mile which is nice but its not like it helps in leaps and bounds - if you can go to them without injuring yourself. But if wearing them bangs you up to the point that you can't train or race as hard, you've done more harm than good.

By the way, even if you fully transition over to lighter shoes, I suspect that there may be benefit to truly mixing it up all the time and continuing to run in stuff ranging from 12-13 ounce battleships on down to 5 ounce flats. Muscle confusion for the foot and also giving your legs some cushioning on some days but letting them get used to the faster turnover that's possible in flats on others.

There's my $.02 on the concept.
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Re: Transition to a lighter shoe

Post  mountandog on Wed Feb 29, 2012 6:27 am

@Chris M wrote:For me, the answer to the "how do you know?" question is that I KNOW I want to run in the lightest shoe that I can without causing discomfort or injury. Over time, I've moved down so that I basically train every day in a lighter weight trainer and do all racing including marathons in lightweight flats. Some could handle flats every day....not me. But some others couldn't run all the time in stuff under 10 ounces and I seem fine on that front so my view is that it is trial and error but with an overall goal of getting into lighter/faster shoes.

I just made up a transition rule on the spot. If you have completed at least 3 months in a row without any break in training due to injury, particularly anything foot related, go ahead and try something under 10 ounces as a trainer you wear for some longer runs. I wouldn't recommend trying a lighter shoe if you have had any recent foot or leg soreness issues from training. But if you do go to a lightweight trainer under 10 ounces and if you are still feeling fine after 2-3 long runs in something in that 7-9.9 ounce range and want to try a super light racer in the 5-7 ounce range, try one for a 5K and keep moving up to longer distance races only if you are still doing all this injury and pain free. If at any point you start experiencing foot pain during the transition, I'd back right off and go with the heavier cushioned shoes and work again towards getting 3 months or more of injury free running under you before trying again. The bottom line is that lighter shoes WILL help you run faster - seconds per mile which is nice but its not like it helps in leaps and bounds - if you can go to them without injuring yourself. But if wearing them bangs you up to the point that you can't train or race as hard, you've done more harm than good.

By the way, even if you fully transition over to lighter shoes, I suspect that there may be benefit to truly mixing it up all the time and continuing to run in stuff ranging from 12-13 ounce battleships on down to 5 ounce flats. Muscle confusion for the foot and also giving your legs some cushioning on some days but letting them get used to the faster turnover that's possible in flats on others.

There's my $.02 on the concept.



+1 - I've done 95% of my runs in Kinvaras about 7.5 oz for the past two years. Took 4 months to transition a bit at a time. I have recently had tendenitis issues, but don't hold my shoes responsible, but recently have run a bit in Brooks Launch with more cushion as I try to manage the injury. I agree that its probably good to mix shoes up.
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Re: Transition to a lighter shoe

Post  Dave-O on Wed Feb 29, 2012 11:59 am

If you don't have any lingering issues or health concerns, I see no reason not to try a lighter shoe/flat out. Weight makes a big difference for me, as my turnover and stride feels much smoother in 5-7 ounce flats.

Just do so gradually. First use them for strides, then a speed workout, then after a few weeks a short tempo, etc.

Just honestly assess how you feel after a run in them. My guess is that your ankles and achilles will be sore. For example, I run the majority of my miles in Lunar Racers and Lunar Spiders, and yet when I run in the New Balance Minimum, a 4mm heel drop, I feel it the next day,
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