Wednesday, June 15, 2011

2011 Rock-n-Roll Seattle Marathon & Half

The 2011 Rock-n-Roll Seattle Marathon & Half is only ten days away. Are you ready? It's easy to let the excitement and buzz of an upcoming race get the best of a runner, even an elite runner. From pre-race mishaps like missing your race start times/waves to forgetting essential running gear at home, the anxiety of race day can ruin months of training. Not to mention, you have at minimum 13.1 miles before the coveted finishing medal is placed around your neck. With so many variables it's easy to get lost in the unknowns, so what's the best way to approach your first, second, or fiftieth marathon or half-marathon? Plan ahead.

Over the next ten days The Balanced Athlete Blog will be posting a new post each day, including the day of the race, outlining time-saving, efficient, and useful tips, tricks, and information to help you enjoy the 2011 Rock-n-Roll Seattle Marathon & Half. Lets get started with today's tip: Race Day Shoe Selection

It's not about the shoe...or is it?

Marathon and half-marathon shoe selection can seem just as demanding and draining as the race. The running shoe is the pinnacle of your running gear and the first priority in any shoe selection should be a proper fit, which includes: shoe type, size, and shape. If a shoe isn't fitting your foot properly you may be at a higher risk to a foot or lower leg injury, or find yourself with very uncomfortable feet just a few miles away from the start line.

Blisters can ruin a run.
Quick signs that your shoe may not be fitting properly: 

Blisters, black toe nails, foot numbness while running or walking, or you can't wiggle your toes freely. These are not symptoms of running, often they are telltale signs that your shoes are not fitting properly.

How many miles are on your shoes?

Dirt doesn't mean they're
too worn in. These shoes
Only have 8 miles on them.
Shoes break down similarly to car tires. They both have a suggested mileage range. For tires, between 30,000 miles and 100,000 miles. For shoes ($90 to $140 shoes) between 300 miles and 500 miles. Whether you've been running on concrete, asphalt, trail, or the treadmill this is the typical range of a running shoe. Once the foams in the sole of the shoes breakdown to a point that they are no longer able to absorb shock on impact your feet, ankles, knees, and legs will start absorbing more shock than usual. Waiting until you feel pain, however, increases your risk of injury, so it's important to keep track of your mileage and replace your shoes when necessary.

Quick signs that your shoes are worn out:

You're beginning to notice little aches and pains and you have not changed your training or just come off of an extended break.

Your shoes are beginning to fall apart.

The shoes feel hard on the soles of your feet when you impact the ground.

Average Shoe Life:
300 miles to 500 miles
A good mileage reference: 

Shoes need to be replaced every: 
4 months if you average around 20 to 25 miles a week.
3 months if you average between 30 and 35 miles a week. 
2 months if you average above 40 miles a week

Should I race in a lighter shoe?

Brooks - Green Silence
Switching to a lighter shoe, such as a race flat, can have some adverse consequences if you have not been properly training in them. When you switch to a substantially lighter shoe, in general, there is going to be much less foam to absorb shock when your foot impacts the ground. The additional shock your body begins to absorb can quickly cause added stress and fatigue to the tendons, ligaments, muscles, and bones. The accumulation of too much stress and your body can not take it and a resulting injury is likely.

A good rule of thumb: race in what you train in.

Is it too close to the race to replace my shoes?

A shoe that is fitting properly should never have any real break-in time, but if your shoes are not fitting properly or they're too worn in it's a better idea to get into a shoe that's fresh and properly fit. So, whether there's ten days left or two days left go ahead and replace your shoe with the same type of shoe you've been training in, one that's similar, or a better fitting shoe. Remember, fit isn't just about size. It's about type, size, and shape. What works for one runner may not work for another runner.

Tomorrow's Post Subject: Race Day Itinerary 

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