RunNerdier

musings on running, life, and everything in between


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Runners, body image, and food

I had my annual physical exam the other day. I debated rescheduling it for later. Not because I was busy, which I was, but because I was going to get weighed. Yup. Because I was going to get weighed. Totally nuts, I know.

But here’s the thing. I don’t own a scale, because it makes me crazy and obsessive…well, more crazy and obsessive than I am. And so I judge my weight but how I look/feel and how my clothes fit. Aaaaand, they’ve been tighter recently. Not unwearable, but I’ve been doing a lot of stress sugar eating. And my training isn’t as high as it usually is. So I’ve gained weight. Seriously, probably like 4 pounds, but I can tell. And I know I want to drop that 4 pounds before Boston because extra weight means running takes more effort. There’s a delicate balance of weight, muscle, power, and effort.

So I seriously considered rescheduling my physical until I had lost that 4’ish pounds. Because I didn’t want concrete confirmation of how my blob was taking over the world (I jest). Because ever since elementary school when we got weighed and measured, I’ve hated knowing my weight. Because that number is one that was used as some bizarre measure of comparison and individual worth. And to some extent, it still is. Right? Thinner is better? Wrong.

I’ve read run bloggers who have talked openly about their struggles with disordered eating and disordered body image. It seems that this is a huge issue for women athletes. Even for the elites. And we live in a society that is constantly assessing women’s bodies and determining their value on that scrutiny.

I read an article awhile back about Emelie Forsberg, a super-amazing mountain runner, who is gorgeous and strong. She talks about how people criticize HER as looking too fat to be a runner. Now, to be fair, elite trail and ultra runners look very different–i.e., muscular and dynamic, particularly in the quads–from elite marathoners, who look like they will blow away in the next gust of wind, so you have to remember that. But she is seriously so far from fat. And, in my highly unbiased opinion, cute as a button. (On a side note, I am definitely more drawn to trail/ultra running because my body looks more like those and less like the elite marathoners!)

And because I know our society tears women down in these ways, I arm myself against these barbs by doing things like removing the weight scale from my house. Laughing that my calves are too big for “regular people” knee-high boots and knowing they can carry me for miles and miles instead of Googling surgeries to make them smaller (um, it exists. In Korea). Treating my body as a source of strength and ability and not one to be diminished. Acknowledging that I am allowed to take up space in this world and to OWN that space.

I stop looking at women’s magazines and sometimes even women’s health magazines, because they perpetuate images of women that are not realistic or healthy. I can not look like someone whose job is to look good, who’s valued primarily for their looks, and can invest thousands of dollars and hours in maintaining that look. And I’m not sure I’d want to.

Instead, I think about the compliments I give to my different-shaped body friends and how I tell them they’re beautiful and strong, and make sure I think those same things for myself. We would never treat our friends (or even strangers) the way we (mis)treat ourselves. I think about how my body has brought two boisterous, energetic kids into this world. How it’s gotten me through 11 marathons, and is carrying me towards Boston. All with relatively little complaint.

And the funny thing is that I weigh the same as I weighed in high school. I have not changed the weight on my driver’s license since I was 16. But my conception of how I look, and the muscle and strength I carry within that weight is wildly different than what it was 20+ years ago.

This might also be why I cringe when people talk about eating “clean.” First of all, my food isn’t “dirty” just because you don’t think it’s pure enough…unless it’s been on the floor for more than 8 seconds. Then, it’s dirty. But you gotta wait for the full 8 seconds at least!

Just as I dislike characterizing my body as fat or skinny, I don’t want to characterize my food as good or bad. It is what it is. I have found that when I view food as not allowed, as things forever banned from passing my lips–and they are foods that are DELICIOUS–I end up bingeing or having a really unhealthy relationship with those foods. And, ironically, I recall seeing a post not that long ago about a famous vegan blogger who realized that all of her food restrictions were more about disordered eating than healthy eating. All of her claims about “health” were actually covering up the fact that she was struggling with trying to not eat at all.

This is NOT to say that if you are vegan you have disordered eating. Rather, we have to find what makes us feel good in healthy ways and be balanced in our approach. If we see our eating as a source of nutrition and fuel, as a way of nourishing ourselves (which may sometimes include treats), that is much better than shouting from the mountain tops how you’re gluten-free, sugar-free, caffeine-free, and feeling amazing when you secretly would smother a litter puppies just for a bacon-covered doughnut.

Which brings me back to my annual exam. I’ve been struggling with headaches and nausea a lot lately. I’m not sure what that’s about. My primary care doctor thought it might be allergy-/sinus-related. We’re going to try a steroid nasal spray for a few weeks to see if that helps. If not, we’ll try testing for food sensitivities, etc. In the meanwhile, I’ve started a food journal as well to try and figure out if there are things I am doing aggravating the issue. I’ve gone gluten free for up to 8 weeks before with little difference so I’m not sure that is a concern, but it never hurts to better understand the relationship of nutrition and overall health.

Anyhow, friends, let me know how you try to balance being healthy, nourishing yourself, and being balanced. Any tips/tricks?


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Changing Perspectives, Changing Diets

Depression is hard and there are a million things you can “do” to help yourself. You can pray, meditate, help others, change your perspective, declutter, change your diet, exercise, sleep better, the list goes on. In some ways, it can feel empowering to think that you can change your feelings by changing things around you. In other ways, it feels draining and overwhelming to have such a laundry list of things to tackle to “improve yourself.” I already do a fair number of things on this list, although not perfectly and not all the time. I’ve already talked a bit about going the medication route. Obviously I already exercise; I also do some meditation, practice an erratic gratitude list with friends, sleep okay, and eat decently. But that’s not always enough, so I try something else (not unlike the playing around with marathon training plans I’ve been doing to try and find the sweet spot).

One cute example of this is my son’s recent exploration of his inner Banksy. This was scrawled in blue crayon in the hallways upstairs. I have to admit, it was really cute. I scolded him as he’s 6 and should know better than to draw on the wall. I still haven’t cleaned it off, though…
I’m also trying to mix up my running right now so keep myself happy and challenged. I had a couple friends do the Lakefront 50/50–the Chicago 50k/50 mile ultra marathon on the lakefront path. I was jealous admittedly. One of my friends, Mike, had an amazing experience and is planning on running the spring version. It made me want to do the Paleozoic 50k even though I had JUST decided it wasn’t a good idea. Running without a plan is also a weird place mentally, so I’ve been trying to run more with friends and hit the trails more. Yesterday was a great “Trail Tuesday” with my friend Amy (who IS doing the Paleozoic 50k, sigh). I’m also heading out to Waterfall Glen on Saturday for the long run.
The final piece I’m adjusting, which is HUGE, is my diet. I have alot of freinds who are into food as a healing tool, for both physical and emotional issues. I’m not gonna lie, some of this seems really far-fetched to me and there’s alot of pseudo-science (i.e., the paleo diet), but a number of them swear by it and there’s definitely a cottage industry of folks swearing up and down (i.e., blogging) to its benefit. I can’t help but think there might be some truth to it after all. It’s difficult to gauge the scientific veracity of some of this work when there’s such a fundamental difference in thinking between traditional Western medicine and alot of the “alternative” viewpoints. Still, I know that autoimmune issues are on the rise and that people have to drastically change their diet to keep themselves healthy.

I can not, with a straight face, argue that eating insane amounts of sugar and mainlining coffee is helping my emotional well-being, so I look to diet again.

I’ve written before about reading the Racing Weight book to try and knock down some weight and increase speed. I never actually implemented the plan because it seemed complicated in its tracking and I felt overwhelmed (i.e., lazy). However, a friend of mine wanted to work on getting her racing weight down now while there’s a lull in training so she started a Facebook support group and invited folks from our running group. I’ve done various diet challenges before (Paleo and Whole Life Challenge) and definitely find having a group helps. Deanna’s going to follow Pip Taylor’s Athlete’s Fix, which is essentially an elimination diet to deal with athlete’s GI issues and increase performance, etc. for three weeks. This diet cuts out sugar, grains, legumes, and pretty much any processed foods. By clearing out the body for 3 weeks, it allows you to slowly reintroduce foods to check your reaction for sensitivities, tolerance, etc.

I decided to try the diet because when I’ve done other similar elimination-type diets I haven’t systematically reintroduced foods to see how I react. I just end up going whole-back to my former way of eating after a week of half-heartedly. In other words, I have no idea which foods made me feel supposedly better. I say supposedly because I have rarely felt better on these diets. And those who swear that they’re feeling better usually blame the gluten even though there are a number of other things they were cutting out so it’s hard to scientifically/systematically assess.

Anyhow, I’m a fool and decided to go along with the Athlete’s Fix diet because misery loves company? Yesterday was day 2 of it after I spent day 1 eating my weight in roasted Kabocha squash (seriously, people, that stuff is like crack for me. It’s also seasonal, so I can only get it in the fall). While I appreciated the kick in the butt to go back and eat more whole foods, I realized last night that I do really poorly (mentally) with restrictive diets. Like so many women, I don’t have the healthiest relationship with food. When I start labeling foods as “bad” or “not allowed,” i get a little crazy in my head about it. I realized last night that I haven’t felt phenomenal during my former elimination-type diets so I probably don’t have food sensitivities (or, some would argue, I needed to restrict even further) and that perhaps the viewing of food as “bad” was probably worse for me in the long run. I’m going to go back and look at the Racing Weight book and continue tracking my food (and maybe my emotions) to see if I do feel worse or better instead of the Athlete’s Fix. I also plan on really pulling back on the sugar and caffeine. We’ll see if all these things make a difference. Like I said, sometimes it feels exhausting to have to do so many things to be a fully functioning, relatively happy person. I guess it is what it is, though.

One happy thing I forgot to report (I think) was the final tally for my Team in Training fundraising for the Chicago Marathon–$800. Hooray!

Anyhow, hope everyone has a great hump day! I might try and do some hillwork in celebration 🙂


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We’re off to the start of another training cycle & Happy Nat’l Running Day!

I have spent way more time agonizing and obsessing the last week or so over the next training plan–and whether I really want to try and qualify for Boston 2016. I am tired and not feeling fresh for a new cycle. But I’m also feeling wonky about not having a plan. I decided I am going to run the Last Chance BQ.2 in Fox Valley after all (although I still need to register. It’s $140!! To run 6 loops of a crazy short route. You can see why I was hesitating!). That means, it was time to figure out my plan.

Because I’m obsessed with spreadsheets, I spent way too much creating one comparing the multiple plans at my disposal. I had Bill’s plan from last fall, which helped me get 15 minutes off my marathon, Liz’s plan from this spring which definitely made me faster, and the various high mileage plans from Advanced Marathoning. In case you thought I wasn’t serious about my obsessiveness (or my researcher background, ha), here’s a snapshot of the spreadsheet.

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I went back and forth for awhile. Reflecting on my last couple of marathons, though, one thing I realized that I really struggle with is running strong through the finish (or last 1/3) of the marathon. One of the things that AM promises with its higher mileage is your ability to run strongly through the whole thing. Just to clarify, this is not “bonking” or hitting the wall–as I’ve read that can happen more often with nutritional issues–but just plain being tired and being able to push through. In the case of my last marathon of the season last fall though (my 4th), I think it was more of a matter of mental burnout than physical.

Admittedly AM‘s plans are a bit crazy in mileage, i.e., their “lowest” mileage plan is still 50+. That makes most people balk I think. However, the last couple of years, I’ve been doing okay with some higher mileage, and I have the time this summer as I’m only teaching one class in the month of July, so…I’m going to try it out. I don’t necessarily love their speedwork, though, so I think I’m still going to keep some of Liz’s workouts.

There were still two plans for the 50+ mileage program, though, an 18 week plan and a 12 week plan. Sadly, I was in the middle–14 weeks out from Fox Valley–so I cobbled together a little bit of this and a little bit of that. What that meant, though, was all of a sudden I’m facing a 9 mile run AND an 8 mile run mid-week before Saturday’s “long” run of 12 miles. Ugh. I decided to take it out to the Salt Creek Trail in Brookfield as a break from the streets, and it got done! Woohoo.

And I even threw in a little speedwork, although I stopped a bit and drank all of my water (which I almost never do). I’m usually pretty good about dressing appropriately, but it got blazing hot. I actually debated taking off my shirt and just running in my sports bra (I did see someone who ran in just a bra and hot pants–and she was rockin’ it I have to admit), but there was enough traffic on the path that I wasn’t totally loving that idea.

IMG_0857I also ended up doing some semi-interval work during some of the run trying to get a picture of this deer. You can see I still failed pretty miserably. It’s the brownish blob in the center of the picture. Ha. I see deer somewhat regularly on the path and even in the neighborhood sometimes when I run along the edge of the woods. It’s still fun to see such large wild creatures. And they’re so quiet and fast!

I’m making my way through that Racing Weight book at a tortoise pace. I was inspired enough, though, to make what I’m going to call a garbage salad. We had spinach leaves, avocados on the verge of going bad, sweet potatoes (also on the verge of going bad), some pre-cooked chicken patties, and pico de gallo left over from the other night, so I threw it all together with a little bit of Trader Joe’s raspberry vinaigrette dressing. It was delicious. I need to do that more. I think there’s some kale in the fridge calling my name.

I was at Michael’s the other day getting some craft supplies for a last-minute attempt at end-of-year teacher’s presents when I saw these.

Woohooo, Ragnar! It’s barely two weeks away. Who doesn’t love a glow-in-the dark trident, axe, gun, or saber? I figure I can use them to threaten the slower runners on my team. Haha, shhhh.

And my final pic of how I’m getting ready for training:

I know, sexy, right? I saw my main man, Craig yesterday. Seriously, we are a sick people to pay someone to inflict bruising like that, right? I’d be curious about the correlation between distance runners and BDSM, haha. My ankle/Achilles has been tweaking since the Illinois Marathon, though, and I wanted to get things right before we got any further into training. I swear that man is magic. He just started his own business, so keep watch for news on that!

Happy National Running Day! It’s, ironically, a cross-training day for me, but I might still squeeze in a tiny one just to celebrate 🙂


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Mothers’ Day, a new shoe fitting/advising, and semester’s end

For all those who are so inclined to celebrate Mother’s Day, happy belated! This is the first year that both my mom and my mother-in-law are no longer in the immediate area, which meant Mother’s Day got to be about just me, ha. And my husband, brilliant man that he is, knows that all I really want for Mother’s Day is to be alone, so he took the kids off to run errands while I read and ate peanut M&M’s on the couch. I also absconded with my friend Julianne to the local Road Runner sports shortly after that. I’ve been wanting to try their Shoe Dog shoe-fitting because it’s supposedly very scientific, blah blah blah.

I am tired of the shoes I’ve been running in and my last venture into new shoes, the Brooks Cadence, wasn’t exactly a bust, but I’m also not loving them. I had read several reviews of the Shoe Dog fitting process (at Roadrunner Sports) by some bloggers I follow, so I thought I’d try it out (sadly, this wouldn’t be a sponsored activity, but just my own curiosity). The fitting process is actually pretty cool. There are several steps: 1) They have you stand on a pad that measures your weight distribution, 2) They film and analyze your gait on the treadmill barefoot, 3) They actually check your foot size, and 4) They make/fit you for custom orthotics. Here’s the process in pictures.

This was cool to see. I’m not sure if you can tell, but there’s a small spike in weight distribution in the left heel. I’ve noticed that I’m wearing down the left heel on my Newton’s more, so this confirmed that observation. I was also interested to see that my feet aren’t as flat as they used to be!

This was Julianne’s foot profile. You can see that she’s got some crazy high arches, ha. She also puts more weight on her left foot like me, although she broke her right foot last year so it might a result of that.

Oops, forgot to take a picture of the video gait analysis. Well, imagine you can see two bare feet running on a treadmill. I pronate on my left foot just a touch, and Julianne pronates a good bit.

You can see the orthotics sticking out from the slot right under the keyboard in the picture. They warm them up to mold them to your feet.

When the orthotics are pliable, they have you stand on a super soft/squishy foam thing and then have you place your foot on top of the orthotic to mold it to your foot.

I also entered some information in my profile about my running–like what surfaces I run on and my weekly mileage. I would wear an 8.5 wide or 9 if I go regular. I was then told that I should be wearing a mild stability shoe, and Julianne was told she should wear a stability shoe. Our shoe fitter then gave a couple recommendations to another employee, who got some shoes for us and worked with us to find a pair we liked. I ended up trying on a pair of Asics (which I can’t remember the name of because Asics tends to use letters and numbers and not actual words, which I feel is not a good idea because it’s hard to remember), the Nike Lunar Glide, the Brooks Ravenna, and the Mizuno Wave Inspire. We also tried them all on with the custom orthotics. I’m not going to lie, I liked those orthotics. They were pretty thin and flexible, unlike some others I’ve worn. However, at the price of $71, they’re also quite a bit more expensive [Side Note: A friend and I were talking about how this is a bad business model. They create the orthotics for you for free to try. If you don’t buy them, they toss them I think. Because they are so much more expensive than generic ones like Superfeet, my guess would be people are less inclined to buy them. If they were cheaper, they would be more likely to sell them and not take a loss in throwing so many out. Just a thought.].

Running around the glamorous parking lot.

I probably liked the Brooks Ravenna and the Wave Inspire the best, and I walked out with the Inspire. Honestly, I’m not 100% sure I’ll keep them, though. Here’s my reasoning why. Again, keep in mind that I’m just a random runner and not an expert, but this is what I’ve read and determined for myself. I don’t like wearing shoes that are meant to accommodate my random quirks of running. Yes, there are some things that aren’t negotiable, like my foot size/width, but others like imbalances in weight distribution or foot strike ARE able to be addressed. Rather than buying shoes to accommodate my imbalances, I’d prefer to actually work on my strength, flexibility, and form to be a stronger runner. For low-arched folks, there are supposedly some exercises to even help you strengthen that area. While I liked the cushy-ness of the Inspire, it is almost a 12 mm drop, which is significantly higher than what I’ve been running in, and more prone to encourage my heel strike and possible injury. I also don’t like that alot of online shoe advisors almost automatically suggest a stability shoe for you if you’re running more than 30-35 miles a week.

Finally, I found it weird that Julianne and I have fairly different strides and feet yet were suggested the same shoe (she also walked out with the same pair). I was also disappointed that when I got my Shoe Dog profile emailed to me, it didn’t include access to the video or images of weight distribution (I would have taken more pictures!). All in all, I think it was cool to get all the measurements done, and I learned a little more about my running. You’re not obligated to buy anything, and you could always do some more research about shoes suggested for you, etc. I would definitely recommend the process as a good place to learn more about your feet/form, although I think the shoe advising part wasn’t awesome. And actually, Julianne realized she’d tried on and bought the wrong shoe size (which she said was probably why she thought they felt like “slippers” ha).

[Post-script Edit: I chatted briefly with my running coach from last fall, and he said he would have put me in the Wave Inspire as well, so I’ll probably keep them. Shows how much I know, ha]

In other news, my semester is finally over, which means I am going to have to spend the next couple weeks scaling back the sugar and caffeine! I’m excited to start reading my various food/diet books and try some new recipes. One thing I did yesterday, cuz I’m a moron, was wear sandals outside and hurt myself. Our neighbors put some ridiculously thorny tree branch out by our garbage bins, and as I was going by, I stabbed my foot on them. Fast forward 30 minutes later, and I’m thinking, “Why is my foot hurting so bad still? Geez!” So I look closer, and I see a thorn sticking out of it (Yes, I’m slow at recognizing my body’s signals about pain and such). I try to pull it out with my hand, and I realize it’s in deep. So I get out my tweezers and pull this beauty out.

My toe still hurts like the dickens. Argh. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. I’m hoping it doesn’t get infected or anything, turn gangrenous, and fall off…I hear that your big toe is important for running.

Anyhow, my friends, happy running! I have my first real speed workout on the books today. Wish me luck!

Any suggestions for shoes based on my profile?

Or found a shoe fitting that you really like (the best, which is trial and error, tends to expensive, ha)?


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Trying this cross training stuff and thoughts on going more minimal

I had TWO, count ’em TWO cross training sessions this week! I even roped this guy into helping me on his “sick” day. He had a cough and ran a fever the day before but was totally normal the next day, but his previous day’s fever kept him out of school. Shackled, I mean, blessed with a child in the morning, we got down to business with my friend Jillian Michaels. Honestly, I find her banter a bit annoying after the first go-through of a workout, and I really dislike having to explain to my children why anyone wants to get rid of their “saddlebags” or why “bathing suit shopping is awful.” I could do without that, but I do find her workouts challenging and they’re generally short enough to keep me from hating it too much. I actually own a couple of her DVDs, and did her “No More Trouble Zones” workout that day. The kid used remote controls as his free weights. Ha.

Earlier today, I did a yoga workout on YouTube. I love that I have a semi-endless stream of yoga workouts on tap. I actually have a couple yoga apps on my iPad as well but I find their semi-robotic voices annoying after awhile. It takes some time and experimentation, but I really like Lesley Fightmaster’s “Fightmaster Yoga” channel on YouTube. Her voice and vocal mannerisms aren’t too annoying, she doesn’t pretend she is the next Buddha, and her workouts are relatively manageable in length. She gets that if I actually had more time, I would get to a yoga studio and not be streaming a YouTube video in my dining room while trying to tune out the My Little Pony show playing in the other room.

People joke in Chicago that we have two seasons–winter and summer. In other words, most of our year is spent complaining that either we are too hot or too cold. That means, we went from weather in the 40’s barely two weeks ago to 85 yesterday. I braced my pale wintery-yellow skin for exposure to the sun (although I think i DID get a tiny bit of sun from the rainy marathon), put on a tank top (BFF represent!), and ran in some delightful humidity and heat. And because our camera culture is teaching our children narcissism, my son demanded to be in the picture. [Note: Someone told me that readers like to see pictures of the bloggers, hence my photo documentation. I will continue to butcher selfies and feel like a dork for your gratification.]

While classes have ended, my semester is not quite over. I have a small avalanche of grading threatening to consume me. However, as my “reward” (runnerd anyone?), I have these exciting books to peruse when I am done. So I’m playing with this idea of my racing weight (and, I also realized that I have a high school reunion in July, ha) and eating/cooking/training (nutritionally) better before the next marathon, so I stocked up on my summer reading plans. I’m sure Mr. UnRunner is very happy that I have not spent any more money on my running plans and, instead, checked out the books through inter-library loan.  Just so you know that I am a real person and not some health-driven nut (and to consider what a monumental task this will be), I am including the items that were just left of the books on the kitchen counter, out of sight of the camera. Yup, giant bag of peanut M&M’s, new jar of Nutella, and some lovely honey whole wheat bread. There’s also a thing of Play-Doh next to the M&M’s, but I’m not planning on eating that (duh, supermodels eat cotton balls, not Play-Doh). I also demonstrated my excellent parenting skills at Target earlier when my children demanded their own bag of M&M’s (or to at least open the bag I was purchasing), and I refused, stating that this was my bag and not theirs, and that I was not planning on sharing with them nor was I planning on buying them any. Mother of the year here, people. Mother. Of. The. Year.

Finally, one last piece of runNerdism/advice. I recently came across this article in Runner’s World, “Got calf, Achilles, or foot pain? This may be why” and another article linked by a runner in the comments section, “The Real Cause of Plantar Fasciitis.” I won’t get into all my thoughts on it, but I did want to highlight one of the big surprises of the first article. Shoe companies are changing the drops on their shoes during updates on models. For those of you new to this, there is what’s called a “drop” from heel to toes. It refers to how much higher your heel sits from your toes on a plane (think of all the cushioning you see on shoes). The minimalist shoe/barefoot movement has pushed shoe companies to lower that drop to create a more “natural” dynamic to your stride and encourage midfoot strike (which supposedly decreases likelihood for injury, etc.). The traditional running shoe a few years ago had a 12 mm drop. More “minimalist” shoes go to 4 mm and some to zero.

I made the decision about 2-3 years ago to transition to more minimal shoes–this was the height of the minimalist/barefoot craze that grew out of the book Born to Run (great book, btw). I was warned that folks with lower arches/flatter feet generally needed more support than the minimal shoes were going to give me, but I thought if I transitioned slowly, it might help me. You see, before this, I had never run a marathon injury-free and I wanted to try something new. The Born to Run book enlightened me to the stat (that I have not checked) that runners today are not incurring any less injury from running than they did before the birth of the modern day running shoe. Rather, running shoes were causing us to walk/run unnaturally and rely on various supports/structures to shore up weak feet/leg muscles rather than work on strengthening them. I had JUST gotten a pair of custom-made orthotics before I read the book, and I hated them. I figured I would try going more minimal and see. Worst case scenario, I’d go back to orthotics. I knew that alot of folks got hurt going more minimal because they didn’t transition slowly enough, so over the span of several shoes (and about a year), I dropped from a 12 mm to 4 mm, and ran stronger than I have before.

My point is, that in the article, they say that some shoe companies are dropping as much as 5 mm from one model to the next without directly informing their customers (you can find this information easily if you look, but folks don’t think to look). That means, even when you buy what you think is the “same” shoe, if it’s been updated (just like cars, there are 2014 versions and 2015 versions–although they usually give them a number instead of a year, like the Saucony Kinvara 5, which I run in). So folks are buying shoes and unwittingly running in them right away without slowly transitioning into them and getting injured. Moral of the story? Always check and try on updates of shoes. [Side Note: I HATE updates. I’ve changed from many a favorite running shoe because of an update I didn’t like. Usually, the biggest culprit is tightening up the toe box/arch area of the shoe. I have wide feet, and I don’t want to buy wide sizes so there’s not much play in width.] There are a ton of resources for reading about shoe reviews where folks will give you a heads up about updates, etc. I love Runners World’s shoe database and RunBlogger, but you can also easily read reviews of shoes wherever you buy them from.

Have you found a shoe update you hate? Favorite fitness DVD personality?