As the saying goes “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”
Back in 2011 as I was training for my first marathon I was having persistent knee issues and the end result was 6 weeks of visits to a physical therapist. At the suggestion of the therapist treating me I went to a running store (Roadrunner Sports in North Brunswick, NJ) and had myself properly fitted into a pair of shoes. Don’t get me wrong, I bought my first real pair of running shoes from a specialist store but this entailed the salesman asking just a few questions and having me run around the shoe department but at the time I was not exactly knowledgable on the subject and I didn’t ask the right questions. I was fitted for a stability shoe (which is correct) but it was not the right size (too small) and didn’t offer the level of control that I needed.
One of the consequences of the physical therapy was that it strengthened my knee and they worked on showing me how to change my gait appropriately to avoid the significant pronation I was running with. Essentially I rolled my right foot so far in that I was pushing off more on the ankle than the foot. Ouch.
So I was fitted with a pair of Brooks Adrenaline GTS shoes. This is actually Brooks’ best selling shoe. GTS is the acronym for ‘Go To Shoe’. I have been running in them ever since. I keep two pairs in rotation (I rotate every run) and probably get through about 5 pairs a year (350-450 miles per pair depending on the wear). Additionally I added a supportive guidance insole to the shoe which I subsequently have purchased a new set with every new pair of shoes.
A couple of years ago Brooks brought out a new line of shoes which were more lightweight but not completely minimalist. These were part of the Pure Project. One of those shoes provided a level of stability. This shoe was the PureCadence. I was intrigued but a little weary of trying due to my comfort in the Adrenalines.
Now, I’m not exactly the fashionista but Brooks Adrenalines don’t exactly look flashy nor come in wild colors. Okay, so you are thinking that is not the most important thing. To be honest it isn’t but it didn’t stop me looking at other brands and shoe reviews from time to time.
After completing my second marathon in January 2012 I went back to Roadrunner and asked them to reanalyse my running gait. It had been six months since they fitted me and I had worked hard on maintaining the running gait I had adapted to during the physical therapy. I was pleased to see in the analysis that I had improved the gait and the pronation was less severe. They recommended at the time that I could move to a motion control shoe rather than stability shoe and so I purchased the Brooks Ravenna (it had the same fit as the Adrenalines). I took them home and did a 5 mile run the next day. Immediately could feel my knee hurting during the run. After the run I decided that I would take the shoes back and returned to my Adrenalines. You can tell quickly if a shoe is right or wrong for you.
After this year’s Goofy Challenge I was due to replace another pair of shoes and decided to have my running reanalysed to see if there was any progression in my running style and needs. I tried 5 different brands of stability shoes from all the major manufacturers, Nike, Mizuno, Asics and New Balance. They were all comparable to the Brooks Adrenalines but at the end of the day I went with a new pair of Adrenalines.
So, why am I writing this post? Well back last month at the Philadelphia Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon expo where Brooks is the major sponsor I decided to get them to analyse my running gait as they were offering this service to runners. I did my treadmill run which they recorded and advised them of my weekly distance and running preferences (road with a little trail) and they came up with a list of suggested shoes in the stability category. The Brooks Adrenaline, the Brooks Trance and the Brooks PureCadence.
They described the Adrenaline as a family sedan, the Trance as a luxury sedan and the PureCadence as a stripped down sports car. I’m such a sucker for sales speak. I knew I didn’t want more cushioning as I didn’t want any further bulk or weight on my feet but I was intrigued by the PureCadence as the fit expert said that they would offer the stability that I needed in a shoe. I didn’t rush out and buy them but Roadrunner Sports sent me a discount coupon a couple of weeks later which provided me 45% discount on this shoe so I decided to take the plunge and try a pair. I figured I would use the Adrenalines for my long runs but a lighter shoe may be good for short runs and speed work (like I really do that!)
The shoes arrived on Tuesday and I decided to wear them on my 5 miler on Wednesday morning. I was excited to give them a try as you can see from my Facebook post the night before.
Well, it didn’t turn out as good as I had expected. Here is my Facebook post after the run.
Although the left shoe felt great, the right shoe where I pronate more was causing me problems. I noticed the distinct lack of cushioning as I pummelled my foot during my run. After the run my right ankle and calf pretty much wanted to disown me. I wore a compression sleeve on my right leg all of Wednesday and it wasn’t until late afternoon that my foot began to feel normal again. I was off my feet at my desk most of the day. I was lucky after all the work training for the upcoming Philadephia Marathon that I hadn’t caused myself an injury. Another saying comes to mind. “Curiousity killed the cat”.
Today I woke up and put my Adrenalines on for an easy 5 mile run. I was concerned of any after affects from yesterday but I am pleased to say that all went well.