LOLZLetter 49 | How Many Running Shoes do YOU Really Need for Training?

Welcome back!

It's 2020, and we're in the meat and potatoes of January. We are finally enough away from the holidays that it feels like a new month. Sadly, for many of us on the East Coast...not many races.

The weather finally turned to actual winter, so it feels like January and not May. If you ran the Houston Half or Full Marathon or RnR Arizona, I hope you achieved your goals.

So let’s get into it. A couple of weeks ago, I gave a presentation at RunningCo. of Haddonfield about all things running shoes. One of the questions asked was, I know I should alternate running shoes, but how many do I need”?

As most runners know, alternating running shoes will benefit most runners. Whether you are just starting out, walk-running, training for a marathon, or somewhere in between, it's beneficial to rotate your shoes. I've written about the benefits of alternating running shoes in the newsletter before. (You can look at all of the newsletters here.)

Many people really want to know:

How many pairs of running shoes do I really need?

Realistically, the answer is one. You can do every run in the same shoes and you'll be fine. But if you want to run your best? You need more than one.

Keep in mind that your rate of injury goes up if you alternate the wrong types of shoes. Every shoe is made for a different foot type, and if you rotate the wrong shoes for your feet, then you will get injured, and you'd be better off without alternating shoes. Go to your local running store and talk to the pros; don't ask your best friend or the internet what shoe they like.

Why You Should Alternate Shoes:

Increase the Durability of Your Shoes: Having two pairs of shoes means you use each pair less frequently, which gives them time to recover and bounce back from each run. If you give shoes 1-2 days to “recover,” the materials in the midsole don’t continuously compress. Like a sponge, the cushion will fluff or bounce back closer to its original state.

Different Shoes are Made for Different Things: Every shoe has a time and place. I'll talk about those below. Most companies design a shoe with a purpose in mind.

Alternating Shoes Can Prevent Injury: As I mentioned above, this only works if you do it correctly! While it’s not a magical way to prevent injuries, you can decrease your injury risk by appropriate alternating shoes.

So How Many Shoes Do You Need?

More can be better (to a point), but there's no need to waste money on things you don't like. Most runners can benefit from a 3 shoe rotation.

What are those 3 Shoes?

1. Your everyday trainer: This is the tried and true everyday trainer. You'll run most of your easy runs in these. It might have more cushion to keep your body healthy. There is no such thing as too much cushion with this trainer. The more cushion, the less impact your body takes. A few examples of this include: Hoka Clifton 6, Saucony Triumph 17, Brooks Glycerin 17, Brooks Ghost 12 

2. Your Faster Long Run Shoe: This is a shoe that might be slightly lighter than your everyday trainer. It has a little less cushion. It's the shoe you'll probably do faster long runs or tempos in. This shoe will be the same shoe you run a half or full marathon in. A few examples of this include: New Balance 890v7, Hoka One One CavuHoka One One Carbon X Shoe Review, Nike Pegasus Turbo 2

3. Your Race Shoe or Track Workout Shoe: This is the most minimalist shoe in your arsenal. It's the shoe you lace up and you know it's going to be a fast day. There isn't enough cushion to do long runs and you certainly can't train hard in it. Theoretically, you could use the faster long run shoe for track workouts and races too.  This is more of a 5k-10k shoe. This A few examples of this include Reebok Floatride Run Fast Pro,Nike Next%, Hoka One One Carbon RocketNike Streak Lt 4

The Bonus Shoe:

Depending on your personal preferences, you might even want two different high cushion everyday trainers. For me personally, I have 3 different high cushion trainers I like to alternate throughout the week. The day after a hard effort, I like a super high cushioned shoe like the Hoka Bondi. I know I'm only setting records for how slow I can go that day, so I want the extra cushion (and so does my body). Then for regular in-between, easy days, I alternate between the New Balance 1080v10 and New Balance Fuel Cell Echo.

Something to keep in mind is that many shoes fall along a grey area. The New Balance Fuel Cell Rebel was my marathon racing shoe. I will use it for long fast runs, but others prefer it as an everyday trainer. The Altra Escalante 2 is a shoe I can use for faster runs, but many people use it for a trainer too. It all depends on your foot type, and it's important to experiment with what works the best for you.

You don't need to have more than one shoe, but having more than one shoe maximizes your running capability. It's important to make sure that all of your shoes match your foot type. Alternating between the wrong shoes will only injure you.

What is Keeping Me Entertained?

NIKE BLOW Controversial Nike Vaporfly shoes worn by Kipchoge for fastest-ever marathon to be BANNED due to super springy soles : While, I do think they should ban or limit these shoes, all of the articles so far have been tabloids or speculation. Runners World wrote, “according to speculation.” Nothing concrete has come out yet and announcements about the Nike 4% are expected at the end of the month.

Canada's Malindi Elmore returns to the marathon at 39 after lengthy break Elmore was a 2004 Olympian. At the Houston Marathon, she ran a 2:24.50. Canada’s Marathon Team selection process is different, but I hope she gets selected.

Highlights From the 2020 Houston Marathon and Half Marathon

UK Anti-Doping insists it will not release Mo Farah samples for Wada inquiry into athletes trained by Alberto Salazar. If you’re a clean athlete, why not allow your samples to be retested to clear your name?

Getting Blood Tested with Inside Tracker

Shoe Review: Asics Cumulus 21 Shoe Review


The giveaway winner is Katie C who shared on Facebook. Thank you to everyone who entered!

As I get close to the 1-year mark of the newsletter, 52nd edition, I want to have a big giveaway. If you are or know of a brand that would like to contribute something, let me know! Send me an email at I would love to get your name out there.

Finally, thank you to everyone who shares the newsletter. The goal is to get to 1500 subscribers by the 52nd edition and we are at 1217.

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