How Alternating Shoes Can Benefit Your Running:
How Alternating Running Shoes Can Benefit Your Running:

One of the most asked questions I get while working in a running store, is: “Should I alternate running shoes”?

The short answer is, you don’t need anything… 

But this post isn’t about the short answer.

Alternating running shoes can benefit anyone running, from those training for a 5k to those training for a marathon or even ultra marathon.

Keep in mind, your rate of injury does go up if you don’t alternate the right running shoes.  Every running shoe is made for a different foot type and if you alternate the wrong shoes (for your feet), then you will get injured.

There are very few situations you should rotate a stable and neutral running shoe together.  Make sure that the running shoes you’ve chosen are correct for your particular gait and feet.  Every shoe is good for someone, but there is no “best shoe.”   I cannot stress how important it is to go to your local Running Store and get your feet analyzed. 

But why Alternate Running Shoes?

Alternating Running Shoes Increases Durability:

Well yes, having two pairs of running shoes means you use the shoe less frequently, but it also means your shoe have time to recover and bounce back from each run. Most running shoes last about 400 miles, but by alternating running shoes you might be able to get an extra hundred.

So why does alternating running shoes extend the life of the running shoe? If you give shoes 1-2 days to “recover,”  the materials in the midsole don’t continuously compress.  Like a sponge, they fluff or bounce back closer to their original state.

Instead of getting the traditional 300-400 miles on a shoe, you might get a few more.  

It does naturally cost more to buy two shoes; you are getting more for your money.  Always ask your running store if they give a discount for buying two shoes, we do where I work

Different Running Shoes are Made for Different Things:

As someone who has multiple pairs of shoes for different activities, this is important. Take the Hoka Bondi 5 versus the Saucony Type A.  Both of these shoes make weekly appearances in my running, but they are made for different types of runs!  The Hoka Bondi 5 has over double the weight and cushion of the Saucony Type A.

The Hoka Bondi 5 was created for a long run, recovery run or to withstand training. Saucony Type A is a minimal racing flat.  If you train in the Saucony Type A for every run, you will get injured.  If you raced in the Hoka Bondi, your body and feet would be working significantly harder.  Every shoe has a time and place.

Plus use an old running shoe model for cross training allows your current training shoes to last longer.

By alternating running shoes and having different types of shoes for different workouts, you’ll get the most out of each pair.

Alternating Running Shoes Can Prevent Injury and help stay injury-free:

As I mentioned above, this only works if you do it correctly!  While alternating running shoes is not a magical way to prevent injuries, you can decrease your injury risk by alternating running shoes.

Stress fractures happen from doing the same thing day in and day out.  If you run the same route, in the same shoes, every day you are more prone to an injury.

Even if you rotate two of the exact same style, then your feet are working in very similar ways.  Choosing different brands or models to alternate your running shoes allow your body and feet to work just different enough that it can decrease the stress put on any given area of your body.

Should You Alternate the Same Exact Style or Different Brands?

Alternating two of the same style allows each shoe to have a longer life span.

Alternating different styles of running shoes allows each shoe to have a longer lifespan and your foot will work differently in each shoe.  You’ll be less susceptible to injury by alternating different types or brands of shoes.

It’s just fun.  This isn’t a scientific fact, but alternating running shoes is just fun. 

What shoes am I alternating between? 
Hoka Bondi 5 (long runs, daily runs)
Saucony Freedom ISO (daily runs)
Brooks Launch (speed work, short runs)
Saucony Type A (speed work)

Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport. 

Questions for you:
Which shoes are in your shoe rotation?
Have a question about shoes?  Ask below!

Hoka Bondi 5 Shoe Review
Hoka Bondi 5 Shoe Review

Hoka Bondi 5 Shoe Review

Lately, I’ve felt a little more “beat up” during training and wanted a shoe with more cushion.  Not injured, just wanting more cushion during easy and longer runs! The Hoka Bondi 5 has the most cushion of any running shoe currently on the market.  I’m not a stranger to the Hoka brand and after coming back from my ankle fracture last year, I ran in several pairs of the Hoka Clifton 3.

Hoka Bondi 5 Shoe Review

Hoka Bondi 5 Quick Facts: 

Drop: 4mm
Weight: 10 oz

A common question I’ve been asked is: “am I more susceptible to falling while running in Hokas”?  I can personally tell you as someone who falls a lot (and has broken my arm doing so), I’ve never fallen because of a Hoka shoe.  Once you’re running, you don’t feel the difference too much.

While there is a lot of cushion in any Hoka shoe, it’s important to remember your feet sink into the cushion and it’s not as overwhelming as it appears.

Hoka One One shoes are designed so your foot sinks down in the cushioning quite a bit. It’s like a giant marshmallow! Once you put any model on you realize you aren’t as high up as anticipated.

Hoka Bondi 5 Fit:
While I never ran in the Hoka Bondi 4, the fit of the Hoka Bondi 5 is relatively similar.  Right now in the running industry, Hoka is one of the few brands that fits true to size.  I typically wear a size 10 and a size 10 was perfect.  Many brands this year are running either short or narrow.

The Hoka Bondi 5 has a nice wide seamless toe box which makes it a perfect candidate for anyone who has bunions or a slightly wider foot.  The Hoka Bondi 5 uses open engineered mesh construction which maximizes breathability and support. There is also a padded tongue as well as 3d puff print frame with no seams. In general, the fit is one of my favorites from any brand.

Hoka Bondi 5 Ride: 
As a brand, Hoka One One has a distinct and unique feel.  Then again, how could it not, you are higher off of the ground?

The Hoka Bondi 5 has the most amount of cushion in a running shoe. You feel that. It doesn’t feel large, or clunky, but it does feel like a lot underneath your feet.  If you have never held a Hoka One One before, they are extremely lightweight. All Hoka One One models use a meta rocker which helps you roll smoothly from the transition from heel to toe.

Compared to the Hoka Clifton 3, the Hoka Bondi 5 has more cushion.  The cushion is also denser so your foot doesn’t sink as much into the bottom.  It’s an excellent recovery or long run shoe. You can use the Hoka Bondi 5 for long rides or long distances, and light trails, but for the most part, it’s a cushioned road shoe. The full EVA midsole allows the Hoka Bondi 5 to stay cushioned throughout the entire ride.

A great aspect of the Hoka Bondi 5 is you can run as far as needed. Personally, I’ve run 10+ miles in the Hoka Bondi 5 and felt great, but this was also designed with the ultramarathoner in mind.  Would the Hoka Bondi 5 be my personal choice for a racing shoe?  No, but it’s an excellent option for daily runs, long runs and any run you want more cushion.

Hoka Bondi 5 Shoe Review

Hoka Bondi 5 Pros:

  • Max cushioning
  • True to size fit
  • The most amount of cushion in any running and only $150

Hoka Bondi 5 Cons:

  • Takes a few runs to get used too

My current shoe rotation:
Saucony Freedom ISO (long runs, daily runs)
Hoka Bondi 5 (long runs, daily runs)
Brooks Launch 4 (short runs, speed work)
Saucony Type A (speed work)

Questions for you:
Do you prefer a shoe with more cushion? Have you tried the Hoka Bondi 5? 
What is your current favorite shoe?

me running
Training: Recovering and Easy Runs

Training last week was anything but exciting.  I ran the Shamrock half last Sunday, and I can’t say I’m fully recovered from the race.  I had thought about jumping into the Love Run Half in Philadelphia yesterday, but I didn’t feel like racing hard when I didn’t feel 100%.

Most of my runs throughout the week were easy, and there was too crazy.  I ran a couple of times with my husband before he left on Tuesday.  On Saturday, I ran into one of coworkers during her first run back after an injury that involved surgery.

I did have two workouts to ease me back into running hard:

Thursday:
8X2 min hard (average 6:21 pace)
4X45 seconds hard (average 6:00 pace)
4X 30 seconds hard (average 6:00 pace…goal was 5:27)

I didn’t feel awful during my workout on Thursday, but my calves felt sore.  After my workout, I went and got ART on my calves from Dr. Kemonosh and staff, which immediately loosened them up.  Why I didn’t go earlier in the week is a mystery to me.  They are still tight, but significantly looser than beforehand.

Sunday:
As I mentioned, I contemplated jumping into the Love Run, but my body was not ready.  Could I have finished?  Yes but I know I wouldn’t have been happy or thrilled with the result.
3X1 mile (6:20 average per mile)
3×1000 (6:19 average per mile)
3X600 (6:01 average per mile)

While this workout was slower than anticipated, I was proud of myself for getting out the door and getting it done.

Next Week:

Next week I’m racing the Phillies 5k (In the last 12 months, it is my fastest 5k).  I’m looking forward to it.  I have talked with my coach recently, and I believe I run my best as well as being mentally happier when I race frequently.  We will be adding several 5ks in my calendar and racing more frequently.

Posts from the week:
Why 5ks are the Best
Shamrock Half Marathon (1:26.49)
3 Years or Reviewing NJ Diners

Questions fo you:
Do you find yourself running better when you race more or less?
What was your best workout of the week?

Recap of 3 Years of Diner Reviews
Three Years of Diner Reviews

It’s now been three years since I started reviewing Diners.  Since starting my quest, I’ve been to about 130 diners in New Jersey and about 50 diners in other parts of the world. You can see reviews here or using the link at the top of the blog.

March of 2014 is when I first started reviewing diners.  At year three, I decided to highlight some of my favorite (and not so much diners).  Keep in mind, these are my personal favorites.  Do you have a favorite or different opinion about a New Jersey diner?  Comment below.

All Time Favorite Diner: Mastoris

Mastoris isn’t a typical diner.  It’s more of a modern and upscale restaurant, but I like their food and cake.  This was one of the first diners I went too and I still continue to go back.

Least Favorite Diner: Garden State Diner, Ponzios or Stafford

Each diner was a definite letdown.  Ponzios served me a salad with still frozen fish and canned pears.   It’s a shame because Ponzios is almost always listed as a “top NJ diner”, but I haven’t had a positive experience any of the three times I’ve gone!

Diner gone to the most times: Vincentown

I used to live closer to Vincentown.  Sadly, the quality of the food and service has gone down hill, so I haven’t been much at all.  I went from going three times a month to none.  I’ve been 30+ times

Best cake: Mastoris (I wanted them to make my wedding cake, but they wouldn’t deliver).

Mastoris Cake
But which cake to get?  Hint: We got both carrot cake and red velvet cake

Personal Favorite Diners: 

Year 3, didn’t bring any significant changes to my “all time” favorite list.
Mastoris Great cake
Jefferson Diner Also great cake
State Line Diner Also great cake
Chit Chat Diner Great atmosphere
Mustache Bills Quinetesantal diner of NJ

Tropicana How many “tropical” diners do you know of?

Healthiest Diner: Silver Diner (it’s a chain, and there are a few across the east coast).  How many diners have Quinoa pancakes or a roasted vegetable salad? 

Best Coffee: Any diner that serves the local Lacas coffee and has homemade whipped cream.  Candlewyck Diner coffee

Worst Coffee: Princetonian: they charge for refills!

Biggest portions: Tropicana: For $24, I received all of this food.  I had run 15 miles and still made a full meal out of leftovers.

tropicana diner

Best value: Elmer Diner (cinnamon roll) and Angelos (my entire meal was $5) Angelos Diner Glassboro Nj

At the Elmer Diner: A Coffee, cinnamon bun, eggs, toast, and hashbrowns was $8.00.  You can’t beat that!

Most expensive: Vincentown: They charge 75 cents extra per coffee with whipped cream.  I’ve ordered a salad with salmon which costs $20+.  Every meal is going to be at least $18.

Best Pancakes: Red Velvet Pancakes at Four Seasons Diner: Unlike the Springfield Diner, they were actually red velvet.  The cream cheese frosting was perfect. Four Seasons Diner Toms River

Best Eggs: The Surburban Diner offered a unique breakfast bowl with hashbrowns, melted cheese, onions and a fried egg on top.  You don’t see that many diners!suburban diner

Best Diner Gyro: The Woodstown Diner.  Gyros are a staple of any diner.  I haven’t posted the review yet, but the Woodstown diner had a neatly packaged gyro with plenty of meat.  It was easy to eat as well!

Woodstown Diner

Best Decor: 

Chit Chat Diner: I love the black and white retro theme. 

Tropicana Diner: It felt like a blast from the Carribean. 

Tropicana diner

Angelos: It’s the metallic trolley car diner that you picture.

Angelos Diner Glassboro Nj

Best Out of State Diners:

Trolley Car, Philadelphia (fresh ingredients as well as beer on tap)

John’s City Diner, Birmingham (Best chicken and waffles)

So where does my diner journey go next?

 

Questions for you:
Have you been to any NJ diners? 
Do you have any diner recommendations from anywhere? 

Johns City Diner Birmingham
John’s City Diner (Birmingham, Al)

First, did you know it’s International Waffle Day?  It’s the perfect day to celebrate at a diner…

When I relocated to Alabama, I knew I had to go to John’s City Diner (Birmingham). It has been consistently named one of Alabamas best diners. Making the time to get to the diner is tough.

For a diner, it has odd hours including not being open on Sundays and only open for dinner on Saturdays.  So yes, John’s City Diner is not open for breakfast on weekends.  Due to my schedule, I almost thought I wouldn’t be able to make it to Johns City Diner at all.

Johns City Diner is located right in downtown Birmingham.  Since it’s in the downtown, it’s located in a row of buildings and not the usual stand-alone diner you see.

Johns City Diner Birmingham

Atmosphere: B
The outside has a big sign that says, Johns. There isn’t a lot from the outside that screams diner. In fact, it’s easy to miss Johns City Diner unless you’re looking for it.  I ran by it twice during the Drum Run and had no idea.

The inside is painted to match a diner atmosphere. There are several booths and tables. There is an awkward bar in the corner, but it doesn’t appear to be used much. There is a large diner room with plenty of booths and tables.

Coffee: A
The coffee at Johns City Diner was brewed fresh, and the whipped cream was homemade. It was one of the better diner coffee I’ve had recently.Johns City Diner Birmingham

Service: C
The waitress seemed preoccupied or as if she was having a bad day. Even though we got there at opening (5 pm), it took a while for our table to receive food and drinks.

Food: B
The menu at Johns City Diner is limited. Johns City Diner is known for their comfort food and they have everything from garlicky spinach to meatload with all-natural gravy.

There is a single page of food, and they are well known for their mac and cheese as well as chicken and waffles. I had been very excited to try their chicken and waffles, but when we went, they were out of chicken. To be honest, I was disappointed but what can you do.

For an appetizer, we ordered the fancy bacon which was bacon with grits. It was a small portion, but the bacon and grits were delicious.  It was rich and while small, quite filling.  It was some of the best grits I’ve had!

Johns City Diner Birmingham

Because they were out of chicken and waffles, I ordered the pork chops. I was pleasantly surprised because it was a huge portion of pork chops. I was expecting a smaller size. The pork chops at Johns City Diner were delicious and cooked perfectly. It also came with a large portion of sweet potatoes and garlicky spinach. I enjoyed both. Johns City Diner Birmingham

I was disappointed Johns City Diner was out of their signature menu item, but the food was still good.  I was able to go again right before we left and ordered the chicken and waffles.  Johns City Diner is farm to table and they use Natural Creekstone farms beef, Maple Leaf Farms Duck, and Springer Mountain Farms Chicken. It was by far the best chicken and waffles I’ve had to date.  The chicken portion was actually bigger than the waffle! Johns City Diner Birmingham

Dessert: A
We ordered the white chocolate bread pudding which was perfect. I have no complaints.  I prefer bread pudding that is actually a piece of bread so this fit the bill. Johns City Diner Birmingham

Cost: $$
For my coffee, the appetizer, entree, and dessert the cost was $40. It was pricey for a diner, but I’m not sure I would classify Johns City Diner as a diner.

Overall thoughts/ Summary:
I liked Johns City Diner, but I was extremely disappointed they were out of the chicken and waffles.  If I’m in Birmingham, I would like to come back, but with their limited weekend hours, I don’t know if that’s possible.

Atmosphere: B
Coffee: A
Service: C
Food: B
Dessert: A
Cost: $20+
Overall: B

You Can See All Diner Reviews Here.

Questions for you:
Where is the best place you’ve had chicken and waffles? 
Has a restaurant ever been out of something you were excited to order?

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