Why Internet Shoe Reviews are Worthless

Why Internet Shoe Reviews are Worthless

Why Internet Shoe Reviews are WorthlessThis is a topic I’ve written about before, but I think it’s important to write about again,  As someone who puts out plenty of internet shoe reviews, it might even seem weird I’m even writing it.

The short story is, no running shoe is perfect for everyone. Not that the Nike 4% Vaporfly, not the Brooks Levitate 2, not the adidas ultraboost.  Yes, you would think they were all the best, by how much those shoes are hawked.

Since I work at a run specialty store,  I’m lucky enough to try new running shoes. One of the perks of my job is being able to see the newest and latest shoes on the market. The downside is half of my paycheck goes to work.

Why Internet Shoe Reviews are Worthless

For the most part, I purchase a new shoe monthly from work, run a hundred or so miles on it and review it. If I like the shoe, I run in the shoe for a lot longer than 100 miles.  For instance, I almost always have a Brooks Glycerin and Hoka shoe in my rotation.

If it’s not my favorite shoe, I run it once a week, wear it to work, or give it to someone. I also don’t run in shoes that knowingly won’t work out.I’ve turned down several blogging opportunities for a free shoe because I would probably end up with an injury.

Why would I buy a shoe that would set me up for failure and injury?

I’m not reviewing a shoe for what works with your feet but for what works for my feet, and that goes with any shoe review.  It’s easy to spew facts about how a shoe has changed, but there is no way to tell if a shoe will work until you run in the shoe.

No two feet are the same including your own two feet. Each shoe works well for a particular foot type and doesn’t work well for a specific foot type.

For instance, I supinate; have high arches and wide unshapely feet.  My feet also prefer a lot of cushion.  Right off the bat, this eliminates minimalist shoes or low profile and lightweight shoes for me.

And you know what?  That’s fine because it works for me!

The brand Mizuno works for a lot of people. It’s lightweight, firm, and narrow. The Mizuno Wave Rider is a neutral shoe, and it looks like it would be great on paper for me, however, when I put it on it doesn’t feel right.  It doesn’t mean they are bad, just not the right fit for me. Mizuno clearly has a large following that it does work well. This can be said about every single brand from Nike to Asics to Saucony…the list is endless.

So how do you find these so-called right shoes for you?

I’m biased because I work in a running specialty store.  One route of finding a good for you shoe is going to your local running store and being fit by a professional. Most running store employees have seen every foot type imaginable.  They aren’t going to put you in a shoe that isn’t correct for your feet.

Getting properly fit also saves time, energy, and possibly going through multiple pairs of shoes.  I can’t tell you how many people come in, get fit, and say: wow that didn’t take long at all.  That’s because running store employees know what they are looking for.  Many running stores (such as mine), have a two-week exchange policy that you can run in the shoe and make sure it does work for you. You never know until you hit the pavement, trails, treadmill or track.

So yes while reading reviews of various running shoes can be helpful, it will never replace trying a pair of shoes on your feet and seeing what works for you.  You should never base an opinion of a shoe on what I or anyone says about it.  (The Brooks Levitate 2 is one of the most over-promoted shoes in the industry right now.  Online you’d think it’s the best…but it’s far from it).

Remember in cliché fashion, every person is different. Every foot’s needs are different, and that is why there are so many different makes and models of running shoes.  My point is this running shoe reviews can be helpful in learning other people’s opinions of a shoe, but they are just tool to find your perfect shoe.  No two feet are the same and what works for me might not work for you.

Questions for you:

What kind of running shoes do you wear?

How seriously do you take running shoe reviews? Would you buy a shoe because LOLZ told you too?

November Recap

November Recap

Can you believe it’s December? Have I posted “can you believe it’s X month,” every month?

November brought a big race, lots of downtime, and then a smaller race. I’m still getting back into fitness, while not trying to push the envelope too much.

Miles Run: Around 130
Shortest Run: 2 miles
Longest Run: New York City Marathon 
Workouts: 0
Rest Days: 16
Races:
New York City Marathon (3:07.15)
Medford Lakes Turkey Trot (20:24)

Thoughts:

Most of the running month revolved around the New York City Marathon. I have had a tough time typing this out, but I recovered rather rapidly from the marathon. I’ve had many 13.1s that it’s taken me longer to feel better.

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Some days are just made for running. 🌞 🏃‍♀️

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I knew taking 2 weeks off was the right call.  The other component is I never felt like I got into peak shape for the marathon.  When I ran, it almost felt like a tough workout versus a tough race. My legs fatigued towards the end, but there was never a time that I felt “in the hole or twilight zone.”  That’s very different from my previous marathon experiences when I haven’t wanted or felt up to running for at least a month.

Now that I’m a month out, I feel like I’m getting “back into shape again.”  I’m starting around where I started over the summer.  A 20:24 5k, and 1:30 range half. Over the winter and Spring, I want to build more speed and hopefully get back into sub 19 shape as well as at least 1:25 half marathon shape.

If the weather holds up, I plan to race most weekends in December. It will be a fun way to build fitness and keep me going strong.

Posts from the Month:

Running Related: 
Why Use Compression Socks
Marathon Recovery
Brooks Ghost 11 Shoe Review

Hiking:
Exploring Sandy Hook

Questions for you:
How was your month of December?
Do you have any goals for the rest of the year?

Base Building Week 2 and a Half Marathon

Base Building Week 2 and a Half Marathon

Last week was about putting one foot in front of the other, being smart about it, and getting miles in.  My husband and I ended up going to Baltimore and racing (I ran the 13.1, he did the 5k).  I didn’t have expectations for the race, which ended up being a good thing due to a messy morning.

Training though, last week was good.

Monday: Easy 45 minutes
Tuesday: Easy 45 minutes
Wednesday: Easy 60 minutes
Thursday: Off
Friday: Easy 45 minutes
Saturday: Race 13.1 (1:30.58)/1 mile cool down
Sunday: Easy 45 minutes

Thoughts:

It was a lot of easy and boring running. Most people know, but I don’t use a GPS watch for most of my runs. I normally just run 45 minutes and guestimate I run about 9-10 min miles for my pace. Over the last few years, I’ve found that it works for me.  I’ve never been to one really push an easy run, but by not using a GPS watch I’m not married to any pace and just going by effort.

On Wednesday, I planned to do a workout. Around that time, my husband and I had also contemplated going down to Baltimore to run the races.  When thinking about it, I realized while I could probably do a speed workout, it wasn’t smart to go from no speed to a speed workout and a long race. It would be the time I would get injured. So I ran easy.

Race 13.1 (1:30.58)

The race 13.1 race was a good speed workout in Baltimore. I’m thankful, it was just that and nothing. From start to finish, it was one of the most disorganized races I’ve ever done (and I don’t use that lightly). Would I choose this race for a goal race? No.

During the race, the half marathoners crossed paths with the 5 and 10kers early into the race. This meant, people such as myself were running and weaving around walkers.  It was impossible to run any tangents, and I found myself weaving, trying not to hit anyone, and missing water stops because there were so many people.  Another danger, factor was the race also runs around the harbor.  Due to race the night before, the boards were slick. Plus running around that many turns on a crowded course,  it was very easy to just fall into the harbor and you never got any rhythm or momentum. I watched someone slip and fall (they were ok), as well as 2 runners collide when the 10k/half were together. The race was dangerous.  Anyway, I don’t regret doing it and my husband and I had an enjoyable time in Baltimore.

Regarding my effort, I ran the first 11 miles well below 7 min miles (around 6:50).  Then, my body seemed to lock up around mile 11, and I ran the last 2 miles in 7:22 (over 30 seconds slower than every other mile).  I’m happy with my overall effort for where I am running wise. I seem to be hovering at a 1:28-1:31 half marathon block right now and I hope the next one will be faster.

Posts from the Week:

Why Use Compression?

Medford Lakes Turkey Trot (20:24)

Questions for you:

What is the most dangerous race you’ve done?

Are you training for anything? 

Why use compression sleeves or socks?

Why use compression sleeves or socks?

Many people have asked, if “compression socks or sleeves really work”?

The short answer is yes and no.

Before the running boom, compression socks were used by diabetics and airplane pilots.  Now, you can’t go to a race without seeing runners of all abilities wearing them (myself included!).Why use compression running

So if “everyone” is wearing them, there must benefits, right?

Most of the benefits in studies have been mental versus fitness gain.  Running is 80% mental anyway. Personally, while wearing compression my legs feel better during and after runs.

So what are some benefits of Compression? 

Recover Faster:

Compression promotes blood flow and in turn accelerates the removal of metabolic waste.  In short, it encourages blood flow with oxygen and nutrients to muscles faster.  As someone who deals a lot of with calve tightness, I’ve found that compression helps to speed up recovery after a hard workout or race. 

Stabilize:

If you’ve ever had issues with needing stabilization (for instance a rolled ankle), compression can help stabilize tendons and ligaments.  A few years ago, when I rolled my ankle, I used the CEP compression ankle sleeve. 

What to Keep in Mind:

There are a few things to keep in mind though, and not every compression sock brand is the same.  Some are just glorified tube socks.  The average quality set of compression sleeves cost about $40, while the average sock is about $60.  I personally have had the most success with CEP compression (they aren’t paying me to tell you that).

Socks or Sleeves?

If you aren’t having foot pain and issues, I highly recommend the sleeves versus socks. It can be tough to get a perfect fit between a calf size and foot size. For instance, my feet don’t match up because my calves are size 3 and my feet are women’s size 10-11!  Plus with the sleeves, you can use your own socks or if you feel like you need a pair of compression socks, purchase the right foot size. 

Look for Medical Grade:

You want to look for a brand that uses “Medical Grade Compression.” Medical Grade Compression is designed to promote and target blood flow. Typically colors are more boring and aren’t on sale every 10 minutes.

Medical grade compression comes in several different levels of compression:

  • Mild (8-15 mmHg)
  • Medium (15-20 mmHg)
  • Firm (20-30 mmHg)
  • X-Firm (30-40 mmHg)

Most runners don’t need anything more than medium or firm.

Get Measured:

The last thing to remember is to get measured. If you need a size 11 and are wearing a size IV, then you probably won’t feel much of the benefit. You want to measure the widest part of your calve.  Keep in mind to measure both, as many people’s calves (and feet) are two different sizes. Compression socks should fit snug. They should be tight enough to leave small impressions from the fabric, but they shouldn’t ever be painful.  The first time you put a pair on, it should challenge you.

Finally, When to Wear Them:

There are no rules about when to wear compression socks. Many runners like myself, wear them while running to increase circulation. Others use compression after a workout or run. If you are having shin and calve issues, wear them during a run or workout, as well as after.  (Don’t wear them 24-7 though, your feet need time to breath). If you’re using them for recovery, use them post run.  The beauty is, you can experiment is figure out when feels the best to you.

underarmour killington 25k

Question for you: Do you wear compression?  Socks or sleeves?

Medford Lakes Turkey Trot (20:24)

Medford Lakes Turkey Trot (20:24)

Every year, the Medford Lakes Turkey Trot is one of my favorite races. I always enjoy the sense of community with local friends on Thanksgiving morning. The race itself is well put together and in one of my favorite areas which is why I continue to choose to run each year. This year was my slowest time by about 90 seconds but I had just as much fun as usual.

I knew the morning of, the race wasn’t going to be my best.  My husband and I walked over 10 miles around NYC the few days prior and my legs felt like garbage. Not in the garbage that they would magically get better but like garbage. Plus it was 23 degrees with a feels like temperature much lower.

Getting to the race and parking is always easy. My husband and I warmed up and then sat in our car until 8:28 am. It was 23 degrees, and I was cold. Not the best prerace strategy but my body was not ready for the dip in temperature.  I can count on my hand the number of times I’ve raced in both pants and long sleeves.

We arrived at the start, and I chatted for a couple of people. Then we were off! Turkey Trots are always fun because people go out fast. For some, it’s their only race of the year. There are also lots of young kids, who run fast and then realize it’ more than a half mile race. Like usual that’s what happened. Around then, I found myself as second woman overall because I also took it out too fast for my fitness right now.

I hit the first mile in 6:30 and my calves were tight. They weren’t engaging and I knew I wouldn’t be able to hold that pace. It’s hard not to compare considering I have run half marathons faster, but I was the opposite of tapered.

The next mile was lonely, and I was passed by a few friends and women. My second mile was 6:47 and one of my slowest 5k miles in a long time. At the end of mile 2, I was the fourth woman.

The last mile was just a struggle bus to get to the end. I wasn’t sad, but just stiff. I knew it wasn’t my day.

We pass the local school around 2.75. After running for a few years, it’s always that point I want to be done.

We rounded the corner and I crossed the finish in 20:24. My personal turkey trot worst but still an enjoyable time.

me medford turkey trot running

After not running for 2 weeks, then walking in NY, I didn’t expect it to be in the 18:30-19:05 range where I’ve been previous years.

I’m happy to get shorter stuff on my legs and looking forward to getting back into running after the marathon.

Questions for you:

Did you run a Turkey Trot?

What is the coldest you’ve run in?

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