Posts Tagged ‘mileage’

A fallen pair of soldiers.

 We never did make the 3000 mile mark. After all the time we spent together, sometimes feeling the relationship would last forever, then at other times, feeling that this could perhaps be our last outing together.

It all came to a head on a Sunday run two weeks ago. The City Centre to Sutton Park route, taking in the splendour of spaghetti junction. When viewed from the very depths of the structure, on a canal towpath, it is quite spectacular. That is, if concrete and tarmac highways, laid on top of and around one another, can be called spectacular. We’re all civil engineers at heart. But I digress. On the return leg of this particular run, a racing snake we will call NiceGuy, proceeded to up the pace, rapidly and relentlessly. As I struggled to not lose too much ground, my right foot started hurting. A kind of plantar fasciitis and midfoot metatarsal combination of discomfort. Not new to me you understand. It had come and gone for a few weeks now. But today it seemed different. It had purpose. It was saying “look, I’ve warned you for long enough now. If you don’t take action I shall have no option but to up the ante in this standoff”.

I managed to get home ok but it had forced my hand and made me consider that perhaps it was [dramatic pause]: time to replace my running shoes.


I totalled up the mileage. 2757 miles covered, since I first laced these Asics Cumulus trainers up. Knock ten percent off that for mileage covered in racing flats, spikes etc, and it comes to 2481. I’m rounding that up to 2500 miles and calling it a day.

I’ve introduced the new pair. Asics Stratus. First time I’m trying this model. They have no idea what they’ve signed up for.

I’ve now been in the Stratus a week and I have to acknowledge that my right foot pain has subsided, which is the final confirmation I required.

I guess if I was trying to draw some conclusion from all of this, it would be that running shoes, whilst nowhere near what the manufacturers would have you believe, do indeed have a useful life, after which they need to be replaced. I didn’t think that would be the conclusion I’d come to. After reaching 2000 miles in relative ease, I think I expected them to more or less last and last and last, until the material started falling apart or something. I didn’t think it would be in the business of “injury-avoidance” that they would be replaced.


So, the experiment has reached its end. Thank you Born to Run and Chris McDougall for planting the seed in my head.

And so, as one experiment draws to a close, another must just be beginning. Watch this space – the Stratus are on centre stage now. The floor is theirs.

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2000 miles to Graceland

Born to Run made barefoot running cool. It made some people turf out their shoes in favour of anti-shoe shoes (Vibram, minimalist-type shoes. Or occasionally a home-made sandal). I wasn’t one of those people.

It also made some people realise you may be able to get a lot more mileage out of your shoes than you had been led to believe by the shoe companies. I was one of those people.

I decided to experiment with my then new pair of Asics Cumulus. I resolved to not recycle them when they reached their usual end-of-life mileage. Common thinking on shoe mileage has been that a training shoe can be used for somewhere between 500 and 800 miles. Being light on my shoes I have usually managed to squeeze more than that out of mine. I have tended to average just over 1000 miles out of my shoes before they give up the ghost (or indeed before I thought they’d given up the ghost). My previous pair of Cumulus had got around 1150 miles in them when I replaced them.

So onto my current pair. Asics Cumulus 10’s. New, they look like this.

Rest assured mine don’t…

They began by aging very quickly, which was ironic I thought, as they were the pair I had selected to try and keep a long long time. So, 500 miles in and they were looking like they had twice that in them. I noted the deterioration, but didn’t falter. I stuck with the plan.

We broached the 1000 mile mark around Christmas and the normal-upgrade time arrived shortly thereafter. As planned this was the point to cast conventional wisdom aside. It was time to call the long-standing shoe company bluff.


In the weeks that followed we headed into unknown shoe territory. At the crossover from known into unknown, I was overly sensitive to any changes in the shoes. I don’t know what I expected, maybe that the soles would suddenly disintegrate under my feet, or that the stitching would magically unstitch and the shoe upper would fall apart. Obviously none of this happened and they just showed more wear and tear in an entirely normal and predictable fashion as the miles went on. Another interesting side effect was that they became more and more comfortable. I promise I’m not making this up. I didn’t really believe it at first and convinced myself I was imagining it, but eventually I had to concede. The darn things were getting more comfy by the day, and were like a lovely old pair of slippers by the time we broached 1500 miles together.

There was no looking back now. We forged on, my Asics and I. We plunged into the unknown territory together. Mapping out new ground, setting constant new benchmarks. Striding large where before we had treaded lightly. There was no stopping us.

Up ahead the 2000 mile mark loomed large.

Pffft. We leapt across that threshold without a moment’s hesitation and by mid-June (i.e. now) we are sitting pretty at around the 2200 mile mark.

Any good journey leaves its scars and the shoes are showing their fair share.  But, the fact is, they are still performing their function MORE than adequately. They are running shoes and I can run in them.

So the next time someone starts whimpering about a piece of rubber that has peeled off their shoes or a bit of padding that has ripped, or the worst of all, that the cushioning has collapsed (what the hell does that shoe company bullshit phrase actually even mean) tell them to man up and get running. Or man down and go golfing.

Next stop… who knows. This journey may just be getting going.

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