Decisions, decisions. We know there’s already a lot to think about when it comes to marathon training and race day. Marathoners face a different kind of challenge in shoe choices than the average treadmill pusher or morning runner –they not only have to train, they run longer and harder.

As the marathon day inches closer, questions about how fit your training shoes are to withstand the marathon takes up more space in your mind. The answers are often fragmented and indecisive as you consider what your coach said, what you’d rather wear, and new options in a market that’s full of many ‘multipurpose’ choices.

Do you want to learn the difference between marathon trainers and the shoes you should use for the actual marathon? Let’s dig in!

Should I Wear New Running Shoes for the Marathon?

The training period has looser rules compared to the actual race day. For example, you can wear new shoes during training but it’s definitely not recommended on marathon day.

If you plan to get a new pair for the marathon, choose shoes that have served you for a while on your long training runs but are still new. This also helps you to spot any pinch or malformations that could injure your feet. This still doesn’t mean putting on a fresh pair right out of the box for race day. They still need to be properly “broken in” a short time before you reach the starting line.

As a rule of thumb, you should buy a new pair about 21 days before the marathon and run in them for a few short runs and one long run. It will help you to discover any discomfort, hotspots and give you enough time to exchange them and have them swapped long before crunch time.

When to Start Breaking In

An uncomfortable first encounter with a new pair is not peculiar to marathoners. Even Queen Elizabeth has someone wear her new shoes until the shoes and the feet find a way of aligning to each other’s structure.

However, the break-in period with new running shoes shouldn’t be too long. They should be comfy by the time you go out for your first long run –but that doesn’t call for going running immediately when you leave the store. Consider these factors before trying them out for a marathon.

  •       New Shoes from an ‘Old Model’

Getting a new pair from the same model as your old shoes should feel like your old shoes without the wear therefore, you shouldn’t expect any discomforts that could disrupt your run or require a long break-in period.

In any case, don’t do a long run in them immediately because new models often come with upgrades. A short run will help you notice any uncomfortable alterations and make changes before the marathon.

  •       New Shoes and Model

A brand new pair from a new brand or model needs more trying out because you are new to the make and feel. Start by wearing them around your home to help notice size and discomfort issues. Afterward, try them out at the gym or treadmill because you can always return them unless you’ve worn them outdoors.

If they feel fine after trying them indoors and on the treadmill, take them out on a short run outside. They may feel a little awkward but your feet should get comfortable with time. If you go on more runs and notice blistering or pain, they won’t be fit for your training or marathon.

Why It’s Important to Rotate Running Shoes

As hyped as finding long-lasting running shoes is, keeping one pair for too long exposes you to injury and may lead to long-term gait and pain problems. Here are reasons why you should rotate your running shoes.

Running shoes on floor

Avoid Potential Muscle Imbalances

You involve your core and lower body more than other parts of the body while running. The more you run, the more you engage specific muscles making them more powerful than other underused muscles causing a muscle imbalance.

Each step engages the same tissues as the previous step. Running shoes affect how the tissues are affected by motion. Wearing a different pair on different days helps you avoid overloading any tissues, tendons, ligaments, and bones while making other muscles and tissues stronger.

Different Runs Require Different Shoes

Not every shoe was made for every kind of running. For example, shoes with a lower heel-to-toe drop work better for short runs but may hurt your feet if you’re on an 18-mile marathon. Shoes for marathons need more cushioning to reduce the impact of the weight your body puts on the shoe as you strike the ground repeatedly for a long distance.

Additionally, rotating your shoes prevents your body from adapting to certain contouring and cushioning which will make any change harder in the future.

To Build your Running Strength

Rotating shoes gives you a chance to build your running strength. Minimal shoes for example help you to strengthen your ankle and calves while a stability pair helps you to hold a good foot position while strengthening the hips.

Giving the Shoes a Break to Increase their Lifespan

Your expensive runners could use a rest after a long training session. The shoe’s foam that makes up the middle sole decompresses after a run which enables the shoes to last longer than if they were worn day in day out.

Preventing Injury

This is the most common reason for shoe rotating. The study behind it says that you have a 39% lower risk of getting injured when you rotate your shoes. Score!

Different shoe models spread the impact of running differently which reduces the pressure on body tissues. This is because our bodies’ biomechanics naturally adjust to a given model and any problems related to biomechanics become worse. Our biomechanics also adapt to switching from one shoe type to another reducing or preventing potential overuse injuries that occur due to any biomechanical imbalance.

Woman trying on running shoe

The perfect running shoes are everything for marathon runners! You can avoid an arduous and disappointing marathon by training in the right shoes and knowing which shoes to wear when. It’s important to find out what makes you unique –for example, how you pronate, your weight, and which brands seem to serve you better. We can do the work for you! Stop by any Omega Sports location for a free Gait Analysis by our Active-Play Experts to ensure you’re properly fitted for training and race day.