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  • Apr
  • 6
  • 2016

Fast Footwear + Tips for Selecting Race Day Kicks

Fast Footwear + Tips for Selecting Race Day Kicks

Chefs don’t cook with just one pot.

Artists don’t just use one paintbrush.

So why would runners only use one pair of shoes?

Weather conditions, event distances, road surfaces, injury history, and race strategy all play into the footwear a runner selects for the main event – their upcoming race. With an average of 20,000 steps in a ten mile race your kicks are an important contributor to a successful race day.

Here are some of our tips for selecting your race day shoes:

  • Know the road: Races are run on different types of surfaces – asphalt, concrete, or trail are some of the most obvious – and your quads and shins will appreciate you thinking of them when you select your shoes. Depending on where you train you may require a more responsive or cushioned kick. Parkway Pro Tip: The Parkway Classic is run mainly on concrete roads so look for a shoe that has a little more cushion if you typically train on asphalt.
  • Injury history: Are you banged up this season or in prime form? Is your race length old hat or is it your first time tackling the distance? Selecting a shoe from your closet that considers your current physical state can make the difference between victory and misery.
  • PR Bound: If you are looking to shave time off your PR, your shoes can be a big help. Runner folklore states that for every ounce lighter of footwear one can shave 3-4 seconds off a mile time. Famed Coach Jack Daniels says you expend 1% of energy for every 100 grams of shoes; reduce your shoe weight and drop as much as a minute and a half off your 10 mile time. True? We will let you be the judge of that. But we know that a pair of shoes thoughtfully selected for your event, lightweight or not, can also offer a mental boost and peace of mind.
  • Weather: If you only have one pair of shoes and it rains the week of the race, we’ll bet you’ll end up with a soggy shoe come race day. Don’t let that happen to you! Buy your weather insurance policy and make sure you have enough tried and true pairs in your closet so you don’t end up with a wet and heavy shoe come race day. Parkway Pro Tip: With the race at the Mt. Vernon Circle, morning dew can lead to wet grass. Wear your trainers on the bus and carry your racing shoes up with you. Change into your racing shoes after you hit up the coffee and pre-race fuel in the circle before heading to bag check. Once you put on your racing shoes avoid the grassy circle if wet. 
  • Trainers vs. Racers: Your race day shoes don’t have to be racing flats! In fact, most people opt for a fresh pair of their trusty trainers or the lighter weight mate of their favorite pair of shoes. For instance, if you are a fan of the Brooks Glycerin you might want to try out the Brooks Ghost. Not sure which model is best? Head to your local Pacers Running location and our staff can help you pick.
  • Strategy: Some races are more tune ups versus the main event. If you are running a race as part of your training for another race, you might opt for your tried and true trainer over your fast and shiny racing shoes.

Pro tip: While running your race in overly worn footwear is never advised, don’t head to the races in a never-before-run pair of shoes, even if it is just a fresh pair of your training shoe. We suggest running in them at least three times: one run of at least 1/3 of the distance of your race, one run that includes some time at your race pace, and your pre-race shake out (but don’t overdo it- keep those bad boys fresh and definitely under 50 miles of wear). While shoes are made with painstaking precision, nothing can derail a run like a bad seam or a never-run-in-before model of shoe.


Lightweight Shoe Picks for Spring 2016

Looking to lighten your load during the George Washington Parkway Classic or our 5K Fridays? Here are our picks for racing shoe consideration for spring racing, all priced at $100 or less.


The light-weight trainer:  Brooks Launch 3


This performance daily running shoe provides adaptive cushioning with plenty of energy return. The caterpillar crash pad that Brooks is known for really shines through on this recently updated light-weight trainer. The 3D fit upper provides a seamless wrap to help reduce irritation.

10mm heel to toe offset, 9.8oz for men and 7.2oz for women

Shop now: Mens I Womens


The stylish up-tempo running shoe:  New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v2


The like the first version of the Zante, the v2 utilizes data-inspired geometrics in the midsole to provide a smooth transition at tempo paces.  A new upper on the second version has an open mesh design and seamless overlays for 360 degrees of comfort.

6mm heel to toe offset, 8.6oz for men and 7.2oz for women

Shop Now: Mens


The original racing flat:  Adidas Adios 1 Haile


This racing flat was worn by the great Haile Gebrselassie when he set the marathon word record.  With AdiPrene+ in the forefoot, the spring in this racing flat is like none other.   This performance shoe is designed to help you set personal best from 5k all the way up to the marathon.

8mm heel to toe offset. 7.9oz, unisex sizing.

Shop in stores.

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