When to buy racing trainers

I have been running for just over two years and I have just completed my second road marathon in 3:36 hours and now want to get a sub 1:40 on my half marathon. I am a serious over-pronator but before my last marathon I bough some orthotics which have made a massive difference. I am female, reasonably tall (1.78 m) and about right weight for my height (64 kg). I understand that racing shoes are lighter and so have less cushioning and stability. I was wondering, how fast do I have to be before I would benefit from racing trainers to get my half marathon PB and is there a body weight/speed ratio at which there is no benefit (and possibly more harm than good)? I really don't want to have all-the-gear-and-no-idea or spend money on something unnecessary. I'd appreciate any advice!


  • I sound very similar to you, although I'm male. I've never worn a pair of racers, I don't think my ankles could take it. (Although I do wear spikes on a regular basis, so I might be contradicting myself.)

    Could you put your orthotics in a pair of racing shoes to give you the necessary support? If you could, then there are pretty cheap racers out there.

  • fat buddhafat buddha ✭✭✭
    racing shoes aren't necessarily going to make you any quicker. the main difference is that they are lighter but frankly, lose a bit of weight/adjust the clothes you wear to something lighter and you've made up the difference.

    you're probably better off working on your speed and training regime irrespective of the shoe weight to go quicker.

    there's no magical body speed/weight ratio that says use racers.

    I'm over a 100kg and wear racing shoes for shorter triathlons - but that's because they are more comfy without socks than my standard shoes and I can get away with less support over shorter distances
  • marshallinimarshallini ✭✭✭
    I'm 13+ stone (6' 2", not overweight, but still not a lightweight) and I only wear racers, I race at about 5:45 m/m for a 5k and 6:45 m/m for a marathon (when I'm fit)

    But I train in them daily at paces between 6:30 and 9 m/m and at distances from 4 to 20+ miles and I average about 50 miles a week.  I've been told that I overpronate but since switching to racers I've not been injured (well nothing I'd attribute to the shoes, anyway)
  • Sorry for my late reply but I posted my question and then went on holiday! I think I'm going to work on the speed training for the half marathon (which if I'm honest is always the session that I miss out on training schedules) and maybe think about buying some racing shoes when I'm buying my next pair of road shoes. Thanks for all your input!

  • Running Maple.

    I think you need to make the distinction between "Racer/Trainers" - typically 250-300g for a UK9 (mens) and "Competition Flats" which will weigh less than 250g (some even sub-200!).

    If it is for a half marathon, my advice would be to go for the former as the extra cushioning will be more useful over the longer distance for injury prevention etc. If you are tempted to drop down to 5k/10k then the flats would definitely make a difference IMHO.

    My recommendation:

    Racer Trainer

    Hope this helps.


  • All very well, FB, but if you lose a bit of weight AND wear lighter shoes you'll be quicker still.

    RM, the simple answer is that you'll be quicker in racing shoes irrespective of your weight and pace. But reality's not simple, as the others have indicated.
  • I'd say you are fast enough to switch to some lighter shoes for racing (& fast training).

    I have done a 1:32 1/2 and yet only managed a 3:46 marathon, so I would geuess that you could shave some time off that without too much bother.

    I'm sure the slight weight reduction does help a little, remember that you are actually lifting these things on the end of your legs every step, it's not just weight that you are carrying. However I think there are 2  bigger reasons to wear them. The first is merely psychological - you feel faster when you put them on, you believe you can run faster, and so you do. The second is that my feet seem to roll through slightly faster - in other words they actually make you run faster.

    I would probably recommend going for a "racer/trainer", sometimes sold as "lightweight" shoe, some of which come with a small medial post to help with over pronation.

  • Dear All,

    I completely forgot to update my profile and let you all know how I got on in my half-marathon training and the racing shoes etc. Thank you for all your advice and suggestions. I have been doing interval training on the track for about a year now that has made a massive difference to my speed. Although I did eventually get some Asics racers I actually don't like the lack of weight on my feet - it maybe something to do with my excessive pronation so I feel that I don't get the support I need (even if I am).

    Well, I have now done a 1:37 half-marathon. The problem is, I had a bad race from an upset stomach so of course I am now thinking a 1:35 is easily within reach. That's the problem with this running thing - there is always another challenge just around the corner.

    I am currently training for my next marathon challenge. To celebrate my 30th birthday I am going to run one marathon for each decade of my life but with a difference: one road, one off-road and one mountain marathon. Have a look at my webpage and see what you think!? Then I think I'll have another go at the half-marathon!


  • I put my orthotics in my racers. I'm probably not fast enough to warrant them yet but every little helps image
  • Racers will help with pace - weight saved on the end of your legs is far more significant than that lost from the body.  (similar principal with cyclists losing weight on the wheels I believe).

    They will often help a little with technique allowing your feet to get more involved with the process of running.

    I think everybody would benefit from donning them sometimes (and the more the better) - irrespective of weight, speed etc.

  • mowzermowzer ✭✭✭

    Which racers would you recommend Moraghan ?

    And is it possible to do marathons in them?

  • mowzer - as racers are stripped down trainers I don't find they vary as greatly as heavier trainers.  Certainly all the ones I have tried have fitted and performed well without extensive searches (unlike normal trainers).

    Your best bet is to try a few pairs on and whichever fits best you go with.  The last two pairs I have bought off the internet and they were fine.  I shopped by weight, available size (12) and price - I also took into consideration the pronation characteristics (but sometimes ignored them anyway).

    I have adidas adizero manas and hear a lot of good things about the rest of the adizero range.

    You can certainly do marathons in them although as with every new thing you will first have to establish a bit of injury free training history while using them.  My suggestion would be to go for some lightweight trainers (as opposed to really stripped down flats) and gradually integrate them into your training.  If you have no problems you can take it a step further with racing flats.  At the very least your end goal should be to do all your quality sessions in flats where you can really use the foot's anatomy to your advantage. 

    There's nothing wrong with a variety of different shoes for different purposes - e.g. racing flats for races, spikes for track work, xc spikes for cross country work, barefoot on terd-free cricket pitches, lightweight trainers for easy distance, big thick heavy ones for long runs etc.  But the overall direction should definitely be towards the 'less is more' end of the scale. 

    As a disclaimer - I think running shop 'gait analysis' is next to useless.  Others feel (or more likely have been brainwashed) differently.  So bear this in mind with regards to my personal buying comments.

  • as a follow on from Moraghan's above post, i wear adizero mana and they're excellent - lightweight, but still offer some support

    for longer runs i use adizero tempo - which are more like a lightweight trainer

    personally, i can recommend the adizero range - they're worked well for me so far

    i wish they'd sort out the lacing system though - it's horrible
  • theBorne - I'm having trouble finding the Mana in size 12 anywhere - any recommendations of anywhere with good stock?

    I use the Nike Skylon +11 for my light(er) trainers.

  • Thanks mate - wouldn't have checked that retailer.  I'll order them later.
Sign In or Register to comment.