Saucony Running Shoes Reviewed


I’m not a shoe junkie by any means, compared to what i’ve witnessed in other people. I don’t have wallets deep enough to try various brands and styles of shoes. Like most things, I find a brand that seems to deliver a great consistent product at a reasonable price and I will be a customer for life. I’m pretty brand loyal. Saucony is one of those companies for me. I’ve gone through a several pairs of a few different styles from them and they never seem to disappoint.

Saucony Kinvara3 (Right) Cortana 2 (Left)

Saucony Kinvara3 (Right) Cortana 2 (Left)


I switch off between two models for the most part, the Saucony Cortana and the Saucony Kinvara 3. Both of these are a 4mm drop shoe that I would consider are a hybrid shoes (can be trail or road shoe)

I use the Kinvara for shorter runs (less than 6 miles usually), they are light, have a tight feel to my foot but can get a little tight for me in the forefoot area. On longer runs as my foot swells a bit more, I can really start to notice it.

The Cortana’s I use for longer runs, it has the same 4mm drop as the Kinvara’s but has a bit more padding overall and a roomier forefront. The Corana’s have won several awards from running magazines and seems to be well received by anyone that puts them on.

I was getting serious painful callouses on the side of my bit toe, but those seem to have gone away since i’ve started using the Cortana’s for my long runs.

Both shoes work well for me on both trail and road. I’d recommend either of these to someone looking to try a new shoe.

Saucony Durability

If I had one complaint about both of these shoes it would be the durability. They seem to start to break apart rather easily. On my current Kinvaras I have about 200 miles on them, but already had some tears along the side. My older Cortana’s I have almost 400 miles and they are also tearing. I don’t feel like i’m particularly rough on my shoes, mostly road or non-technical trails. Perhaps there is something mechanical about my running that is causing it, but both shoes are breaking down in different areas, so not sure.

Saucony Kinvara3 Tearing

Saucony Kinvara3 Tearing

Saucony Cortana Tearing

Saucony Cortana Tearing

Long Slow Distance by Heart Rate

I’ve come to the conclusion that I run my LSD’s (Long Slow Distances) too dang fast. I start with every intention of doing a 10-11 minute mile, but somewhere around mile 2 my pride and fresh legs begin to creep up the intensity and speed.

Before the end of the run I’m averaging 8:45 miles and my heart rate is in the 160’s. Way too much intensity for what the run is supposed to be. The entire point of the LSD’s is to get  your body accustomed to burning fat for fuel (aerobic zones) and overall time on your feet, it’s not supposed to be intense or hard. Slow and easy is the key.

My last few runs i’ve changed up a few things. First, I turn off all audible announcements from ismooth run. I don’t get any pace or overall timing information. Second, I have a heart rate screen on my garmin that gives me 1 piece of information, you guessed it heart rate.

Now on these runs my goal is to not go above 140 BPM. I try to stay in the 130 range. I don’t even look at pace. As my aerobic capacity improves I should start to see an increased pace and the same intensity.

Ladder workout

Last night I went to the weekly Tuesday Performance Group workout that is hosted by our local FootZone.

It’s a great opportunity to try some different kinds of workouts, and Max King is the coach. He has such a broad depth of knowledge and his willingness to share makes it a great resource for a runner like myself. The skill range varies greatly, but everyone is supportive of each other regardless of speeds. We are all there with the same goal, to get a little faster.

This weeks workout was a ladder workout.

  • 650m 1 minute rest
  • 1100m 2 minute rest
  • 1.4 Miles 3 minute rest
  • 1100m 2 minute rest
  • 650m finish

Here is my garmin connect for the run (for some reason, runkeeper did not import Heart Rate information fully)

Was a great workout and something I probably wouldn’t have done on my own. Good thing today is rest day, i’m a bit sore.

Eugene Marathon training begins

Eugene MarathonI spent this past weekend putting together my training plan for the Eugene Marathon that is on April 28th. I’m a little nervous about my calf holding up, but so far it seems to be getting better ever so slowly while still doing 25 – 30 MPW. I still haven’t been able to tackle many hills or tempo/speed workouts, but that’s ok. I feel like I have a good base on my speed to hit my 4:00 marathon goal at this point.

I used one of Hal Higdon’s free training plans and modified it a bit to fit where i’m currently at, and the number of weeks until the marathon (15!). I am using the Intermediate 1 plan from Hal. I thought about jumping up to the intermediate 2, but felt like it was too many miles for where i’m currently at. Perhaps the next round I will make the jump.

One of the things I like about this plan is the back to backs on your long runs. You do a 6 or 8 mile run the day before your long run. I’m hoping this will help with the drop off I had in Portland at mile 22, my hip flexors were shot.

My basic schedule will end up being

  • Monday – Easy Longer
  • Tuesday – Easy short (Tempo/Hill depending on how I feel)
  • Wednesday – Off, Cross Train
  • Thursday – Easy longer (some at race pace of 9:00 miles)
  • Friday – Long Run
  • Saturday – Off
  • Sunday – Easy + Strength

This is essentially the same schedule I had for Portland, with the exception of strength training being added and the longer run before the longest run.

I start with 25 miles this week and will peak in about 8 weeks with 44 miles. Two 20 mile runs will be done during training, depending on how I feel I may try to stretch those to 22-24 milers.

Good Form Running part deux

Footzone offers a free Good Form Running Clinic a few times a year. This is meant to be a basic 1 hour intro to GFR. Discuss the 4 basic principals (Posture, Cadence, Lean, Mid Foot), and give some suggestions on how to make it happen. They also offer a more advanced class a couple times a year that cost $25 and is put on by a local PT Professional. This is meant to go a little deeper in the theory and give you some additional exercises to get your body into a GFR position.

5d98e7ddc55a10d1d100ca418a9e17d7I attended the Good Form Running 2 class this past Tuesday and had a bit of a mixed feeling. There was a lot of anatomy discussed which I know nothing about, but it also gave a lot of the theory behind why GFR is good for you, and that helped me understand what is happening to my muscles while i’m running and what I need to focus on.

Here are my key takeaways from the class

It’s all about 180 Foot Falls a Minute

Yup, the same thing we were taught in GFR 1 applies here. Run in the magic 180 footfalls per minute and a lof of your other issues will be taken care of. You don’t have enough time to overstride, it brings your feet underneath you.

the magic 180 also will reduce your vertical displacement, which is essentially wasted movement and energy. We filmed each other running at our normal cadence, then with a metronome. The difference in vertical displacement was amazing.

I use iSmooth Run on my iphone when I run and it has a nifty feature that will overlay a metronome noise over your music while you run. You can turn it off and on throughout your run, I will typically just leave it on for a few of my runs. Can be annoying as hell, but it helps train my body and mind what 180 feels like. Over time it will become more natural.

One suggestion he had was to do 12 minute miles at 180 footfalls per minute. I tried it on the treadmill and it was hard, but really gave you the idea of what it should feel like.

Get those glutes going

Yup, we spent a lot of time talking about the Glutes and why they are so important. Most of your forward momentum should be coming from your glutes. As your plant your foot, it should be the glutes that drive you through your stride. During the class we performed several exercises that can be done throughout the day to awaken your glutes and get into the game. They included.

  • Penguin Walk
  • Squeezing Glutes while walking up Stairs
  • Kegles
  • Squats and lunges

My key takeaway from this was try to incorporate your glutes in your day to day living. You need to wake them up and get them going.

Hips Forward

I know i’m guilty of this, keeping my hips back and bending over at my hips. Most of us spend so much time hunched over sitting at a computer that our abdominal muscles are pretty weak  can not keep our hips forward very long. More core exercises! (stay tuned for a quick exercise tip on this).

Strength and Active Strength Training

Strength training is good and needed, but will do you no good if your aren’t using the proper muscles while running. Keep doing weight training, but also incorporate hills at a 7% incline or more to get the glutes firing. He said it was nearly impossible to run from the calves with a 7% or more incline.

There was a lot discussed in the 90 minute class, and something a I may retake after putting some of these key items in place. The best thing was to get a better understanding of what should be happening when I run, and spending some time running focused on form and cadence only.