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In every runner’s life there are a few great loves. The sports bra that fits perfectly or the gel that tastes like a delicious dessert. And then there is the greatest love of all—the perfect pair of running shoes. You fall head over soles when you try them on in the store, and they only seem to get better with every mile. But then one day you start to feel the beginnings of a tired Achilles or unexpected blister, and you realize you’ve been ignoring the signs for a while: Your sneakers have reached the end of the road. You know they’re doing you more harm than good and that the time has come to retire them, but before you can even dream of shopping for new trainers, you have to properly mourn your once-perfect match and suffer through the five stages of grief.
Related: 5 Stages Of Grief, Runner Edition
Denial: No. This cannot be happening. I just bought these sneakers the other day, so there’s no way I’ve worn them long enough for them to be this destroyed. That’s not a blister, it’s just a freckle. An oozing, red, painful freckle.
Anger: Damn you, shoe gods! Every other pair in existence is the absolute WORST! I have two 5Ks and a half marathon to train for and I NEED MY BEST PAIR!!!!
Bargaining: Okay, fine. I won’t wear them every day, I’ll just save them for long runs. Alright, just for races. And I’ll wear thick socks for extra padding. This will definitely work.
Depression: This isn’t working. It’s over. I will never run again. Good-bye half marathon, farewell future PR. Maybe I’ll take up swimming instead. No sneakers needed in the pool.
Acceptance: It’s time. There are other fish in the sea! Off to the running store. Ooo, my old shoes have a new model out?! I think I’m in love.
Related: Top 12 Running Shoes