This next blog is about something which is vital to all runners – the importance of wearing a good running shoe. Everyone is different and has a different shoe need but running shoes “are designed to protect your feet from the road, provide traction on different surfaces, cushion the landing shock and support your feet” (Active.com)
I’m trainer obsessed…yes, I admit it!! It must be a family things as my brother even collects them (yes that’s a thing!) I’ve 3 pairs of running shoes, 1 pair of training shoes and a couple of pairs of “fashion” trainers that I don’t really do any sport in, they just look pretty!! You might be thinking “why does she have so many” and I admit I’m able to wear trainers a lot more than the average person so I do need a few extra pairs for if they get soaked or muddy, etc but please let me explain why I’ve more than one pair of running shoes…
A running shoe has a “life” and its estimated that this is around 300-500 miles before you should replace it, so I have 2-3 pairs of running shoes that I alternate between. I wear the newer pair (once worn in) for my longer runs and then alternate between the two older pairs for other, shorter runs. I can feel in a shoe when it starts to need to be replaced – I note achier calf muscles, sorer knees, etc when a shoe isn’t up to scratch any longer. “Each time you take a stride and land, your foot has to absorb 2 to 3 times your body weight” (Active.com) so it’s vital that the cushioning and support that a trainer has to offer is up to scratch.
It is essential for injury free running that you’re sporting the right footwear. The first thing I ask any of my runners when they tell me about an injury or pain in their knee, shin, back, ankle is about their shoes and whether they are fit for purpose. You’d be amazed at what some people run in…
There are so many different types of running shoe – for performance/distance, racing, trail running, etc and there are 3 main categories of “feet” which is all linked to your gait which is the running term for how you run. It can all get a bit mind blowing…“Running shoes should not only provide substantial midsole cushioning, they should offer arch support, aid the prevention of injuries and can promote improved athletic performance” (Livestrong.com) It’s a lot from one little thing but it’s the most important bit of kit required for running. But don’t worry – there are professionals out there that can help! But before you go you need to ask the following question
What is it I’m training for? Are you a beginner trying to get to 5k, are you going for your first 10k or half or are you full blown marathon training? The style and amount of cushioning/stability depends on what you are training for. Quick hint…please don’t pick shoes entirely on colour or style. It’s not about how they look it’s about how they fit your feet. Obviously you have to like them but please don’t just get the prettiest in the shop!
So back to the professionals. There are a number of Running shops out there – loads in the local area (Up and Running in Manchester, RealBuzz in Altrincham, Running Bear in Alderley Edge to name a few) and they are fabulous. The staff are well trained and will be able to answer any running shoe queries you may have (hopefully!!) What they’ll do first of is understand your “gait” by assessing how you run on a treadmill (in store). They will look at how you run and analyse (in layman’s terms) how your stride lands on the belt and see what your feet and ankles do. You gait goes into three categories – neutral, overpronate (feed land inwards) or supinate (feet land outwards) Once they have seen how you run and what support your feet need, they will then recommend a shoe which is fit for purpose. They will offer your shoes which cushion, support and stabilise your feet and ankles. In my personal opinion (and everyone has different) the top running shoes brands for me are Brooks, Asics, Adidas and Mizuno (not in any particular order!!) so keep an eye out for these. My personal fave is Adidas but I’ve just got a new pair of Brooks and I love them!
By way of my final piece of advice and something which isn’t talked about that much is all about how your shoes fit. They must feel comfy – they should fit you like a glove so to speak! Also, you need a bit of space at the end of your shoe – the recommendation is a full thumbs width (yes, like Clarks!!) This is, I’ve heard, one of the most commonly made mistakes from people with their running shoes. It is down to the fact that your feet swell and expand when running and you need that extra room to accommodate this. If your shoes are too small you run the risk of blisters or sore feet (or losing toenails if you’re marathon running – ewwwww!!)
So by way of ending this – go grab your runners and have a look at them and if you’ve even contemplating the fact that they’re probably on their way out, go grab yourself a new pair – in the same way that no-one ever regrets a workout, no-one ever regrets getting a decent, supportive pair of trainers. If you want any advice please just comment or ask and I’ll share some wisdom if I can!!