Written By: The Veg Next Door
My posts in the upcoming months will cover the basics of starting a running program. Such topics will include: buying the proper footwear, biomechanics (how to run properly), safety and how to run your first 5K race.
I look forward to sharing my knowledge with you. I'm a previous instructor with the Running Room. I taught the For Women Only program at an Ottawa location.
Many of us have started a running program and given up for various reasons. As a former running instructor a common complaint that I heard often was some kind of ache, which usually stemmed from improper footwear. You'd be surprised how important a good pair of running shoes will help you become a better runner.
As a runner your shoes are the most important item you will buy and own. I stress buy because your running shoes are not a piece of equipment that you want to borrow. Plus you should not run in a pair of shoes that you wore if you were pregnant, lost or gained weight, etc. Running shoes are a personal fit. If you try to run in shoes that don’t fit properly then you will probably feel some kind of pain not just in your feet but in your knees, back, anywhere! If you’re experiencing pain then you’re probably not going to want to run.
Running shoes should feel comfortable. So comfortable that it’s like slipping your foot into a pair of slippers. Yes, such shoes exist! So what to look for...
Spend Time to Find and Buy the Right Fit
When purchasing a pair of running shoes be sure to go to a store that sells running shoes and has qualified staff on board. Set aside an hour for your running shoe purchase. Don’t go if you're in a rush. You need time to compare products by trying them on and walking or running around. Don't be rushed into a shoe decision.
Don’t Pick Someone Else’s Shoe
Just because it worked well for a friend does not mean it will work for you. The best shoe for one runner can actually be harmful to another. Running shoes are designed to accommodate specific types of feet. You must find out what works for you.
Bring Your Worn Out Shoes
Your current running shoes and socks will help your shoe expert determine wear and fit. Experienced shoe salespeople can collect vital information from a pair of worn running shoes. They can “read” your wear pattern and determine how your needs have been met by your current shoe. You will need socks to simulate the exact fit you desire. If you wear orthotics or use a foot device of any type, bring them along too.
Your store staff person should ask you about your running history, upcoming goals, terrain, past injuries, etc. The more information, the better your chance for a good fit. A knowledgeable sales person can help you avoid problem shoes and cut down the searching time.
The staff person should examine your foot for width and foot type. Whether your foot is floppy or rigid will determine what type of shoe will work for you. Shoes must be fitted to the shape and function of your feet. The care taken by a trained salesperson can result in a better shoe for you.
Fitting to the Shape of Your Foot
Places where the shoe causes pressure on your foot are susceptible to blisters, which can produce pain while you are running. A loose fit, however, will allow the shoe to slip on your foot, which can also cause blisters. When the foot slides excessively, you will lose energy on the push off. Buy a shoe that fits your foot properly and is not too tight or too loose – just like a slipper.
Only Run in Running Shoes
A common question is, “Can I run in cross-training or aerobic shoes?” The simple answer is no. Shoes for running are designed for the forward motion and for cushioning the impact of running. Cross trainers are designed for some other specific use and support more lateral movement. Aerobic shoes are designed for lateral support and toe flexibility.
How Do I Know When I Need New Shoes?
The average life of a shoe, based on the manufacturer and the sports medicine testing, is approximately 800–1000 km (500–600 mi.). Many times the shoe’s upper will still be in great shape but the cushioning and supportive features have been lost. A good test is to drop into a store when you have 800 km on your shoes and compare a run around the block in a new pair to the old ones. Specialty stores like the Running Room will let you do just that. The key to staying off the injury list is to keep your shoes in good shape so they can keep you in good shape.
So off you go. If you have any questions please feel free to drop me a line: email@example.com