Shoe Swap

running shoes

Do you ever see the new shoe reviews? Of course you do. I’m here to say, “Beware.” The reviews can suck you into thinking your shoes are not right for you or that you can get better ones which will prevent or be the fix all for any nagging injuries you have.

It’s not just the shoe reviews which can prompt a change in shoe. Sometimes you just walk into the running store and there they all are beautifully displayed along the wall.

Our running friends get new shoes and talk about how great they are. You look down at their feet and see the clean and vibrant colors and think, “It’s about time for new shoes, right?”

Every year there are runners who are forced into changing shoes as new models are released and no longer work for us or  have bothersome aspects,  which,  stir up the desire to find something else.

There are a million reasons we decide to change shoe brands or models.  Despite the reason for us changing shoes, there are some precautions runners should take or possible issues they should think about as they make the change.

Make sure you find out about the construction of the shoe and how it is different or similar to what you are currently running in. Running store employees have quite a bit of information in this area. They talk to a lot of runners who give them personal reviews. You can also search for reviews online. Even if you don’t order shoes from online sources, many have review or comments. Also look at the website for the manufacturer. They usually detail the updates and changes from one model to another.

Toe box width, heel to toe drop, arch support, and stability are all important aspects of a shoe you should be asking about. Once you know this info, turn the shoe over in your hand and check out the tread. Is it aggressive enough for where you run? How stiff is the sole of the shoe?

Take the shoe for a test drive. Many running stores will let you run on a treadmill to feel the shoe. This is never enough time for you to really assess the comfort level of the shoe.  And it’s not the ideal conditions unless you run on treadmills for the majority of your running.

Pay attention to how the foot feels in the shoe, is there anything rubbing, does the heel fit well in the heel cup, do your toes have enough space to wiggle, and is the shoe supportive/tight enough in your arch. Make sure there is not a place on your foot where there is more pressure than other places.

There are two good times to go try on shoes: first, after a long run, and second, after you have worked all day. The reason is, your feet swell throughout the day making them bigger at the end of the day. Your feet also swell during running. The point is make sure you have enough room in the toe box.

Many stores also have a 30 day return policy. However, this may be a bit tricky if you’ve run a bunch of miles and the shoes are dirty in any way. Check into the return policy when you are switching brands or models.

My final advice is, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.

In the Beginning

tired_runner1

The beginning of the year always jolts people into action to improve their lives or to set goals they would like to achieve by years end. Many of these goals are health related such as eating better, losing weight, and exercising on a regular basis.

We are three weeks into the year, or twenty-one days. How many people have been able to continue on their journey to a healthier life style? I’m not sure, but I know the gym is starting to dwindle down to the regulars. It takes twenty-one days to form a habit, so if you have made it this far you are well on your way to achieving your goal. The hardest part is getting started.

A nice way to get your self-motivated is to pick a 5k (3.1 miles) run in your city a few months out and then work yourself up to the three miles over twelve weeks. Even in the winter, there are 5k’s here and there, especially if there are any holidays coming up. If you can’t find one, don’t let that stop you from starting.

What do you need to get started?

Don’t go out and spend a lot of money when you first start running. The one purchase I always recommend is shoes. Get some good running shoes from a local running store. They can help you decide which shoes are best for you. Before you go, know that good running shoes are kinda expensive ($ 120 on average).

The other important piece of equipment is clothing. They don’t need to be from the running store. Look around at your local clothing stores for their exercise clothing. Target has a great line of clothing for exercising and it’s not expensive. Having appropriate clothing is important for a few reasons, you want to be able to run comfortably regardless of the weather outside and you don’t want chafing.

That’s it. All you need to start is clothing and shoes.

How do you get started?

There are many beginner programs out there. You want to pick one based upon your fitness level. Of course, you should always check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program. If you are overweight and have been inactive for over six months, beginning with walking twenty minutes a day is a perfect starting line for you. Each week try to increase your pace by a few minutes. Once you are comfortable with walking at a quick pace you can move on to a run walk program, which I’ll talk about next.

Start here if you are brand new to running, have not done any exercising in the last six months, and are in reasonable shape, you need to start with a run walk program. Start with walking five minutes and running two minutes. If that’s hard, run one minute and walk four minutes. Continue alternating between walking and running for twenty minutes. As you make progress, you will increase the amount of time you are running and decrease the amount of time you are walking until you are running for the entire twenty minutes. You should start here if you haven’t been running for eight weeks or more due to injury. Once you can do this, move on to the next step.

Okay now you can run twenty minutes without stopping. Finding twenty minutes a day to squeeze in a run is doable for most people. But, what if you don’t want to stop with just twenty minutes? Perhaps running has become your new best friend and you want to spend even more time together.

That’s fantastic! There are a few rules to keep in mind as you increase your miles until you reach your goal. First is never increase your miles by more than ten percent each week. Second is, reduce your miles by twenty to twenty-five percent every fourth week. Following these two simple rules will help you stay injury free as you increase your miles.

Why?

running is my passion

There are as many reasons to run as there are runners. People begin running to lose weight, to increase their cardio capacity, and to get out of the house. The people who continue to run are those whose reasons for running change as they achieve the initial goal they set out to reach.

Then there are the “addicts.” The crazy people who run because it’s fun. Countless people have told me how much they hate to run and how hard it is for them to do one mile. Here is a little secret, that first mile is the hardest mile. It’s hard to go from zero to moving. It takes time for your heartrate to increase to the point where you are comfortable. This is true for just about everyone. Once you get past the first mile and your body adjusts to the forward motion, it’s easier. It’s almost fun.

Even after running for eight years, it takes my body anywhere from one to three miles to find it’s groove, especially if I worked hard the day before.

Running makes your immune system, cardiovascular, and respiratory systems stronger and increases their efficiency. In addition to the well-known benefits to running and exercise in general, there are some “hidden” benefits to running, such as stress relief, increase in creativity, and making friends. The bottom line is running will make you a happier person. Twenty minutes a day is all it takes to establish a good routine and reap the benefits increasing your quality of life.

So, why do I keep at it? There isn’t just one reason that keeps me shuffling down the trail day after day and mile after mile. I run for all of the reasons above, but I also run to feel connected to the world around me especially nature. I love being out there. I love challenging myself and pushing through those challenges. Running makes me happy, and it makes me a better person.

New and Beginning Runners

The-Very-First-Step

I love talking with new runners. They try so hard to balance their pride in their most recent running accomplishment and their timidity regarding what they know is not a very long distance compared to what I run. Ever since I started organizing a the 5k and 10k race, I’ve been talking to a lot more new runners and people who have run a little before, but are trying to get back into it.

“A mile is a mile,” I tell them. “And a mile is nothing to be ashamed of. It is far. Most people don’t walk a mile in a day.”

“But it must be nothing to you,” they say.

“At mile 99, a mile is the difference between finishing and not. It is the longest mile of your life.”

Being a new runner is harder than being an experienced runner, no matter how far an experienced runner is going. They may have an argument if they are tackling a new distance for them say moving from the half marathon to the full, but even then they have a good idea what they are in for in regards to the physical and mental challenges of running.

But for new runners, every aspect of running is new, exciting, and a challenge from what to wear to how best to train. It’s fun to watch them figure out how their body works and what they can accomplish if they put their mind to it. I believe pretty much anyone can run a marathon, if you want it bad enough. It may not be beautiful or gazelle like, and it may not be the fastest time in the world, country, city, or neighborhood, but you can finish. And finishing is the first goal.

I think the most important thing experienced runners can do is offer encouragement and information. We learn so much about the art of running when we’re out on the road and trails for hours. There is no better way to keep beginning runners motivated and moving forward than to share what we have learned about conquering challenges, pushing beyond a limit, and the pure joy of running.

I’ve been lucky to help train others for various distances watching them cross the finish line is a gift and watching them excel, crushing their own times from a month before is another gift. I love to share in their excitement, but it also motivates me to get better.

Three things for getting started:

  1. Get good shoes.
  2. Don’t increase your miles too quickly 10% a week is the rule.
  3. Stay consistent.

I’ve often said, “If the whole world ran five miles three days a week, the world would be a better place.”