Choose Right Running Shoe

STABILITY

Running shoes that are under the stability category are designed to control your feet from turning outwards when you run, balances your heel, and supports the arcs of your feet. These types of running footwear provide extra cushioning and excellent stability for your feet when you run. These shoes are for runners who lands on the outside of their heels and slightly turns their foot inward (pronates) when running. The arc of these shoes are not as rigid and may have varying degrees of support.

NEUTRAL

The shoes under the neutral category are usually designed with a flexible forefoot and soft but firm mid-sole. These are the best types of shoes when you tend to land on the outside of your foot. You can determine where your foot lands by checking the soles of your old shoes – if the outside of the sole is worn out, then you tend to land more on the outside of your feet. This may also be the best pair for people with a high foot arc. Check if the arc of the shoes you’re planning to buy has enough support or rigid especially if you have a high foot arc. These kinds of shoes support the arc of your foot more than your ankle or your knees. You can observe that this type of running footwear often has a curved sole.

MOTION CONTROL

The soles of running shoes under the motion control category are usually straight or flat. Some designs have slightly curved soles but the main goal of these running footwear is to keep the heel secure and minimize the rate of pronation when you run. These shoes usually have a wider landing base for your heels, and a strong, rigid heel counter. These are good for runners who have flat feet or low arches. Runners who tend pronate their feet and have unstable knees when running can benefit more from these types of running shoes. Check the soles of your old pair – if they are worn out on the mid-sole, then this category is for you.

Here are some tips when buying your running shoes:

  • Walk and Run in the store. Spend time with your chosen pair before buying it. I know lots of people who buys specific kind of shoes just because they discovered that some great runner used it to finish first place in a race. You have different needs and what works for others may not work well with you. Test out the running shoes in the store. Don’t be afraid to take a few steps on them and even run a couple of meters if possible. Some good running stores even have treadmills for you to run on!
  • Don’t throw your old pair – yet. Bring your old pair of running shoes to the store where you’re going to buy your new shoes. If the place where you are shopping for a new running shoes is specifically a running shoe store, they may have staff who knows about shoes and can analyze the wear pattern of your old shoes. Because you will want to try on walking and running on your new shoes, bring your socks with you and any orthotics if you have one. If the running store have equipment for foot analysis, do not hesitate to have your gait analyzed even if you already know your foot arc or foot type. Let the staff know your running history, goals, injuries and what type of training you usually do.
  • Know your soft spots. One of the main reasons why we need to wear shoes is comfort. Your feet should be comfortable enough while you walk or run in your new running shoes. Pressure spots or loose fitting shoes often leads to blisters.
  • Perfect Fit for your Feet. If your running shoes are too loose and your feet slides inside your shoes, you will lose energy on every push off that your feet makes when you run. It is okay to adjust and re-adjust the laces of the running shoes while inside a store. Tie your laces so that you have a feeling of security without discomfort.
  • Running shoes are special. They are designed specifically for forward motion (i.e., running forward), heel cushioning and arc support. If you have time to observe the soles of different types of shoes, you can see that they have horizontal line patterns on their sole. If you plan on using running shoes for other sports or physical activity, you will wear them out faster and you may even risk yourself injury. Cross-training shoes are designed for more lateral support (moving sideways, etc.) and toe flexibility. Buying a different pair like a cross-trainer for other activities is a good investment because your running shoes will last longer and you will reduce risk of injury.

Running With Flat Feet

Luckily, anyone with flat feet can live a normal and happy life. For the jogger, it is essential to take extra care while jogging. There are stretches and exercises that can reduce the suffering caused by having flat feet. These exercises certainly help and can be a part of a long term solution. Some people even find yoga helpful to strengthen their foot muscles and tendons.

Exercises can only go so far; people who run on a weekly basis, need to do more to avoid injury. Many joggers have turned to jogging barefoot, or wearing minimalist shoes such as Vibram Five’s. Many people do not like running without shoes as they offer protection from the elements and hazards. This makes running difficult for anyone who overprontates to run comfortably. Luckily, there is a way to run without pain without sacrificing pain. All of the leading shoe manufacturers make running shoes designed specifically for flat footed runners.

Stability shoes offer ample mid-sole cushioning, while still offering support and durability. The most popular stability shoe is the Nike Zoom Structure Triax + 15. The Asics Gel 2170 is also a reasonably priced shoe perfect for people with low arches.

Motion Control shoes offer more support than stability shoes and are excellent for heavier joggers and walkers. Some motion control shoes are too thick and heavy, but luckily there are a couple of great motion control shoes.. The New Balance 1226 is supportive while still offering flexibility, the design of the Asics Evolution 6 is perfect for anyone looking for superior motion control while not sacrificing comfort.

Anyone who has flat feet needs to take action to prevent injuries in the future. With ill fitting footwear, the jogger is vulnerable to injuries to the whole body, from the feet all the way to the neck. Anyone who stretches their feet properly, and who wears the correct shoes will alleviate most, if not all, of the symptoms and pains associated with having flat feet.

Maximalist Running Shoes

The maximalist running shoe is an idea developed by Nicolas Mermoud and Jean-Luc Diard, both are experienced mountain runners from France and former employees of the Salomon footwear company. They started Hoka One One running shoe for years ago and based its design on the oversize concept used in powder skis and full suspension mountain bikes. The design is all about having a bigger sweet spot which can aid performance. In addition, the high cushion concept is also about dynamic midsole foams and modern shapes.

It is a fact that maximalist shoes have been more commonly seen during ultrarunning events than any other type of races. Between 40 and 60 percent of runners are wearing Hokas during ultrarunning races. Why? Because that high cushion can withstand long hours of pounding during the race. This capability makes maximalist running shoes become more prevalent in half marathons and marathons as well.

As of now, there has been no independent study at all on the maximalist running shoes. The only studies available so far are conducted by manufacturers and not surprisingly, their results will only support their marketing pitches.

This is entirely depend on what you define as maximalism. Just like minimalism, the definition can be blurred between person to person. Generally speaking, these companies – Hoka One One, Brooks, Pearl Izume, Vasque, Puma, New Balance, Altra, Skechers – have at least one maximalist model. Adidas Boost foam can also be regarded by some runners as a maximalist model. You could also argue Nike’s Lunar Eclipse 4 as a maximalist type of running shoe due to its thick midsole.

Answering this question is difficult. Our advice to you is that maximalist running shoes cannot suit everyone. Just like other running shoes, you need to find one that suits and fits your foot and is suitable for the kinds of runs you regularly exercise. Maximalism, for us, is just another option. It will fit some runners and will not do the same to others.

Running With Spouse

First of all, if you run at different paces, it may be a good idea to only stay together at the beginning of a workout together or the end. If one of you is a faster runner, you may get irritated having to run at a slower pace. And, actually, it can be harmful to you. So, plan to just run the first mile (it will be the warm up for the faster runner) or the last mile together.

Another variation of this is if one of you runs farther than the other. You can run as far as one of you wants – and then the other can continue on their longer run. This can be done by doing a loop around your neighborhood and then dropping one of you back at the house. If you go somewhere to run – while one is running farther – the other can make a water run.

Don’t try to be your spouse’s coach during your runs. Barking orders at them can only cause them to roll their eyes at you and be silent the whole run. If they ask for your opinion – that’s one thing. But, if you are constantly trying to get them to run faster, breathe differently, etc; – you will end up running by yourself very soon. A better way is to wait until after your workout and then casually say, “it may help you if… “

If you run a road race together, you don’t want to compete with each other. Instead, you want to encourage each other and cheer each other on to their best race possible. Racing against each other will only cause resentfulness later on. Just be each other’s best cheerleader.

Running on Supplements

Creatine

When I was in high school and college, creatine had just started becoming immensely popular, especially among weightlifters and football players.

Creatine is something that occurs naturally in the body that helps supply energy to the cells in the body, with a focus on muscle tissue. Numerous studies have been done on creatine, and while originally thought to have negative side effects, more recent studies are showing that creatine taken in the right doses could actually be fairly safe. (Talk to a doctor before running out to the store and buying some!)

The theory behind creatine supplements is that they will help boost your energy and recovery so you can push yourself past your natural limits. Creatine has a short burst effect in the body, which makes it better suited for the weightlifting or sprinting crowd rather than the endurance runner.

Creatine comes in many different forms, but if taken in a pill form before an endurance event it can be devastating. The gastrointestinal side effects creatine pills can have will leave you wishing you’d have just stuck with a bagel and banana. If you’re an endurance runner, creatine is best left alone.

Ibuprofen

Oddly enough, this one had never occurred to me as something that athletes would use as a supplement for training. I learned about ibuprofen the hard way having taken it for a headache before going for a run. Like creatine, ibuprofen can have some horrendous gastrointestinal side effects, including destroying your stomach lining.

Ibuprofen has been extremely common for endurance athletes to use prior to running. Runners believe that taking it before running helps mask any pain they might feel while running and let them go longer and/or faster.
Here’s the problem – medicines like ibuprofen and other NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug – which covers pretty much every over the counter medicine except Tylenol) can cause major problems for you, especially if you end up dehydrated. We’re talking kidney failure, heart problems, and even death.

Earlier this year, a healthy 23 year old died during a marathon due to a hemorrhage in his GI tract that was attributed to taking ibuprofen during the race. Is that kind of risk really worth shaving a couple minutes off your time?

Whey Protein

I am a huge fan of whey protein. After I finish a run, I find it’s the perfect snack when mixed with a smoothie. Whey protein is considered to be a safer supplement, easy to digest, and helpful in aiding muscle repair.

Whey protein is the byproduct that’s left after cow’s milk is converted to cheese and is rich in amino acids that work with your muscles.

The thing is though, it’s better taken after a run rather than before. Taking it after makes it easier for your body to digest and will allow it to work with building your muscles after they’ve been worked. Before a run, it may just sit heavily in your stomach and not really prove beneficial.

Like with any other product, you should always do some research before using whey protein, but I do find Designer Whey to be one of the best whey protein products out there. It’s designed to dissolve quickly in liquid, which means your body will have an easier time absorbing it. And it tastes delicious!

Improve Your Running

At the very beginning, this was a tough question for me to answer. I had tried to get into running on several occasions previously. What I found was that I lost my motivation to get out there after a few runs or a week. So the best advice I can give you on this question is to start smaller and build up. Set a schedule that you know you can meet. If that means getting out 3 times a week then go for it, if you have the time and can plan more all the better. You will find that if you have a plan ahead of time and meet that plan, you will build confidence and will be more likely to keep at it.

For me, I found that the minimum I could do and still see the small gains I was hoping for was to run 3 times a week. Less than that and I was not consistently seeing improvements. Not seeing any improvement led to disappointment, and ultimately giving up on the process. Each time I finished a planned workout no matter how far or how slow, it built my confidence and helped me to get out the door on my next run.

If you are just beginning this question is natural. However I would recommend that for the first few weeks, at least, you change the question around. Rather than worrying about how far you should run, focus instead on how long you should run. For me, I was able to build confidence knowing that getting out there for 20 minutes was something I could do 3 times a week. In my previous attempts, I would say I am going to run 3 miles, and I would struggle to get the mileage. Or the goal would end up taking far longer than I had planned. In both cases, the result is you will not feel as though you are improving your running, just the opposite I was developing a negative thought.

Start with a plan that has you focused on a time frame rather than a specific distance. With each run you will acclimate your body to the demands of running. As your body starts to adapt to the demands you place on it, you will see improvements. Maybe your first day out you can cover 1.25 miles in 20 minutes. If you stick to your plan, you will start to see gains and maybe after a week, you can cover 1.35 miles in the same time frame. Regardless of how big or how little the improvement is… CELEBRATE it. That is a success and you worked hard to earn that success.

The biggest recommendation I can give as newbie runner is to finish the workouts you start. If you find that the duration you have set for yourself is too much, shorten the workout rather than continually stopping early. It is a small change, but you will find that you build more confidence in meeting a goal or plan, than stopping short or making it up as you go.

I will be very honest with you while I learned the answer to this question for myself early on; it took me nearly 2 months to fully embrace.

It doesn’t matter!

Almost every run will seem like hard run to a newbie.

Most of us will not be able to run very far without huffing and puffing or feeling their legs ache. This is completely natural and expected. Your body is simply not accustomed to the motions and demands of running. This may occur after ¼ of a mile or after 10 steps. Just remind yourself, that this is only a starting point.

In my first week, I focused on jogging short distances (60 seconds) at as slow a pace as I could without actually walking. Then I walked for 120 seconds, and then I repeated the process. The actual times you choose will depend largely on how fit or conditioned you are when you begin your own journey. I know runners who started at as low as 15 strides of running and then walking. They key is to keep moving and make sure the walking portions are being done at a fairly brisk pace.

Here’s a secret… your heart doesn’t know if your running or walking. When you work harder than normal it is going to beat faster and pump more blood through your system and thereby improve your endurance. You just need to be active. All the while it is becoming more efficient and better at its job and therefore, you can ask more and more from it.

A good rule of thumb to improve your running is to use the 80/20 rule. 80% of your running should be at LOW intensity. Only 20% of all your running in a week should be at a moderate or high intensity. Don’t believe me, check out some of the elite runners schedules. They follow the 80/20 rule.

Proper Clothes For Winter Running

Runners should wear clothing that is not only comfortable, but “runner friendly”. What I mean by that is that you should wear apparel made with moisture-wicking fabrics. This fabric will “wick” away the moisture from your body as your sweat and keep you dry. This is important in both cold weather and warmer weather. If you wear shirts that don’t do this – as you sweat, the sweat stays against your body, you stay wet, cold and pretty miserable.

Cotton is the one fabric that you want to stay away from. Cotton will absorb your body heat, your moisture as your sweat and will cling to your body. This makes your run pretty miserable not matter what time of year it is. Most runners that have been running for years can attest to this. We’ve all been out there in our cotton t-shirts before better material became available.

Layering your clothing is the best way to stay comfortable when you are running in colder weather. Multiple layers will keep you drier than one heavy piece of apparel. The different layers will keep you warm while wicking moisture away from your body. How many layers you wear depends on a couple of factors – how cold the climate is your running in, is it raining and how warm you like to be when you run.

Another good thing to remember is that you should dress as if it is 10 degrees warmer than it actually is outside. The extra 10 degrees accounts for your body heat.

Your base layer is the most important. This layer needs to move moisture away from you so that you won’t get chilled. This is the layer where you definitely want a technical shirt – such as CoolMax. For some runners, this layer could be a singlet or for others a long sleeve shirt.

A shirt with a zipper that is a great next layer – especially if you are using 2 layers. If it gets a little warmer, you can partially unzip and allow some ventilation. If it turns cooler on you or the wind starts to pick up – you can zip it all the way up.

When the weather is really cold or if its raining/snowing, you need some sort of jacket. You can find jackets now that are wind-resistant and water resistant. When you are looking at jackets, make sure to look to see if they are venting in the back (and sometimes under the arms). This will allow the ventilation that you need so that your layers don’t get “heavy” as you sweat.

You also want to remember your hands and feet. Be sure to wear gloves and a hat or band over your ears on those super cold days. Also, If it’s raining, I like to wear a cap that is rain-resistant. This keeps the rain from getting in my eyes.

Beware Of The Slant Of The Road

If you run the same road (which is steeply slanted), in the same direction, day in and day out – it can lead to running injuries. Also, if the road is slanted even more steeply – it can throw your stride off. Some of the things that this can cause are IT band syndrome, plantar fasciitis, runner’s knee and more. So, you need to be aware of the pitch of the road you are running on and make allowances.
You may hear others say that they switch up and run the road in the opposite direction to compensate for the pitch of the road. I will never recommend this as a solution. For safety, I believe that you should always run facing traffic. If you run your route the other way – you will not be doing that.

One of the things that you can do is to switch routes. Try to find a running route where the road does not pitch as much as what you may be running on now. You might be able to find a park or place where the slant is not as bad.

Another thing that you can do is to run more to the side of the road on the shoulder than on the road. I’ve found that the road usually levels out more when you get to the edge of the road. This will help tremendously.

It is important for you to watch the camber (or slant) of the road when you are out on your runs. This may be something that you have never thought about before – but should be aware of. However, if you have to run on roads that are slanted – make sure that you are icing and self massaging when you finish.

Reasons To Run Alone

First of all, running by yourself gives you time to sort through anything that you may be going through in your life. You can reason through any problems that you may be having – and usually come out with a good solution. Running by yourself gives you the quiet that you need to sort things through.

Sometimes, it’s just nice to have the “me” time. We’ll all so busy with workers, family and friends sometimes there’s just no time for yourself. Running gives you that time that you need to be by yourself. You don’t have to answer to anyone during that time but yourself.

I feel that running alone makes you a stronger runner mentally. It’s great to have a buddy when you start feeling bad during the middle of a long run. They can talk you through the bad time. However, during a race you need to be able to mentally get through any tough times. You get the confidence that you can get through anything. And, that’s a great feeling to have.

If you are running alone – you can listen to your body better. You can stay focused on how your feeling and be aware of anything that your body is telling you. If it is telling you to walk for a minute to get over a glitch, you can. If it’s telling you to speed up, you can. It’s all up to you. You can run as fast or as far as you want.

And, an extension of that is that you can run wherever you want. When you run with others, you have to worry about finding a place to meet, the time to suit everybody, etc. When you run by yourself, it’s all up to you. If you want to run early to get your day started off right – you can. And, you don’t have to worry about your friends showing up late and making you late the rest of the day.

Now, running with friends does have its advantages. I did it for many years. But, I’m really glad to be a solo runner now. It suits me much better where I am now.

Cross Training Benefits

It helps balancing your muscles groups

It can strengthen your non-running muscles and rests the ones you use during your runs. You will be able to focus on specific muscles, such as inner thighs, that do not get trained as much during your runs.

It helps preventing injury

By balancing your muscles, you also reduce your chance of getting injured. Low impact cross exercises, such as swimming, can also lessen the pressures and the stress on your joints.

It will improve your cardiovascular fitness

Cross exercises are also great to improve the level of your cardiovascular fitness and this will benefit you during grueling distance running races.

You add more variations in your training and avoid getting bored with running

Running everyday will burn out everyone, even the most devoted running enthusiast. Cross exercises provide ways for runners to have that mental break from running. By taking some time off from running to exercise in other activities can help you get that excitement back when you return to running.

It allows you to train when you are injured

Runners suffering from injuries are often told by their doctors to stop running temporarily so that they can recover. However, if you are doing cross exercises, you will still be able to practice even if you are injured. By doing this, you will be able to maintain your fitness level.

When Should Runners Cross Train?

The answer to this question is entirely up to you and your expertise level. If you are a recreational runner, then you can try to cross train for between 2 and 3 days per week. If you are an experienced runner and love to run races regularly, then you can try doing light and easy cross exercises during your rest days. Cross training is also a great alternative for runners who are traveling and have no access to tracks or a treadmill.