This week, my focus was on making sure I had good shoes for running. My lovely parents gave me some money to go to a fancy running store and get some shoes and socks.
They have been following my column and thought that my lower leg pain was a result of having poor shoes.
I decided to head down to Run for Your Life on Mallard Creek Church Rd. near Trader Joe’s. The salesman was really helpful, and I learned a lot from him. I wish I remembered his name.
Anyways, he started talking to me about what my training schedule looks like, how I feel when I run and things like that. I told him about my lower leg pain, and he told me that shoes were probably playing a huge role in that problem.
Since I hadn’t ever been formally fitted for shoes, he decided to go ahead and do that for me. When they fit you, they watch you walk and run to see how much you pronate. Pronating means how much your foot rotates when you land on it. Everyone pronates a little bit, but some people pronate more than others. He discovered that my left foot pronates a little bit more than my right foot, and that the way that foot lands is almost a little pigeon toed.
It was a little awkward having my legs filmed as I run on a treadmill (I may or may not have tripped getting off), but the information I got was worth it.
He also opted for more cushioning in the shoes he picked for me to try on. I tried on four pairs: a Saucony, a Nike, a Reebok and a New Balance. When I tried them on, I had to run down the sidewalk in front of the store to see how they felt. That was definitely a little uncomfortable, especially when I was wearing one shoe on my right foot and another on my left.
I ended up deciding on the Sauconys because they were the most comfortable on my foot yet still allowed for flexibility.
Another shoe tip is that running shoes should be about a half a size or a size larger than the rest of the shoes in your closet. There should be about a thumbnail’s worth of space in between the end of your toe and the end of your shoe.
When you run, your feet get hot and swell up, and having your shoes a little larger allows for extra room so when your feet do swell, your shoes aren’t too tight.
I have since gone on two runs with these shoes, and they are amazing. I feel like I am running on pillows, pillows that mold to my foot.
On my final run for this week, I ran 3.2 miles, my fastest 5k, my fastest mile and my longest run. I have consistently been running a mile without stopping and am working up to further distances.
My legs weren’t bothering me as much, and my feet didn’t hurt either. On some runs, I would get really bad foot cramps, probably from having shoes that were too small once my feet swelled up. My dad runs and has had foot problems as well so I had always assumed it was pretty normal. Running without them, though, is beautiful.
Good shoes are expensive, but they are an investment that is well worth it.