Choose a shoe for you!

Let’s be honest. Many of us will choose a shoe because of the look; flashy colors, cool designs, and brand names we prefer. That might work just fine if you’re looking for a cute heel to wear out to dinner, or a nice tennis shoe to wear with your favorite pair of slacks. However, when it comes to choosing a shoe in the name of fitness, there is much more to the process than going with what is visually appealing.

If you have read any of my past posts, you know I am a die-hard runner, but take heart! This blog post is NOT just about choosing a good running shoe. The correct selection of what to put on your feet is vital in all forms of fitness. The wrong shoe selection can result in numerous injuries, or will hinder performance.

Personal experience: Throughout high school I swore by running in all shoes made by Saucony. I loved the look of them, and my two closest running-buddies used them as well. Unfortunately, I had no idea that the shoes I continued to wear were the root cause of the countless blisters I would get, and pain in my arch. I had no idea this all could have been avoided by simply choosing a different shoe.  

My wake-up call came when I got to college. Just as my first season of Cross Country was underway, our coach had a speaker come and talk to us about proper shoe selection. I was blown away by how much the wrong and right pair of shoe can make a difference in both training and competition. I followed the proper procedure for picking a shoe, made the switch to the Asics-Keyano, and have not had a problem since. It was a miracle!

There are a few things to take into consideration when choosing your shoe. The most important is how high or low your arch is. A good way to determine about where you are at is to get your feet wet and walk on pavement, leaving a footprint.

Using this picture as a guideline, you should be able to look at your footprint and determine what type of arch you have.

If you visit any shoe company’s website, they will more than likely have shoes categorized by arch types. You will also want to determine how much control you want in the shoe. A high stability shoe will give you both stability and cushioning. On the opposite side of the spectrum is the minimal shoe. This type of shoe is going to let your feet do the majority of the work, but it helps build foot and leg strength. Word of caution: If you are currently using a stability shoe, and want to switch to a minimal shoe, it is wise to do so slowly. If you make a leap, your feet and legs may not respond well. I am currently making the change, so I rotate a semi-minimal shoe into my running rotation every three days. 

If you are not yet certain you want to begin running “minimally”, check out this article about pros and cons.

This all may seem a bit overwhelming, especially if you have never given thought to what type of shoe you are wearing. No worries! If you visit a shoe company’s website, there is usually plenty of guidance. For a great example, check out this Asics website.

Another option is to go to a good shoe store; aka one that specifically sells and specializes in athletic shoes. Employees will work with you to make sure you find a shoe that is perfect for the type of activity you do.

Remember, this is not just for people who compete. This is for anyone who loves to work out, and keep their body healthy and injury-free along the way. If you take the time to find the right type of shoe, it can really help your fitness level.

Peace.Love.Running

MaddyRoz

Roznosm18@uww.edu

Running in a Winter Wonderland

When the days get warmer, and the leaves finally start to bud on the raw branches of the trees, it’s likely you will see many students out on the streets, breaking in their neglected running shoes they allowed to collect dust all winter. I have some wonderful news for you—you don’t have to wait until spring to pick up being a runner again! There is no need to hold off on your jogging. I promise you, running outside in the winter is not that bad. Actually, there’s something quite magical about it.

Now, don’t just pick up your shoes and head out the door right this moment. If you’ve never been a winter-runner before, let me give you some tid-bits first and foremost.

  1. Get reflective gear. It’s important to stick out when you’re out there. I have found that drivers are less inclined to be on the lookout for runners crossing the street during winter. I think people are programmed to assume nobody is going to be out running this time of year. You can either buy running clothes with reflective gear on it, or get some reflective duct tape and put it on whatever you love to run in.
  2. Never run at night. Don’t get me wrong, in the summer time I love going for a nice long run at night. Not in the winter, though. If there’s a slippery spot, it’s likely you won’t be able to see it. Don’t take the risk—it’s really not worth it.
  3. Find a partner. This is not absolutely vital, there are days that I actually prefer to run by myself (usually after a stressful day; it’s a great way to clear my mind). However, having a partner to be accountable for will make it harder for you to “take a day off” and avoid your workout for the day.
  4. Make sure you have all of the necessary running gear. You’ll need good running pants or tights, gloves/mittens, a hat or headband that covers your ears, and a neck warmer or scarf. There will be days where it will be unnecessary to have all that gear, but you’ll want it just in case.
  5. Headphones: If you’re running with a partner, I HIGHLY recommend taking the step to not run with headphones. It’s a good time to chat, vent, or push and challenge each other through the run.  I understand the want to run with music, but when running alone you should only have one ear bud in. There have been many cases of runners being hit by a car because they weren’t paying attention, or couldn’t hear a horn honk because they were listening to music. It’s good to be aware of your surroundings when you’re out running.

I am not saying you should run outside every day. If it’s below freezing, or if there is a big snowstorm, the Williams Center has excellent cardio equipment. If you’re just starting out, it’s actually smart to plan to run outside only a few days a week, and spend the other days on cardio equipment or doing a kick-butt group fitness class.

If you have any other running related questions, feel free to e-mail me at Roznosm18@uww.edu. I’ve been a competitive runner for over 10 years, and am always willing, and happy to help out a fellow runner.

 

Madds

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.”