Running Shoes Part One: How to Become a Better Runner in 30 Days

#11 Running Shoes Part One

SNAPSHOT

FIVE essential questions and answers for solving, preparing, and utilizing shoes in your running training.

DIGGING DEEPER

Over the next couple of postings, I will dig into the real questions on shoes and running training.  This post we cover the essential questions.  Later, we will address topics like kid shoes, wet shoes, and fast shoes.

When should I buy new shoes or replace my current running shoes?

"I bought them only a few months ago, wait maybe that was last year. They don't look that bad. There are no holes in the soles."

Beginner Runner - Start with a new pair! Your gym shoes that you bought a year ago are not going to give you the support you need when running.  Save yourself the disappointment of injury and pain and go shopping now. Go to your local running store like The Lakes Running Company . They are knowledgable and super welcoming. The right pair of running shoes are a great investment. You can sure the new knowledge about your running gait and foot type in the future when you choose your next pair.

Intermediate Runner - Place a reminder on your calendar for the approximate date of 2 weeks before when your shoe mileage is going to reach 400 miles (max 500). Order your favorite pair and have them ready to use on a rotation basis for 2 weeks as you finish out the initial pair. 

Advanced Runner - Always have two pairs of training shoes and alternate between them when running twice a day or when in your base training phase. 

How do I select the best pair shoes for me?

"What brand do you wear?"

Don't select shoes based on brand, color, or your friend’s favorite shoe.  It is all about choosing a shoe that makes YOUR feet feel comfortable.

It is not the brand or the color that matter, it is the comfort that makes my feet sing!  Keep trying different shoes on until you find the pair you love.  After discovering your favorite running shoe, you can continue to get the same brand and model for years, as long as the models don’t make big changes.  

You may spend ten dollars more buying your shoes from a local running store but it is so worth properly fitted shoes. Included in the extra cost is the gained knowledge of your foot type and strike.  Most specialty running shoe stores include a satisfaction guarantee, an option to exchange the shoes if you take them on a run and they were not fitting as well as you hoped. Please note that your body size, landing strike, and terrain can impact the type of running shoe you need.

What size shoes should I buy?  

"Are black toenails normal for runners?"

Go a half size bigger than your normal shoe size.  When running your feet will expand with the extra blood flow and will need a bit more space.  Please be careful, if your shoes are too long they will get in your way and cause the foot to slip forward or tripping.

Save your toenails! There was a period when I was getting black toenails and then losing them completely.  Yes, the culprit was too small of shoes. Just another half size bigger gave me back my pretty toes.

If you are getting sores on the outsides of your pinky toes your shoes may be too narrow.  

How should I tie my shoes?

"Bunny through the hole or two bunny ears?" 

Just right!  Tie them just right!  Seriously, I have them looser when running slower speeds and tighter when running at race pace.

At times I have to use the lace lock method to keep my lower ankle/heel more stabilized.

I am not a big fan of tie-less shoe laces, they don't give me enough overall control as the tension changes throughout the run.  

It is all about comfort. If your feet are losing feeling or your shin muscles are aching then the shoes may be too tight. If your heel raises within the shoe after each step you should use the lace lock method.

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What can I do with my worn out shoes?

“My pile of used running shoes.”

As runners, we always have extra shoes for garden and lawn work, but we don't need more than one or two old pairs.  One solution is to drop them off at your local running club's shoe drive or an organization that needs used shoes.

Remember once you have run 300-500 miles in the shoes or used them for over a 9-12 months, part ways or only use them when less support is needed.

SOLUTION

Happy Feet, Happy Running!

This 30-day series is a quest for me as a writer, coach, and runner. I promise to write about running for 30 days in a row. In doing so I intend to gain in knowledge and expression of running and daily life. My hope is that we all grow together.

 

Shelly Binsfeld

Running Coach in Minnesota

Optimize your Hard Work in an Intelligent Way