Wet Running shoes

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

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#12 Running Shoes Part Two

SNAPSHOT

Running shoes questions for kids, injuries, outside of running, and for the serious runners.

DIGGING DEEPER

KIDS RUNNING

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What if my kids like to run in Crocs?

Yes, my ten-year-old headed to track practice in Crocs one day.  I didn’t mind too much, as I want her to grow strong foot and ankle muscles.  However, once she moves to running on the roads and for more than a mile, I want her in a more traditional running shoe, for safety and to reduce the shock of a high number of foot strikes on hard ground.

When should I buy running shoes for my child?

I remember my first pair of "real" running shoes boughten at the Fort Collins running shoe store for my 9th grade cross country team season. They were so white and cushiony.  My dad actually expected those shoes to last me for a few years, not the 3-6 months life span that happened. I knew the $60 (in 1994) was not in his tight budget but he was so kind to splurge for me. I can remember everything about that visit to the store. 

When your child is running consistently, either daily or on a running team, they need shoes dedicated to running only.  Be sensitive to comfort and not so much to cost, within reason, when selecting shoes. Help the runner to understand that the look of the shoes will not matter, leave the trendy styles and colors for regular shoes. Running shoes should look like running shoes.  Replace them every 6 months and check often to see if they are too small.  

When the runner is standing, there should be half a thumbnail space in front between foot and tip of the shoe.  Watch our for growth spurts and get right to the store.  However, don't buy shoes that are two sizes too big, trying to save money.  Falling and being injured from running in misfitted shoes will not be worth the money you were hoping to save.

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Why should I NOT give my kids spikes at a young age?

Spikes allow the body to grip the ground and increase the force from of your foot and calf.  Children's muscles may not be ready to have the force that spikes create on the calves.  Let them get the benefit of spikes once they are over 12 years of age.  When you do introduce spikes into training and racing, do it gradually and with caution. 

FOOT INJURY

What if you battle with Plantar Fasciitis?

I feel your pain and sorrow.  After two long bouts of PF, I have found the keys to keeping me on my feet and adding up the miles.  Each of us is unique and will benefit from different solutions.  The best way to get back to running and stay running when battling PF is to try all the tricks and see which ones your body responds well with.  

It seems there are 100 ways to prevent or heal PF. After going through them all, these are my personal solutions: "foam" roll the bottom of my feet, foam roll and stretch calves, deep tissue massage calves, Fit Flop shoes and sandals (90% of my shoe wearing), custom orthotics during every run and race, being aware that I am susceptible to PF. These are my keys to happy feet.  You will have your own set of solutions. 

OUTSIDE OF RUNNING

Why should I ONLY use my running shoes for running and NOT my strength class at the Y?

Your feet make a pattern in the shoes.  Each activity that you do with your shoes on makes different patterns. Your running shoes need to keep your running pattern in them so that you have optimal support while running.  Let your used running shoes be your go to for your favorite Y strength class. Wearing your running shoes for other activities can lead to injury.

What type of shoes to wear when not running?

NOT flat unsupportive FLIP FLOPS!  Please select your regular shoes carefully.  Your choices will impact your training and injuries, your feet and calves could suffer. Invest in high quality supportive shoes that will last many years.  

I personally like the brands Born and Fit Flops.  Each season I buy one pair that is more trendy and wear them a majority of the time.  This winter I loved my black Mary Janes.  Last summer by black glitter sandals were perfect for the pool or an evening out.  Or my brown leather heels, low and high black boots, and brown clogs fill in all my other ensembles. If you love wearing flip flops in the summer, check out the Fit-flop flip flops that are so pretty and supportive you could wear them on your flight across the country.

FOR THE SERIOUS RUNNERS

What are spikes or flats?

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In high school, I raced in spikes when on the mud filled cross-country courses.  More often now I race in flats since I am on roads.  Flats are lightweight shoes that can really impact your 5K finish time.  Since they are lighter weight than your regular training shoes it takes less energy to move the leg forward resulting in a greater race speed. Spikes are light weight shoes with metal spikes that protrude out of the sole, creating more grip.

I suggest flats for runners that are trying to break the 21-minute or faster 5K mark.  For runners finishing after the 21-minute mark, focus on other more important elements that can affect your finish time.

Flats and spikes should be replaced after about 1 year or about 75 racing miles.  

I also use flats when doing speed work on the track. They allow me to flex my foot more and get a better push off before my foot leaves the ground. In addition, my flats get me psychologically ready to race.

After my race warm-up, I slip on my flats on and am ready to race.

I caution runners when using them for 1/2 marathon and above distance races. Unless your body is accustomed to the lower amount of support and lower heel drop, the shoes could cause added stress while racing the long distances.

What running socks to wear?

May I introduce you to the socks that I want to wear even when not running.  I love them!! My favorite are Feetures Ultra-thin running socks.  I have many and have given many to others.  They come in a pair that has one sock shaped for your left foot and other another sock for your right foot.  They make my feet happy!  

Also some runners like a warmer wool sock in the winter and a thinner sock in the summer to reduce blisters.

What should I do with wet running shoes?

Newspaper!  Stuff the inside of your wet shoes with newspaper.  Twenty-four hours later pull out the wet newspaper and your shoes will be dry!

SOLUTION

Happy Feet, Fast Feet!

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.