I've been running for 27 years, and one of the best things I learned early in my running career was. . .
. . Your shoes are your ticket to a long-lasting, injury free running lifestyle!
So, let's say you're just getting started in running.
One of the things you like best about the habit is that being a runner doesn't take lots of specialized equipment. I mean, you just lace up a pair of shoes and go!
And that's true! Running is one of the cheapest forms of aerobic exercise there is. You've probably already got everything you need! It's beautiful!
Everything, that is, except shoes, perhaps.
You see, one of the biggest mistakes a beginning runner makes is to think: “Hey, I'll just grab my high school basketball shoes and head out for a run!"
Wrong! That's one of the fastest and surest ways to join the ranks of wounded runners!
Shoes are THE most important piece of equipment for a runner. . .
. . Whether you are a complete running newbie, or you're an elite athlete who wins cars for your racing efforts. . .
If you don't have high quality running shoes, you are on your way to the foot doctor, the knee doctor, or the hip doctor!
Quality shoes are easy to find.
Go to your local running store, and have one of the sales staff (who is an experienced runner) watch you walk. They'll figure out what kind of shoe you need. Let them give you suggestions.
Then, try them on, and run around the parking lot.
That's right. If a running store won't let you try the shoes out with a short jaunt through the parking lot, DON'T BUY FROM THEM! Any reputable running store will let you try out their shoes.
Now, here are some good thoughts on running shoes from the great folks at http://www.ordinaryrunner.com:
1) Rotate 2 pairs of shoes.
Yeah, it might sound like a ploy of the shoe companies to make more money, but it's not!
The midsole of your shoe (the “cushiony" part you can't see, under your insole) is the most important part for your foot. It keeps you from getting injured.
Every time your foot strikes the ground, you are landing with the force of approximately 500 pounds of pressure per square inch! That's a lot of pounding!
The midsole of your running shoe takes all that wear and tear, and has to keep giving you a cushioned ride for a long time.
Here's the problem: If you run in your shoes every day, the midsole doesn't have a chance to spring back all the way by the next time you run again.
That means you're not getting the protection you should from the shoe, and you're “cruisin’ for a bruisin'" in the injury department.
So, the best thing to do is have at least 2 pair of shoes to run in (many runners have even more). This allows the shoe to recover between your runs.
Plus, you get the added benefit of EACH pair of shoes lasting longer. If you give them a rest and let the midsole spring all the way back, they actually give you more running miles.
One more little tip: Use the oldest pair in your rotation for your short, easy runs; and use your newest pair for longer runs.
2) Change shoes every 300-450 miles.
As crazy as it sounds, most seasoned runners keep a cumulative tally of the miles they've run in each shoe. You can take a look at my running journal, and every day, right there at the end, it's listed. . . what shoes I wore, and how many miles they have on ‘em.
How often you retire a pair of shoes depends on 3 considerations: Your size, your footstrike, and your surface.
Size: It makes sense that lighter runners can wear shoes longer, in general. And vice versa. . . If you're a bit heavier, you will wear down your midsole a bit faster. (But that's why you're running, right - so you won't be “heavier!")
Footstrike: If you are a neutral runner, which means you land on your foot in a “normal" manner, then your shoes will last longer. But if you pronate (land on the outside of your foot) or supinate (land on the inside), you'll wear your shoes faster.
Surface: If you always run on hard surfaces (concrete, asphalt) then you need to get new shoes more often. Run in grass, on the track, on trails, and your shoes will last longer.
And you know what? There's a certain satisfaction in retiring a pair of shoes. . . It's like you're saying, “I did it. I ran a LOT of miles. So many that my shoes are done for. I'm a real runner. "
And the last bit of advice with your shoes. . .
3) Don't wear them for ANYTHING except running!
The very fastest way to use up your shoes is to wear them as everyday shoes! No lie!
Think about it. You go running for 30-50 minutes a day. And while you're running, you have BOTH feet off the ground almost the whole time!
But when you're walking around during the day, doing your business. . .
. . Or you're going to Wal-Mart in the evening. . .
You're standing on your shoes almost the whole time!
Trust me. This is the worst thing for a pair of running shoes.
So, let's review.
Rotate at least 2 pair of shoes.
Change shoes every 300-500 miles.
Wear your running shoes ONLY for running!
Voila. . . You're much less likely to be a gimpy, injured runner!
Kely Braswell has been a runner for 27 years. He's not the fastest. . . just an Ordinary Runner. But he's in great shape, and he knows a LOT about running! Beginning runners can look at www.ordinaryrunner.com , simple advice on running for beginners and mere mortals!