Sunday, January 31, 2010

Running Totals~There's Nothing to Fear in a Running Store

Okay, accountability time. I ran 147 minutes this week. I'm not counting miles yet, because I am so slow right now that the mileage would be pretty sad. The miles don't matter right now, anyway. If you wonder why I'm telling you this, I'm training for a Half Marathon.

Running is a great sport because it is inexpensive and portable. The only equipment that you need is a pair of good shoes, a watch that will track your time and a running bra (if you are a chick, of course). It is easy to throw your running shoes in a bag when you travel. The watch and bra can come from stuff mart, to start out. If you get serious, you can upgrade. I have upgraded in the bra department but, I am still using the $25 Timex that I bought 4 years ago when I started.

Shoes are another story. Buying $40 Nike running shoes off of a shoe store rack, and then trying to really run in them is like taking a Little Tikes bat to a big league baseball game. The result will be painful. But, expensive running shoes can also cause injuries, if they are not the right shoes for you. I ran my first half-marathon in a $90 pair of Asics. (Ask me how many times in my life I have paid that much for a pair of shoes!) Throughout my training I had knee problems. After the race I had a groin issue for months. Then I learned that we had a new running store in town with computer analysis and professional fittings.

I have to tell you that even after running a half-marathon, I was intimidated to walk into this store. I don't know what I expected to be going on in there, but I felt like I surely would not belong. I finally got up the nerve to go in, and they were so nice. They analyzed my running gait on a computerized treadmill. They also analyzed my footprint and my pronation (the degree to which your footfall leans left or right), they combined this information to determine the type of shoe that is best for me. I learned that I had been running in a stability shoe when I needed a cushioning shoe. Who knew this kind of technology went into a shoe? They showed me shoes from several companies at a range of prices, and I chose a great pair of Asics. I have been training in this new model and have had no knee or groin issues.

I highly recommend visiting a specialty running store to be professionally fitted. Running is great exercise, but it is also very demanding on the body. The right shoe can minimize the impact and make running a much more pleasant experience. Visit Road Runner Sports or Marathon Rookie to find a specialty running store in your area.

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