Smutty Fitness: Spring Running Shoes
Spring is around the corner and what comes with spring is the start of what I like to call the running season. Here in Vancouver we have our annual First Half Marathon in 3 weeks which is followed by countless 5km, 10km (like the Sun Run which brings out nearly 60,000 runners of all shapes, sizes and levels), half and full marathons right until the end of the year. With these races lurking in the distance it is time to start training and nothing motivates me more than a new pair of shoes. Every year I seem to find a new favourite, sometimes two. These are the latest pretty shoes I have added to my wardrobe, a purple racing flat for my interval workouts and shorter races and a neutral shoe with more cushion for my tempo runs and longer races. You do not necessarily need more than one pair of shoes in your running shoe wardrobe, but with the new technology it is not a bad idea to have more than one option.
But what option do you choose? I know walking up to a running shoe wall can be daunting so here are a few tips to help you find the perfect shoe for your training:
The first step is unless you are 100% confident with what shoe is right for you, stay away from the big box sporting goods stores. Although they carry good products you will not be provided with the proper shoe fit and could walk out with the wrong shoe. Go to a local running shop in your neighborhood as the staff their will most likely be runners themselves and have much more knowledge and training in the field of shoe fitting.
Second, get to know the different makes of shoes on the market as not all models and brands fit the same and year to year the exact same shoe may not only change in colour but could change slightly in fit too.
There are 3 main types of running shoes: minimalist shoes, neutral shoes and stability shoes. If you are an experienced runner with perfect technique and low body weight then a minimalist shoe or a low profile neutral shoe might be the way to go. These shoes are light and they allow you to really free the ground below you which will help with your technique and speed. I myself only do track intervals or short distances in minimalist when I am trying to work on my speed and my technique. I cannot run long distances in this style of shoe because I am a taller and heavier girl and there is just not enough cushioning for me.
A neutral shoe is good for an intermediate or advanced runner who is a midfoot striker. I do most of my runs in this style of shoe as it provides me with the cushion and the support I need but is also lightweight and flexible. These shoes will vary in the cushion and level of support and if you are unsure of how you run you can have an experienced shoe fitter analyze your technique and help you decide.
A stability shoe is a shoe that provides your foot with stability and a lot of cushioning. 10 years ago these were all the rage but today’s research suggests that less control and cushion is better as it promotes proper technique. I do agree with this but there are still many people who need stability, including myself on my really long runs, so don’t shy away from this type of shoe just because that is what marketing is telling us.
Once you have found the perfect shoe then find the perfect race and get training. Grab your smart phone, download a training app and start logging your miles and your progress. I will see you at the finish line!