Self Improvement

How You AND Your Running Shoes can Stay Healthy

running-573762_640Running is one sport that doesn’t involve much. It’s just you, your feet and the road. Recently, companies started rolling out different kinds of running shoes for different kinds of runners. From the barefoot-like Vibram Five Fingers to the ultra light and front-padded Newton Sir Isaac, there’s a shoe for everybody.

Healthy Shoes

One thing most runners will have to do frequently is replace worn out running shoes. Unlike regular shoes, many of which you can wear until it falls apart, running shoes should be retired when the soles become uneven and or when the in-sole padding starts to become uncomfortable.

Here are a few ways to make your running shoe last longer:

  1. Get the right Shoe – If you’re really serious about running, go to a shoe store that offers free stride and gait analysis and get yourself tested. Once they have the data on your foot type, ask for recommendations on what shoe is best suited for you. Getting the right shoe for your foot type will help you avoid injuries.

Wearing the right shoes for your feet will also make them last longer, because you won’t drag around the soles in every direction. Vibrams and other shoes that feel like you’re barefoot are great at this. You’ll naturally want to run the right way (midfoot strike) because running the wrong way (heel strike) hurts.

  1. Use More Than One Shoe – This may sound counter-intuitive, but it works. Instead of using just one shoe for all your runs, have one or two more as alternate day shoes so you can let your favorite shoe air out. You can use a different shoe for short runs and a more expensive one for races.

By dividing the abuse your shoes get, you can make them last longer. If you’re running on a trail, don’t use your thinly soled running shoes. You’ll get hurt. Instead, wear trail shoes that are designed for rocks, water and mud.

Healthy Runner

Another thing many runners have to deal with is constant injuries. From shin splints to nagging foot pain, injuries are commonplace in the running community because of ill fitting shoes, poor running form and bad habits such as poor diet lack of sleep.

Here are few steps you can take to prevent running injuries:

  1. Check your Biomechanics – Every sport has proper technique, and in order to be efficient in running, you have to know your biomechanics. Private clinics like Crea-Med have osteopathy and kinesiology services that can assess your fitness level, help correct mobility functions and find issues before they become full blown injuries. In sports, preventing an injury is better than treating it.
  2. Watch Online Training Videos – If you have a friend who runs marathons, ask for pointers on pace, foot strike, stride length, breathing and proper hydration. If you’re not so lucky, you can always turn to YouTube. The site has a lot of running videos that can teach you proper technique and form. You have to filter most of it out though, because a lot are not worth your time.

Always check who made the videos. If they’re real olympic level or marathon runners, follow their advice. But if the videos were made by the guy across the street who only runs from his house to the grocery store, skip it. Once you watch the videos, practice it. You can do drills at home and follow the advice on a real run.

  1. Don’t Overdo It – Running is hard on the body. You have to know your limits, and going beyond what your body can take and recover from is a recipe for injury. When you’re just starting out or if you haven’t run in a long time, take it easy on the miles and run at a relaxed pace.

It’s easy to get carried away when running because your ego will work against your better judgement. Don’t let your ego win. Listen to your body and listen to pain. If you feel good, carry on. But once you feel something isn’t right, be ready to call it quits. Pain is there for a reason. You should listen to it.

See you on the Road

Running is an enjoyable and activity that can add years to your life. It’s an excellent way to stay trim and healthy – IF you can avoid running injuries. Saving money on running shoes is also a good thing, but you shouldn’t force savings because a good running shoe can save you years of pain from injuries.

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