Tips on choosing running shoes for beginners
— Content provided by Spooky Nook Sports
Running the mile for fitness testing in gym class was a nightmare. I remember dreading the days that we had to march ourselves out to the track for this twice-a-year torture. But as I got older and wanted to feel independent, I would run from my house for a few miles. When I needed time to myself, I would head outside for a jog. When I started college and needed a relief from stress, I would run around campus. If I felt sad or needed a lift, I would run to feel strong and for deep breaths of fresh air. Today I run for all these reasons; stress relief, mental well being, strength, confidence, and time alone.
Although running is an excellent way to work out, it is also hard on the body. This high-impact exercise shocks the legs, hips, and knees. The full weight of a runner’s body lands on their feet, stressing their ankles and shins. I have found that my shoes make a huge difference in the comfort of my legs while running. I can push myself much farther, plus if I like my shoes, I’m more likely to want to use them!
Choosing a Shoe
Sporting stores offer us a variety of sneakers, some for fashion, some for fitness, and some for sports. Not just any sneaker will do for running. Many sneakers are labeled on their box if they are for running, cross training, court sports, or walking. But consider the following when you are looking for the perfect shoes:
You want to buy a shoe that allows forward motion. Court shoes have flat soles that provide a good grip for basketball and volleyball players, but running shoes should lift at the toe.
Since running is a high impact exercise, the shoes you buy should have good cushioning to absorb some of the shock. The Foot and Ankle Society at www.aofas.org suggests more cushioning and heel support in running shoes.
The Foot and Ankle Society also makes excellent suggestions for fitting your sneakers. When trying on shoes, be sure to wear the same kind of socks that you plan to wear when you exercise. Lace them up as you would to wear them, and walk or jog in them to be sure your heel does not slip. Many people assume that you have to break in your shoes, but www.aofas.org assures that the sneakers you choose should be comfortable as soon as you try them on.
Fit Just for You
When it comes to running shoes, one style, fit, or shape does not fit all. Your body and feet play a role in what shoes will fit best.
First consider your feet. Some people’s feet are not both the same size, so fit your sneakers to your larger foot. Then take a look at your arch. High arches will need more arch support, while feet with a low arch will find too much arch support painful. An easy way to find your arch type is to lightly dip the bottom of your foot in a bowl of water. Then step onto a paper towel and stand on one foot. The more of your foot print on the towel, the lower your arch.
Next consider how far you run and where. Long distance runners will need more support for the repeated, sustained impact. People who run every day also may want greater support. Running on the road will be harder on your joints, so I personally recommend running on gravel trails.
Joy from Running
Using these tips for buying sneakers, I was able to reduce pain from shin splints and stress on my knees. Although I’ve tried many brands, my favorite is the Asics DuoMax. Although these sneakers have good arch support, I also bought arch inserts. I run a few times per week for 2-3 miles. I especially enjoy running 5K races outdoors. When responsibilities pile up at work or a college loan bill is due, I can comfortably lace up my Adidas sneakers and go for a run. All you need are the clothes on your back, and the sneakers on your feet, to run away for a while.
The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy makes excellent trails in beautiful parts of the countryside. Many of them are gravel. Try the trail located on Champ Boulevard by Spooky Nook Sports for a shady run along farms and pastures.
Visit www.railstotrails.org for more trails.
Gary “Rossi” Ross
6-8 miles per day
High arch and wide feet
Favorite Place to Run
“I am very lucky to have trails around where I live in Manheim Township. My wife rides her bike and my two English Springer Spaniels get to come along, so we make it a family affair! I must say I love spending this valuable time with my wife and boys!”
Shoes of Choice
“I actually bought a pair of Under Armour running shoes on sale at a very good price. They have easily been my favorite running shoe. However, I usually wear Adidas running shoes, the Super Nova series.”
Business Development Director
3-6 miles, 4 times per week
High arch and under pronates
Favorite Place to Run
“Rails to trails by far! The trails are especially nice on hot days when the trail is a little cooler in the Mt. Gretna area. I also enjoy running with a small group. It helps keep us all motivated and competitive when we run road courses or on the trails.”
Shoes of Choice
“I recently switched to the Brooks Ghost after years of running with Saucony’s. Brooks have a great high arch support and offer better overall comfort in my view. On long distance runs over six miles I really notice the difference with the Brooks! Great shoe!”