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Survey Results Am I a Runner Yet?

Survey Results

Last week I posted a survey asking if you felt like a runner, or a person who runs. If you keep at it long enough, running becomes part of your identity. It not only consumes your time but excites your imagination, hopes and dreams.

Becoming a runner sneaks up on you. In 2003 I naively signed up to run a marathon, having no clue what it was all about. Over the next few years I ran a few more marathons and then started to run 5Ks, 10Ks and half-marathons.

I joined a gym so I could use a treadmill in bad weather and also joined a running club. I’m pretty sure that anyone who knows me thinks of me as a runner. I really can’t go more than a few days without running before I get a little cranky. A friend of mine says that being able to control your pace and not always running as fast as you can defines you as a runner. I don’t quite meet his definition of a runner but, yeah, I do feel like I’m a runner.

15 people responded to the survey and this time that number does not include me! Everyone did not respond to all of the questions and multiple answers were allowed. Percentages are based on the number of people responding and not the number of answers. So the math may be a little kludgy.

When did you first feel like a runner?

Responses

%

The first time I put on a pair of running shoes

2

18.2

After I ran my first race

5

45.5

After I achieved my first goal

3

27.3

After I set a new PR

1

9.1

I still don’t feel like a runner

1

9.1

Total Responses

12

Four people left comments on when they first felt like a runner:

When running became a consistent part of my lifestyle and when I began to consciously adjust my pace for specific workouts.

I first felt like a runner, when in fourth grade I destroyed the rest of the class in a 600-yard run in gym class. Up until that point, I had felt like an athletic failure in every other conventional sport that is typically offered to children (baseball, basketball, football, etc.)

When I won my first medal

When I could not go more than 3 days without running.

 How many miles do you run per week when you are not training for a race?

Responses

%

Less than 10 miles

1

6.7

10 to 20 miles

4

26.7

20 to 30 miles

4

26.7

30 to 40 miles

4

26.7

Over 40 miles

2

13.3

Total Responses

15

10 out of 15 (66.6%) respondents run at least 20 miles per week and two runners maintain over 40 miles per week as their base mileage.  I’m in the 20-30 miles per week range.

Do you incorporate a long run into your training when you are not training for a race?

Responses

%

No

1

6.7

Yes, under 10 miles

5

33.3

Yes 10 to 15 miles

8

53.3

Yes, over 15 miles

1

6.7

Total Responses

15

Just about everyone (93.3%) incorporates some sort of long run into their base mileage program. This can be difficult to do on an ongoing bases because the process of preparing to run, running and then getting home and taking a shower etc can easily take several hours. I know this is an addiction, but congrats!

Do you run with a club, group or a friend?

Responses

%

I run with my local running club

8

61.5

I have a group of friends or colleagues I run with

3

23.1

I have a friend or friends that I run with

3

23.1

I run with my spouse

0

0

I run with the dog

2

15.4

Total Responses

16

So no one runs with their spouse? I don’t either but I wish I could. Besides the bonding that runners experience on those long runs, running together could add years to both of your lives.  I should have been clearer on the second answer. I meant to say “I have a group of friends or colleagues I run with at work.” I doubt anyone runs alone all of the time, but I should have given that option. Just in case. Since that wasn’t an option, I’d have to say this is a very social group!

Thanks to everyone who answered the survey, I hope it was fun. I hope everyone enjoys reading the results. As always, thank you for reading my blog.

©2012 anagelin

Am I A Runner Yet?

On my last post “Becoming a Runner” my last line was “I had become a runner”.

In 2009 I felt that I had become a runner by virtue of running several marathons and branching out into 5Ks, 10Ks and half-marathons.

Since 2009 I have become more dedicated to the sport and my training has become more consistent. Between marathons I run many 5K, 10K and half-marathons. Last year I ran in 14 races whereas in 2010 I only ran in four races.

I keep much better records of my training and I rarely go more than two to three days between runs. Usually I run three days a week and often have a long run on the weekends of over 10 miles. My base miles are now in the 20-25 mile range and I did get to over 35 miles per week during my training for the 2012 Boston Marathon.

I start planning for a race when I start training for it. Most 5K and 10K races don’t require additional training as I run those distances several times a week. For a Half or Full Marathon I use the Runner 2.0 process and start planning backwards from the finish line.

The plan begins with: “What is my goal time?” Goal time is based on my recent race times and how my training has been going. I also take into consideration what the course is like and what type of weather can I expect?

With my goal in mind I put together a training plan to achieve my goal. I do not have the training time or conditioning to set overly aggressive goals but I am always pushing myself.

This summer my goal is to run 5Ks at 7:30 pace and 10Ks at 8:00 pace. Later in the year I hope to run a half-marathon at an 8:00 pace. My stretch goal is to run the ING Hartford Marathon at a 7:46 pace and qualify for Boston. This is going to be very difficult to do, but I never thought I’d run any distance under an 8:00 pace. Last year I starting going under the 8:00 pace for 5Ks and my last half-marathon was at a 8:12 pace. I can do this.

Am I a Runner Yet?

But do I feel like a runner? Am I a runner? We are all born runners. Our bodies are made for running. I run, but do I feel like I’m a runner? To me it still feels audacious to say “I’m a runner”. Bruce Jenner, Joan Benoit, Ryan Hall are runners. Compared to them I’m a couch potato. They run my weekly miles before breakfast! But, compared to 90% of America, I am a runner.

Are you a runner? Do you consider yourself a runner? When did you feel like you were a runner?

Run well my friends!

©2012 anagelin

Becoming a Runner

Becoming a Runner

The 2003 Boston Marathon was an amazing experience. It was my first marathon AND it was Boston, the grand-daddy of them all. Well, except for that one in Greece. I was never an athlete growing up, and had never participated in anything as strenuous as a marathon before.

Boston marathon 2003 finish line,
Boston Marathon finish w/ Angela

When I crossed that finish line in front of the Boston Public Library on Boylston Street, it felt like a religious experience.

I don’t recall exactly what I thought, felt and said when I crossed the finish line but it was spiritual in a non-religious way and it changed the way I thought about myself and my life. It wasn’t a thunder-clap moment. It did take time for me to realize the change.

I was filled with joy and excitement and proud to have my oldest daughter with me as I crossed the finish line. It is a moment I will cherish for the rest of my life.

Running Revelations

Even though I was under prepared, I had managed to finish one of the most demanding athletic events known to man. My feet had blisters, my hips hurt and my left calf and Achilles were killing me. I finished in the bottom 90th percentile but through will power and drive I finished and achieved my goal.

I had never been very goal oriented in my life. Going to college and getting a job were almost automatic and part of the natural flow of life. I didn’t go to college with any particular goals other than graduation. I was not a driven, goal oriented student and my grades reflected that. But getting through school did require a certain amount of effort, dedication and focus. Quitting smoking and surviving unemployment also took will power and a focus on goals.

By the time the 2005 and 2006 Boston Marathons came around I had become goal focused. While my running was not very disciplined, I did more training and kept better track of it. I had begun to understand what it took to run and finish a marathon and I knew I wanted to do it better than the last time.

In 2004 I started an MBA program with six-week long classes. This forced me to become very focused, motivated and goal oriented. The time spent studying for my MBA changed my life as much as running did.

In 2003, in some sort of sense, I thought I was a runner. I had finished Boston and before that a half marathon. I was off and running, so to speak! I signed up for the Ocean State Marathon in Providence, RI in October and continued to run over the summer. My records from 2003 are lost to time but I know I did not train like I train now. At most I ran three days a week and rarely more than 7.5 miles at a time. I do not recall running at home after work or on the weekends. My weekly miles were probably never over 25 and my long run was 7.5 miles.

I managed to finish Providence in 4:34 which was a 37 minute improvement over my Boston finish. I was psyched! A guy on the bus on the way out to Hopkinton in April 2003 told me I could knock an hour off of my time if I kept at it, and I had knocked 37 minutes off in 5 months! Wow! I was over half-way.

I did feel much better at the finish of Providence and don’t remember losing any toe nails. It did rain lightly for most of the race and I discovered nipple chafing that day. Oh Joy!

Somewhere in the middle of the race the person I was running with pointed at my shirt and said “look”. I was shocked to look down and see two huge red blotches on my shirt. It didn’t really hurt until I saw them and then I couldn’t stop thinking about them. All of a sudden they were very sensitive and stung. I was such a newby I didn’t have the right jacket or anything else to keep me dry and un-bloodied. I zipped up my London Fog jacket and kept on going. Yup, a London Fog jacket!

As I approached the finish line in Providence I found my wife and daughters behind one of the barricades. I managed to get my oldest over the barricade but my youngest was reluctant. I finally managed to get her over the top also and the three of us ran in the last few hundred feet. In my mind I can still see my youngest marching across the finish line with a cute look on her face and her arms swinging high.

Unfortunately MarathonPhoto’s ordering system was very difficult to work with and I never got to order any pictures from that marathon. A nugget of wisdom here, get any special photos ordered sooner rather than later. They do not keep them forever. In MarathonPhoto’s case it is only 10 months, which I did not know as I battled their ordering system.

Not getting those photos is one of the biggest regrets in my life. I keep telling myself it’s a wonderful memory and most people never get photos of special moments like that. My girls have never finished a race with me since.

So am I a real Runner yet?

After finishing two marathons and a half marathon I must have considered myself a runner. I was learning from my experience and adjusting my routines and my clothing. In mid-February 2006, I switched my running shoes from Asics to Brooks and started working on my blister problem. I found a silicone powder from Two Toms that seemed to work and still use it on my feet for marathons. I understood the importance of base miles and continued to run at work during my lunch break but dropped back to 10-15 miles per week.

In 2004 and into 2005 and 2006 there were months at a time that I did not run at all. I was busy with work, it was too cold or I didn’t have my stuff. At this time I also only ran marathons and without a race on my schedule I had no incentive to train. Since I could only get into Boston through my company’s lottery drawing I had no way of knowing if I would ever run a marathon again. So I settled back into my old lifestyle of work and family for the most part.

I managed to get a number for the 2005 and 2006 Boston Marathon through the lottery at work. At this stage in my life I did not consider myself a runner. Running was not an integral part of my life. It was not who I was or part of my identity. As such, I had not kept up with my training between marathons. After I got my numbers each year, I spent a few months training and that was it. Between marathons, I failed to maintain a base level of fitness, a base level of weekly miles. Each year I basically started over again.

As I progressed in my running and became a “runner” I came to understand how important it was to maintain my fitness level between events. After just a few weeks of not running you start to lose a significant amount of your fitness. Most experts say that you should not go more than two days between runs in order to avoid a reduction in fitness. By not running consistently between races I was losing everything I had worked for while training for the Marathon.

Base miles are an amount of mileage that runners maintain between events. For marathon training it is not unusual to run four or more days a week. Many amateur runners run 30-50 miles per week while training for a marathon. The pros often run over 100 miles per week. These are time demanding schedules and often come into conflict with daily lives. So between training for big races, most runners back off and maintain a schedule of base miles that allows them to have a life and avoid divorce!

Developing a plan and Discipline

In 2006 I was finishing up my MBA program and trying to sell my house on my own. It was the go-go days of the real estate boom and Isoldmyhouse.com kept telling me how easy it was to sell my house, with their help, of course. Between studies, cleaning and fixing things at my house, doing open houses, taking care of the family, going to soccer games and work, I was too busy to run very much.

So while I had sufficient notice that I would be running a the 2006 Boston Marathon, once again I was woefully under prepared.  Once again I was starting all over again; from square one, from scratch essentially. Because my running schedule was so inconsistent I really didn’t have any base miles to start with.

The main difference in 2006 was that I really knew how far behind I was in my training. I had a firm understanding of how this would impact me on race day and how much work I needed to do to have a successful race. In 2006 I also had a better idea of how to prepare for the race. I was developing my process, my method and my routines.

Since 2003 I had learned a lot about running and how important it was to plan your training and your races. Since 2003, I made a few adjustments such as switching shoes and using powder to prevent blisters. In 2006 I knew that I needed to incorporate long runs into my training and thought it would be a good idea to try and run at least 26 miles a week. I’m sure the records I have are not complete, but they show I never got close to 25 miles per week in 2006.

In 2006 I ran Boston’s Run to Remember half-marathon, like I did in 2003. Many people use this race to gauge how well prepared they are for Boston, so I incorporated it into my training.

I felt pretty good during this race and recall feeling more confident in my running. In 2006 the race started in South Boston and went though Beacon Hill in Boston and crossed the Long Fellow Bridge onto Memorial Drive in Cambridge. Memorial drive is flat and I remember feeling like I could kick it out a bit here. Coming back over the Long Fellow Bridge into Boston I felt pretty good and knew there were a few miles to go. I hung on and managed to kick it again and ran in the last quarter-mile or so at a good pace.

Afterward I felt good. I felt like a runner and that I was among fellow travelers as we sat in the convention center and drank a few Harpoon IPAs.

I finished that race in 2:06 for a 9:34 pace which was pretty good for me at the time. I was hoping to run Boston at a 10 minute pace and felt that I was on track. In my age group and over all I finished in the bottom quarter and third respectively.  This being a warm up for Boston, the race was loaded with strong runners.

In 2003 I finished Boston in 5:11, in 2005 4:59 and 2006 4:49. As a runner I was making progress, though very slowly. I still was not able to run Boston as fast as I had run The Ocean State Marathon in 2003, but Boston is a challenging course and I was more prepared for Ocean State.

Becoming Runner 2.0

In 2009 I won another number for the Boston Marathon in my company’s lottery. This time I knew that I needed more training and preparation for the race. This time I felt like I had a bit of a clue as to what I needed to do and what to expect on the course.

After running Boston three times before and four marathons all together, I had a good idea of what to expect on the course and what I needed to do to meet the challenge. I reflected on what I had done before for training and I knew it had not been enough. I also thought about how I would hydrate on the course and what I would eat and drink before the race. I was developing a plan. This is when I started to think of myself as “Runner 2.0”.

In the software business when a new and improved version of a program is released they call it version 2.0. And of course there is Web 2.0 now. I had the same body as I had in 2003, though six years older, with the same limitations and a few extra pains. So the “hardware” was still pretty much the same. What I did have was several years of running experience and an understanding of the training that was required to finish a marathon with minimal damage to myself. Everything that was new was in my mind, I had new software. So I called it Runner 2.0.

What is Runner 2.0?

Runner 2.0 is a way of looking at running as a process. As a Runner 2.0, you think about your training and you do it purposely and with a pre-defined plan of what you are going to do. Based on a fitness goal or the race you are training for, you pick a plan, or design your own plan, and stick with it as closely as possible.  You can buy a plan or get a free one on-line from a variety of web sites.

It doesn’t matter what your goal is. It may be to qualify for Boston, to finish a 5K or to walk for 90 minutes per week. By establishing a goal and working backwards to create a plan to reach your goal you are utilizing the principals of Runner 2.0.

Runner 2.0 is not only about training for a race. Runner 2.0 is also about having a plan for running your race. Over time most runners develop a routine, or process, that they follow for every race. They know what they should and should not eat for a race. They know how much to drink and what clothes they should wear based on anticipated conditions. This routine or plan is constantly being revised depending on the race that is being trained for, time of year, aging of the runner or new things that are discovered.

Most people who are new to running start out like I did and just jump right in. While it can be exciting to start something new and see what happens, it can also cause disappointment and cut short your enthusiasm. Being mindful of what you are doing and setting realistic goals can help you to avoid injuries and to feel better about your progress.

One of my goals in writing this blog is to guide new runners, or walkers, in their journey from Runner 1.0 to Runner 2.0; to help them develop their very own process to successfully run a race or maintain a fitness program.

Some smart decisions

Because the weather is generally bad in Massachusetts during the Boston Marathon training season, I joined a gym. The only thing that I wanted in a gym was access to a tread mill when there was too much snow or ice, or it was less than 400 outside. This turned out to be a great decision as it eliminated all of my excuses. Even when the weather was terrible, the gym was warm and dry. This allowed me to get in 20-30 miles per week, which I thought was pretty good. It was a big improvement over my previous training programs anyway!

In the days before the 2009 Boston Marathon I listened to interviews with American runners Kara Goucher and Ryan Hall. It blew my mind when I found out that they were running over 100 miles per week. They both finished in 3rd place in the 2009 Boston Marathon. I know I will never run at their level, but this wakeup call made me realize that if I was ever going to reach my goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon, I needed to step up my game.

To help me reach this goal I decided to join a local running club. I felt that being around experienced runners would be good for me. I could learn from their experience and the social aspect would keep me motivated. This turned out to be another great decision.

Most people in the club had much more experience than I did and they were all willing to give me advice. One thing I have found with almost all runners is that they are friendly and more than willing to help you out. I learned a lot by asking questions and applying what I learned.

The club I joined was The Melrose Running Club. They have a weekly run on Tuesday nights that I have been running since I joined the club. Leading up to the Boston Marathon they also have a Sunday Long Run. This is a series of 15 Sunday runs that range from 8 to 22 miles. In order to improve at the marathon distance I knew that I needed to both increase my weekly miles and also to incorporate a weekly long run into my routine.

If I had not joined this club I probably would not have been able to improve my running and deepen my interest in running. The social aspect and my personal goal to finish my weekly runs under a certain time have kept me coming back and kept me improving my running.

Running can be a solitary sport. I encourage you to seek out a club in your area. The Road Runners Club of America has a web site where you can look for a running club in your area. Their web address is:  http://www.rrca.org

I finished the 2009 Boston Marathon at 4:49 which was just about the same time as I ran it in 2006. And while Boston is more challenging than a lot of other marathons I was disappointed that I had not been able to run a Personal Record, or PR. I spent less time walking and felt better at the end of this marathon but I was disappointed with my time.

I had incorporated everything I knew into my plan, I had joined a running club and I had trained more consistently and rigorously. But I was not making the progress that I wanted. I now had goals and a drive and desire to reach them. I had become a runner.

Run well my friends!

Andy

I’m a running Geek!

I’ve mentioned a few times that my old training logs are lost to time. Between job changes, computer issues and carelessness I’ve lost files or access to web sites.

Well, last night I happened to stumble upon an old email with my account ID to Active.com. I managed to guess my old password and viola, I found my old records going back to 2004! Active.com had a running shoe tracker, so now I have some data from 2004 to 2006. It shows that I was a little more consistent than I remember. I still ran less than 20 miles a week before the 2005 Boston Marathon. That’s just crazy.

I need to spend some time analyzing this information now. When I saw the data for the first time last night it felt like I had just found a $100 bill on the ground! Yeah, I’m a geek and just having these sheets on my desk is exciting!

This new found information is running geek gold!

Run well my friends

©2012 anagelin

Buying Running Shoes

My running shoe dilemma

A few months before the 2012 Boston Marathon I decided that my running shoes needed to be replaced. They were about six months old and based on the amount of training I do they would be due for retirement right before the Marathon.

For the past few years New Balance has been advertising that they make some of their shoes in the US and some are made in the US with all US materials. I like the idea of supporting local businesses and New Balance is based in Brighton Mass. Since I needed a new pair of shoes I thought I would give them a try and went to their outlet store in Brighton, which is at their corporate headquarters complex.

I went in wearing my Brooks Adrenaline shoes and started looking around. A clerk came up to me and asked if she could help me. I told her I was looking for the Made in USA running shoes. She said the model that would be a good transition from my Brooks was the MR993. I tried on a few pair to get a good fit. The MR993s looked different, felt different and sounded different than any of my previous shoes. I felt confident that I was getting the right shoe because anyone working in the corporate store must know what they are talking about.

I took them home and started the process of breaking them in for Boston. I went on some short runs and eventually used them for my Sunday long runs. My feet sounded like they were plopping on the ground, like I had huge clown shoes on. My feet didn’t feel great, but I figured it was just because they were new.

At the Great Bay Half Marathon in New Market, NH I decided to give them a test. Great Bay is a cool race that goes through the woods, on some dirt roads and along the coast. It’s just a nice race.

About half way through the race I noticed that my feet felt tired. After a few more miles they hurt. I figured I was still recovering from a 20 mile long run in my old Brooks shoes which also made my feet hurt. This was a week before Boston so I didn’t push for a PR. The hills on this course are notorious and I didn’t want to tear up my legs on them.

The next weekend, at the Boston Marathon Runner’s Expo, I stopped by the New Balance booth. I talked to one of the guys there and he rolled his eyes when I told him where I bought my MR993s and then he said “God Bless You” when I told him I ran a half marathon in them. He told me the MR993s were all wrong for a distance runner and he had me try on the MR860s. He had measured my feet and the shoes felt great. They felt right.

It was two days before Boston so there was no way I was buying a new pair of shoes with only two days to break them in. I had a dilemma. Should I run in the New Balance MR993s that made my feet hurt during a half marathon, or should I go with my old Brooks that I felt were too old for a marathon?

On Sunday I was signed up to run the BAA 5K and decided to try my old Brooks and see how my feet felt. I ended up running with an old friend and we took a very casual pace. Afterwards my feet felt fine. It was only 3.1 miles but I was convinced to go with the old Brooks Adrenaline.

While I was still breaking in the New Balance MR993s my club had our 20 mile long run. We started at the Marathon start in Hopkinton and ran to Boston College. Because the MR993s were not broken in I wore my old Brooks and my feet were killing me by the time I got to BC.

It was a difficult decision to go with the old shoes over the new ones to run Boston. But the MR993s made my feet hurt so bad I had considered seeing a podiatrist.  The pain from the Brooks was caused more by impact than what felt like a structural problem with the New Balance. I could mitigate the discomfort from impact.

My first pair of running shoes

buying running shoesMy first running shoes were Asics GT-2080 which I purchased at Runner’s Edge in Wakefield, Mass. Runner’s Edge was the local running store and my mentors said it was the place to go. The person who helped me seemed knowledgeable and I felt comfortable entrusting him with my feet. He asked a few questions, measured my feet and had me run on their treadmill for a few minutes to see how much my feet pronated.  More on pronation below.

After a few minutes on the treadmill it was determined that I had fairly normal feet and needed a neutral or stability shoe. I ended up buying a pair of Asics GT-2080 which felt good on my feet. I wore these for my first half-marathon and the 2003 Boston Marathon. I had really bad blisters on my toes and lost three toenails after Boston 2003, so I decided I needed to make an adjustment.

I went back to Runner’s Edge and told them about my experience. The guy told me I needed a shoe with a larger toe box so my toes would have more room. He set me up with a pair of Brooks Adrenaline GTS shoes. They felt great on my feet and had the support I needed. I’ve run many races in this model shoe since then, and have been very happy with them. These became my shoe for the next seven years or so.

Why the change and things for you to consider

I changed brands because New Balance is a local company and they make their shoes here in Massachusetts. The people who made my shoes probably live within 50 miles of my house and I like to think I’m helping put food on their table. How often do you get to make the choice to support local workers these days? We used to make a lot of running shoes in Massachusetts but New Balance is the only company still doing it as far as I know.

While this is important to me you should buy the brand that has the best fit for you.

Buying Running Shoes

When you are buying your first pair of running shoes go to a running store. Do not go to a sporting goods store or a department store. You may save a few dollars but you will not get the expert advice you need when selecting your first pair of running shoes. If you’ve gotten this far in this blog take this one golden nugget of advice. You will not regret spending the extra $20 to get good advice from an expert.

Also, do not go to an outlet store for your first pair of shoes or if you are changing brands like I did. Another hard lesson that I pass on to you: an outlet store is an outlet store. It is not a running store. I assumed the outlet store right next to New Balance corporate headquarters would be staffed by runners who knew about running shoes.  Au Contraire, this store is staffed by people who apparently know nothing about running shoes.

Once you find a brand and a style (model) that works for you, stick with them. I stayed with Brooks Adrenaline for about seven years and at least five pairs of shoes. There were times when I did not train between marathons so I did not go through a pair every six months.

If you stay with the same shoe then it is safe to buy shoes on-line and save a few dollars. I’ve purchased close out Adrenalines that were last year’s models for $69.00 on line. In a running store they go for about $119.00. So you can save a lot of money once you figure out what works for you.

More on Buying Running Shoes

When you go to a running store to buy your first running shoes they will put you on a treadmill and check your gait for Pronation.

The definitions below were compiled from an article on runnersworld.com and information from the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

pronation,buying running shoes
Normal Pronation

Pronation is the normal motion of the foot from the outer edge to the inner edge as the foot strikes a surface. With normal or neutral pronation the outside (lateral) of the heel hits the ground first. Then body weight is passed along the arch toward the outside of the foot and upward to the ball (metatarsus) of the foot.

The foot rolls inward about 15% during this motion until the entire foot makes contact with the ground. This motion acts like a shock absorber for the body. As the foot moves forward the bones lock so that it can push-off in a forward motion. With normal pronation the foot moves from the lateral side of the heel, rolls forward and pushes evenly from the front of the foot.

normal arch,running shoes
Normal Arch

People with normal arches usually have normal pronation. You should look for stability shoes that offer moderate pronation control. 60-70% of people have normal or neutral pronation.

 

 

pronation,running shoes
Over Pronation

Some people over pronate. The outside (lateral) of the heel strikes the ground first but then the foot rolls in more than 15% as the foot rolls forward. This condition makes it more difficult for the foot and ankle to stabilize the body. When the foot pushes off, the pressure is mainly on the big toe and second toe. This puts additional pressure and strain on these toes. The motion also twists the foot, shin and knee which can cause pain in those areas.

If you have excessive wear on the inner side of your shoe, you may over pronate. If you put your shoes on a flat surface they will tilt inward.

Over pronation cannot be cured, you are born with it. To compensate for this you will need stable shoes with proper arch support and cushioning.

supination,shoes,
Supination

Underpronation or Supination  Other people under pronate, or supinate. This means that the feet roll in less than 15% and most of the shock is absorbed by the outside (lateral) of their feet. When they push-off the smaller toes do most of the work. This puts extra stress on the foot and can cause iliotibial band syndrome of the knee, Achilles tendinitis and plantar fasciitis.

wet foot test,running shoes
High Arch

If you have high arches or tight Achilles tendons then you may underpronate. Your shoes will wear more on the outside edge and the side may be overstretched. If you place your shoes on a flat surface they will tilt outward.

Determining your arches

An easy way to find out what type of arches you have is to use the wet foot on pavement test. You can use a dry cement surface or other dry surface. All you need to do is get the bottoms of your feet wet and step onto the dry surface and then step away. Looking at the foot prints left behind you can get a good idea what type of arches you have.

Here are some other tips for buying running shoes:

Let the sales person recommend a shoe for you based on their analysis, do not go in set on a specific shoe. In a running store you are getting expert advice, so take it. You can discuss your likes and dislikes with the sales person and they may be able to fit you with a shoe you have your heart set on. Oh, and don’t buy shoes because you like their colors. Color has no impact on your running, but the wrong shoe will mess you up.

  • Shop for running shoes late in the day because your feet swell during the course of the day
  • Measure your foot while standing.
  • Try on both shoes with the socks you will wear.
  • Have both feet measured and buy for your larger foot (feet are rarely the same exact size).
  • Allow a thumbnail’s width between the shoe and your big toe.
  • Choose shoes that are comfortable immediately. If they hurt in the store, don’t buy them.
  • Look for a moderately priced shoe. Price is not necessarily an indication of quality. Research has shown that moderately priced running shoes work just as well as expensive ones.
  • Make sure the shoe matches your foot type and running style. Having a shoe that suits your foot type is the best prevention for injury and pain.
  • Wear new shoes around the house before using them on short runs.
  • Don’t do a long run in new shoes. Start out with a short run and stop if you have any hot spots, which are a warning sign that a blister is on the way.
  • Consider having an evaluation by a doctor, physical therapist, or podiatrist to learn your foot type.

Run well my friends!

Andy

© anagelin 2012

My First Marathon Experience

Training for my First Marathon

When I started training for my first marathon in January of 2003, I had no clue what I was doing.

I had never been athletic and had no idea what running a marathon was all about. I did not realize that most people who start from square one (A.K.A the couch) spend at least six month training for their first marathon.

Training and Tracking

I “trained” for about four months before my first marathon. I didn’t follow a program or plan. My friends with marathon experience helped me, but I made a lot of the mistakes.

I kept track of my training over the years but between computer upgrades at work, system crashes at home and changing jobs, the spread sheets got lost. At the time the information did not seem that important, and in the greater scheme of things it isn’t that important.

When you are training for a race it is important to keep track of your training. It is also a good idea to track your progress over time. I would advise printing all spreadsheets and starting a running folder at home.

Continue reading “My First Marathon Experience”