Over the past little while I’ve been helping a few Twitter friends and some in real-life friends get started with running. Each one had the same question: What do I need to get started? My answer was the same to each one: SHOES!
That’s the beauty of running, other than a very strong case of motivation, all you need are shoes (and maybe someone to watch the kids while you run). Shoes are the most important piece of running gear any runner, whether a long-time runner, or a new runner will ever need. You can improvise with water bottles, pants, shorts, tops and sport bras but truthfully you cannot improvise in the shoe department – otherwise you end up like me, stuck on the couch, unable to walk due to a nasty case of some over use injury like shin splints, plantar fasciitis or even stress fractures. Shoes are IMPORTANT!!
The thing is, not any shoe will do and not all shoes are created equal. You need to find the right shoe for YOU! This is why when I’m asked what brand is the best I really dont have an answer. I’ve ran in New Balance, Saucony, Brooks and Asics (the three marathons Ive ran were in New Balance shoes). As long as I don’t get injured or blisters I’m happy. And truthfully, the only times I’ve gotten injured are when I wasn’t training in the right shoe type for my feet (yes, I should know better :))
So what’s this talk about shoe type and foot type?
Basically there are three different kinds of shoe types: a neutral shoe for those with a foot arch that is neither high or low, a neutral show with high cushioning for those with high arches, and motion control/stability shoes for runners (like me) who have low arches. But how do you know what your foot type is? To find out you can take the Runner’s World Arch Test:
But how do I know which shoe is which?
Ahhh – this is where experience and a good running store comes in handy. A good running store can help you to determine your foot type, provide you shoe options and they will even let you run around (maybe even outside) to try out the shoes. There’s a store near me that also has a 10 day return policy! Thankfully my good friends at Runner’s World have put together this handy Running Stores search tool for stores in the USA and Canada:
So no matter if you’re an experienced runner, or a new runner, the only thing you need to run are GOOD shoes fitted for YOU – but remember to replace your shoes every 350-500 miles (you can track your distance with Daily Mile). Cheers and happy (injury free) running!