Running is a fairly straightforward sport: lace up sneakers. Grab some water if it’s hot. Go. You don’t have to worry about endless gear, like you do in so many other sports. Running is simple, liberating, and a great way to stay in shape, no matter where you are.
The only true “gear” you have to worry about is running shoes. At anywhere from $80 – $100 + a pop, running shoes can be expensive – especially if you’re replacing them every 500 miles or so, but they are definitely the essential piece that you want to invest in wisely. Below, we have some tips for finding the right running shoe for your weight, size, and running style.
Where you buy your running shoes matters
It may be tempting to just try and find the best deal, or purchase a pair because they look “comfortable” – but be careful before you buy shoes that you haven’t tried before. We highly recommend you go to a running store that is staffed with running experts. They’ll look closely at your feet, take your measurements, ask you about your running style, and even film you running on a treadmill so they can guide you through a gait analysis. On the Central Coast, we love the folks over at Running Warehouse – they have a huge selection and are extremely knowledgeable about all of the running shoes out there. If you can’t make it into the store, Running Warehouse offers an online gain analysis program so that you can determine whether a particular shoe will work for your foot strike and running style.
Trail? Road? Track?
The type of running you’ll be doing in your sneaks will help guide you on the style to buy. If you stick mainly to trail running, look for trail-specific shoes that have extra grip and rock plates to protect your feet from sharp rocks. If you run primarily on the road, you may want a shoe with extra cushioning. Planning a fast, quick race? Lightweight racing flats will make you feel like you’re flying – just make sure you break them in first, as they’ll change your stride slightly.
What about those popular minimalist shoes?
Barefoot running and minimalist shoes are all the rage these days in the running world. A shoe with less cushioning, support, and a low heel will allow your foot to naturally bend, and you’ll run more on your forefoot than your heels, which can help prevent some injuries. HOWEVER, if you’re transitioning from standard running shoes to minimalist shoes, be advised that you’ll first need to build up some time in these unique shoes. After spending years in traditional, stiffer shoes, your foot tendons and bones can easily become injured if unaccustomed to the added stress from running without a lot of support. Break your shoes in slowly – just a few miles a week, until your feet are strong enough to handle the distance.
Make sure your shoes are broken in before a race!
Our last word of advice is to choose your shoes months in advance of a race. Running the City to the Sea half-marathon or 5k in October? Now would be a good time to identify your ideal running shoe and begin training in them. Many people make the mistake of not running enough in a shoe or switching shoes right before a race and suffering an injury. Your body needs time to adapt to a shoe, and the shoe needs a few long runs before it will be broken in to your foot shape. We recommend running in your shoes at least a month before a race so that you won’t wear it down too much, but you’ll still have enough time to adapt to the particular shoe. Often, people have a few pairs of shoes that they’ll rotate so that their racing shoes don’t get too worn out before a race.
Hope to see you out there!
If you haven’t yet registered for the City to the Sea race, registering online is easy! We hope you find your perfect pair of shoes, and we hope to see you out there on October 14th.