BY MISSY JANZOW
I can remember when I first started running competitively back in 1983. Clothing choices for runners were limited. I would take my cotton T-shirts and cut the sleeves off and sometime even turn it into a crop top to make running more tolerable. I can remember owning my first pair of Nike running shoes although there was no proper shoe fitting that took place, but rather, I purchased them from an Eastbay running catalog my coach showed me. I can’t say the lack of running clothing options hindered my performance, but as with many forms of technology, the improvement in running technology in terms of gear and devices available to us in the present day is quite remarkable.
If the shoe fits .
Your running shoes are probably the most important piece of running gear you will purchase, so choose wisely. Wearing old, worn-out shoes to run in or ones that aren’t appropriate for you in terms of sizing and/or running form is probably the number one cause of running injuries. When choosing a running shoe, don’t choose it based on the colors or style. Instead, make sure to visit your local running store to have your gait analyzed and get recommendations on the proper type of running shoe you need based on your gait analysis, foot plant and sizing. Gait analysis is most useful for determining the level of pronation a runner has. Pronation is the natural inward roll of the foot as the outside part of the heel strikes the ground. Proper shoe fit and corresponding appropriate running shoes can help compensate for some of the dysfunction in your running gait and help to correct it to a certain degree. Fully understanding your gait pattern and then helping to further correct imbalances can be done through a proper strength program to work on muscle imbalances that may be leading to a dysfunctional gait pattern. If these issues aren’t addressed through a proper shoe fitting and strength program, it can lead to injury due to compensating with an abnormal running gait. Gait analysis is the study of your running movements and is typically done by a professional trained in such methods by having you run on a treadmill while they analyze. Sole Solutions, located at 1307 E. Airline Road, Suite C, provides gait analysis and shoe recommendations by a trained professional.
Types of shoes
Motion control shoes are typically the most rigid and heavy shoes available. They provide more support and cushion than other running shoes and are typically recommended for flat-footed or heavy runners. Stability shoes are typically suggested for runners who overpronate. Neutral running shoes are designed for runners with a neutral gait, and cushioning is average. Minimalist or racing shoes tend to have little to no support or cushioning and aren’t necessarily the type of shoe you should spend substantial time training in.
You don’t necessarily need to go out and purchase all the latest fashion trends as you begin your running program. Make sure first and foremost the clothing you are running in is comfortable. There are a lot of running clothing products that are made of dry-fit or CoolMax material, and this is probably the best choice for running as this material wicks moisture away from the body and is also a bit more lightweight than cotton. Women should make sure they are wearing well-made and supportive running bras. Be careful not to overdress as your extra body heat from running will make it feel about 15 degrees warmer out. If it’s below 45 degrees, run in layers you can strip off as you warm up. For socks, stay away from 100-percent cotton; instead, choose a synthetic blend to help prevent blisters.
For more information on training for the upcoming Citizens Run Against Cancer Half-Marathon and 5K, look for Missy Janzow’s training programs at varra.org.