When we feel an ache or new pain it’s easy to brush it off as something minor but it is important that we stop to take some time to analyze the new pain. It could be as minor as sore toes or a blister. I started running in September again after not running for 2 months. It got too hot in the summer and I was in the middle of my 12 Week Jamie Eason program so I figured I could get back to running with no problem.
But I was wrong, I was using my usual and favorite running shoes Noosafast, Asics; great shoes but not after 2 months of no running. I basically shocked my feet, though my body could run 5 miles easy, my feet were not prepared. This led to some foot pain I had never felt before: Plantar Fasciitis. I quickly looked up ways to remedy it and found out that I needed shoes that offered better support. While this was true because I had injured myself it would have been different if I had started off running slow, for less miles, or different surfaces etc.
So, I bought myself some Asics Exalt and Reebok Trail Zigkick which both are awesome shoes for different purposes. My first problem was that I went a size down from my usual size. BIG MISTAKE! I’m a fairly experienced runner so I should have known better when trying on my shoes to not go with the smaller size but I had an athletic sock on and figured that I had left enough toe space. Well I was wrong and this led to more problems later.
With these two new pairs of shoes, I was excited that I could run again pain free. Two weeks past and I was running along just fine. Then I started adding miles and I started to notice some toe pain. I didn’t think much at first then my toes were hurting all the time and tender to touch. Did I stop then, to think about what could be causing this?? Nope, that was definitely a clear sign to STOP and analyze what was going on.
Well I kept running and just figured it was the added mileage; then I started to get blisters … I normally get running calluses in the area and figured it was all good. Then I got a blood blister, it made me uneasy but I still kept running with these two shoes switching back and forth. After a while I would cringe at the thought of which shoe I would be using since neither seemed pleasant with my tender toes. Did that stop me then? No, I was dumb enough to keep running. Well, my body finally had enough of my poor choice in shoes for my feet and I developed a knee pain. I have never had knee pain and that’s why I realized something was really wrong, it was not the increase of miles it had to be something else. Was my form off? Was I swinging my arms wrong? Was my stride too short, too long? I still was ignoring the first thing a runner should look at MY SHOES.
I looked up ways to deal with my new knee pain (especially since I had less than 2 weeks for my half marathon) and found a solution to my knee pain. Around the same time I found a good deal on some new Asics Exalt buying a size 7 this time and was able to start running with them. That’s when it started making sense. My problem was not my body but my shoes. I love books and started looking up good books on running. I came across this book The New Rules of Running by Vijay Vad, MD and it essentially made everything more clear to me.
Every time I had bought shoes in the past, I sort of, knew what shoes to get. I would try shoes on and see what “felt” good. But what feels good and what is good are two different things; especially with new shoes, they’re all going to “feel” good they’re new! The book talks about the amount of support shoes have, minimalist, cushioning, stability and racing shoes. Those first shoes I have are minimalist/racing shoes, so while I had used them for running for months before my feet/body needed to become accustomed to them again. I could have continued with them had I not stopped running. The book also explains other factors that one must consider when buying shoes. It is important to look at your foot arch, pronation, weight and what type of runner you are (heel, midsole, or forefoot striker). I have a normal arch, a slight pronation and I am a midsole striker and I weigh about 120-125. What does this mean? I don’t really need a big heel on my shoes or that much cushioning. I need shoes that offer stability and some good support; the Asics Gel Exalt are the RIGHT shoe but I had bought the wrong size. And the Reebok Zigkick were the wrong shoe for me because they added too much heel support for someone that is a midsole striker. This meant that every other run my body was adjusting to a new shoe and shoes that were unnaturally changing my running form. So what happened from this was that all those little pains that I ignored led to this awful knee pain.
Learn your body’s natural biomechanics. Find out if you’re a fore, mid or heel striker as this is important when buying shoes. Do you have longer legs or torsal? It is very important that you don’t let minor injuries, aches or pains, become giant problems that can actually stop you from running or workouts. You’ll reduce you’re likelihood of being injured.
Have a great day and HAPPY HOLIDAYS.