CM SEAL Team blogger: Tim Grizzell
Completing a Marathon: III(a) Running Equipment: SHOES
It is now time to discuss one of my favorite topics – running equipment. I am very passionate about this subject. As some of you might know from my first post on CHARLIE MIKE, I am currently in the process of starting a running apparel company. I have been working on this venture for over a year now and I am fired up about it. The company has now entered a new phase and I am about to go into production for part of the clothing line. I will keep you posted on my progress.
My discussion about running equipment is going to be broken up into a couple posts on CHARLIE MIKE. In the first half, I will first talk about different types of running shoes and how important it is to be properly fitted in the right shoe. The second half will cover running apparel. We could also discuss accessories (e.g., hydration devices, injury-related devices, etc.), but we will save all of this for another post down the road.
Choosing the appropriate shoe in today’s market where there is such a large selection can be overwhelming. Yet – if you want to complete a marathon or even want to run injury free, it is vitally important that you select the best shoe for your body structure and the type of training you do.
Now you ask – where do I start? Prior to starting your running shoe research, I would suggest that you become aware of the different aspects of your body structure. The primary categories that you need to think about are your foot mechanics, your body frame, your arch type, and any injuries you might have.
In terms of foot mechanics, you want to figure out whether your foot rolls inward (over-pronates), rolls outward (under-pronates), or is neutral. You can figure this out by having someone watch your ankles and feet when you walk away from them. Most good specialty running shoe stores will do this analysis for you. It is very important to understand what category you fall in. For example, a person who over-pronates and wears a shoe a designed for neutral runner will most likely get shin splints. Your body frame clearly has an impact on your decision. If you are a big guy, you do not want to buy a shoe that was designed for a Chihuahua. You need a shoe that has some cushioning in the midsole. A high arch, medium arch and low arch are all major factors. So, you will want a shoe that is designed for your arch type. Also, if you have any injuries like bunions or plantar fasciitis, you will want to make sure that you have a shoe that will accommodate these injuries.
Besides body structure, the weekly mileage you put in and the type of terrain that you will be training on all play a vital role in the selection of a shoe. In my opinion, most runners will need a little stability control in their shoes. It is just a matter of how much you stability you will need.
After your body structure self-awareness is complete, the next step is going to your local sports store (assuming you do not live in some remote area) to try and find a shoe that matches your body structure and is designed for the type of training you do. If you have access to one, I suggest that you go to a specialty running shoe store because they generally (not always) have more running shoe expertise than a large sporting goods store.
Once you start trying on shoes that might fit the bill, here are some important rules to keep in mind.
Shoe Size: Your foot swells about a half size during running so you want to buy shoes slightly larger than your normal shoe size (maybe one-half to one size larger). The rule of thumb is that you should be able to fit the width of your index finger between the longest toe and the front end of the running shoe.
Toe Box: Your toes need freedom of movement. Make sure that you can wiggle them up and down in the toe box.
Initial Comfort Level: The shoe must feel great the first time you try it on. Anyone who tells you that the shoe will feel more comfortable over time either (a) does not know what they are talking about or (b) is trying to move a certain shoe out of inventory.
Heel Slippage: Make sure the heel does not slip. Can you say blisters?
I will leave you with a great quote from a CM teammate (that would be Joe G.) back in January in response to one of my posts, “A higher price does not mean a better shoe. Just like wine. Just like a lot of things, come to think of it.”
Fired Up and Standing By to answer your questions!
Thursday, April 16, 2009
CM SEAL Team blogger: Tim Grizzell