Although we just had snow earlier this week, spring has to be just around the corner, right? Those couple uber-warm days last week gave me renewed hope.
With spring comes the joy of running outside and ramping up for 5 Ks, marathons and triathlons. To make sure you get the most out of your run, here are my favorite tips for finding the best running shoes.
Learn your running style
Your running style can be boiled down to one of two styles: Striking the ground with your heel first or striking the ground with the ball of your foot first. According to a recent study from the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, almost 94 percent of runners hit the ground with their heel first. This is essential when purchasing running shoes because it’s important to have support in the right place. If you’re a heel runner, you’ll want to find a shoe that has more heel padding and support, whereas if you are one of the few forefoot runners you’ll need more support at the ball area. If you’re unaware of your running style, you can go to your gym or local sports store where they often have a gait analysis specialist who will let you know.
Try on at least five pairs of different running shoes
The only way to find the best shoe is by trying on a variety of different shoes to see how they feel on your feet. The best indicator is that the shoe feels comfortable immediately. Although this may seem obvious, it’s not always the case. Often we try to jam our feet into shoes that are too tight, or we try tightening the laces to make shoes that are too big conform to our feet.
Always leave half an inch between your toes and the front of the sneaker so your toes can move and breathe. If there’s a treadmill in the store, try running with the shoes on so that you can determine whether you like a lighter shoe or a heavier shoe. Purchasing the right shoe should take some time and research. It shouldn’t be a quick decision if you’re an avid runner. Take the time to read up on your favorite brands and shoe styles. I love the Brooks line of shoes. I wear the Pure Connect style because they are light and they help to center and balance my foot as it strikes the ground.
Keep track of your running
Did you know that on average, we wear our running shoes two months longer than we should? This can lead to a variety of common foot ailments such as plantar fasciitis, ankle sprains and Achilles tendon issues. Be sure to find a tracking tool to help log your miles.
There’s a world of technology and apps like Fitbit, NikePlus and mapmyrun that can not only help you track your miles, but will also help you hit your mileage and speed targets while ramping up for those races. Most running shoes have a shelf life of about 400 miles. So when you hit the 400 mile mark, you should celebrate not just all the distance and hard work you’ve put in, but also the fact that you get to head to the store to start shopping for a new pair.