Do Your Running Shoes Help or Hinder You?

As you start preparing for your 2017 goals now is a good time to replace worn out shoes, or if you have been having a few niggles or recurring problems re-assess what footwear you use and whether it’s right for you. As all the forces in running come from your feet upwards, most niggles are caused by training errors or the wrong footwear. In the case of training errors, it’s very easy to get carried away when training is going well and do too much too soon. It is good to remember that the basis of all training is; exercise and stress the body, then add in some recovery for your body to make the changes that improve your fitness. Depending on how fit you are, the recovery sessions could be a complete rest, brisk walk or easy run. You really only need to stress the body enough to stimulate a change, and anymore is a potentially wasted effort and a step closer to injury or tiredness. Once you get used to a certain level of stress you need to increase it slightly to keep progressing.

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In the case of your running shoes, you need enough room for your feet to function properly even when they have warmed up and expanded. You need just the right amount of cushioning and stability. Too much stability and your feet get weaker. Too little and you get niggles and aches. For some runners a very flexible shoe with very little cushioning is the ideal, but for others a very stiff structured shoe with lots of cushioning will work better. That’s why at Northern Runner we stock a wide range of shoes for different foot shapes that come in ½ sizes and width fittings. You can also test drive the shoes on the corridor at the back of the shop to get a feel for what they will be like on a hard surface.

“You can also test drive the shoes on the corridor..”

If you are running everyday then your foot strength and style will change during the week as you get tired. So, when you are running fast you might use a flexible shoe which allows your feet to work hard moving you forward. The next day you will be tired and your style will be more sloppy so you could try running in a stiffer shoe with more cushioning. A maximal cushioned shoe like an Altra Paradigm or Hoka Vanquish could be used for a long road run. This will stress your legs less so you can recover quicker and  be able to run quickly again within a few days.

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