You took up running, great. So how are you doing?  Better yet, how are your feet holding up?

I mentioned once before about the benefits of having the right shoes that not only fit your feet but give you the right support where you need it and why. So, I’m going to expand on that a little bit here and now. Why? Because I learned the hard way of going the cheaper route in purchasing my running shoes instead of investing on ones that can carry me, (and I do mean Carry Me) for the duration of my training without causing me any painful injuries.

Wearing the proper running shoes is a fundamental element in maintaining the correct running stride technique, as well as maintaining your posture while you run and preventing injury.

Shoes are tools. Tattoo that on your brain! We may not think of them as such, but they are. After all, when you’re not sleeping, you’re spending the majority of your waking hours on your feet. Or at least you should be, after all, we were meant to be moving, walking, traveling, from the times of Neanderthal man who spent much of his time gathering food.

Without the correct tools (shoes), you are likely to hurt yourself, making you more prone to suffer needlessly as you push yourself through your runs and possibly even more severe injuries in the future. Selecting the right shoe for your foot type may be a basic concept to some, yet some runners, beginners or want to be runners, often overlook this simple step, and as a result, suffer from preventable injuries.  Which ultimately leads them to giving up on their main purpose of getting fitter, and extending their distances by running, the right way!

Biomechanics, trainers and physical therapist term that refers to the internal and external forces of the human body, and the manner in which these forces affect the human body, your body!

This means every movement that your foot makes in the act of walking, running, even standing affects other parts of your body. This is one reason you need to keep your back straight and your chest outward when you’re moving forward, especially in going up and down hills.  Think of the military services, the drill sergeants make it a point to instill discipline and awareness in having their recruits walk, (march) in a certain way. They know that if your posture is not correct, they are not going to be able to get the distance out of you that they need in order to train your body well enough to accomplish their ultimate goals of making you a well fit, military person.

If your shoes don’t provide the necessary support for the arches and heels, they prevent essential range of motion in the foot. When your feet are not able to function properly, other parts of your body must overcompensate. When your body overcompensates, it is common to suffer from pain in the heels, ankles, knees, hips and lower back. The pain in these joints can then lead to weakness and further injury.

Being comfortable while you run is very important, it affects your distance, speed and endurance. Continuing your routine of running depends greatly on the benefits you gain; no one wants to run any kind of distance, for any amount of time while you are uncomfortable or in pain. You need to find a shoe that fits your individual foot, and there could be a substantial difference even between your right and left foot! If you have the correct shoes, you can preserve a healthy and injury-free running, training regimen and work to increase your distance and endurance which in the long run will push your body to constantly improve itself by gaining conditioning the right way.

Finding the right shoes is not rocket science. Most reputable shoe stores, especially ones that promote as being experienced in the various sports related activities, offer a free foot analysis by staff that are trained to advise you of the best type of shoe that is right for you. Another option for determining which shoe is most suitable for you is to have a podiatrist or a sports medicine expert evaluate your foot type and the specific needs of shoes for your body’s foot type. Generally, these professionals assess your feet by determining the needs for your arch and heel support.  And the results are not exclusive to the type of sports shoes you need. But also to your everyday wearing shoes or sneakers. Remember, you’re on your feet most of the day, as you go about your daily tasks. So it’s important to have the right fitting shoes on your feet all the time, not just when you’re running!

Paying for the proper shoes can be costly. But remember that old adage? “You Get What You Pay For”? You may pay more for a shoe that is tailored for your specific foot type, but the price you’ll pay does not compare with the cost you would have to disburse for injuries caused by your going the cheaper route and getting a pair of shoes based on price alone from a discount clothing or department store.

Believe me, quite a few people do this only to find out later that yes, their feet hurt.  Buying the correct shoes impacts the way in which your entire body is able to function without unnecessary injury or pain; therefore, paying a higher price for shoes is a valuable investment in the overall health and performance of your body.

Replacing your shoes on a regular basis is important for staying free of injury and pain, too. According to the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, you should replace your shoes every 350 to 400 miles, or about every six months, for the average person. Now those that adopt a more vigorous running program, say “Long Distance Running”  can expect to wear their shoes out sooner than others that are just running recreationally, to increase their stamina and body mechanics. So this is going to vary person to person.

The midsole of the shoe, is the part of shoe sole, between the bottom of the shoe and the upper part of the shoe. The utility of the midsole can decrease due to inclement weather, excessive weight and terrain.  So, just like replacing the breaks or hoses on your car, you need to take care of the proper maintenance of the shoes, (remember, these are tools), that protect your feet.

So there you have it, a few facts on why you need a good pair of shoes based on the walking activity of your choice. As we always like to recommend, besides those shoes, we also like to recommend a good activity monitor to help you track your progress and to allow you to continue to set new goals for you to reach towards.  The one we are recommending to you today is Garmin Forerunner 235 GPS Running Watch,  This Garmin model has everything you need to track your distance, your heart rate (without any straps) and your pace accurately. It keeps you constantly connected to your friends and can automatically upload your data via “Garmin Connect” so your always in touch with your group of “Connect” friends. It’s a training companion that is with you 24×7, even while you’re sleeping.

So, if you’re not running out of your door, now to get fitted for the right pair of shoes, just what are you waiting for? Go on and “Get err Done”!