Name a more accurate love|hate. I'll wait...
R U N N I N G.
Running. Giiiiiirl you better find something better to write about than meditation and running or I'm about to never come back here again. 2 strikes.
Does anybody have to pee before we leave?? Are y'all sure?? I'm not stopping this car until we at least get into Mississippi. Do not ask me to stop at a gas station in Baton Rouge, you will have to hold it. Aight. Let's go.
Line up 100 people and like 50 of them will tell you running is Satan's exercise of choice. Then you'll have about 25 that'll be like OMG yaaaaas sign me up for every 5 - 10 - 13k for the rest of the year #Runner #Therapy #GeauxRun. Then there's the ..... supa freaks.... the supa freaks... the supa freeeeakayysss that run Iron Ma... Iron Mans? Iron Men? Those people. Not going to calculate the number of people that run those and Ultramarathons because that surely must be less than 0.5 people?
K. Everybody else raise your hand if you are one of the ~24.9 persons who will occasionally jog, entertain the Couch to 5k idea, show up to the CrossFit class that day as long as the runs are 800m or less, know that running is good for you but hate every step of it, or maybe you don't hate it... but DANGIT if I could just find the right SHOES I'd stick with this better!
Why is it so hard to find the right running shoes?!
You pick the ones that look the coolest and are on sale for $59.99. You like the colors. You like how they look on the super pretty athletic person in the advertisement. Your friend told you they loved these certain ones. You even made it your Facebook status ISO "Favorite/Best running shoes?! Go..." You posted a "poll" in the online fitness community you're in. You tried them on in Academy and walked up and down aisle 18 and they felt good and your calves looked good in them in the end-cap mirror. Or, I mean... they're OnClouds, they have to be good.
Sound the horn. I'm here to tell you! Everybody doesn't have the same feet.
Put me on the news.
As your friendly, blunt, and approachable NP, I am here to tell you that walking and running are so good for your health - both physical and mental - that I would love to see you take up a walking or running routine! MyFitnessPal has some GREAT interval walking plans that will rev up your metabolism and not overtake your life. This is not an all or nothing deal. Absolutely anything is better than nothing and perfection is not required.
What's that? You don't have time? Maybe some days you don't have time.
But. Let's engage in a reality check, shall we? Yum, I love reality checks.
If you are an iPhone user (other types of devices, here) - please go to Settings --> scroll down a teensy bit --> click the sand timer that says Screen Time --> gaze in wonder and amazement at how much time you spend on your phone. Wonder and amazement can be good or bad. "I do a lot of work from my phone." "I don't have social media." Cool.
Can 30 minutes of your non-social media time, your working on your phone time, your social media time, your email answering time, your YouTube time, your Reddit time, your reading a book time, your Googling time, your Candy Crush time, your news consumption time...... be completed or continued while walking for 30 minutes at any time of some days? #Bet.
Is your little voice inside saying, I'd like to try to start walking or running but it just hurts so bad. My feet hurt, my shoes hurt, my knees hurt, my hips hurt, everything hurts. I've gone through so many shoes. You text that friend again. She's been running and walking so much more and you ask her what kind of shoes she has? She says well I have _________, but check this out! She sent you her blog link AGAIN. This is what it says:
What type of activity do you want to engage in? This is very important. Are you going to walk/run on streets/sidewalks? Nature trails? Treadmill? Hills? Hiking trails? CrossFit? HIIT? Orange Theory? Let's go with streets/sidewalks for $600 Alex.
If there is a particular brand of shoe that has fit you very well in the past (width, length, arch support) - START with that brand in your search for running/walking-with-a-purpose shoes. I am going to use New Balance here. K. We just merged on the interstate. Settle in.
Google: Type in New Balance shoes, and go to the site. As you can see, there are the separate categories for Walking and Running and all the other things mentioned above. Warning: "Lifestyle" is where you will find the cutest and most attractive looking shoes - these are not proper for exercise activities. Let's go with RUNNING.
4. K. Click running. Below is what you will see. Don't be immediately drawn in to "Best Sellers". It's a glittery link. Jordans are like the best sellers of all time and they aren't any good for running! We are going to start with applying filters to our search.... Notice there are 81 shoe options to choose from at this point. That makes me tired.
FIRST filter: your size. The far left menu where the colors are, is where we are looking. I wear a size 5, so that is the first way I will narrow the options, is to choose to shop by size, so that I only see shoes that have my size in stock. If you are BETWEEN sizes - click to filter to both sizes (example: click both sizes 7.5 & 8). Why?? With all these options, and how long your spiraling staircase Google search for shoes can go on, you may be subject to decision-making fatigue, and this may lead you to choosing a size too small or too big just to PICK something already dangit. Let's do this right this time!
SECOND filter: your width! If you don't know what width you are, visit your closet and look at a pair of shoes that you currently own, that feel the best - not too tight with wide laces when tied, and not too loose with nearly touching lace loops when tied. Look on the inside of the shoe or on the tongue of the shoe, for the width! MOST shoes in big box stores are Medium (M) or S (Standard) width, sometimes W (Wide) widths will be available, and, rarely a narrow width shoe will be sighted. Maybe you have known you need a wide width (your laces are very far apart when your shoes are tied, and shoes may even feel tight) but can't ever find it in the store ... this is good. The internet can help. Select your width filter. When I filter by size 5, and standard (medium) width, my available selections went from 81 shoes to 67.
THIRD filter: choose your "Surface". I selected "Road", and with that filter my available options drop down to 46. Again, less options makes things less confusing!
Ok it's 6:00, what do you want to eat tonight? I don't know, what do you want to eat tonight? I don't know, you pick. Okay, do you want Greek, Mexican, Italian, healthy, fat, pizza, what? I don't know, look for something on waitR. 50 million options scrolled by with some brief interruptions of Instagram news feed. It's now 8pm. Ugh. Let's just go drive through McDonald's. See? That's how decision-making fatigue happens..........
5. For New Balance brand/website specifically - if you scroll a little futher - there are three "SUPPORT" types. Let's learn a new concept maybe?! Some of you will already know these: "PRONATION and SUPINATION." Pronation and Supination are directional terms in the medical world, like east/west or north/south. For this blog, they represent the ways that people's feet strike the ground when they walk or run. To remember which is which, P for pronation will stand for Pancake. Flat like a pancake. Fallen arches make pancake feet.
Over-pronators walk way on the inside of their feet, maybe the outer soles don't make contact with the ground even. Over-supinators are those people that walk so far on the outside of their feet, the soles of the shoes are flattened on the outside and they may walk on the fabric. These are extreme examples.
6. Determine which pronator you are! Some of you already know if you have flat arches, neutral arches (your ankles don't fall in or out, they stay in the middle), or if you walk on the outside of your feet. Now...If you plan to WALK-with-a-purpose for exercise, great! Stop there. But, if you dare, to RUN or JOG with a purpose - I need you to go outside and run around right now. Or tomorrow or sometime soon. When you begin to feel fatigue while running - your GAIT may change. What is gait?
[ geyt ] noun a manner of walking, stepping, or running. any of the manners in which a horse moves, as a walk, trot, canter, gallop, or rack."
Even if you are a Pancake or possibly a neutral gait when you are standing and walking - you may have a DIFFERENT gait when you run and begin to fatigue! Personally, I am an over pronator when I stand and walk (my ankles fall in a lot), however, when I run I am an over supinator! I strike the ground with both my heel and the outside of my foot! My legs/brain over-correct my standing/walking gait. When I work as a nurse and I stand and walk for 8-12 hours, I wear shoes that are more neutral (Dansko, NB or Brooks) with a built in arch-support or I actually use a Protalus insert! As a child, I had plastic-molded, corrective orthotics in my shoes, that were made by a physical therapist. I find these Protalus inserts to be extremely good for the price and the availability! When I run, I do not use an insert, and have a lot of pain if I do. So, next time you go running - don't change anything, just pay attention to which part/parts of your foot strike the ground first when you find yourself beginning to mouth breathe. If you are still nose breathing - you aren't fatigued yet.
Warning: Risky opinion sharing ahead, but it's my "WHY?" for writing this article: What I just told you to do above - assess your own running gait - is why I feel I have never been successfully fitted for running shoes at the specialized running stores that have employees trained to assess gait and match a shoe. They assessed my gait while I was WALKING in the store, and not RUNNING. And, speaking for myself, my gait doesn't change until I am fatigued. Even if I run 10-20 feet in the store - my gait doesn't change. And when I am spending $130+ on a pair of shoes - I'm gonna need them to be right. Unfortunately my money tree is not communicating with my bank account yet.
7. ADD your specific support filters. I am going to choose both "Motion Control" and "Stability" for the purpose of this blog.
Would you look at that!? I am now down to 8 shoe options! From 81 to 8 - the chance of error, confusion, overwhelm and decision-making fatigue are reduced by about 90%.
OKAY - Nooooow you get to decide which colors are the coolest, which overall look you like from the choices you have left, and start shopping. I'm going to start with "the Rubix" (bottom right).
Key things that I notice right away, when I consider this shoe:
"for the pronated runner"
"miles of aggressive running"
So, I can easily eliminate this pair, because it told me what kind of pronator it's made for, and also what kind of activity it's intended for - both NOT what I'm looking for! Let's try another one: "Fresh foam Vongo v4".
What I see right away with these:
Visually - I see how thick the foam is on the outer sole and the heel, check and check. Next, terms "plush ride" (squishy), "underfoot support" (how cushioned it feels), "medial stability" and "more natural ride". These are all things I'm looking for, because I don't want my running shoe to correct a flat foot - I don't have that issue when running, just when standing and walking. Plus, I like a running shoe to be squishy. Also, the shoe weighs 9 oz, about half a pound - this is pretty light, considering how thick the sole is. These are looking like the winner for what I'm wanting to do - interval runs (3-5 miles of mixed walking, running at different paces, and jogging with intentional rests).
Extra: Most shoes will tell you what their "drop" is. This is the difference in thickness of the sole of the shoe from the heel to the toe. Drop can range from 0mm to 12mm. What "drop" you like is your personal preference! If there is a certain shoe you have liked in the past that felt pretty good when running or walking, type it into Google and see what it's drop is, and look for one close to that in a new shoe. It is my personal preference to have a small drop.
I'm a person that falls in between these two factors. I do tend to have a heavy heel strike, but I also get such extreme calf tightness, very quickly, that I can't push past, so I can't have a big drop. I prefer a lot of cushion in the heel (for the heavy heel strike) and a small drop (to cater to my Achilles tendon and problematic calf muscles).
7. READ the customer reviews! If almost everybody said the shoes run small and narrow, and you are between a 7.5 and an 8 - buy the 8! If everybody says they run TTS (true-to-size) and you are normally a 7.5, buy the 7.5. If almost everybody says they "run big", still buy the 7.5, because you would rather have a little too much room in the toe box, and wear a little thicker sock, than to go down a half size and feel restricted. Read the content of the reviews - don't just consider the stars and the little picture that shows how most people think they fit. Just because most people have given the shoe a 3/5 star review, doesn't mean much! Most people don't go through this much effort to pick the right shoe - so how valid are their stars?? Read their paragraphs!
8. Make sure your shoes can be returned even if worn! Check the return policy on the site you are shopping. Most companies will reserve the right to refuse a return if the shoes are visibly worn. So when you try them out - don't go through the mud or go 13 miles! Don't step in dog poop. Stick to the side walks and go a mile or two in them so you can get a good idea! If you still can't decide which size to get- and you can afford it - buy the shoe in 2 sizes and return 1!
9. Check to see if your size and shoe are available in a store near you! Copy and paste the exact name of your shoe into the website search of whatever running or big box stores are near you - and if they are available - go try them on in person! If not, you've checked the return policy for online shopping.
10. Buy the shoes. Walk, run, be merry!
LAST talking (typing) point: Most websites will have a quiz you can take to "Find your perfect shoe". Interesting - when I took the quiz on the NB site: it didn't turn up the shoes I chose on my own! Of the 3 it suggested, I would consider 1 pair. 2 of the 3 options had very vague language in the description and they weren't less expensive, but this is also another way to quickly narrow down the options on a site, to see what the shoe-maker would suggest for you!
LAWD. Mississippi welcome sign Hallelujerrrr. Eeeast bound and down. Loaded up and trucking. We gonna do what they say can't be done. We had a long way to go and it took a long time to get there... End of this blog write up here we commmmeee!