Monday, August 20, 2012

{my running journey so far}

if you would have told me a year ago that i would now be running (and liking it), i would have laughed, loudly, in your face. but after losing close to 30 pounds (via the 17 Day Diet), i knew that i couldn't go back. i had to change my lifestyle, permanently.  i needed to start exercising ... STAT! however, due to some, *cough*, financial restrictions (aka miami university's outrageous tuition) i could not afford to join a gym.  that's when i saw this blog post from Ascot Friday.  she said that in order to get back into pre-baby shape, she downloaded the app Couch to 5k.  this app is an eight week program that slowly increases intervals between running and walking until, finally, you are able to run a 5k. thus, it's namesake - Couch to 5k.  designed for beginners, i thought that this app would be a perfect solution to my new lifestyle. and boy was i write. i have grown to really enjoy running, and i look forward to it (i only run every other day or every two days, details "why" later on...). i can now consider myself a "runner". however, these last few runs have been really rough. i have been having REALLY bad shin splints (therefore, I can't run everyday). upon my research, i found a variety of solutions.

1. always wear shoes with good support and padding

2. warm up before working out, making sure to stretch the muscles in your legs.

3. stop working out as soon as you feel pain in your shins

4. don't run or play on hard surfaces like concrete

due to my continued financial situation (damn you miami!), i tried 2, 3, and 4 in an attempt to prevent my shin splints.  however, these have not completely done the trick. today was by far the worst it has ever been.  on my way home during my cool down, i was forced to limp my way home (or otherwise known as wobble my way due to the fact that both shins hurt). i knew that i couldn't avoid solution #1 anymore, i needed new shoes.  i needed shoes that would provide the best support and cushioning a girl could ask for.  the shoes i have, although cute and cheap, were probably not the best for running longer distances. maybe a walk around the lake, but not running.  therefore, i started my research. 

i found that i have rare feet. i have a high arch and i am an underpronator.  underpronation means that i run primarily on the outside of my feel; therefore, i do not evenly distribute my weight as i run.  

below is a picture of different types of pronation.  according to my research, it is ESSENTIAL to understand how you run in order to pick the best type of running shoe.

{photo via 40 something life

the easiest way to find out what kind of an arch you have (and in essence, find out how you run), you can find an arch identifier (i found the one i used at a local dicks sporting goods store) or do this simple test

1. you will need a shallow cooking sheet with sides, water, and a paper bag or paper towel. fill the shallow pan with a thing layer of water.

Wet Test

2. wet the sole of your feet.

Wet Test

3. Step on you paper bad or paper towel.

Wet Test

4. step off and look down

Wet Test

it is likely that your foot will look like any of one of these three pictures:

Wet Test Wet Test Wet Test
normal                          low                          high

after finding out what kind of runner i am, i am now able to make a more informed decision as to what kind of running shoe i need.  i need a shoe that has neutral cushioning in order to absorb the shock and i should avoid any shoes with stability devices. i have to encourage pronation, not reduce it.

now knowing this information, i am able to start my journey into looking for a new shoe. if you go to, they have a running shoe fit guide. it will narrow shoes down for you according to your arch.   for underpronators like me, choose "neutral".

the best i found, are:

time and time again, i've heard these are the best (shown here and here). although they all three have a hefty price tag, i believe these will help me become more pain free. the best way to find out which of these is best for you, you have to go to the store to try them on. and that is what i'm going to do tomorrow! but my best advice is do you research and talk to a professional. some running shoe stores will even assess your gait and help you choose the best possible running shoe for you.
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