Category

Gear

Choosing the Right Shoe

brooks

 

 

If you have been into an athletic store lately, you might have found yourself overwhelmed by all the options. There are several brands, styles and colors. I will be honest, in the past, I would buy the shoes that had a cool color scheme. I didn’t care if they were a trail shoe, a cross training shoe, a running shoe or a walking shoe. If I liked how it looked and it was the right price, I bought it. When I took up running, my trainer went over the importance of having the right shoe and being properly fitted for it. What? I had no idea! I soon learned that each shoe style has a different purpose, and it mattered.

Running shoes: designed for a forward motion and provide extra cushioning for the repetitive pounding motion that runners experience with each stride.

Cross training shoes: designed for lateral or side to side motion, flexible sole to help the floor during workouts such as aerobics or zumba.

Walking shoes: designed with a thicker heel and flexible sole to aid in the initial heel strike that takes place when walking (heel-to-toe).

Trail shoes: designed to help grip dirt, provide extra protection against rocks and often have extra protection around the toes.

Now that we covered a few of the types of shoes, how do you get the right fit? Some athletic stores, such as Run On and Luke’s Locker, have trained specialist to help you. For example, if you need a running shoe, the staff will observe your run to determine the type of gait you have, and then recommend different shoes that suit your foot. They should bring you various pairs to try on. At that point, you need to take for a test run around the store or on the pavement to see how they feel. In all likelihood, you may not really know that you have the perfect shoe until you take them for a run. Most of these types of specialty stores have a 30 day return policy.

Two training seasons ago, I switched brands. I ran in the new brand for a month and ended up returning them on the 30th day because my toes were repeatedly numb. I was so grateful I could exchange them for a different shoe. I then went on to run in Brooks, which for me are the right shoe. Everyone’s foot is different, so other brands such as Asics, New Balance or Altra may be the right fit for you. One other thing I learned through this process is that I needed a half -size larger running shoe than I wear in a dress shoe. This is common. Some people end up in a shoe that is one full size larger. Also, if you have recently had a baby, then your shoe size may have changed.

So in summary… don’t just choose the cute shoe! Make sure you are wearing the one for the activity you are performing. If you have a specialty store in the area, ask a professional to analyze your gait and help you pick a shoe that is best suited for you. If you experience any pain or numbness, the shoe isn’t the right one. Keep your shoes updated, especially running shoes. They tend to wear out after 6 months or between 400-500 miles.

-JA

To Roll or Not to Roll? Foam Rolling

Foamrollers

 

 

Are you using a foam roller? If not, hopefully this post will encourage you to give it a try. Last year when I started a weight training program, my trainer introduced me to foam rolling. I only knew what I heard about if from runners in my circle, but I had not seen it done, nor did I understand the benefits. He went through a lengthy explanation and demonstration. I never understood the saying ‘it hurts so good’ until I gave it a try. Each day when I came into the gym, we were to spend 15 minutes warming up, with foam rolling included. If you are not familiar with it, the foam roller is a cylinder tube used in a way to give deep tissue massage to your muscles, known as self- myofascial release. The muscles are rolled back and forth over the roller 10-15 times. While it can be used in many ways such as relieving chronic pain and rehabilitation, I primarily was trained to use it in a preventative way. I was not walking around with pain in my quads or hamstrings, but when I was foam rolling, I found my ‘hot spots’ or trigger points that would hurt when the pressure was applied from the roller. After allowing the pressure to remain isolated to the hot spot, the pain eventually would subside, breaking up/releasing the ‘knot’ in the muscle. With regular use, the hot spots became fewer and my muscles had increased flexibility. This was incredibly important for me as my calves, hamstrings and quadriceps were often tight and needed the extra attention.  The foam rolling was especially helpful in the days post workout, keeping muscle soreness to a minimum. While I continue to foam roll as part of my overall fitness program, I have also had times I used it to help relieve  pain from minor muscle injuries.   I had the benefit of having someone teach me how to foam roll, which was important so I did not injure myself. In preparing this post, I did a search and there are many videos and articles with the ‘how tos’ on the foam roller, lacrosse ball and massage balls. Watch a few, consult with your trainer on how best to work it into your fitness program. There are dos and don’ts so please educate yourself before trying it..  You can find foam rollers at most quality sporting good stores and Amazon. They are a variety of types and sizes an will run you about $20.   Go ahead and show those muscles some love. After all, you work them so hard whether it be at boot camp, weight training, running or in every day life.

Check out these links for more information on foam rolling:  ACE Fitness  and Runners World.

Do you have a regular foam rolling routine? Please leave a comment and share your experience.

-JA

 

Safety Gear: Road ID (giveaway)

Roadid  

As a runner, safety is always foremost in my thoughts. During one of my training sessions, my running coach introduced me to Road ID. I immediately ordered one and since then, I have been encouraging all the runners I train to invest in one.  Road ID has many products, but the one I want to share with you today is the wrist ID. It’s a silicone bracelet with a face plate which is customize to include your name, emergency contact information and medical information. Knowing first responders would have all the information they need about me, provides me with peach of mind when I head out for a run. These ID bracelets come in a variety of sizes, styles and colors. You can even customize them with badges (10K, 13.1, etc). If bracelets are not your style, they have shoe tags and dog tags. Keeping up with the trends, Road ID even has a face plate that can slip onto your Fitbit.  I started with a blue slim band and eventually decided I wanted another color. Rather than replacing the whole bracelet, I just ordered a new band and moved the face plate to it.  Last year, I moved to the Wrist ID Sport . This washable nylon version has reflective strips and Velcro closure. It’s so versatile. I can attached it to my bike, my hydration belt or wear it.  With a variety of sizes, you can also fit your little one with a bracelet. My son wears a silicone wrist id any time we are in a place with large crowds.  Should he ever be separated from us, it contains our contact information. Many friends have the shoe tag for their children.  Another great safety feature is the free Road ID app for your smart phone.  This is excellent for those who run or bike alone. It has eCrumb tracking, and a stationary alert. If you are not already carrying identification when you are out for a walk, running or biking, try one of these great Road ID products.  Please visit www.roadid.com to see all of the fantastic safety products they offer.

GIVEAWAY:  Please go to comments and tell me which product is your favorite and how you would use it for a chance to win a $15 gift card from Road ID. I will randomly select a winner on Friday Oct 9th. Winners will be notified by email.

JA