How to Increase Running Mileage and Avoid Injury
Reads, Running, Running Reads

How to Increase Running Mileage and Avoid Injury

Like many people during the pandemic, I’ve had extra time. I have the time to run more mileage. It’s been easier to add a mile here and a mile there and suddenly you think: How did I end up with so many miles?

One of the most important things you can do is ease into running slowly. Running too much, too soon, will result in an injury. With so many gyms closed, it’s challenging to cross-train or strength train. If you’re increasing weekly running mileage, it’s essential to do so slowly. Nothing in running or fitness comes overnight. In fact, not much in life does.

How to Increase Running Mileage and Avoid Injury

Continue reading “How to Increase Running Mileage and Avoid Injury”

Biking to Medford
Personal, Reads

Do Things that Make You Get Off Your Phone

About a month ago, I read somewhere that one of the best things you can do right now is “do things that make you get off your phone.” It’s a simple concept and one that can be applied at any time (pandemic or not).  But it’s also one I’ve been fairly bad at in the last few months.

Continue reading “Do Things that Make You Get Off Your Phone”

The anatomy of a running shoe
Gear Review, Reads, Running, Running Reads

The Anatomy of a Running Shoe

The Anatomy of a Running Shoe:

The anatomy of a running shoe is a post I’ve wanted to write for a while.

The anatomy of a running shoe

Since I write a shoe review most weeks, it occurred to me that many people didn’t realize what the actual parts that made up a running shoe are. No shame in that; your only job is to make sure the shoe feels good when you wear it.  It is easier to describe what you like or don’t like in a shoe if you know a few basic terms.

Pictured is the New Balance 1500 (a racing flat ideal for 5ks to marathons)

Anatomy of a running shoe

The “Upper”: 

The upper part of a shoe is exactly what it sounds like: the top of the shoe.  These days, most brands use an upper made of lightweight, breathable, engineered mesh. Although some uppers are made from leather or suede too. Some shoes are even waterproof and the upper can keep water out while still keeping it breathable.

Now, most uppers are seamless, so it doesn’t rub against a wider forefront or bunion. The upper and the shoelaces help secure the foot.  The upper protects your feet and is also what helps keep dirt, rocks or debris out of a shoe.

The anatomy of a running shoe

Toe Box:

The toe box of a running shoe is generally the widest part of the shoe and where your feet and toes are located. You always want movement in the toebox and don’t want your feet to feel squished.

You should be able to wiggle your toes before and after a run comfortably. There should also be about the width of your thumbs length from your longest toe (even if your longest toe is your second or third toe). Having the extra space helps reduce the loss of toenails and keeps your feet from going numb.

Also Included in the Upper Anatomy of a Running Shoe:

Shoe Laces: Shoelaces or Velcro are what hold the top of your foot securely into place. This portion of the shoe is one of the most important for fit in the anatomy of a running shoe.

Tongue: Many people don’t realize the tongue has a purpose! It protects the top of your foot from the pressure of shoelaces but also prevents debris from getting inside.

Heel counter: The heel counter is the firm cup in the back of your shoe to secure your heel. The heel counter makes sure your foot doesn’t slide around. It’s essential always to untie your shoes so you don’t damage the heel counter. Damaging it will bend the plastic and can cause Achilles tendon issues.

Midsole:

The midsole of a running shoe is located between the outsole and the upper. The upper is attached to the midsole of the shoe. Currently, the majority of midsoles are made of a foam called EVA (called ethyl vinyl acetate). Each brand uses different cushioning or EVA that they deem “the best.”

Outsole:

The outsole is a critical component of running shoes, especially when running in inclement weather. The outside is what provides traction on the roads. In trail shoes, the outsole is often thicker to offer more traction. Each brand has different traction in grooves to protect the feet.

Most road shoes are made from blown rubber, which is softer and more flexible. A trail shoe is usually more rigid and is often made of carbon rubber to keep it stiff.

Anatomy of a running shoe

Medial Post:

Not every shoe has a medial post or stability piece to it. Many do, but not all. Most running shoes fall into one of the following combinations: motion control, neutral shoes, or stability shoes. Motion control shoes are designed with the most support, where neutral have zero support. (They can have cushion, but keep in mind support does equal cushion).Stability helps keep a collapsed arch propped in or someone who pronates back into neutral.

The medial post is one of the most important components to determining if a shoe will work for you. If you need a lot of stability and the shoe is neutral, chances are it won’t work. Not everyone needs medial support and using a shoe that has support when you don’t need it can lead to other issues. Most stability components of a shoe are made out of a dual-density combination of TPU (thermoplastic urethane) and EVA.

Not all stability pieces are the same. Some shoes provide minor stability where some is much more corrective. Each brand and each shoe within a brand are different.

The Shank:

Many people don’t even realize a running shoe “shank” exists. The shank is what controls the flexion and torsion of a shoe. It helps the bend naturally and helps with a smooth transition from heel to toe.  The stiffer the shank, the less the shoe will flex.

Heel Drop:

One of the most common questions in the running world, is what a shoe heel to toe drop? I wrote a newsletter on it a few months ago. In short, the heel to toe drop is the height of the heel minus the height of the forefront (in millimeters). For example, a zero drop shoe (like the brand Altra) has the same height and cushion in the heel as the forefront. Most traditional shoes have between 10-12 mm.

Thicker heels will usually cause your heel to drop and hit the ground first, whereas a thinner heel will be easier to run more on your forefront. There is no right or wrong heel drop in the anatomy of a running shoe but it takes trial and error to figure out what works best for you.

Anatomy of a running shoe

Last:

When it comes to last, not every brand is the same. The last of the shoe is essentially the shape of the shoe. Most running shoe lasts curved, but shoe lasts can be curved, semi-curved, or straight. If you flip over and look at your Brooks shoe, you can see it curves in the front, pinches in the middle, and curves out in the back. Most traditional running shoes are semi-curved. Finding a last that matches the shape of your foot is just as important as finding a shoe that matches your needs structurally. In the anatomy of a running shoe, the last is what will help find the correct fit.

Anatomy of a running shoe

Why is the Anatomy of a Running Shoe Important for Runners?

Knowing the anatomy of a running shoe because you can find the shoe that works for you both structural and by shape. At the end of the day, you want to find the shoe you are most comfortable in.

Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport.

Questions for you:

What is your favorite shoe? Why? 

Were you familiar with the anatomy of a running shoe?

under armour copper mountain race me running
Personal, Reads

29 Years Old

Today is my 29th birthday.

For some reason, I always imagined at age 29; I would look and feel older.

Maybe like an adult? It hasn’t come (yet). Anyway, looking back at age 28, I had a great year. I’ve been an “adult” for a decade now.

What Did I Do During Year 28?

Last year, I started age 28 with my first “real” trail race. I ran the Copper Mountain 25k, and it was one of the best running memories I’ve had.

under armour copper mountain race me running

It’s hard to believe that was a year ago now!

under armour copper mountain race me running

Last summer, I did a lot of traveling up and down the East Coast. We visited family, I saw friends from college, and I just had a good summer. In August, I ran/hikes my second trail race in Killington, VT. To me, it was more challenging than the race in Colorado because the terrain was much more technical. Then in the fall, I changed gears entirely and trained for the NYCM. I didn’t think I would do another marathon, but when the opportunity to run in the “sub-elite” corral presented itself, I couldn’t say no. I’m glad I did, and it was one of the best running experiences I’ve had.

New York City Marathon me running

Since the NYCM, running hasn’t quite come into place. I’ve trained, but I haven’t had any “spectacular” or amazing races. I’ve had a lot of great and fun races, but I’m well off PRs. Right now, I’m content with that.

In January, my husband and took a trip out to California. We drove from San Diego to San Francisco and just explored. We had no agenda (as most of our vacations are).

Hiking anderson park santa clara county

Marin Headlands San Francisco

The highlight of the Spring was adopting my two cats: Frick and Frack. I always had cats growing up, and I’ve wanted them for years, but our landlords or landladies always said no.

Finally, after proving we were good renters, they agreed. We found these two cats at the local shelter, and when I found out they had been there for five years (YES 5), I knew I wanted them. They were shy at first but have come out of their shell.

View this post on Instagram

Personality pic #noisycat #confusedcat

A post shared by Frick and Frack Sick (@frickandfracksick) on

The last few months have been quiet as far as personal and running life goes. I’m training for the Big Cottonwood Marathon in early September.  Running another downhill marathon terrifies me because the last one wasn’t my favorite race ever — cheers to doing things outside of your comfort zone.

Fulfilling my other hobby, I also went to over 50 New Jersey diners last year and have now been to 253. I don’t know if I’ll make it to 300 (if we move).  When I started this journey 5 years ago, I never imagined going to 250 diners. But as they motivational quotes say: you never know until you try! Bridge-Way Diner Old Bridge NJ

Anyway, thank you age 28 for the memories and to family and friends for supporting me!


This year, I wanted to do something and different for my birthday, so on July 20th, I’m running the Teterboro 5k to Homes for Our Heroes: a mission to build safe, affordable housing for military and military families.

This includes Veterans who have nowhere to live as well as military families in the NJ area.

I appreciate anyone willing to donate and support this cause with me.

My goal is to reach $500 and any amount matters. Here is the link if you are interested.


Questions for you:

Tell me about a charity you support.

What did you do for your birthday?