Factors You Never Knew Played a Role in Your Running Shoes

There are so many small factors that play a role in how a shoe fits or the appropriate shoe for your feet.  No matter who you are finding the right shoe can be tough! Thinking out loud, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a sizing issue, stability issue, or you’re constantly injured.  There are many factors that people don’t realize play a role when determining a shoe.

As someone who works in a running specialty shoe store, I highly recommend going to your local store and getting fitted.  Sure, you can ask the internet for advice, but they aren’t staring at your feet and visually watching you.  Everyone has a different favorite color, and everyone has an opinion of the “best shoe.”  But in case you wondered, there is no best-running shoe.

So What Plays a Role?

Continuous Sprains of Ankles Can Mean You’re in the Wrong Shoe:

If you constantly have ankle pain or sprain your ankle, you might need a different shoe.  Maybe you need stability, or maybe the shoe has too much stability.

The Shape of Your Toe Box is a Big Deal: 

It plays one of the greatest roles in brands that are best fitted for your foot shape.  If you have long narrow toes, short toes, or even a full toe box all determine how a shoe fits.  Some brands are naturally wider while others have a more pointy top to them.

This goes for examining your toes too.  If your second toe is longer than your first toe, you’re more likely to develop bunions or hammer toes.

If you get blisters on the tops of your toes or your toes go numb, the shoe is either too narrow or too short for you.

And no, you should not lose toenails while running.  It’s not a runners “badge of honor” it means your shoes are too short.

Your Feet Get Bigger, and No One Cares:  

As you age, your feet will get longer or wider.  Even if you didn’t put on weight, have children, or do anything different.  What ultimately happens is your aches slowly begin to flatten which can create longer or wider toes.  If you’ve “always been a size 7” it will probably change.  And guess what…How many people do you actually ask their shoe size?  How many people’s shoe size do you actually care about?

 

Ladies Stilettos Can Cause Bunions:

Look, I’m no stranger to stilettos, in fact, mine are more expensive than any running shoe I’ve ever worn.  But cramming your feet into stilettos and pointy pumps causes bunions.  I try to at least alternate between peep toes and pointy so my toes can breathe somewhat.

There are More Ways to Lace a Running Shoe than there are Actual Running Shoes:

I won’t pretend to know every trick and tip, but there are plenty of articles depending on your issue.  There is the runner’s knot that can secure your heal more into place.  Skipping certain eyelets in the shoe can alleviate stress for people with high arches.  How you lace your shoes makes a huge difference on how the shoe fits.  Heck, I’ve run in shoes 1-2 sizes too big by manipulating the laces.

As you can see, there are so many small factors that play a role in your shoes.  Having the most appropriate shoe for your foot is the best piece of advice.  There is no perfect shoe, just a perfect shoe for you.

Related Articles: 
Should You Wear Running Shoes Outside of Running?
How Alternating Shoes Can Benefit Your Running:
How to Transition to Minimalist Running Shoes

Questions for you:
What is your current favorite running shoe?
Do you have a tough time finding shoes?

 

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Uncomfortable Zone Part 3 and a 5k

I guess for the next few weeks, nothing should feel comfortable.  I’m at the point in my running where nothing feels terrible but I don’t feel great running either.

This is the part of running that you want to push, and get fast and stronger.  You can push the envelope a bit, but push too far and you are most susceptible to an injury. I’ve learned that lesson the hard time (more than once).  This week instead of increasing distance, I included a race.

Monday: Easy 45 minutes+ core
Tuesday: Easy 45 minutes
Wednesday: Easy 45 minutes+ core
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Easy 45 minutes
Saturday: 40 minutes with a personal friend (8:30 pace)
Sunday: 5k (6:33 pace)

Progression:

Week 1: 31-33 miles

Week 2: 33-35 miles

Week 3: 33-35 miles + a speed workout 5k

Monday-Friday were easy, breezy, beautiful, CoverGirl runs…or just boring runs.  For a while, my runs will remain easy.   I don’t time them but my realistic guess is between 9-10 minute miles.

On Saturday I ran with a personal friend who is currently much faster than I am.  She had an easy run on Saturday, which was a little bit out of my comfort zone but we were able to meet about halfway and run about 8:30 pace.  It’s definitely much faster than I’ve running but it felt good and it was great to catch up. I didn’t feel bad and the run flew by.

On Sunday, I ran a 5k at a local airport with my husband.  I had found the race earlier in the week but my husband and I wanted to play it by ear and not commit (we are chronic race day signupers anyways).

I thought because the race finished on a runway, it must be flat.  Spoiler: I thought wrong. While it started and ended on the runway, there was actually a large climb during the middle mile.  My splits were 6:25, 6:36, and 6:33 which I’m happy with.   It was a great rust buster.

Unfortunately, I am a little jaded because, after the race, I tripped and fell and bruised up my knee, elbow, and shoulder.  Not the end of the world and I am more annoyed than anything.  So now I’ve cut multiple cuts, and road rash down my right side.

This week was great and I have no complaints.  I added 1 speed workout but kept mileage about the same.  Next week, I’ll probably do something similar.  I haven’t found any 5ks but if one peaks my interest I might run another.  I’m just continuing to trek along.  Although, now I have a nice knee scab to trek with.

Posts from the week:

Why Building a Base is So Important for Running

Brooks Glycerin 15 Shoe Review

Questions for you:

How was your week of running?

Have you ever fallen while running?

Ha…I’ve fallen so many times.  From the time I was hit by a cyclist, to the time I tripped and fell in my neighborhood.  My knees make me look more badass than I actually am.

Training: Sickness and Cut Back Week

Another week of training down.  This week is different from usual because I picked up a virus on Thursday.  This meant a lot of R&R and sleep.  I miss two runs and a workout, but that’s how life goes.

Monday: Easy Run
Tuesday: Easy Run
Wednesday: 6X1 miles (average 6:19)
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: Long Run with Julie

Summary: 

Easy runs were just that, easy.  I ran early.  It was great except I got caught in the pouring rain during the last mile on both Monday and Tuesday.  I thought I had beaten the storm, but sadly, I did not.

Workout Wednesday: 6×1 mile hill repeats with 90 seconds rest (average 6:19)

This is my fastest mile average by 13 seconds.  It felt like a hard workout, but I do feel as if I’m building a lot of fitness.  It was rainy and windy, but I had a great workout.  Sometimes I loathe hill repeats, and sometimes I’m excited to get back to them.  It depends on my mood of the week.  Last week I was excited to run fast, and I had my best mile repeat workout in a while.

mile repeats

On Thursday, I needed a rest day.   Around 2 pm, I found myself exhausted and getting sick.  It felt as if I woke up from a long run for three days straight.  Honestly, it was awful and the worst sickness I’ve had in a long time.  On Saturday, I felt better but not enough to run.  It was an unexpected rest/cut back week.

I promised my friends and coworkers; I would run with them on Sunday, and luckily I felt good enough to do that.  To be honest, I had been looking forward to the run all week, so I was glad I felt better.  She had a workout for her marathon of 3-mile warmup and 11 miles at race pace.  We crushed the goal even with wind and hills. We had a good run and after feeling exhausted and lethargic for a few days, it was nice to get out there.  I felt a lot better after running.

via instagram
via Instagram

Thoughts:

This week was not what we planned but looking at my training log; it’s okay.  I haven’t had a cutback week since before Carlsbad half marathon (shame on me).  I haven’t rested that long for a while, and my body needed it.  It’s actually perfect timing for my Spring races because I still have three weeks until Shamrock half marathon.  To be honest, once I get back into the routine, it probably won’t affect me.  Will I remember this 3-day break in a month?  The answer is no.

I can’t say I’m starting next week 100% fresh because I still feel under the weather but hopefully in a few more days I will feel better. My guess is I’ll feel back to my awkward self by Wednesday.

Questions for you:
Do you workout when you’re sick?
I usually don’t because I’m miserable, and I just want to nap.
What was your favorite workout of the week?

Deep Tissue Massages

Blog Challenge 4: Reasons Why I Always Make Time for Deep Tissue Massages

Should you get a deep tissue massage

It’s not a thought provoking or “change your life” post, but deep tissue massages are something I make time in my schedule as well as the budget for each month. Deep Tissue Massages keep my muscles healthier and my body recovering from workouts, races and training faster.

I’ve been injured several times in my running career. Most of my injuries are bone related but like any runner I’ve suffered from sore or tight muscles.

So why get deep tissue massages?

The scientific answer: A Massage works to lengthen muscles and restore the range of motion, relieve muscle tightness as well as improve circulation.

First, anyone can foam roll and improve circulation, but if you are like me, then you never get deep enough into your muscles.  Deep tissue massages are done by a professional who knows how to find trigger points, adhesions or tight muscles that are specific to you.

Deep tissue massages will leave you sore at first. They break down scar tissue and muscle adhesions and then flush them out of your system. Personally, when I receive a deep tissue massage, I am sorer for 48 hours and then feel significantly better.

It’s important to tell the masseuse what is sore and what gets the most sore.  Every person and runner is different and a massage is tailored to your needs.  You will get the most benefit by being vocal of what you need.

When should you get a deep tissue massage? 

The timing of a deep tissue massage is necessary. Similar to a workout, it’s important not to get a massage right before a goal race. My personal rule is 3-5 days before.  It allows your muscles to recover.

Your message will also not be as beneficial if you get it the same day after a race. The masseuse will not be able to go as deep into your muscles because they are already swollen. My rule of thumb is waiting 1-2 days afterwards.

I am just speaking from personal experience with deep tissue massages. I’ve found they keep the majority of my muscles injury free and keep my running well too.

For anyone in the South Jersey and Philadelphia area, Dr. Kemenosh has just added deep tissue massages back into the list of methods they utilize over there.  (Dr. Kemenosh and his team fixed my glute, hamstring and butt issue injury after my marathon).   I can’t say enough positive things about their team!

Here are more articles I found interesting as well:
When Should Runners Get a Deep Tissue Massage?
The Pros and Cons of Massages for Runners

Questions for you:
Have you ever gotten a deep tissue or any massage?

Why training for Shorter Distances will you make you a Better Distance Runner

Why training for Shorter Distances will you make you a Distance Runner

Why training for shorter races will make you a better distance runner

Let’s face it, we all have our favorite distance.  For some people that’s a 55-meter sprint and for some it’s an ultra marathon.  Everyone has their favorite distance.

Personally, I enjoy the half marathon the most.  It’s short enough not to feel the fatigue of a marathon or the delusion but long enough that I don’t feel like I’m all out sprinting.

Sometimes we get stuck in the same race distance rut. We train for the same distance year round. Not only can it get repetitive on your body but it can also cause over use injuries and be mentally exhausting.

Sometimes the best thing we can do for ourselves and our running is to take a break and train for another distance.

But why?

Training for various distances can benefit any runner in a few ways. 

First: A mental break:

running5k

Sometimes going through countless weekend long runs can be tiring, boring and downright unenjoyable. The feeling of high mileage can even become annoying, repetitive or mentally challenging.  Focusing at different distances throughout the year allows your brain a mental break.  There isn’t a need to run a 20-mile long run while training for 5ks, in fact, it’s counter-intuitive.

Sometimes lowering mileage and training for a shorter race can break you free of that training rut. Doing faster runs with more “action”, can bring excitement back to your running. To be honest,  I felt bored and tired after Phoenix.

My training the last six months have shifted to multiple speed workouts, races, and runs filled with action. That change broke me out of the LSD (long, slow distance) rut I had been in for months.

Long Runs also take a lot of time.  It’s not the three hours of actual running but the recovery period, as well as are the “are you going to want to be productive the rest of the day” mindset after a long run.  Most of my 20 mile long run days were spent relaxing at home and being as lazy as humanly possible.

Second: Running Shorter distances builds different muscles: 

Obviously running any distance uses muscles in your legs but each distance affects your muscles in a different way.

5ks use more fast-twitch muscles while longer races use more slow twitch muscles.  Building both can benefit your running in every distance.

Hidden Bonus: More racing

ok5k

Generally a half or full marathon costs upwards of 100 dollars.  Now you can do at least 3, sometimes many more 5ks for that same price.  So yes you are paying $25-30 per 5k, but you are racing more often.

You also recover much faster from races, so you have the ability to run more races while still recovering appropriately.

Here are some more research based articles:

The Risks and Benefits of Distance Running

Why You Should Drop the Marathon for 5ks

Tweet: Why training for Shorter Distances will you make you a better Distance Runner http://ctt.ec/Q36q3+ CC @fueledbyLOLZ

Questions for you:
Do you have a favorite distance to run?
What is your favorite type of workout?

Training: 73 Miles and 10 Milers

Last week was a bit of a blur.  To be honest, the cold weather broke me but luckily my work schedule was more flexible so I could run later in the day.  This was the first real week of winter we’ve had.

Monday: Easy run
Tuesday: 11.55 mile run with Liz
Wednesday: 6X1 mile repeats (6:31 pace)
Thursday: Easy Run
Friday: OFF
Saturday: Easy Run
Sunday: Icicle 10 miler (1:05.33)
Total:  73 miles

On Tuesday, I stepped outside and was immediately freezing.  Luckily I had the day off from work and Liz, and I ran later in the day.  It was 7 degrees with the windchill.  I’ve run in that weather before, but this was a shock to the system.

Workout Wednesday: 6×1 Hill mile repeats (average 6:31 pace)

This was my fastest I’ve been able to do this workout. After feeling sluggish the last few days, it was the workout I needed.

The rest of my runs were easy and uneventful. On Friday, my body was exhausted, and I needed a rest day. My quads felt fatigued this week. They haven’t been injury sore but just tired, so I’ve been foam rolling a lot more. That is not normally an issue for me.

The Icicle 10 Miler yesterday was a shock to me.  I ran the Icicle 10 miler last year in a time of 1:07.36.  I tapered and it was my first strong race after my stress fracture.  This year I ran it two minutes faster on a harder day.  It was raining and my mileage this week was anything but a taper.

icicle 10 miler 1

My goal was to have a quality training week and with mileage and workouts then to run the race on tired legs and see how I ran.  The course is hilly and it ends with a steep incline. Icicle 10 mile elevation chart

In summary, I ran the first half in 33:17 and the second half in 32:14.  I had a good race and it was even 6 seconds (I originally said 3, but I realized it was 6 seconds) faster than my Broad Street race in May. It definitely showed me I’m getting into peak fitness.

Next week:

I’ll be tapering and going on vacation out to San Diego. My husband and I booked a vacation out there a while ago and then realized the Carlsbad half marathon is the same weekend. Our primary reasoning for going out is a vacation, but the half will be a lot of fun!

I’m excited to how I’ve progressed since the Philadelphia half marathon (1:25.00). Not only was I was not feeling the best that day, but I’ve also made significant fitness gains in the last two months.

Questions for you:
Is it cold in your region?
Have you been to San Diego or LA? Any recommendations on what to do or where to go?

Running When Injured is Stupid

Running when injured is stupid.

The doctor told me yesterday at my first follow up appointment that I was healing appropriately.  In fact, X-rays also confirmed I had a small stress fracture and it was healing.  My stress fracture appeared on the X-ray!  The doctor had to squint a few times through his glasses but it was there.  Personally, I couldn’t see anything except that I had a foot and that is had been x-rayed …but once again that is a reason I’m not a doctor.

He said if everything heals appropriately then I could be running in early October (Roughly 6 weeks after the initial “break”).  I jokingly said I would go run today, rebreak my foot or worse (and a high possibility )shatter the bone.  Then in two weeks I could confuse him more when I came in and my foot was more broken and required surgery.

Just kidding, I have no interest to do that and running while injured is not worth it to me.  I said this yesterday but I have nothing to train for.  My race schedule is as cleared as someone who doesn’t run.  I don’t need (or want) to run injured and force a fast recovery only to get more injured later on.

Call me old fashioned, just plain old, or paranoid but I see no benefits to running in pain and running while injured anymore.  (Working hard pain is different…but that’s really not fun either)

First, you are not going to enjoy running when you are in a lot of pain.  I do not enjoy anything when every step is painful.  How on earth is that fun?  You are forced to think about the pain you are in, not how much you are enjoying the run.

Second, you are probably slowing your pace if you are running while nursing an injury.  You can’t run your normal pace when you are in pain.  So is the run helping you the way a pain free run is?  No…you probably aren’t preserving that much fitness.

Third, the more you run on an injury (especially a stress fracture) the worse it will probably get.  A small stress fracture (as I have now) will only get worse if you run mediocre and painful runs on it.  You are running in pain, slow as molasses while not preserving much fitness and causing your body to require more time to heal.  If you don’t slowly make the injury worse by running on it, you run the risk of shattering the bone.

So an injury that takes a month to heal (in my case) would now take 6+ months and possible surgery.

So say you need surgery to get a shattered bone fixed?  Wouldn’t you still have to take around a month off of absolutely everything in the end anyways?  So taking a month off now and not worrying about it, would save about 5 months of painful running (that’s my logic).

Running while injured is stupid and pointless.  It has taken me a few tries (tries of being injured?) to get to this point but I’m here.  When I was in college, I believed the collegiate races at the end of season were going to define me…they haven’t.  Not showing up to Wineglass because I’m two days recovered from a stress fracture won’t define me.  In fact, no athletics can truly define you because your life is not a one race definition.

Unless you are in the highest tier of elite athletes (or a college scholarship athlete), the chances are you aren’t getting paid to run.  Running doesn’t your bills and not running isn’t going to cause you to be unable to survive in the real world.  The world moves on while you rest and recover from an injury.  You move on while you rest and recover.  Once you are recovered, you begin training again and in a couple of months (or faster) you are back to training regularly.

Maybe I’ve become a paranoid old woman but I enjoy this rest time.  I enjoy finding hobbies that don’t lead to surgery.

Question for you: Do you train while injured? If you don’t train through injuries, what do you spend your time doing?