Impending baseball seasons may be on top of everyone’s mind at the moment, but another spring sport that over 65.48 million are concerned with is revving into go mode.
That’s right spring running season is right around the corner and we are in the thick of training for those aiming towards a half or full marathon come April/May.
After years of working at a local running specialty store, handling the spectrum of runner foot problems (come bunion come all!), it is clear that one topic still remains at the top of a runner’s priority list when considering yourself ready…Are these the right shoes for me?
This topic is clearly something important to discuss since it seems like every blogger/runner/perpetual Facebook article sharer/Instagram fit chick is concerned with the right brand/style/density of the latest running shoes.
Here’s the thing. Your running shoes no matter how fantastic, expensive, or similar to your idol’s favorite pair will not make you a star runner. Shoes will not grant you the ability to fly, shave minutes off your time, power through the final 6 miles, or solve the world’s most complicated problems. They really are just shoes, a mere component to your overall running abilities protecting your foot from the ground.
I fully agree that a great pair of running shoes can really help things. Awesome shoes can provide motivation and the right support when logging long miles. Getting the right fit can help you understand yourself better in terms of gait and stride, and as we say at the shop “where you wear matters.”
But I also think that it has become a point of excessive focus in the grand scheme of race readiness. The colors (Nike though!), styles (ASICS-guilty as charged), and brands (wait I thought Brooks was supposed to be the best?) are enough options to make your head spin when the real focus should be on the training leading up to the race.
Before you go running to your nearest running specialty store make sure the following topics have also been addressed prior to race day.
Nutrition: There is nothing worse than being a mile in on race day and your stomach starts making noises you never knew were possible. How your body is feeling while running will most likely have the biggest impact on how your perform. The time leading up to the big day is when you have the chance to set the right tone.
Experiment and see what works for you as far as run food goes. Caffeine and electrolytes are popular ones to test drive. Minimize the obvious, alcohol, sugars, empty calories, etc (at least) the month prior. This will let your body adjust and not feel so shocked by any diet plans you may have in the works.
*The shoes will not nourish you*
Accountability: Right now is when it gets easy to skimp on this one. These months when the weather is unpredictable, work is busy, and daylight is shorter make it that much easier to cut workouts short or skip the long run. Find training outlets to keep you going. Whether it’s joining a group, logging your miles, or setting the alarm an hour early, get out there and get it done!
*The shoes can’t tie themselves*
Pacing: In more ways than one you are pacing yourself. From reaching mile time goals to opting for green smoothies in place of dessert, it takes a vision on the long-term goal. Planning your timeline and scheduling your training in advance can help make pacing yourself easier.
*The shoes unfortunately don’t have cruise control*
Focus:What are you really thinking about during this time? If it’s more on how cool you hope to look in the race pictures and less on how on earth you plan to actually finish the race, you might end up being the one who walks the hills or cuts it short. We are in the midst of times where an excessive level of vanity is associated with physical fitness, making it easy to lose focus. Know what your goals are going into it and keep your focus there.
*The shoes won’t get you across the finish line, that part is up to you*