Although called road running, let’s face it, it is actually tarmac running and usually occurs more safely on pavements. Easily accessible, we all live by tarmac and the surface offers a firm, relatively flat running surface. However, be aware that when the surface underfoot has leaves and ice it can be slippery. Flagstones are particularly dangerous when wet or frozen. Besides this tarmac offers potential risks to the runner; the hardness of the ground and the predictability of the terrain makes us use very similar body motions every step.
A whole industry has developed around running shoes leaving the runner a vast array of choice. The primary sales point is that wearing the right shoe avoids injury. It is more correct to say wearing the wrong shoe can cause injury, but training technique and running style due to muscle imbalance overrides any benefit the shoe gives to avoid injury.
The following facts are important to avoid injury:
- Break yourself into road running slowly. See our beginners guide.
- Avoid trying to stride out. Small strides are safer
- Don’t make time limits any part of your running until you have been running 12 months
- Avoid running the same route on the same side of the road in the same direction. Have a few routes and change direction on them from time to time, and weather permitting, mix in some off-road running.
- Make sure your running shoe is appropriate to you. If you are light in weight your running shoe should be, and vice versa.
- If you feel fatigued, swap to brisk walking. Some days your body isn’t up for a run. Better to brisk walk those days and the fitness benefit is very similar.
- Wear appropriate running clothing to avoid skin chafing and blisters. Socks, shorts, shirts and leggings should all draw moisture away from the skin. Never wear undersized clothing.
- After 3 months, or 200 miles (whichever comes first) buy another pair of the same trainers and alternate them. When the old ones feel less comfortable or cushioned, or you develop more aches in the old pair, it’s time to replace them.
Finally, be aware that many articles written on how to pick the right running shoe are not good advice. Shoes for under-pronation, over-pronation and so-called neutral runners are available, but we don’t recommend following the advice that wear on the outside means you’re an under-pronator, and wear on the inside means you’re an over-pronator. It is much better to get some professional advice from a quality running specialist shop or a podiatrist with specialist running knowledge. Neither should immediately want to sell you an insole/orthotic but be able to advise a shoe style or changes in running technique. If you have no injury and they try to sell you orthotics, walk (or run) away!
The best way to pick a running shoe, outside of expert advice, is to find a shoe, with a little flexibility at the toes (not too easy bend). No flexibility within the middle of the shoe is usually a good feature. A good shop should allow you to have a little run in these. Try a few similar trainers and go with the one that feels the most comfortable running for two minutes.
Finally running shoe manufacturers have a nasty habit of changing their running shoe designs. They might tell you that ‘this’ is the new version of the one pair you get on with, but if it doesn’t feel like the old style, go and find another shoe that does.
You’ll find more insightful articles and additional great support on our website, check out the Running Hub!
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The AT insole is an orthotic device designed for Achilles Tendinitis / tendinopathy, (pain at the back of the heel). This is the first insole ever designed specifically to resolve over-strain and pain of the Achilles tendon.
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Foot Pumps socks are medical-grade compression socks, with an extra twist to improve comfort and effectiveness of the compression on the veins; featuring pressure-free toe pockets that allow the muscles in the feet that run to the toes to help pump the blood out.
The TPD50 insole is a softer version of the TPD orthotic device and is very helpful for many symptoms related to a lot of foot flattening on standing and walking.