Monday, February 1, 2010

My first trip to a running store

I've known it for a while now.

Even my doctor told me that to prevent future injuries, I'd need to get real running shoes....from a running store, not the shoe department at Modell's or (I shouldn't even say it...) Kohl's. He gave me the name of a store located about an hour away from my home, and I planned on going there right away. That was in November.

By the middle of January, I hadn't gone yet. I did intend to run the Winter Trail Series 5K on January 24th, though, and the park where it was located wasn't too far from the store, so as soon as the race ended, the support staff and I headed to "The Sneaker Factory" to purchase some new, real, running shoes.

I walked past technical-fabric-clad manikens, onto a rubber track mat down the center of the store, into running heaven/wallet hell. I repeated to myself that I was only there to get sneakers and was taken to the shoe area by a friendly salesperson. She started by looking at the wear on my old shoes. I was a little nervous about this part, because the doctor hadn't given me much insight about my biomechanics or what gear would be best to keep me injury-free. He seemed to think that anyone from a running store would be trained enough to tell me that.

I pointed out that I wear orthotics and that I strike with my forefoot. I was concerned because I had heard so many different things about footwear (or lack thereof) from so many different sources. By looking at my shoes and asking me a few questions, though, she made everything make a lot of sense.

One thing she thought was odd was that I have a forefoot strike and yet also wear orthotics. After all, there isn't much arch support needed when you land in front of the arch. I first got orthotics, though, before I started running. I had inflamed sesmoid bones, presumably due to flat arches, and the orthotics provided support when walking. It had been advised that I wear them when running, too, so I always have.

When I asked about minimalist footwear, like the Nike Free, she said that a lot of people tend to try that in order to change their running pattern from a heel-strike (although they'd have to be careful not to injure themselves while heel-striking in shoes with little cushion). I already have a forefoot strike, so the main purpose of minimalist running would be to strengthen my feet. At this point, the safest way to do that is to occasionally remove my orthotics when running. Wow. That's so simple.

After her evaluation, she said that I need a shoe with a normal level of support. She brought out a number of pairs of shoes for me to try on, and I went through quite a few (7 or 8, maybe?) before I felt at home in an ugly-colored pair of Saucony Pro-Grid Ride 2s. My heel popped a little out of them, so she re-laced them and swapped the compressed insoles from my old shoes, and they felt great. I ran down the "track" in the middle of the store and was even allowed to run outside. I picked up the pace down the sidewalk in front of the store and decided that these were the ones. I tried on one other brand, but liked the Sauconys better, so Saucony it is.

I resisted buying anything else and went home satisfied with the day's running-related activities. I then proceeded to sit and lovingly examine my shoes for the rest of the day. They are black, silver, and "coral" (which looks orange to me). Not exactly the colors I'd prefer, but here they are, in all of their real running shoe beauty:

I'd love to say that I've been having tons of fun running in them, but I've only jogged a little on the treadmill and cycled on the bike trainer since I got them. A persistent cold has kept me from running, but I think that I'm now on the mend, and an increase in training is in the very near future.

1 comment:

Sherri said...

those are my same shoes and I have loved them!