As a long-time runner, running coach, and former running store manager, I think that now more than ever is a really great time for people to give running a try, especially as warmer weather is right around the corner. We could all use a little fresh air. Plus running, no matter how slow or fast, short or long the distance, is really healing for the mind and body. To get out and move beyond the walls of your house and work up a sweat is a feeling unlike any other.
So what do I recommend to get started? Pick up a pair of shoes from your local running shop. Not online. I say this for several reasons...
1. Running puts a lot of stress on your body and running in old, beat-up shoes, or the wrong style of shoe like cross trainers, can lead to injury but more likely than that, just make you feel kind of “blah”. Get a pair of new running shoes recommended by an expert at your local running shop. Here’s why...
Buying shoes online is like buying a car without taking a test drive. Would you ever do that? A lot of shoe brands use a “shoe fitter” on their website. If you think about it, that actually makes no sense. I’ll just say that somehow those recommendations on the website somehow always end up being the most expensive options and from someone who knows running shoes, it is comical how wrong those features usually are.
2. Local running stores train their staff to look for imbalances, weakness in your foot and/or ankle and analyze gait to fit your specific needs with one of many shoes they offer. Furthermore, most sales associates are runners themselves and can speak from personal experience. Getting the right running shoes can help to align your body to vastly decrease the amount of sheer force and stress with every foot strike while out on a run making it much less likely you’ll develop an injury down the road.
The staff is also educated on fitting individuals for the right size. This may seem silly but I can say with confidence that when I worked at a running shop well over 50% of the people coming in for new shoes that had never been fitted before were in the wrong size. I kid you not that it was not uncommon for someone to come in and be a size and a half to two sizes too small. People would often fight me tooth and nail but come back two weeks later and say how impressed they were with how good they felt and couldn’t believe they had been wearing too small of shoes for years.
Local running stores are true community hubs and serve as amazing resources for all things running.Many local running stores offer running groups, running and nutrition workshops, as well as other resources for the local community. If you are new to running I am entirely confident you could go into your local store and the associate would bend over backward to help you! After all, runners love to talk running.
These mom and pop shops rely entirely on people walking through their doors, asking questions and needing service. It’s truly an incredible experience, especially for those of you just getting into running and looking for guidance. The face to face experience is irreplaceable.
Getting fitted by an expert will change the game of running for you, I promise. You might even make a couple friends in the shop and end up running with the running group!