Becoming a Runner Step 1: It’s in the Shoes

In case you live under a rock missed it, it’s 2016, folks! For many people (myself included), the New Year is a reminder to get serious about accomplishing goals. My visit to the gym today reminded me how many people promise to themselves to get fit each year; however, many resolutions go unaccomplished by December. I think the reason why is that people lack practical advice on how to achieve these goals. Whether you’ve decided to get fit this year, or you want to accomplish a goal like a half marathon, I wanted to share some of my experiences to help you become a successful runner beyond the month of January.
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I’ve learned that the first thing you should do before doing any kind of running is finding the right shoes. Here’s how:

Don’t just search the internet for shoe reviews… Go to a store that has a specific section for running (like Luke’s Locker, Road Runner Sports, or any locally-owned running store) and get fitted.

Set a reasonable budget for yourself. Especially the first time you get fitted, this isn’t the place to cheap out. For me personally, I try to stay under $120, and if you have neverdone this before, $100 budget is about the lowest budget I would set. That’s a lot of money, but when you factor in the advice you are paying for and the ability to try a range of styles and price points to find out what works, it is worth it. It is waste of money to purchase a pair that doesn’t work for you, and you could potentially injure yourself.

Set aside an hour or so for this endeavor, and wear athletic clothes. The first time I got fitted, I went on my lunch break in business casual attire. This was not the best decision, because you will likely have to run/walk around the store. The associate needs to be able to see your gait and the way your feet move when you run.

Bring in your current running or athletic shoes. Being able to review the wear patterns on your soles also helps the associate to see how you walk or run.

Here are some great examples of the wisdom I have acquired during my shoe fittings over the past 2 years:

  • My foot pattern and arch height: I underpronate. Underpronation is a typical pattern for people with high arches, so I assumed I had high arches; however, I have low to normal arches.
  • Correct shoe size: Running shoes should be 1-2 sizes larger than your normal shoe size and have about an inch between your longest toe and the end of the shoe. I normally wear a 6.5-7, and I wear an 8-8.5.
  • Fit/feel: The shoes you wear should “feel like you’re running on a slipper;” they should feel comfortable to you!
  • Correct shoe type: There are different foot patterns, and different types of shoes. For example, I wear a neutral shoe because I underpronate. Having a neutral foot pattern is different, and it doesn’t mean you should wear neutral shoes.
  • Looks (they don’t matter): Color shouldn’t be the deciding factor, but if you really like a shoe and they don’t carry your favorite color in the store, it may be possible for the associate to order it online.
  • Price: If you have a strict budget, local stores can sometimes offer discounts to meet your budget. They have a vested interest in making sure you pick a shoe you are happy with.

Finally, enjoy the experience. You’ll rarely find a sales person at a department store invested in which shoes you pick, for running or otherwise. These associates care and can offer great encouragement and advice.

FTR_Shoes_TracktoTrail

Your new shoes should last anywhere from 200 – 500 miles. If you want a long-lasting shoe, be sure to tell the person who gives you a fitting. My shoes above are still going strong, from treadmill to trail, at almost 400 miles (can you believe they’ve seen a marathon and half marathon?). Keep a log of your miles to determine when it’s time to replace. If you start having random injuries, then it’s definitely time.

Once I find a shoe I LOVE, I stick with it for as long as I can. I found my Brooks Ghost 7’s and I have been able to purchase discounted pairs online. Expensive initially, but they work for me and now I’m able to save some money. That’s why the fitting was so important!

Any advice I missed? Please feel free to leave it in the comments below! This will be the first in a series of blog posts this month, so please check back for more tips.

Cheers to the New Year!

Disclaimer: I am not a physical therapist, running coach, or a medical professional. I’m a runner sharing my personal experiences, and this does not replace advice from a licensed healthcare professional or running coach. Please consult a licensed professional if you are in need of in-depth advice on an exercise regimen that works for your personal needs.

 

2015 Holiday Gift Guide – For Her (Plus a Giveaway)

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I will receive a small amount of monetary compensation if you end up purchasing something from one of the links. All opinions are my own.

Hey there! The holidays are (finally) here and I’m giving away a pair of Feetures Elite Socks and Camelbak eddy Water Bottle to celebrate. Enter and find contest details below… then read on for some awesome gift ideas for the special someone in your life!

ENTER HERE!

 

2015 HGG For Her Women_Final

Looking for a gift for your active lady? Here are my top picks for 2015.

  1. Asics Fit-Sana Zip Hoody
    Here in Texas, though it’s not often, when you need a running jacket, you need it! However, because I don’t need to run in a jacket often, it has to look good when I’m not running for me to actually get enough use out of it. This jacket is both stylish and warm, and who doesn’t love a good hoodie? ($90)
  2. Athleta Crunch and Punch Tank
    Kill two birds with one stone wit this built-in bra top from Athleta. Love all of the colors (and Athleta quality). It would also be perfect for yoga, or the gym, so you really can’t go wrong! ($69)
  3. Lucy Zenergy Bra
    I’m a big fan of bright colors and fun details on sports bras. I also love the double straps for the summer, which means no thick tan lines! ($49)
  4. Adidas Adizero II Cap
    This is the only hat I’ve tried on that is both flattering and affordable. Seriously though, no one likes a hat that makes them feel derpy; this one makes me feel the opposite – like a seasoned running pro. ($20)
  5. Nike Exhale Running Sunglasses
    I have a hard time finding sunglasses that are both pretty IRL and functional for running, but these fit the bill perfectly! ($146)
  6. Lululemon Vinyasa Scarf
    Up your athleisure game with this scarf from Lululemon. I would totally pair this with an oversized sweatshirt, running pants, and a pair of boots, if I was meeting up with someone for coffee or lunch post-workout. ($46)
  7. Running Bib and Medal Display from Strut Your Stuff Sign Co.
    What I love about this medal holder is that it is super-stylish, with customization options available to tie in with most décor styles. This company offers styles for triathletes and other sports as well. ($29.99+)
  8. Run Janji Printed Running Tights
    I like that these tights have an understated print – no loud colors, but still something different. What’s even better is that your purchase of these tights provides water to a person in Tanzania for three years, so you can gift responsibly. Love this company and their passion. ($68)
  9. Adidas Squad II Duffel Bag
    Adds a whole new meaning to the term “squad goals,” right? This bag is the updated version of my current adidas duffel bag that I LOVE. It has special pockets for tennis shoes, jewelry, your cell phone, and swimsuit, making it super convenient for the girl on the go. Great buy! ($45)
  10. Oiselle Women’s Wazelle Long Sleeve Top
    Apparently there is a debate in the running community about thumb holes. Well, if I cared to debate such issues, I’d be pro-thumb holes, which is part of why I like this shirt. The other part is that Oiselle does a great job of making great running products. ($66)

Have anything to add to this list? Be sure to mention it in the comments below.

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway and check back later this week for the next section of the gift guide!

What are you most excited about giving this year?

Cheers!

Currently Loving: Adidas Ultimate Hoodie

In light of the bi-polar weather we’ve seen recently, I’m sharing one of my favorite warm pieces of gear. I’ve long been an Adidas fan, and was instantly obsessed when I received this hoodie as a gift for Christmas!

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(I had to try it with the hood on, of course!)

Logo2Generally, I like that Adidas is more reasonably priced than some other high-end sports brands, while still maintaining a reliable quality standards. The Adidas Ultimate Hoodie did not disappoint.

 

Full Length2Available in a variety of colors, this jacket is nice and bright, allowing me to feel more visible when on a run or bike ride. It’s also made of a very lightweight fleece material that wicks away moisture – I feel the same warm fuzzies I get from my favorite Columbia fleece, without all of the bulk. When I start to get hot from my workout, I don’t feel like I’m running with a trash bag on, because the moisture is efficiently carried away; it’s as breathable as hoodies can be, but still keeps me nice and warm. I can also wear a couple of layers because it fits loose, without everything riding up underneath. I don’t need to do this too often, considering I live in Texas, but it’s nice to have a versatile piece for the days when it’s chilly.

The other features I love have to do with the mechanics. I am a short girl, so I’m often stuck with sleeves that are too long. For me, the sleeves are just right for me to stick my thumbs through the thumbholes, but still have a loose feeling. I love the pockets as well, which are nice and deep, giving me the freedom to put something in my pocket without fear of losing it. The pockets are separate, which feels way more secure than a regular hoodie kangaroo pocket.

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I wasn’t able to find it in the same color, but Amazon has a ton of different color options (including a pretty teal stripe version that I really want to add to my closet). Here is my affiliate link: adidas Performance Women’s Ultimate Fleece Pullover Hoodie

I’ll end with a question: what’s your favorite cold weather gear?

 

Disclosure: FREE TO RUN is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com