I haven't bought new running shoes in ages (read as 4+ years…yikes!). After my recent groin injury, it seemed like a logical first step. The logical second step will be increasing mobility and range of motion.
Anyway, I went to the local running store because it has been so long since I’ve bought shoes. The guy looked at my shoes then asked, “So, what are you running in now.”
“Ummmm…these,” I replied, indicating my Adidas runners from the 1940s. I could see he wanted to say, “No. really.” But he stopped himself.
“You know you should replace your shoes every 400-500 miles?” he asked.
Well, let’s get those off and we’ll see what’s going on. After some discussion and observation, we determined that I was a little flat footed. This was news to me, because tradionally I have had a medium to high arch. I guess with age my arch has fallen. This was in keeping with what I believed. The higher arch-support on my shoes, coupled with my flatter arch was rolling my foot outward too far. I tried on five or six different shoes. The Aasics had a larger heel box that kept slipping (I was surprised by this), the Adidas had a small toe box (not good) and the Nikes were too narrow overall. I narrowed it down to the Brooks and the Reeboks, took both out for spins around the shopping center (at one point, one on each foot) and ended up choosing the Brooks GTS.
It’s a lot lighter than my old shoe, and the cushioning, while not as thick as the Adidas, was every bit as comfortable. Furthermore, I felt like my foot was striking more on the flat of the foot than the heel, and rebounding with a cleaner, softer roll of the foot.
Later that evening I went out and went for what I thought was a light run. My groin was feeling a little better, and I thought a gentle run might help stretch things out in a good way. Sure enough, things started to loosen up, and I felt the mobility returning to my hip. The tightness dissipated quickly as I continued forward. The hills were harder as it’s been a while since I hit them, but cruising on the flats seemed much easier. I came around the last turn for home and stretched out a little. No problems.
When I hit my watch at the end of the run, I could not believe what I saw. I had run my neighborhood route, covering 2.27 miles, in less than 20 minutes. I had to look twice. That's an 8.8 pace!!! That’s one of the fastest times I have posted on that route.
My hope was that I would feel that good in the morning. I finished with active stretching and a hot tub. I did feel better the next day.