Running is a relatively inexpensive sport. It’s cheaper than therapy and the running clothes you buy last a really, really, really long time. (Let’s give a shout out to that indestructible fabric: polyester).
The one piece of equipment you will need to invest in are your running shoes. Please don’t even consider taking up running without taking a trip to the running store. I know there are a lot of sporting goods stores (even big box stores such as Target and Wal-Mart) that sell running shoes. But trust me when I say that if you are beginning to run, get thee to a specialty running store.
There are a running stores in Marin that I would send a new runner to. Fleet Feet in San Anselmo and Arch Rival with locations in Strawberry Village and the Bon Air Shopping Center. These stores will take the time to evaluate your feet, determine your arch type and identify your pronation.
You will also have a chance to speak to an experienced sales associate who can discuss what kind of running you are doing. Trails? Track? Are you trainining for a race or just starting out? With this information, you will be given a few pairs of shoes to try on and test out. Arch Rival normally has me run down the mall sidewalk to test them out. This gives me a chance to feel the shoe and how it fits on my feet while I run.
Be prepared to shell out at minimum $75 for your shoes. Some shoes sell for $120 so be selective with your shoes and make sure they fit your foot well. Don’t worry about buying your shoes a half size too big. Yes, your feet look big – but your toenails will thank you.
When you begin running on your new kicks, try a treadmill or wear them around the house a few times to make sure they really fit well. Once you wear them outside you own them so be sure they fit right before you hit the trail or the path.
The rule of thumb is to replace your running shoes every 300-400 miles. I replace my shoes every 3 to 3 1/2 months. If I go longer than that I start to feel knee pain and foot pain. If you find that you are “burning” through your shoes more quickly than that, discuss that with the pro at your local running store to find a shoe that holds up to your running better than your current model.
Be warned that even when you find the running shoe of your dreams that it might be a short-lived romance. Almost yearly, shoe companies “tweak” their shoe in the name of enhanced performance.
I found my true love shoe – the Saucony Hurricane Grid 4 a few years back. They are up to a version 10 and have been “enhanced” so much I can’t even wear them. I’ve been able to locate some Hurricane Grid 6 at an online retailer (www.zappos.com) and am happy for now. I know that ultimately I’ll run out of options and need to find a new shoe (sniff sniff).
Once you have been fitted properly for a shoe that works for you and your running style, you can find some great deals online. Road Runner Sports (www.roadrunnersports.com), Zappos (www.zappos.com) are a few retailers that offer running shoes at a discount. Again, you have my blessing to shop discount only after you have been properly fitted.
So praise polyester lace up your shoes and have a great run!