Have the tweets, e-mail updates, and Facebook runner tracking images from the past two runDisney weekends made you wriggle in your comfy chair? Well, they're meant to! Typically, 40% of runners at events such as the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend are new to that distance. In short, runDisney spectaculars are magnets to newbies. And I should know.
If you have been so enticed over the past 2 weeks that you simply can't sit still any longer, then this series is for you. If you are wondering where to begin, I think I can help! Lately, I have been fielding so many questions regarding running and injury that I decided to look for a new forum to share the tidbits that I have gathered both in my 35 years of active physical therapy practice, and maybe more importantly, in my status as new runner; an out-of-shape, less-than-youthful runner with a partially torn ACL, to be completely clear.
Where to begin? From the ground up, of course. Before you begin picking out your race tutu on Pinterest, hopefully your most crucial piece of apparel and only required piece of equipment in the sport- the running shoe- is not overlooked. A good running shoe does not ensure that you will never deal with injury, but a poorly fitted shoe almost guarantees it. (See PT Tips for Selecting Your Next Running Shoe for more complete information.) If this is your first performance shoe, you owe it to yourself to get to a specialty running shoe store to begin your journey. The shoe that your friend can't live without might fit like a cement block on your foot. That terrific on-line sale might be sending you the shoe that they have substantial surplus of for a reason. And no physical therapist, doctor or athletic trainer can keep completely up-to-date on a performance shoe market that has grown exponentially over the past 10 years. Get yourself to the experts! I prefer a store with a treadmill and computer imaging, so that a basic gait and running mechanics analysis can be done first without shoes, and then with several styles of running shoe.
I know that you may have your heart already set on New Balance's 860v3~ runDisney limited edition shoe but this stability shoe might not be the intelligent choice for your body. Our alignment, gait styles, and lower extremity weaknesses are about as individual as our DNA. Best practice is to tailor your shoe choice accordingly! Of course, if you want a pair of Mickeys or Minnies for leisurely use, or already know you do well in a stability shoe (and you can still find a pair) grab them!!
Think you know your size? Start fresh; have both feet measured in your running socks. If you already wear orthotics, bring them, as they will inevitably add a half or even full size to your choice.
And today's Top PT Tip? Here it is...
Bring a pair of old street or running shoes to your fitting!
Just remember, your now-perfect new shoes won't be new forever. To avoid injury and the risk of soreness, the general rule of thumb is to replace your running shoes every 300-400 miles, or in six months time; whichever you reach first.
Have you just bought a pair of shoes, and they don't seem to be working for you? Here's two additional tricks to attempt before you shell out another $100 plus for a replacement:
- Elastic shoe laces are a perfect all-forgiving addition to your running shoe. If you've miscalculated any of the above, these can be the perfect, safe quick-fix.
- Experiment with your lacing. Either return to the store where you purchased your shoes, or ask a health care professional for guidance. For instance, because of my rigid mid-foot and arch, I find the following allows for additional room and prevents cramping:
Step 1 of Train Like a Princess is now complete. Stop by next Tuesday for another Top PT Tip. Until then, trust me,
"You can run. You can run. You can run."
Step 2~ Run-Walk-Run or Couch-to-5K
ABOUT DIDI MARIE
A longstanding (code for elder) physical therapist to professional athletes and weekend warriors on both coasts, Didi is a graduate of New York University. After over 30 years in sports medicine practice, she has decided to finally practice what she has preached by running her first half marathon at age 53. Didi therefore knows every excuse in the book...
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