I Made A Huge Running Mistake (And How You Can Avoid It)

runner

 

I made a huge mistake when I started running, and I am still paying for it.

Can anyone guess what it was? (Brace yourself, avid runners)

danskinshoes

I bought cheap shoes (the exact ones you see in the picture. Danskin Now running shoe, $15 at good ol’ Wal-Mart) .

I can see your look of horror and hear your shocked “Why?!”

I skimped on shoes because I wasn’t sure if I was going to keep running; up until last year, I absolutely hated running. Explaining why I started is a whole separate post, but the point is, I didn’t want to invest the money in running shoes if I wasn’t going to use them for more than a month. They’re just fancy tennis shoes anyway, right?

WRONG. Within two days of running, I had horribly painful shin splints, and runner’s knee on both sides. I couldn’t walk without excruciating pain shooting through my knees and legs. I sat on the couch, realizing that all the things I’d read about buying the right shoes was important stuff! You can’t start running unless you invest in the right shoe, or you will pay the price (a lesson I learned the hard way).

It was another month before I decided to try again. I scoured the internet trying to find the right shoe for me. I know that you are supposed to go in and get fitted, but honestly, I am just not a people person. Luckily, I came across Runner’s World’s shoe finder, which has you take a short quiz about your running style and then lists shoes that offer what you need. My top recommended shoe was Asics Cumulus Gel 13, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. Next in line was the Gel 14, and then some Brooks shoes and a Nike shoe. All of them at least $90, but most well over $100, a long stretch for my single-income family.

Then, like an angel descended from above, Black Friday graced me with its presence. Almost every store had running shoes discounted, but Amazon offered almost all of their shoes at 50-60% off. Can’t beat that!

asics

I ended up buying the Asics Cumulus Gel 14 for $54.96 (now $80 on sale).

The next week, they arrived on my doorstep. I was so excited to try them out that I set everything out the night before to have a morning run. I laced up immediately after waking up, took a deep breath, and went running. The difference was instantly clear. I felt like I was on air, it was easier to keep a better pace, and I didn’t feel like running was a struggle. And afterwards, though my knees were a bit sore, they didn’t hurt like a million knives were jabbing into them. I decided to run again. And again. And again.

Actually, I’ve decided to never stop running.

I can still feel the effects of those painful first days of running though,. My knees still ache a bit,  especially on days I run. I can’t help feeling that if I’d just started out buying the right shoes I could have avoided that.

Shoes are such an important aspect in running. Really, they are they only aspect. You don’t need special running pants, or jacket, or headphones. Just shoes. They make such a huge difference in the sport, changing a firm running hater into someone who runs so much they run in their dreams.

If you ever tried running and didn’t like it, I beg you to try a different shoe. Or if you are considering running, get a good shoe to begin with! Running stores offer fittings to help you find the right shoe, or if you prefer you can do what I did and research different shoes on your own. But whatever you do, save yourself some trouble and don’t skimp. Make the investment. It is completely, 100% worth it (plus, it might encourage you to get your money’s worth by running more! win-win).

Happy running!

What is your favorite running shoe? Answer in the comments below!

My Frenemy, the Foam Roller.

As a runner, I often read and hear about the amazing wonders of the foam roller. I have heard that it cures aches, soreness, and pain. That it prevents injury and feels like a deep tissue massage. That it possesses magical powers which, when activated, can make you able to fly.

Okay maybe not that last one.

jfitfoamroller

There are so many people who swear by the use of foam rollers, especially runners. My left knee has been hurting so, last week, I broke down and bought one in hopes that it might help.

(With a sale, Christmas gift card and coupon code, I paid $6.26 instead of the retail $40! Yay!)

It just arrived today, and is a 36″ High Density j/fit foam roller.

Browsing through Pinterest, there are a ton of different ways to use this hunk of medical-grade foam. Since I had no idea how to use this thing, I decided to try this guide I found. It covers hip flexors, IT band, hamstrings, glutes, calves, upper back, lats, and chest.

Most people look up how to use things; not many people look up how NOT to use things. I think that this is a very important step that is skipped often, especially when it comes to health! The only warning I really found was not to use it on your lower back. Putting pressure on your lower spine could cause injury* (which is exactly what I’m trying to avoid by foam rolling in the first place.) If you have come across any other warnings, please leave it in the comments below!

So I’ve got a few exercises to do, and know how not to use it. Time to get down and dirty.

thisishowiroll

OH. MY. WORD.

Whatever this thing is, it is NOT relaxing. I had read other people mentioning that it hurt, but seriously! Pain flared through me with every roll. I sounded like a dying elephant. I kid you not. So for those of you who are wanting to start foam rolling, be warned! It HURTS.

However, it’s been a little while since I’ve rolled now, and my whole body feels so much better. I didn’t even realize how tense I was before. So maybe the 10 minutes or so of pain was worth it.

I have a five mile run this afternoon. Here’s to hoping that my knee hurts less.

Happy rolling!

Do you foam roll? Answer in the comments below!

 

(You can find more resources here and here.)

*I am not a doctor or anything medically related. This is based on research that I’ve done, and should not be consider a Professional’s opinion.