It's Not About the Shoes (or Gear or Tape)
There may come a point when you start asking things like “What are the best shoes for running?” or “What is the best gear or tape for runners?” The reality is that your technique and skills are more important than the shoes or accessories that you’re wearing.
You can have the best reviewed running shoes on your feet, and a whole bag full or running gear, but if you don’t know the proper running technique to reduce injury, you can still get hurt. With that in mind, here’s what you really need to know to run faster, and prevent injury whether you’re marathon training, 5k training, or just want to run pain free.
Your shoes should be flexible enough to roll up into your hand. The reason you want flexible shoes is to avoid inhibition in the movements of your feet while running. You want the shoe to allow your feet to move naturally.
Aside from that, your shoe doesn’t really matter. The strongest support is the arch of your foot. Buying special shoes that “give you more support” won’t really do anything to help your running technique.
In fact, too much cushion or spring in your shoe, can inhibit your running. Many shoes make it harder for your foot to move. This is not to say you should run barefoot however. And yes, for long distances, and rough terrain, you may need a better rubber sole to protect you from the elements. But, what matters more in terms of whether or not you can run pain free, is how you run.
What types of running gear is out there? There’s knee sleeves, foam rollers, kinesiology tape, ankle sleeves, athletic tape - the list goes on and on. Do you need any of this gear to run? It’s helpful in some cases, but certainly not required. In our programs we focus on body weight exercises, but we understand that sometimes tools like foam rollers and yoga balls can help stretch the body, increase range of motion, and ease muscle pain.
The foam roller we recommend is the Eclipse Foam Roller from Accumobility. You can use the RUNRX code at Accumobility to save 10%
The yoga balls we recommend are from Tune Up Fitness.
What can you do if you don’t have gear like this? Fear not! You can use rolling pins, broomsticks, and even hard water balls in place of a foam roller for many of the same recovery techniques. Some alternatives to yoga balls are tennis balls and baseballs. You can use what you’ve got, and still take care of yourself.
How to run regardless of your shoes and gear
We’ve said a few times that regardless of your shoes and gear, what matters most is how you run if you want to run pain free. What does that mean? It means that you are using the proper technique known as the Gait Cycle - pose, fall, pull, repeat - to run. Here’s how it looks in practice:
Want to learn more about the right way to run? Sign up for the membership for accountability and coaching by Valerie.
What's Killing Your Run?
Take this quick quiz to see what you're doing that's causing your pain and possible injury. Coach Valerie will give you a tip on what you can change today!