Published April 5th, 2008
It’s amazing what the right pair of shoes will do for you. (I know what you’re thinking: “Shouldn’t you have figured this out by now? Sheesh, and you call yourself a runner.” HARRUMPH. There’s no need to get snippy, even though I pulled a fast one on you.)
I’ve been buying my shoes at a very reputable and knowledgeable running store ever since I got back into running. Staff members are runners themselves, and they take the time to watch you run to determine the best shoe for you. Given my IT band issues/runner’s knee, they recommended a high stability/motion control shoe, the Asics Gel Foundation 7.
My first pair was the men’s version as they were out of the women’s; three months later I bought the women’s version, which got me through my first two marathons. Both pairs were getting into 400-mile mark earlier this year, so in February I picked up another pair. Although I was prone to getting blisters on the side of my foot just under my big toe, the shoes worked well. Why mess with success?
Then came last Saturday’s 20-mile run and what I thought was a calf sprain. My left calf muscle was incredibly tight during the entire run, and the next day I noticed a bruise just behind my left knee at the top of my calf. Yee-ouch! The bruising really concerned me as I feared it was a sign of some serious damage. I took the next four days off (so no 200-mile month) and went to my physical therapist.
She’s never done a foot analysis before, so she had me take off my shoes and socks and watched me run across the room. Turns out I DON’T over-pronate; what I really need is a shoe that provides neutral to moderate support. In fact, she had a sheet from my running store outlining the recommendations for each level of support (neutral, moderate and durable). The Asics Gel Foundations are in the durable support category — something I do NOT need.
She spent several minutes massaging my upper calf; although I winced throughout — it wasn’t one of those soothing massages you get while listening to the sounds of a babbling brook — I felt great afterwards. She also instructed me to continue to work on strengthening my hips through side leg lifts and leg rotations. And of course, I had to buy new shoes. (I was bummed considering I just bought the Asics, however, I realized I’ve already put more than 240 miles on them!)