It seems a little insane how much the correct pair of shoes can change your workout, but if anyone has taught us that a pair of shoes can flip your entire situation over completely it’s Cinderella.
According to a study from the American College of Sports Medicine, 85% of individuals are using the incorrect shoes when they go out on a run. For the easiest way to avoid injuries and help boost your workouts, why not try getting professionally fitted for your shoes?
(Make sure you read to the end for a special gym and running shoes discount!)
The Importance of Wearing Proper Shoes
Let’s start off with something a little simpler, walking shoes compared with running shoes. It turns out that by wearing the incorrect shoes for your run, you could end up with extremely serious injuries.
The reason behind this is that when you walk, the weight is far better spread out on your feet than when you run. This is because your weight is more concentrated on your heels and they need to be able to absorb two to three times of your total body weight.
Walking shoes are designed to be more flexible, allowing for greater comfort during your evening walkabouts. However, running shoes are a lot sturdier and are designed to take much more pressure, thereby aiding in the protection against knee injuries.
These include knee dislocations, which I have experienced, or ankle tears, tears in your muscles or tendons, and even injuries to the bones themselves.
Which Shoes Should You Use and When?
With so many benefits to choosing the correct shoe, you may be wondering if you need a specific shoe for your CrossFit workouts as well. The answer to that is yes, you do.
When engaging in complex moves that require a lot of balance, CrossFit-specific shoes will aid in helping you to maintain your form. They will also help ensure that you have a higher level of protection when performing the workout and thereby reduce the risk of injury.
They provide the necessary support to your body, particularly to your joints such as your knees and ankles during your workouts, which is essential when ensuring the longevity of your health and safety against injury.
They are built to endure many, many CrossFit workouts whereas your average walking or running shoe may give out underneath the pressure and they are therefore a better investment of your time and money.
Added Benefits of Wearing Proper Shoes
A further benefit of wearing the correct shoes for the correct activity is that you will then be guaranteed to utilise your energy potential better thereby having more effective, efficient, and longer workouts with greater performance.
You can do that by wearing CrossFit shoes for CrossFit or running shoes for running workouts. A further benefit to wearing CrossFit shoes for working out or weightlifting is that they are more beneficial to supporting you than walking or running shoes.
Now you may be wondering what the main benefits of running shoes are, especially stacked against the comparative advantages of CrossFit shoes. Running shoes, especially those with soft mid soles, have an extra ability to protect you against the varied surfaces which you run upon.
The softer the midsole of your shoe is, the better cushioning you will have against the varied surfaces you are exposed to. However, the softest ones wear out within a few months.
Foot Injuries From Wearing Improper Shoes
If you are worried about knee injuries, having a proper running shoe is essential as overpronation or the act of turning your foot inside as you run increases the likelihood of your knee dislocation. Other problems linked to turning in of your foot are shin splints, foot ailments such as bunions, and plantar fasciitis.
The other problem with foot placement, is when you push your foot too far outward as you run, known as supination this accentuates stress upon on your joints, muscles and tendons.
Furthermore, running with this form increases the likelihood of knee injury. Apart from that, running with the correct running shoes will also provide greater grip against a variety of surfaces and aid with protection against the various elements.
What About Fashion?
Finally, you may find yourself wondering about something that only really runs across your mind once you enter the fitness apparel store or surf for options online - shoe style.
Well, you will be more than happy to know that both running shoes and CrossFit shoes are made for the style conscious gym-goers in mind. They usually need something that is both functional and gorgeous enough to motivate them to want to get into the gym.
If you’re wondering what the best rated CrossFit shoes are, here are some of the best. Nike Romaleo 3 and New Balance Men MX409V3 Cross Trainers are great options if you are hoping to get the most investment per dollar spent. If, however, you are hoping to make a long term investment and are looking to spend a little more, then there is the Reebok CrossFit Nano 5.0 or the 7.0.
Moving on here are some great running shoes for your consideration, one on the lower end of the price spectrum is the New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v3, or the Hoka One One Challenger ATR3 and for the fashionable out there how about the Brooks Ravenna 8 or perhaps Reebok OSR Harmony Road.
Barefoot running and training is a growing trend as it promises to prevent injury and strengthen muscles that are usually neglected. By training in barefoot shoes, your feet are closer to the ground and therefore you gain a slight power advantage in your lifts.
Barefoot shoes can be great for CrossFit as they provide a stable base and you will be able to feel the floor beneath your feet which is great for stability in heavy lifts. Not only this, they're very versatile so you can then do rope climbs in your barefoot shoes, transition to a quick run, and then transition to skipping or jumping.
Enjoy an exclusive discount on Sundried's men's and women's barefoot shoes using code KICKS for a huge 50% off and take your CrossFit training to the next level.
Now, For the Workout
You may be wondering which type of workout is best for you, what type of physical exercise will motivate you and engage you, what activity best suits your unique preferences and personality, well there is a test for that.
You do not have to limit yourself to one type of activity or simply the sports or methods of training that everyone around you is doing. As an individual, you can benefit from trying something different.
Who knows CrossFit might just be the best thing ever for you? Therefore, when planning on beginning an undertaking such as CrossFit, make sure to invest in the correct tools and clothing for that particular fitness niche to protect yourself during the activity and to have the most effective workout with the greatest amount of energy conservation as possible. Therefore, I humbly decree it is time to go shoe shopping! I know I can’t wait.
About the author: Sarah writes for Kicks Choice. She is passionate about workout activities and she puts great importance on maintaining leg and foot health as well.
In 2014, Becky reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in record time. The former sailing instructor talks to Sundried about extreme sports and ultra running.
Have you always been sporty?
I run, cycle, swim, play tennis etc. because I enjoy it. I grew up in the country, surrounded by fields, so spent a lot of time playing outside as a child. My wonderful mother ferried me to endless activities: gymnastics, horse riding, tennis, dance. I was ok at sport but never remarkably good, but I enjoyed being active.
When I was 18 I took a year out and went to Africa. With limited access to swimming pools or tennis courts, I started running. My first runs consisted of laps around our tiny back yard and then I graduated to exploring the surrounding areas. By the time I came home, I was hooked. I slowly extended my runs over time until a friend suggested I enter the Great North Run half marathon. In 2009 this became my first ever race.
From your first half marathon, you’ve gone onto partake in many more sporting events, which is your favourite?
Absolutely nothing beats leaving the roads, the cars and the crowds and heading out on a great trail running race. I have met some amazing people and made some great friends during trail races…an odd concept to a triathlete I’m sure, but during long running races, part of doing well has to be enjoying it and keeping each other mentally strong. And that’s true even at the top – Kilian Jornet is famous for waiting for the runner in second place so that he has company during a long race!
When are you next competing?
I have signed up to a 'secret marathon' which will happen at some undisclosed time in an undisclosed location this autumn. I like this concept as it appeals to my somewhat relaxed attitude to training schedules/carb loading/ race prep. You just turn up and get on with it. The Trans Gran Canaria Ultra Trail (125km and 8,000m ascent) in 2017 is the next race I'm really excited for though.
Talk us through your training regime.
This changes every week depending on how I feel, what my other plans are, and what I want to do. I have been a student for the last year so it’s been particularly changeable. I took advantage of not having to be in London and spent long weekends running in the Alps, the Lake District and Wales. Now I’m back in full-time employment it will look a little like this:
Running: most days, sometimes twice a day. Some days I will run 2 miles, other days 20. It really depends on where I need to get to and what else I'm doing. I will very rarely go three consecutive days without running though.
Cycling: both to get around and for pleasure, although I don't get out as much as I would like.
Swimming: I go through phases. When I do it, I will usually swim 50 - 75 laps of a 25m pool two or three times a week.
Tennis: usually at least once a week
Gym classes: somewhat sporadically I attend spin, high-intensity circuits, and a high energy dance class done in darkness with glow sticks - I'm embarrassed to admit I really enjoy that one.
How do you balance your training and a social life?
My friends are now used to me turning up to everything in my running kit. I also do less heavy drinking and more nice dinners out these days, that way I can socialise and still enjoy the next day...whatever that might bring.
What other extreme races have you completed?
I've had two big challenges since I ran up Mount Kilimanjaro: the North Down's Way 100 (104 miles of running with an elevation of 3026m) and Lavaredo Ultra Trail (75 miles with a 5805m+ climb).
The first almost broke me. The only thing that kept me going was the thought that if I finished, I would never have to run 100 miles again. It reminded me that I have so much still to learn about running, which in turn reminded me why I love running so much. You can always improve, you can always run further, faster, stronger. And I am, of course, currently researching my next 100-miler.
Lavaredo was a triumph of lessons learned. It was, dare I say it, easy. Eating made all the difference. (It turns out running an ultramarathon on fruit alone is not a very good idea!) Sticking with friends also made the miles fly by. I am planning on going back to Italy to run Lavaredo again in 2017 as this year we didn't race it so much as just complete it and I know I could shave a good few hours off my time.
Why work with Sundried?
Sundried have set themselves apart from other sports brands by committing to delivering to athletes for whom exercise is part of who they are; for people who run, cycle, climb, walk so that they can explore. This fits perfectly with my ethos. Additionally, the clothes are so beautifully made and ideal for supporting my activities. And, for the cherry on the top, they are all made from responsibly sourced material!
Hitting a plateau and not being able to improve your running speed can be very frustrating, but there are lots of ways to get faster at running. We take a look at how to become a better, faster runner.
How can I improve my running speed?
There are lots of ways to improve your running speed, so trial and error will definitely be a factor in finding what works best for you. We take a look at four of the most tried and tested ways that are proven to improve your running speed.
If you're looking to improve your 5k PB, then a pace run is definitely for you. A pace run is a shorter run (of around 20 minutes) where you run at your threshold, a pace where you can't hold a conversation and it feels difficult the entire time while still being doable. You should feel like you're really pushing yourself for the entire duration of the run and you need to stay focused throughout.
Interval training can take many forms, such as HIIT which is high intensity or Fartlek which means 'speed play'. Speed play interval training mixes up the speeds and inclines of a run randomly so that your body can't get used to the workload. This is a great way to improve your overall fitness as your body can't adapt to the stress and therefore has to keep working to improve. HIIT training can be a little more repetitive, such as run for 30 seconds, walk for 30 seconds, repeat. Intensity training will really help to improve your overall running speed by improving your fitness and aerobic abilities.
This is the one we love to hate, or perhaps hate to love! Running uphill improves leg strength as well as maxing out your aerobic capacity and therefore improving your overall running fitness. It's great for improving your speed and will also mean you're more prepared for runs on different terrains so that you don't have to slow down or walk when you hit a hill in a race.
Tweaking your stride length could be the secret you're missing when it comes to getting faster at running. The longer your stride, the faster you will be, however a very long stride does put extra pressure and strain on your joints. If a very short running stride suits you, there's no reason to increase it. However, if you still want to get faster after exhausting your other options, this could be a good way to speed up your runs.
How can I run longer without getting injured?
There are many things which will impact how often you get injured. Don't ignore the signs that you might be overtrianing and make sure you know how often you should take a complete rest day. Making sure that your muscles, bones, and joints are strong will be a big factor in reducing injury time. The best way to strengthen your muscles and bones is by doing strength training.
Make sure you're comfortable
There's nothing worse than being uncomfortable during a run, having to keep pulling up your running leggings or feeling restricted can be the difference between a great one and a terrible one. You won't be able to run fast and reach your full potential in the wrong leggings. Make sure you find ones with a personalised fit by looking for a drawstring waist, or for women, high-waisted running leggings might be best.
Whether you've just started running or you're looking to freshen up your current routine, finding a new run route can be both exciting and daunting. Follow our top tips to plan the best route for you to stay safe and enjoy every stride.
Check the terrain
Running on varying terrains can have a huge impact on your run. If you're used to running on road and pavement, finding a new route that incorporates fields and trails could really liven things up and make your run more interesting. However, make sure to take care as trail running features more hazards than road running and you may need to concentrate harder.
If your usual run is very flat, try adding in a few hills. Not only will this make your route more interesting, doing hill training is very good for improving performance and overall fitness!
Choose a route that suits you, whether that's all on road, all on trails, or a mixture of both. Keeping things fresh can do wonders for motivation and can help you feel like you really want to get out there and run rather than it being a chore.
Recce the route in the car or by bike
If you've planned your new route by mapping it out on a Google maps, make sure you take a drive round it first to make sure the entire route is runnable. Check that there is a safe place to run the entire way or if pavements suddenly end and turn into hazardous roads with fast traffic.
Another thing to check for on your recce is to make sure you're not running onto private land or that the map is incorrect. You wouldn't want to go running into rivers or dead ends that aren't on the map!
Make sure it's safe
One of the most important parts of planning a new run route is making sure it's safe the whole way. Bear in mind how much traffic there might be and if you're able to run on pavement the whole way or if you need to run in the road.
Additionally, if you are running in a rural area, make sure you have a fully charged phone on you as well as food and water in case you become stranded. There are some areas that become very remote and you need to be sure you'll be able to make your way back safely, especially if the weather changes unexpectedly.
Don't be afraid to drive to the start
One of the possible reasons your old run routes became stale is because you only ever start and finish at home. An easy way to expand your horizons is to drive (or cycle) to a different start point so that you can experience new areas. Driving to a new area can open up a whole new world of possibilities and can make your run so much more interesting.
If you're going to drive to the start, remember to take plenty of water and a snack in the car with you as you will be tired and sweaty when you finish! And remember that however long it took you to drive there, you'll have to drive back after a potentially tough run.
Check other people's routes locally
If you check websites like Map My Run, Strava, or Garmin, you can see routes that other people in your local area have saved and shared. This could be a great way to try a new route that you may have never thought of doing or finding hidden or secret passages, footpaths, and roads that you never knew existed. Lots of places have hidden gems that are off the beaten track and it can be very exciting discovering them for the first time, especially if they're right on your doorstep!
Join a running club
One of the easiest and most effortless ways of discovering a new run route is by joining or running with a run club. There are lots of benefits to joining a running club, and finding new routes is certainly one of them. By running with fellow enthusiasts, you know you'll be getting the most of your run and will be following a tried and tested safe route.
Whether you’re training for a marathon or you just enjoy running recreationally, blisters can be the one thing that stop you in your tracks. Don’t let that be the case by following our handy tips to prevent blisters from forming when you run.
Wear the right socks
Your socks are your first line of defence against blisters. Any good pair of running socks will be super moisture-wicking and have extra padding around stress areas like the heel and toes. Keeping your feet dry is paramount to preventing blisters as moist skin will become soft and therefore more susceptible to blisters. If your socks wick sweat away properly, your feet should stay dry no matter how sweaty your feet get during the run! If you find you are getting lots of blisters, it could be time to try different socks.
Make sure your shoes fit properly
Wearing the correct shoes is paramount for happy and healthy running. Our feet swell as we run, and continue to swell the longer we're out, so you need to make sure your shoes give your feet room to breathe. A pair of running shoes that fit well while you're stationary might become tight and uncomfortable after 10 miles of running and sweat build-up. However, if your shoes are too big then they may rub, causing even worse blisters.
Make sure your trainers are properly comfortable and are the exact right size for your needs. Most good running shops will have a treadmill on site which you can use to try out the shoes before you buy them so make sure to take advantage of this.
Use blister plasters preventatively
Plasters and band aids don’t have to be a last resort once you’ve already got horrendous blisters. Most blister plasters are designed to act like a second skin, so by applying them to problem areas before you run, you minimise the risk of them developing at all.
Once you know where your problem areas are, put blister plasters on before you run to prevent blisters from forming. However, if you are wrapping cotton or fabric plasters around the toes, be aware that these may well rub and cause new blisters of their own. Try to keep fabric a minimum by not taping your feet and only use specifically-designed blister plasters which are minimalistic in design and fit seamlessly.
Many runners already know that Vaseline is your best friend to prevent chafing. Many blisters are caused by friction, whether that be skin on skin or fabric on skin. By applying a generous amount of Vaseline to any problem areas of the foot (or other part of the body), you will reduce the friction and therefore reduce your risk of developing blisters.
Be aware the Vaseline can be liable to stain clothing, especially running clothing. There are other dedicated creams and gels on the market, but these can be expensive and Vaseline will do the job just as well.
Keep your feet moisturised
While it's true that overly moist feet are very prone to blisters due to the skin becoming soft, dry feet are also prone to injuries. Dry feet can easily crack and even become infected, so keep your feet moisturised on days when you are not running by using a specialist foot moisturiser. If you are going to be running a lot, taking good care of your feet is very important and well worth the time and money!