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?
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.
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.
Everybody knows we need to be more active, it is a fact. But how does this tie in with having an office job, a busy family life, and just less time overall? There is research suggesting that sitting down for too long is bad for us, no matter how much exercise you do in general.
This isn't good news for workers where your job requires you to be based sitting at a computer or sitting down. Studies have suggested there is a link between prolonged sitting and being overweight, having type 2 diabetes, and a slower metabolism.
We spend on average 7 hours a day sitting down. We get in from work, no matter what our job, and sit down to read, surf the web or even just to drive home. It is a difficult cycle to break. And we naturally sit without thinking about it. But it is time to start the change.
How much is too much?
Well, here the advice is that we need regular exercise, which equates to 150 minutes a week and to reduce our time sitting. There is no evidence, yet, to say how long we can sit, so we need to take an educated guess. Some countries have taken the step in children’s health saying that they should sit only for an hour or two a day (Australia and Finland).
Sitting too long slows our metabolism, which in turn means we can't regulate blood sugar or blood pressure as well, nor can we metabolise fat, which leads to a variety of problems.
What can we do?
There are a few steps we can all take to reduce our time sitting.
1) When you commute by bus or train, stand instead of sitting. Or ditch the public transport and walk or cycle!
2) Take a brisk walk during your lunch break at work. Find a colleague to walk and talk too, or put on some music and enjoy the fresh air alone.
3) Use stairs where possible. You can do this at the train station, or at work, just avoid the escalators and lifts. Incorporate some stairs into your lunchtime walk to really maximise your time.
4) If you can, take a quick break from your desk every 30 minutes or so to stand. Walk to speak to a co-worker instead of sending them an email or text. Walk to get a tea or coffee to just stretch your legs.
5) Stand at your desk if possible and type for a while instead of sitting. Just don't over stretch to reach your computer, raise it up on a box if possible.
6) When you get home from work, keep getting up to do small jobs instead of spending the evening in front of the TV.
These small changes can make a big difference and will feel odd at first. However, when they become a habit, you won’t even notice you are doing them but your body will!
Feeling inspired? Check out our post on exercises you can use to Workout At Work
Managing to beat your 5k PB can be an amazing feeling. It can also be very frustrating trying to beat it and not quite managing. That’s why we’ve put together 5 tips for beating your 5k PB so that you can go out there and know that you’re destined for success.
1. Incorporate track sessions into your training
Doing sprint training on a track is a great way to get faster. A 5k PB is unlike any other type of running goal because it’s all about speed and working at nearly 100% of your maximum effort. You don’t need to worry about pacing yourself or focussing on endurance, you just need to go out there and power through. Try to add at least 1 track session per week into your training so that you can work on sprinting and getting your speed up.
2. Do shorter pace runs
A pace run is a shorter run (of around 20 minutes) where you push yourself as hard as you can the entire time. You shouldn’t be able to hold a conversation and you should feel like you want to stop the entire time. It’s tough, but it’s worth it! Pace runs will get you used to working close to your maximum effort so that when it comes to your PB attempt, you’ll be used to the feeling.
3. Run with someone faster than you
Running with a buddy is always motivating for several reasons. When it comes to beating a 5k PB, running with someone who is faster than you can really push you to get out of your comfort zone and do something you didn’t realise you could do. Having a physical marker in a pace-maker gives you a visual goal and will keep you on track.
4. Fuel and hydrate yourself properly
Some people employ fasted runs as a way of losing weight. While this can work for some, it won’t help you to beat a PB. If you run fasted (on an empty stomach) you’ll have less energy and may well find it tougher to run at your best. That said, if you go for your run too soon after eating or after eating a big meal, you’ll be weighed down and will most likely get indigestion. Make sure you are properly hydrated and that you’ve eaten, but have left enough time to let your food digest properly.
5. Wear the right gear
Being inhibited by your sportswear can be the difference between a great run and a terrible one. If you wear a sports bra, make sure it gives adequate support so that you stay comfortable, and make sure you have running leggings that aren’t slipping down the entire time and causing you to be distracted and slow down. Being comfortable in your activewear will mean you can focus on pushing through the run and won’t have any reason not to achieve your best run ever.
6. Choose the right time
Some people run better in the morning while some run better at night. Only you can know which time is best for you, so do your PB attempt at your best time. Do it on a day when you know you are properly rested and not suffering from too much work or family stress. You want the conditions to be perfect if you are looking to shave mere seconds off your run.
Running a half marathon is a great challenge to aim for. 13.1 miles is a considerable distance and you will definitely need to train for it. Follow Sundried's training plan to get you to the start line feeling confident and excited about the challenge ahead.
Before You Start
Assess your aches
Where you ache the most can give hints as to how you run, depending on how you stride and how your foot lands will affect where you ache. It's hardly surprising that about 15 percent of all running injuries strike the foot—with each step, our feet absorb a force several times our body weight.
Forefront strikers land on the front of their foot, meaning their calves are under constant tension. Running with too much reliance on the forefoot and toes can cause muscle strain due to the additional work placed on the lower leg. If you are suffering from tight calves, try foam rolling to release tension and try to practice a neutral running stride on your next run, eventually as your muscles strengthen this will ease.
As a heel striker, you’re running technique places more stress on the skeletal frame, which can lead to aching joints and in particular aching heels. To compensate for this running technique if it’s causing you issue, you could try investing in a running shoe designed for those who run with a heel strike, these will have extra support and protection around the heels.
If pain becomes significant, you can try to gradually re-adjust your running technique. Start by trying to land further forward on your foot on shorter distance runs. Where the technique will be unfamiliar, it’s best to stick to shorter distances to avoid injury whilst your body readjusts. You could also try running in a barefoot running shoe, which will encourage you to run with more of a forefront strike naturally.
Half Marathon Training Plan
13.1 miles is a long way to run and puts a lot of strain on your muscles and joints. Depending on how fast or slow you run, you could be spending up to 2 and a half hours on your feet, so you'll definitely need to prepare your body. We recommend you do 4 runs per week, mixing in intervals, tempo runs, and distance runs. Combine the following 4 times per week for 6-12 weeks and you should be ready to tackle the challenge!
Interval runs are important for increasing your speed and agility on the run. They will also increase your lung capacity and heart rate capabilities so that you can improve your fitness and stamina. Your interval session can be anywhere from 20-40 minutes and can be done outside or on a treadmill. Sprint for 30 seconds at maximum effort, then slowly jog or walk for 30 seconds. If you feel like you're not ready to sprint again after only 30 seconds walking/jogging, you should still push yourself to go anyway. This is what will make a change to your fitness and will push your body out of your comfort zone.
Tempo runs are the perfect combination between a longer duration run and an interval session. Your tempo run can be anywhere from 20-40 minutes and should see you pushing at a speed that you can only barely maintain. You should be breathing heavily, unable to hold a conversation, and need to consciously keep pushing the entire time.
We recommend you save your distance runs for the weekend when you have more time. For a half marathon, your long run should be anywhere from 6 miles to around 12 miles in distance. The distance runs train your joints and feet for the strain of pounding the pavement for such a long time and time on your feet is a crucial part of the training process. Try to enjoy these runs, take it easy, and ease into the distances.
Top Tips For Running A Half Marathon
Strengthen the calves with eccentric heel drops. Stand with the balls of your feet on a step. Rise up on both feet. Once up, take your stronger foot off the step and slowly lower back down until your toes are pointing up to the ceiling and your calves are stretched, repeat on the other leg.
Remember to always run safely. This means remaining visible at all times, Sundried’s Ruinette tights feature reflective strip lining to the thighs to enhance visibility and a secure back pocket for valuables. We encourage you to wear high visibility clothing if you are running in low lighting conditions.
Listen to your body. If you are aching or you feel an injury coming on, take some time off until you feel better.
We're taught from a young age that chocolate should be eaten in moderation and that it's bad for our health. But is it really? Can you eat chocolate and still be healthy?
Why is chocolate not healthy?
The simple answer is that a lot of chocolate is laden with hydrogenated fats, sugar and other chemicals that are definitely bad for our health. The difference between eating a bar of regular milk chocolate and something a little more expensive with less ingredients (more cacao) can be significant. And if you can step away from generic chocolate and retrain your palate to something a little less sweet, you can still get your chocolate hit.
What are the benefits of eating chocolate?
A study at Aberdeen University looked at the eating habits of more than 20,000 people. They found that by comparing those who did and those who did not eat chocolate that those who ate a small bar daily were 11% less at risk of cardiovascular disease and had up to a 23% reduced risk of stroke.
Of course, like any research, the research also pointed out that eating chocolate doesn't make make you healthier. It was an observational study. (Source: BBC)
Other findings have shown that dark chocolate in particular can help lower blood pressure and reduce stress. (Source: NHS)
No matter where you look online, there is conflicting evidence for both sides. Some of the studies have been conducted by commercial chocolate manufactures saying how good chocolate is for you, whilst others disagree, saying the evidence is lacking.
There has been a link between cocoa with high levels of flavanols and increased blood flow, meaning better cognitive skills and memory function. Also, epicatechin, a type of flavanol, might have anti-inflammatory effects, which in turn protects the inner walls of blood vessels. In short, this means that chocolate could be accredited for keeping blood vessels smooth and increasing blood flow. (Source: circa.ahajournals.org)
So is it really that bad?
The simple choice is to eat organic, 70% cocoa (or higher) chocolate. These bars have much less fat and sugar than a regular bar, less chemical ingredients, and are just a purer form of chocolate. Eat small quantities, treat yourself to a good bar and have a couple of squares a day.
To eat or not to eat?
Chocolate isn't bad, eating too much of it is. The same rule applies to any food with additional sugar or chemicals. It could have some health benefits, and I for one, am more than happy to eat a small amount every day in the name of science. If it improves blood flow, all the better for my heart and my workouts. If it reduces stress, then I am happy with that. The bottom line is, chocolate will always be a love that I won’t give up, but I will see on occasion and continue to enjoy it.