On the plus side, it means more daylight, and for me that means more outdoor training. Great, except just before we disappeared off on holiday in March, my trainers started to rub, giving my blisters on the arch of my foot. Disaster.
I wouldn't say I'm emotionally attached, but I have considered framing them since I trained for and ran a marathon in them. No, but seriously, I was properly fitted as a freebie at a race in June of last year. my feet and my running gait were analysed and my Mizuno Wave Inspire trainers were recommended to help stabilise my ankles (which roll outwards a bit when I run, known as over-pronation). And it was life changing. Going from Nike Free trainers where my knees were slamming together with every step, to cushions strides of joy was a huge step forward in my running journey. Between June and February of this year, my trainers and I have covered around 380 miles. I was confused- why suddenly were they causing painful blisters on the arch of my foot? Why would they betray me?
Well, common guidance is that you should replace running shoes every 300-500 miles. And then I thought, hang on, I'm only just getting 300ish out of mine, maybe it's not that.... It was, here's a few things to consider if your like to run but you suddenly find yourself with blisters or unexplained aches and pains...
1. Get fitted. If you're wearing a pair of trainer that you picked because they were pretty colours and might also look nice with jeans, chances are, you're going to struggle, your trainers are your most important companions if you run, so go find a running shop like SweatShop offer a fitting service which costs around £30 (or free if you buy trainers from them afterwards). They should be able to tell you what type of cushioning and support you need. If you're experiencing joint pain (commonly, knees, lower back & ankles), you probably need new running shoes, the same applies to unexplained blisters.
2. Be colourblind- I had this problem when I bought my bike a couple of years ago. The best one for the job did not come in the colour I wanted. I got lucky with my trainers- I love green and that colour happened to be last season's so they were discounted. Be prepared that they probably won't match all of your favourite fitness kit but they will save you from injuries and increase the chances of you enjoying running.
3. Replace trainers regularly- did all of the above? Great, now take stock on just how much of a thrashing you've been giving them. And here's where I was confused until someone pointed out a very important factor... Terrain. I run predominantly on the road. Good old faithful concrete. Smooth, even, predictable, and just as hard on your trainers as it is on your elbows if you land on it. Proper running shoes have cushioning in the soles and if you run on hard surfaces like pavements or roads, you're wearing that out with every hard, compacting step you take. If you run on the road, expect to replace your trainers every 300 miles. Trail runners- not only are you a breed of your own, but you'll probably get closer to 500 miles out of your shoes thanks to softer/more varied terrain.
4. Think carefully about replacements- Have you been injured since your last pair? Are you still running on the same kinds of surface? If you've been injured, it may have affected your gait, and it would be wise to be refitted. If you have suddenly take up running on the beach after 12 months of running on pavements, it's unlikely the same style is going to work for you.
5. Check sizing- this might sound really obvious, but I was fitted for my usual shoe size, a UK 5. And I thought they were just fine in a 5, until I tried a 5.5 by accident. Even if you have a recommendation, make sure you try a couple of sizes, just to make sure. Keep in mind your feet also swell with heat and exercise, and therefore trying on trainers with cold feet after sitting on a train or in the car may be misleading in terms of sizing.
Be careful of lacing up too tightly as well, it will begin to cause numbness in your feet very rapidly.
And if all else fails, and you see the trainers you love and know work for you, and they're on sale in an awesome colourway, use your birthday gift voucher to buy them anyway- there's some great valid SportsDirect.com discount codes including up to 50% off at the moment and . I now alternate between two pairs of trainers, so although they'll still only last the same amount of miles, it should take longer before I next need to shell on new kicks.