Choosing the Right Shoes for a Marathon
There are more than a hundred marathons to choose from in the UK alone, open to professionals and amateurs alike. People of all ages are competing – even into their nineties! Unlike most sporting challenges there is no special skill or gift required for running, just a lot of determination – and preparation.
If you don’t prepare properly the chances of finishing are low and the probability of damaging yourself high. For successful, injury-free preparation and participation the choice of shoes is crucial. The guidelines below will help you select the right running footwear:
Choose your running shoes well in advance of the race you are aiming for. Your feet and your shoes need time to get to know each other and the shoes must be well worn-in before you compete.
Getting the right running shoes is vital. Making your choice takes time and care. Don’t be shy; try on lots – and try on the left and the right. No pair of feet is entirely identical.
Running shoes are often smaller than normal shoes, so don’t just go by the size on the sole – go for the ones that feel the most comfortable. Choose half a size larger than you normally wear. Under hard exercise like marathon running your feet will swell as they heat up.
Ideally, go to a retailer who specialises in orthotics, whose staff are trained to assess the proper needs of your feet. More expensive shoes are not a guarantee of greater comfort. It’s all about fitting the particular needs of your feet. This is not just a matter of size and width; a high arch for example may need more cushioning. It’s also how you use your feet. Have your gait analysed to determine what additional support you may need.
Once you’ve chosen your running shoes, wear them round the house and go for a walk in them. Don’t run too far too soon. Set out a realistic timetable in which you gradually increase time and distance but build in rest and recuperation.
Vary your times and distances over each week. Warm up before each run. Do simple stretches after. Get a routine going and make sure you build enough time for training into your day.
Once you get into serious running, don’t expect your shoes to last forever. Change pairs every five to six hundred miles. So keep a record of your distances – it will up your sense of satisfaction and achievement!