Journey to Philly – 9 weeks to go

I’m now in real marathon training mode. Not that I wasn’t before because I registered back in April and I’ve been running and competing all spring and summer and it all counts for something. At least that what I’ve been telling myself but now its fall and it’s time to get serious.

Training for a marathon is very different from training for any other competition. Now, every step toward your goal – whether it’s to run a 5K or a half marathon or any other fitness accomplishment – takes committment, time, patience, and guts. But what I’ve found is that the marathon takes all those but to the next level. I never imagined in my entire life I would be able to say that I ran a marathon. Yes, I ran 26.2 miles and it took me 4 hours and 45 minutes to do it. And in a little less than 9 weeks I’m going to do it again.

Preparation is the take home point for training for a marathon. You need to be prepared to run that far and for that long. But each competition requires some preparation and it depends on your experience and personal choices as to what you will need.

The two most importing things you need for competition and for general fitness:
– You need to be properly hydrated. It really hurts when you haven’t taken in enough fluids and you start to cramp. the key is to drink before you are thirsty and then keep drinking. water is best prior to running…save the low cal sports drink until you’re done.
– Proper footwear that is supportive. you’re sneaks from last spring probably don’t have the support you really need if you’re running. My knees will tell me if I need new shoes!

After you’re satisfied those two items the rest is easy! Comfy clothes and a good playlist (if you’re a music person) will keep you going for whatever distance you set out for.

Happy Training!

In Search of Shoes (part 2)

OK I know it’s been a little while since my last post…but the weather has been gorgeous and I’ve been in training for the Broad Street run in a few weeks!

The last time we talked about running shoes and the proper fit for different types of feet, etc.

The next thing to consider besides proper fit is the type of exercise you plan on doing. There are different shoes for different activities and you should purchase the shoe that matches your activity. For instance, there are shoes for running, walking, cross training, hiking and toning and they all are designed to accomplish very different things. And if you purchase shoes any place besides a running store, they are usually side by side and may or may not be displayed in the same location on the shelf (example – cross trainers mixed in with running shoes).

Walking shoes are usually a slightly heavier with minimal support – this is because you don’t have the same pounding type action on the surface as you would with running. You can get through an entire season with the same pair of walking shoes.

Cross Training shoes are the most versatile if you like to do a variety of activities. They offer more support than a walking shoe and are comfortable for most activities. Also good if you don’t want to buy shoes for multiple activities. Just be careful when making a purchase because they most resemble running shoes but they are not. Cross Trainers shouldn’t be used if you plan on putting in some miles because they don’t have the same level of support and flexibility as a running shoe.

Toning shoes are the funny looking ones with the really thick & curvy sole. They force you to walk a little differently therefore using your leg muscles differently. There are claims that they boost your fitness level & make your butt look better when compared to regular athletic shoes but there just as many claims that say otherwise. Basically, they are not for running but you can use them for walking. If you want to attempt to get your gams in great shape you can give these a try but they are not a substitute for regular exercise 🙂

Those of us committed to exercising regularly tend to go through shoes faster the trendy clothing of the season – guys are included in this!

In Search of Shoes (part 1)

Now that many of us can be seen taking advantage of the warm spring weather by running, walking, and biking around the neighbor after dinner, it’s a good time to discuss proper foot ware.

Your activity and level in intensity plays a really big role in dictating your foot ware choices. When shopping for sneakers, make sure you pay attention to the labels on the shoes…just like we would do on our food! Most of the leading shoe manufacturers will properly label foot ware and have a variety of choices but not all are created equal. This is especially true for runners.

Our choice of running shoe need not be expensive nor do we need to worry about this year’s styles and colors and most of us do not need to go to the special shoe store to be fitted with the latest and greatest equipment. All of these things are very nice to have, don’t get me wrong. I’ve been running for over 15 years and have been everywhere from the outlet store to Jenkintown Running Company. But there is a difference between ‘want’ and ‘need’. What you ‘need’ is a shoe that hugs your foot in the right places, has enough cushion and arch support for your chosen activity, and is in your price range. When I find the right type of shoe, I buy it and will not stray from that brand and make. I’ve even purchased 2 of the same pair if they were that good of a shoe for a good price. The more mileage you clock, the more shoes you will need.

For example – I have a wider front foot and because of this, I cannot buy regular NIKE running shoes. NIKE has a tendency to fit those of us with longer and narrower feet. If I want to purchase a NIKE shoe, it has to be one specifically labeled as wide. My go to choice is the Asics Gel because it feels good on my foot the first time I try it on. If I try on a sneaker and I feel I need to ‘break it in’ the second I put it on…It’s not for me. New Balance is also good for wider feet.
It is true that you should purchase shoes later in the day as opposed to the morning. This ensures a better fit. You should also try on BOTH shoes – left & right foot. This allows you to walk around the aisle a little bit, bounce around in them to make sure they’re flexible enough for you. Always have the type of sock you plan on wearing when you exercise…sometimes the littlest thing can though off a good fit…like a seam.