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A little background, first of all:
I'm not really sure I can consider myself a true newbie, as I've started and nearly completed C25K twice now. Last summer I worked up to running for 30 straight minutes, but toward the end of the program I experienced worsening inner ankle/lower leg pain to the point where I considered myself injured and laid off for a while. I blamed this on my shoes...they're Asics Kanbarras (truly department store-bought) and are a 1/2 size too small, I think.
I recently saved up enough to head to Fleet Feet and get fitted for a better pair of shoes, since I really don't have a clue about my form and gait. This week, a co-worker (I have to mention that she's a very occasional runner and a mechanical engineer) overheard me and informed me (without being asked, of course) that I would be ripped off if I was tested and fitted. In her opinion, since I was effectively starting from scratch again, I should either:
1) Buy cheap shoes and change my form and gait so as not to be injured again OR
2) Buy minimalist shoes, start fresh and be forced to run in the 'correct' way.
So basically, in her words, "Why would you fix the problem with more expensive shoes when it's most likely a problem with you?"
Does anyone find any validity to these arguments? After being really excited to finally have correct shoes and be able to run my first race, I suddenly have doubts about my Fleet Feet plan. I have read Born to Run, and while I'm intrigued and don't necessarily disagree with the barefoot argument, I'd feel better just starting out with decent shoes.
Thanks in advance.
I was tested and fitted at my local runnung store when I first started running again last Jan. Best thing I ever did hands down. If you get a pair of shoes from a big box store that are right for you, well your one of the lucky few I guess. Once you get some proper shoes you can always price shop for the same ones again. When your able to go somewhere and actually run in the shoes while someone watches or videos you thats worth the price of admission for me. My shoes were no more expensive where I bought em than they would have been at Foot Locker for instance. I always enjoy going to my running store just to talk facetoface with fellow runners too. Good luck with your choice, D.
4/30/11 IL Marathon 10K 57:43
5/14/11 Kirby Derby 10K 57:49 3rd place in div
7/4/11 Freedom 5K 28:59
Lost 80lbs since 6/17/10 starting wt 280lbs
Joined Second Wind Running Club 9/2011
8/27/11 13.38mi 2:32
9/17/11 13.45mi 2:27
Habitat for Humanity 5K 12/31/11 26:42 PR
4/28/12 IL Marathon 1st 1/2 2:10:38
Cycled 1600 mi summer of 2012
Cycled Hilly Hundred 10/25/12
April 2013 1st full marathon..
I would tell you that the correct shoe is one of the best things you could do, I will also tell you that a running store is not always correct. But you are 100% more likely to get a correct shoe from one. I am not a minimalist, but believe some of what they say. I would get a good pair of shoes and also work on your form. Good luck
Apparently your co-worker, the occasional runner, has all the answers. I wish she would share with the rest of us.
"1) Buy cheap shoes and change my form and gait so as not to be injured again"
If you knew how to do that, you wouldn't have had the problem to begin with. And you could write your own best-selling book.
"2) Buy minimalist shoes, start fresh and be forced to run in the 'correct' way."
Minimalist shoes will no more "force" you to "run in the correct way" than conventional shoes will force you to run in an incorrect way.
Finding the shoes, or lack of shoes, that work best for you is a bit of a discovery process, unfortunately. Some guidance is a good way to start, and a good running store can help provide that guidance. There are other sources that will help along the way, but you need to start somewhere.
I run barefoot and in minimalist shoes exclusively and have been doing that for almost a year with no injuries.
Let me be the first to tell you that buying a minimalist shoe will NOT AUTOMATICALLY teach you proper form, and WHETHER OR NOT you wear shoes, you still should still try to focus on and improve your form. Wearing shoes and using good form is much safer than not wearing shoes and just running blindly.
If you are interested in barefoot/minimalist, I would strongly recommend the book Barefoot Running Step by Step by Ken Bob Saxton. It's the easiest, most comprehensive guide I've seen. You can get it here - http://barefootrunningstepbystep.com/
You can also follow my blog for more tips on good form and minimalist running at http://www.vanessaruns.com.
I'm not sure what kind of recommendation "buy cheap shoes is" ... but it's not something I would advise.
Thanks to all for the great advice! Just came home with great fitting Asics DS-Gel 16s. After analysis and fitting, I was surprised to learn that I'm a pretty efficient runner, don't pronate at all and feel great in a 'speed' shoe. Plus, they look so spiffy that it'll be much more fun to show them off in the office on Monday.