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Running Tips #3

Running is one of the only sports where you can genuinely do it any time any place without having to rely on anyone or anything, If we accept that we are going to wear something on our feet when we run then that holds true, but exactly which trainers you wear can make the difference between not only better race times, but also safe running and injury. When selecting your trainers, don't just go by brands but look out for what the shoe is designed to do.  Trainers will generally fall into one of three categories: 1. MOTION CONTROLThese shoes are fairly rigid and provide the most support of the three types.  They are designed for runners whose feet tend to fall inwards (pronation) as they land. 2. CUSHIONEDRunners who underpronate (supinate), or tend to roll over the outside of their feet when they land are better suited to cushioned trainers.  The softer support structure allows the foot to roll in its more natural manner into pronation. 3. NEUTRALThe ideal foot strike is to land slightly on the outside of the heel and then roll into a mildly pronated position.  If this is how you naturally run then a neutral pair of trainers are the ideal design for you.  They provide just the right balance of cushioning and support to allow your feet to roll naturally. Now it's pretty difficult to tell which of these categories you fall into, though some trainers and therapists will advocate the use of methods such as the wetfoot test.  This is where you stand on a piece of paper with wet feet and then examine the prints left behind.  A thin slice of foot showing along the outside edge indicates high arches and probably supination.  A large area of footprint would indicate possible flat feet and almost certain over pronation and in between the two would be neutral. This is all very well and good except that this is a static test and the dynamics of running feet differ enormously. The only sure fire way of ensuring you have the correct footwear is to go to a specialist running shop and have an expert perform a gait analysis. If you are buying a pair of running shoes and are not asked by the assistant to run in them whilst they watch, pick up your coat and just keep on running.  It would be like buying a car without taking it for a test drive only with a much greater chance of injury.  Less expensive though I suppose. Whilst a good gait analysis would involve an expert watching you run from behind, a first class analysis would also include video footage of the occasion and then playback with software such as Dartfish. Many specialist shops provide this service either for a very reasonable price or for free.  But why is the correct pair of trainers so important?  Well it's not just to improve your performance, but also to reduce the likelihood of injury.  Over pronation causes excessive strain to the inside of the ankle and knee where as supination can cause bursitis in the outside of the knee joint. The majority of running related injuries are the result of poorly fitting footwear, so if you haven't yet had your gait analysed and the correct footwear fitted, get yourself down to your nearest specialist running shop and get in the right trainers! Happy running,   Category: Club & Wellness
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   Maryborough Hotel and Spa, Maryborough Hill, Douglas, Cork, Ireland.
                  GPS Latitude - N 51 52.375 Longitude - W 8 25.082
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