So, this running thing. You have to laugh. I’d just started up and was going great guns when the snow came. Now, I don’t mind a bit of weather – for pity’s sake we were doing kettlebells by the river in driving hail the other day – but I’m not good on ice. Instead of striding along in my usual fashion, I morph into little old lady mode, clutching cars and walls as I inch along. Truly it’s pathetic. It hurts my pride. This guy I know shouted on Facebook about how a little snow wasn’t stopping him running and I felt seriously peeved but then I noted that someone else had fallen, running on ice, and had broken her wrist. There’s gung-ho and there’s plain daft.
So, my lovely new running shoes fromSportsShoes.com had to sit in their box. Oh, okay, I put them on and sort of jogged round the house in them cos seriously, they’re rather fab. I hadn’t realized just how different running shoes are from normal trainers. They’re slim and snug, they hug my feet like a second skin. They make me feel all supported and…’held’…and that’s really rather a lovely feeling.
But not very technical, huh?
In the end, after consultation with my running coach, Trisha, and a good peruse of the SportsShoes.com website (which offers advice on which shoes to pick) I plumped for the ASICS GEL-KAYANO®18. These usually retail at a whopping £137.99 but were on sale at £89.99. Still a heck of a lot of money. ‘I don’t get it,’ I said to Trisha. ‘How come they’re so expensive when you can pick up a running shoe for twenty quid or whatnot?’ And she explained it’s all in the technology. The more expensive the shoe, the better the fit, support and cushioning apparently. ‘And you really do need the right shoe if you’re going to avoid injury,’ she warned, pointing out that the main reasons so many people injure themselves running (ice aside) are wearing the wrong footwear and not following the right training regime.
To be very honest, although my ASICS looked lovely, I couldn’t see what justified the price tag. So I looked a bit further and seems it’s all to do with their GEL™ Cushioning System which apparently “dissipates vertical impact and disperses it into a horizontal plane.” It also has ‘gender specific densities in the midsole’ which sounds a bit…interesting. I’d often wondered why you got men’s and women’s trainers – I mean, a shoe’s a shoe, right? Wrong. Seems that men and women place weight in different areas of the foot when they’re running. I was also rather taken by the ‘exoskeletal heel counter’ that ‘provides improved support and an improved heel fitting environment for serious runners’. Get that! Serious runners. I’m a serious runner? Like this guy? Hmm...I'm slower but I've got better legs.
Actually, the Kayano 18 is probably a way more technical shoe than I, as a rank beginner, really truly honestly need. It’s a bit like when, back last year, I was asked to test out a swimsuit and was fondling the Olympic quality stuff. I turned to Trisha again. ‘How much should you pay, as a beginner, for a pair of shoes?’ And she reckoned around the forty quid mark would do it – but to make sure you do get the right shoe for your foot.
Anyhow. Finally the snow and ice pissed off and the road beckoned. On Sunday, before kettles, four of us took off round the lanes around Dulverton. My feet felt – wonderful. Just wonderful. I wish I could say the same for my lungs but that will come with time. And I kept the shoes on for kettlebells and they were superb for that too – providing a ton of grip which was really useful given we work out on a pretty rough surface.
I have to say I’m impressed. I'm also now totally spoiled for cheap shoes - once you've felt that...snugness...it's hard to go back to a lesser holding pattern. I was also impressed by the service from Sportsshoes.com and by their website which is easy to navigate and offers some great bargains. Go take a look.
So now there’s not much else to say really. I’m all kitted up. The open road stretches before me and I’m off…gonna run, run, run, run away… Catch me if you can. J