Running – Good for the sole? John Haughey shares his thoughts as he prepares for the London Marathon on behalf of CHIVA Africa

Whether you are an accomplished ultra-distance marathoner or just starting out on your running journey, the most important decision you will make is the trainer you put on your foot.  Whilst it may be tempting to make that outrageous fashion statement, your first question should not be, ‘what colours have you got’ or ‘how do I look in these’, but ‘what support and ride do they provide’.  We are all built very differently biomechanically, which means we all have very different running styles.  And depending on where you run – pavement, trails, mountains – you need to think about the right cushioning, grip and ankle support for you.

The best way to do this is to visit a running store which will provide a personal video gait analysis (usually free!) to analyse your running style and recommend the perfect shoe for you.  A key part of the gait analysis is to determine how much you pronate – the extent to which your foot naturally rolls inward when you run – and where your foot strikes the ground.  They will then be able to recommend a running shoe which is based upon foot shape, terrain, pronation and obviously your personal preferences (‘what colours have you got’!).  If most of your training is on pavements, then road shoes are for you.  With more cushioning than trail or lightweight race shoes these will provide shock absorption to minimise the risk of injury  If you’re running through soft, muddy trails, you’re better off in a pair of trail shoes with a deep tread that offer better grip and ankle support, vital for running on uneven terrain.  On the pavement however, these shoes will be uncomfortable as the stud will press into the soles of your feet and will wear away quickly.  If you’re doing a little of both, you should consider a hybrid running shoe.  These shoes work well on both roads and mixed trail conditions with a balanced mix of grip and cushioning.

Finally, remember, whether it is a Saucony, Asics, Brookes, Hoka, New Balance or Nike, each shoe and brand will fit slightly differently even if the size is the same.  Always leave a distance of at least a thumb width between the end of your longest toe and the end of the shoe for ideal running.  Shocking pink running gear might be good for your soul, but picking the right trainer is definitely good for your sole.  Happy Running!  

Please support John Haughey who is running the London Marathon on behalf of CHIVA Africa on October 3rd and our runners who are participating in the Royal Parks Half Marathon on October 10th. Your donations will help us continue our work in South Africa, ensuring young people receive the quality health care they deserve – no matter where they live.

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