C25K Week 3: Protect Those Feet

Larry: Week 3 of the C25K is in the books.  This week’s workouts got a little harder and the first 3-minute run was a bit of a struggle but once out of the way I could start to feel the return of my endurance, even if it was ever so slightly.

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then do two repetitions of the following:

  • Jog 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Walk 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 400 yards (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 400 yards (or three minutes)

Judie: Those three minute jogs were a killer, and since I got a new puppy this week I was tied up in the morning taking care of her, and I didn’t run until almost noon — well into the hottest part of the day here in sunny West Texas! On my Wednesday run I was barely able to finish the three minute segments without gasping into a brisk walk, but on Friday — even with the intense heat — I was able to jog them without stopping.

Larry: For this week’s entry I want to focus on shoes.

It’s probably the biggest mistake new runners make.  I’m willing to bet that most, if not all of the C25Kers from Gear Diary made it.  What is it?  It’s shoes.  Many new runners simply grab whatever sneakers they have laying around, strap them on and hit the pavement.  Or they head to their local sports store and pick something out that looks good.  Maybe they try it on, maybe they don’t.

Judie: I totally made that mistake. I had a pair of 2 year old adidas in my closet which I rarely wear but that are “broken in”; I thought they would be perfect for running, and within the first week I knew I was sorely mistaken. 😛

Larry: Did you know there are actually 3 types of running shoes, and getting properly fitted for the style of shoe that best suits your running form is perhaps the most important thing you can do for your running experience?  Running in the wrong type of shoe can lead to injury.   This can be especially disheartening for new runners, who often then believe they simply were not meant to be runners, when in fact a shoe change is all they needed.

Running shoes fall into three classifications.  Each is based upon how your foot is shaped and how it strikes the pavement when you land.  The three different groups are categorized as:

  • Cushion shoes (Neutral) – Most flexible and encourage natural pronation.  There is extra cushioning and extra shock absorption.  These shoes do not have stability or motion control features.  Good for people with a high arch and those with a normal arch.
  • Stability shoes – have light support features medially and well-cushioned mid-soles to help guide mild-to-moderate overpronation.  Good for people with moderately flat arches and normal arches.
  • Motion Control shoes – have extra stability features on the medial side to control severe overpronation. These shoes have firm midsoles and flatter soles.  Runners with severely flat arches need the extra support and stability of these shoes.

After examining your foot type it’s also important to examine how your foot lands when you’re running.  Generally you’ll fall into one of three categories again.

Although the differences might appear subtle the different types of running shoes don’t perform the same way.  Most of the noticeable differences are in the heel/sole of the shoe.  You’ll find more support in the Stability and even more in Motion Control.

Neutral shoes

Stability shoes

Motion Control shoes

So what should you do?  If you’re a new runner, or even an old one that’s been feeling aches and pains, you should be properly fitted for running shoes that best fit your foot type.  This is best done at a local running store by someone who’s familiar with this process.  He/she will examine your foot and watch you walk, looking for how your foot bed lands as well as examine your arch.  He/she will then be able to recommend the category of running shoe you should be looking at.  At that point the choice is up to you.  You don’t need to spend a ton of money, if you don’t want to.  As long as you keep to the shoe type that’s been recommended to you you’ll find several choices.  Go with what feels best not with what looks best.

Judie: I don’t have a local running store — just a couple of general athletic shoe stores in the mall 40ish miles away — so Larry pointed me to Road Runner Sports online questionnaire, which helped me determine the proper pair of adidas I needed to be running on my country trails. And then … I heard about Vibram’s Five Fingers, these amphibious shoes that people are running in, shoes which are supposed to recreate the sensation of running barefoot — something I used to love doing on my treadmill, where it was “safe”.

Why run “barefoot”? From the Vibram site:

When you go barefoot, your movements become the movements of a child—playful and sensitive, yet purposeful and confident. You experience the unbound joy of stepping, hopping, and running across any surface on earth, simply to get from here to there.

Vibram FiveFingers® allow you to relive that sensation. Unlike conventional shoes that insulate you from your surroundings, FiveFingers footwear deepens your connection to the earth and your surroundings. FiveFingers enhance your sense of touch and feel, while improving foot strength, balance, agility, and range of motion. Because wearing Vibram FiveFingers is so close to going barefoot, you’ll enjoy the health and performance benefits of barefooting without some of the risks.

Outdoor enthusiasts have found FiveFingers to be the ideal crossover shoe for multiple sports and activities—from ChiRunning and bouldering to kayaking and windsurfing.  Fitness enthusiasts use FiveFingers for core strength training, yoga and Pilates. Our customers continually discover new and creative uses for our alternative performance footwear.

I ordered a pair of the Sprint model the first week I started C25K, and they came in on Tuesday this week. This gave me time to wear them around a bit before actually running in them on Wednesday. Yes, I know they look odd … and I know that is putting it mildly.

Amazingly enough, I found my Five Fingers incredibly comfortable to jog and walk in — even on my rough country caliche (crushed limestone) roads. I did manage to step on a rock during Friday’s run, which has given me a tender spot in the ball of my right foot. But I have two days to recover, and as my feet get stronger they will toughen up.

I like the Five Fingers so much and I find them so comfortable, that I ordered a pair of the slightly dressier (all things considered — ha!) Performa model for wearing around the house. Yes, I took and continue to take a fair amount of ribbing and salamander / frog comparison jokes from Kev and my friends on Facebook (where I originally posted this photo), but I am not about to stop wearing my VFFs!

Larry: See you next week!

Categories: News


4 replies

  1. Loving this series, guys!

    Also, since Judie mentioned Vibrams, I have to plug my new favorite book: Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. It’s impossible to read it without wanting to hit the road for a few miles. http://www.amazon.com/Born-Run-Hidden-Superathletes-Greatest/dp/0307266303/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1275233966&sr=8-1

  2. I’ve yet to start reading Born to Run (I’m hung up in a Patterson thriller at the moment), but I am looking forward to it! :-)

  3. I’m just old enough to remember when James Fixx’ “The Joy of Running” first came out.

    I’m just finished week 3, but ended up repeating week 1, since I wasn’t able to do week 2. Got that? Good!


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