As a kid, I remember how important is was to pick out just the right pair of shoes. It would be that pair you would wear for the entire school year and you wanted them to be “Cool” and you wanted them to be “Fast”. Wearing those shoes the first day of a new school year came with a right of passage, to see who had become the fastest over summer break. We would dart around the playground, jet-powered shoes fully engaged, to prove we had gained some sort of superpowers over the past three months, that we were the fastest, that we were the best.
Funny how after fourty-plus years, that desire to wear “Cool” shoes that make me run “Faster” is still alive and well. Entering my fourth season of running, I’ve purchased and worn quite a few pairs of shoes and recently decided it was time to try a new brand and style. These shoes were lighter, cooler and felt great while running up and down the little rubber street in the running shoe store. As I left with my new shoes in hand, I was excited, I mean really excited to try them out and discover just what Superpowers my new shoes would give me.
Shortly I was suited up, it was time to give my “magic shoes” their inaugural run. I could tell right away, things felt different. Different from the running store and different from the shoes I had been wearing for the past few seasons. Right around the one mile mark It happened, what seemed to be the feeling of twisting an ankle. I must have run over an acorn or something because my new shoes couldn’t be at fault, I was sure of that? I walked it off for about a half mile and finished the run at a slower than normal pace.
A few days later I was out for another short run, this time around the neighborhood and just a quarter mile down the road, that same shooting pain around my ankle. Something was up. Had I really sprained an ankle or was this new pain being introduced by my new running shoes? I decided to switch to my old shoes for the next few weeks and then decide what to do. After speaking with a few running friends, I discovered that the new brand of shoe I had recently purchase was known for being lighter but also provided less support and that the twisting of the ankle feeling was likely the result of less support in my shoe. Granted, there were runners seeking such a shoe but I was still learning the art of this sport and a shoe with more stability was probably a smarter choice in this season of my running adventure.
I wound up returning the shoes and going with the latest version of the shoe model I had been running in for a while. I chocked this up as a lesson learned when it comes to purchasing running shoes. My feet are one of my most valuable assets as a runner, taking the best care of them I can is a smart thing to do. Getting advice in selecting the right shoe for me as I started to run, got me into the right shoe to begin with. Continuing to ask for advice by seasoned runners in staying with the right shoe had kept me running. When I ventured into the world of Superheroes and “Cooler”, “Faster” shoes on my own guidance, it led me away from smart running to experimental running and almost led to injury.
My advice to fellow runners, be sure to get sound advice from experienced runners who can guide you on what shoe is right for your feet and running maturity. Let go of the need to wear the coolest looking of newest shoe unless you can afford potential injury.
Run well, take care of those feet and listen to your body.
Months of training with just weeks to go, you’ve been pushing hard. Through cold winter days, getting up at the crack of dawn, you strive to get that mileage in. Then the moment every runner fears, at first you’re in denial, “I just need to stretch” you think, but stretching doesn’t help. That feeling is more than a sore muscle; you know you’ve injured something and just weeks before the big race. No amount of denial or running through it is going to make any difference, this injury threatens months of preparation. Frustrated, you reach out to your running buddies, many of which have been in this exact place themselves, wondering if its going to heal soon enough for race day.
Disappointment is part of life but it doesn’t need to take you to the point of despair if you start to consider things from a broader perspective. Times of trial can actually be some of the greatest growing opportunities in our lives. Here’s a few things to consider when disappointment comes knocking.
- Refine Your Discipline – A wise person takes into account the information at hand and the advice of those they trust and applies that to actions. A foolish one, on the other hand, knows the right thing to do yet ignores that altogether and does the opposite or and pays dearly for it in the long run. Discipline as we run our race gives us a tactical advantage often overlooked by our competition. Be smart enough, even brave enough to do what you know to be the right thing.
- Others Centered – One reoccurring area I greatly enjoy about the running community is their ability to encourage one another. Coming to a point of realizing you’ll miss a race you’ve been training for gives you a chance to model exceptional sportsmanship. How rare in today’s sporting community to see this characteristic come out yet once you see it, you’ll never forget it. Take a moment of injury and turn it on its head as an opportunity to encourage and support others in your running community. These actions will speak louder than any words from the winner’s podium.
- Press On – The ability to pick up the pieces and continue moving forward is a great attribute of ones character. Moments like these tend to be times you’ll reflect on later in life and use as examples to help others down the road. Life is always about more than a single race; it’s about the ability to press on through trials towards the greater things of life.
Consider this moment in time, you may be overcoming an injury, some type of disappointment or setback so what will you make of this time? Consider turning it into an incredible opportunity to grow and model maturity to others in your sphere of influence. Nothing is by chance and making the most of what could be considered a misfortune might just yield the greatest moment of satisfaction in your life and be a point of inspiration for others.
Run the Race…
Even thought I often feel ready to run, I have learned to pay attention to my running schedule and not to over due things. This lesson came after more than once instance when I decided I felt ready to run so why not do just that. This lead to a number of injuries that were avoidable. As with all things in life, it is possible to get too much of a good thing. A smart athlete considers not only do they feel like doing something but is the exercise investing in the long term.