Yes, You Do Need New Running Shoes

Whether or not you have to purchase a new pair of running shoes is one of those questions that, if it has to be asked, the answer is usually yes. Unless you are a true aficionado and already own 12 trillion pairs. In that case, get your sh*t together. Or just take me shopping instead?

But assuming you are currently staring down at your beat up old gym shoes that have seen considerably better days, then yes you really do need new running shoes.

Here are all the excuses you will use:

  • I don’t really need them (you probably do, see below)
  • They are expensive (true, but so is reconstructive foot surgery, so the ball’s in your court)
  • I will want to BUY ALL THE RUNNING THINGS if I go to get them (again, take me with you?)

And here are all the reasons you need new running shoes:

  • Improved comfort
  • Improved stability for your foot
  • It’s like running on little, custom-designed clouds for your feet

And if you really aren’t sure if you need new ones, the scientific but somewhat useless way to  go about determining it is to calculate the number of miles run on your shoes. If you keep a really, really detailed log (and good for you if you do!) then this is snap.

Once you hit 400 miles, you should be looking at a new pair. For those in marathon training, thats every 3 to 4 months.

For us mortals, it’s a bit more difficult. You know the squishy foam under the heel of your shoe? Pick up your shoe and give that a squeeze. If you can squish that with your hands then its time for a new pair.

Get thee to the Running Room, or your nearest athletic wear store and pick up a new pair. Happy shopping and happy running!

7 Things to Know About Run Clubs

Having you been thinking about picking up running as a hobby recently? Thought to yourself “I can do that!” as you watch a brightly coloured, tightly clad Running Room member fly by? Or are you simply tired for the elliptical machine?  Or maybe you’re looking to start exercising and need some extra motivation.

Either way, I want to congratulate you. You are awesome. Honestly! Deciding to do this makes you already amazing. And really, there is no right or wrong way to go about this, as long as it is healthy and avoids injury. That said, one of the most common ways people (myself included!) get into running is through a Run Club.

Here is what you need to know about run clubs in general.

  1. They are everywhere. Many fitness apparel stores have them, such as Nike, Lululemon, Lole, Mountain Equipment Co-op, and, of course, the Running Room. In addition, many communities have their own run clubs, not affiliated with any particular store or brand. You can find a list of some here, but a simple Google will do the trick too.
  2. They are free. Usually. Almost all run clubs are free (clinics are not, see #7 below), meaning they are a great way to motivate yourself while not spending any cash.
  3. The people are awesome. Think about it this way: this is a group of people who all voluntarily got up on a Sunday morning, left their warm beds, families and mugs of coffee behind to come stand in a huddle with you and then trot off down the road for a pre-determined length of time. The only people who would do that are people who also actively enjoy the camaraderie of running. You can have some of the best conversations on the road or trail with these people.
  4. What happens on the run, stays on the run. As with anything, there are good days and bad days. If you are having a bad day and things go down on the run this unspoken rule applies. Basically, this is a judgement free zone. We all have days where we breakdown or hit a wall, and no one – I repeat no one – will understand better than your fellow run club members.
  5. You will learn a ton. On any given day there will be first timers and veterans present, but make no mistake, there is something to be learned from every person there. Veterans can motivate you push past your perceived limits and newbies can be your partner-in-crime as you pound out the kms. Take the time to pick the minds of the veterans. If you haven’t already noticed, runners love to talk about running. You won’t be bothering anyone there!
  6. You will be motivated. I feel I should give a word of caution here. Run clubs can be so effective that you will find yourself signing up for and completing goals you never thought attainable. That’s the magic of running with a wide variety of abilities and doing it regularly. So if you start out saying to yourself “I am only doing this to run 5k. That’s it! Nothing more,” like I did, then be prepared to be proven wrong. But hey, enjoy your marathon! It will happen.
  7. You can join a clinic. Clinics, typically offered by the Running Room and their peers, are paid-for sessions that have a strong teaching component in addition to the run club. Clinics vary by the provider but are usually structured with a goal race in mind and offer the participants a professional training schedule to follow. The group is usually lead by a trainer that leads lessons before runs and is available via email for Q&A. I highly recommend these if you are serious about a specific race and want to train for it properly.

Have a favourite run club that deserves to be shared? Something I missed that everyone needs to know about run clubs? Leave it in the comments! And Happy Running!

New To Running? Top 5 Runner Terms Explained

If you’re new to running and have ventured beyond your treadmill, trusty sidewalk or cottage trail to find a running group, you may have noticed there is some strange lingo being tossed around there. From acronyms to the downright baffling what-did-you-just-says-! here are the top 5 running terms explained.

 

  1. LSDNo, not everyone in your newly found run group takes psychedelic drugs together on Sundays, although that would be interesting. LSDs stand for Long Slow Distances, also simply known as the Long Run. Your long run is typically 30% to 50% longer than your tempo runs (see below!) and is run at a slow pace. This means you should easily be able to hold a conversation throughout. The point of an LSD is to put some mileage on those legs of yours. Many people use the 10 minutes running, 1 minute walking method on their LSDs, yours truly included.
  2. Tempo – Think of this as the opposite of an LSD. Tempos are short, fast runs that, simply put, teach your body to run at a heightened pace. Tempo runs begin with a warm up, followed by several fast kilometres (usually 3 to start), completed with a cool down. During the fast kilometres, you should not be able to easily hold a conversation. Many – and this really does showcase just how wonderfully kooky the running community can be – refer to this as a “comfortably difficult” pace. Without sarcasm. Yes, really.
  3. Hills – Hill runs are a special part of the runners arsenal. Instead of heading out on an average flat course, with maybe one or two hills in the middle, hill runs consist of explicitly seeking out a steep and long stretch of road or trail and then repeatedly running it over and over again at a considerable pace until you feel like you might prefer to die. Yes, I – and you! – do this for fun. And in all honestly, it actually is quite fun to look down that hill from the top and think to yourself “I just owned that”. If “owning” means you wheezed your way up roughly 400m while sweating profusely and scaring small children in your path. Ahem.
  4. Fartlek – Here we are. The funniest term in running lingo. Fartleks (“speed play” in Swedish) are in the same vein as tempo runs but are significantly less structured. The idea is to head out for a medium distanced run and then play with your speed. For one section, run hard, then run at a medium effort, then slowly. You might challenge yourself to run as fast as you can to the end of the block, and then run an easy block afterwards. As with tempo runs, the point is to increase your speed overall.
  5. Splits – Depending on whether you live in the metric or imperial world (or, if you are in Canada, both on occasion), splits tend to refer to 1 km or 1 mile. Technically, it can refer to any distance broken into even parts. Its usually referred to in terms of negative splits, which is when the runner manages to run the second half of a race faster than the first. Positive splits is when the runner completes the first half faster than the second, which is much more common among us newbies.

 

What terms are you interested to know about? Leave a note in the comments section!