Three months ago, before I began training for my half marathon, I went to Athletic Annex to get fitted for shoes. I walked for the salesperson, I ran for the salesperson, and after trying on three pairs of shoes, and I bought one. I thought that I was all set.
Two weeks later, my shin pain appeared. It was the first time I’d ever had shin pain so severe, and I assumed it was because of overtraining — I’d be better once my body adapted, or so I thought. Though Athletic Annex does allow you to return the shoes if they’ve only been used on a treadmill, I had already run in mine outside, and I did not think that my shin pain was caused by my shoes. I continued to run.
For the first seven weeks of my training plan, I ran through some pretty severe shin pain, thinking that I could overcome it. I bought a foam roller, I bought compression sleeves (running gets expensive), I iced, and when none of that worked, I rested.
After resting for nearly two weeks, I went for a four mile run with my dad on Mackinac Island, and I felt really good. My shins were a little sore afterwards, but they were fine during my run, and fine the day after. I thought that I was healed.
I ran a couple of times after my run in Mackinac, and I felt okay, but each time I had to cut it short because of shin pain. Then Saturday’s 5k happened, and it hurt.
I chose to run the 5k without music, and it gave me a lot of time to think. I focused on my stride and the way my foot was striking the ground. I thought about how my feet felt in my shoes. I focused on where I was feeling the pain. When I got home later that night, I did my research. As it turns out, I am a little bit of a underpronator, meaning I tend to run on the outsides of my feet. I also tend to scrunch my toes, which in turn, makes my calves tighten. Of course, I was wishing that I had noticed this three months ago, when I had just started training, but sometimes you have to live and learn.
On Sunday, I went back to the shoe store, and this time, I was prepared. I brought my Brooks Adrenalines (the shoes they chose for me last time), and explained where I was feeling my pain. The first thing the salesperson noticed? My shoes were too small. She apologized quite a few times, saying that could’ve been a simple fix had the guy that helped me last time checked them. As it turns out, I needed to go up a half size. I have been scrunching my toes, therefore creating extra tension in my calves, because my shoes weren’t big enough. Had I realized this 12 weeks ago, I probably could’ve saved myself some pain.
I also learned that my Brooks were supporting my feet in all of the wrong places. After trying on many different pairs of shoes, and running up and down the sidewalk of the shoe store multiple times, I finally found a pair that felt good to me.
This time, I’m giving New Balance a shot. Thank goodness for my very helpful, patient saleslady. She was very honest as she watched me run, letting me know when my stride looked good and when it didn’t. She told me to rotate between ice and heat this week, and break in my shoes with short runs, sticking to the treadmill, just in case I need to make an exchange before my race.
I know that it’s crazy to buy a new pair of shoes the week of a race, but I just couldn’t stand to think that I’d be running 13.1 miles with my toes all scrunched up. My shoes won’t be a quick fix, of course, but it’s one step to feeling better.
If you’re ever in the market for new running shoes, do your research. I thought that I’d be fine since I went out of my way to get fitted at a specialty store, but sometimes they make mistakes too (I know that it’s partially my own fault — I should’ve been more educated). Though it was too late to exchange my Brooks, the woman was nice enough to give me 25% off my new shoes because of the problems I had. In the future, I know that I need to listen to my pain and act sooner when I notice a problem — I could’ve saved myself quite a bit of money, and possibly an injury!
With all of that being said, I am on the road to recovery, and I only have four more days until my race!
Time to hit the treadmill.
Have you ever been fitted for running shoes?
Do you do your research before buying new shoes?