Fit and fine: How to pick the right training shoes
With the current interest in all types of long distance running – marathons, half marathons, 10 km etc, as a means of getting fit, running shoes are a hot selling item. Shoe manufacturers use buzz phrases like “research has shown”, “extra cushioning” to impress buyers. Shop salesmen toss jargon at the gullible buyer and making him/her buy the most expensive shoe with all the bells and whistles which they may not need. Let me explain some of the more technical words so that if running is your thing, you can make an informed decision about shoes, training, supplemental exercises etc.
Pronation, Fallen Arch of the foot and Supination
While walking or running, as the foot lands, the ankle and foot rolls in slightly and arch of the foot flattens to cushion and absorb the shock of hitting the ground. As the heel starts to lift of the ground, the foot and ankle rolls outwards, providing the propulsion to move forward. Running is characterised as having both the feet airborne during a gait cycle while walking will have one foot always on the ground. Thus rolling inwards or pronation, flat feet or fallen arch and rolling outwards or supination are part of the normal running or walking gait of a person.
The usual way to check for flat feet is to do the foot print test. Wet your feet thoroughly and stand on a hard, dry surface. If you can see the impression of the full foot, then you most probably have flat feet, if you see just toes and heel, then it’s a high arch and if fore foot and heel is seen then it’s a neutral foot. But this test is done while you are standing still and might not correspond to what happens when you walk or run!
To be really sure that you have an over-pronation/flatfeet or supination/very high issue, you would need to get your running gait analyzed at a Gait Testing lab in a Sports Medicine Clinic. This is way beyond the scope of most running footwear shops!
What to do about over pronation and fallen arches?
Flat feet and over-pronation can be fixed with out getting into orthotics or stability shoes! More often than not runners are physically too weak to run long distances. The usual culprits are weak core, weak glutes and Tibialis and Peroneus muscles of the lower leg. I know how much the runners dislike going to the gym and doing strength training. Here is a simple strength program for the aspiring runners who want to avoid or correct over pronation, flat feet or over supination.
•Single let Squats – 2 sets of 8-10 reps
•Single Let Glute Bridge - 2 sets of 8- 10 reps
•Side Plank - 2 sets of 45 seconds
•Front Plank - 2 sets of 45 seconds
•Single Leg Calf Raise - 2 sets of 25 reps
Do this preventive program twice a week and your ability to run efficiently without running related injuries should improve dramatically.
Kamal Singh is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist who has been coaching for 15 years
Follow @KamalSinghCSCS on Twitter
From HT Brunch, August 11, 2019
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