Wearing the right trainers on your runs can make or break your London Marathon training. Simply purchasing a pair from your local sports shop might not be the best route, because there’s a lot of specialist technology that goes into a decent running trainer. Plus, you’ve got to consider the type of terrain you’re running on, which often becomes more slippery or (dare I say it?) even icy at this time of year.
Finally, there’s also the trainers that you wear for cross-training – which is an important part of your Marathon training that shouldn’t be overlooked. You’ll wear these shoes when training at the gym or strength training, so they’ll be different from your running trainers. As you’ve likely begun your London Marathon training already, you probably have one or two pairs that you’re currently using. But with Christmas just around the corner, there’s no reason not to put a new pair on your festive wish list.
To help you pick the right pair for your training, take a look at some of my tips on buying the perfect running shoe.
- Know your goals
Understanding how you’re going to put your trainers through their paces will help you whittle down to a shortlist of potential shoes. Consider where you’re going to run in them, are you going to be going across roads, trails or sticking to the treadmill? This will determine the amount of tread and grip that your running trainers will need.
- Think of what worked for you before
Think back to your last pair of trainers – how did they work for you? Did you find that a cushioned sole helped your run or gave you shin splints? Sometimes, it pays to stick with what you know and if you’ve found a pair that’s ideal for you then explore similar models with the same features. If starting out, then try on a few different pairs to find what you’re most comfortable in. Sometimes it’s a case of trial and error.
- Go to the right store
A good running shop is worth its weight at this point, because the staff will be far more knowledgeable compared to a generic sports store. If you’re not sure where to go, ask local runners (or running groups) for their recommendations or search online for the ones with the best reviews. Running stores can often do gait analysis for you as well – basically when a treadmill and camera analyses the way that you run, helping you pick the right trainers for your gait.
If new to running, don’t be tempted by a discount sports store when investing in a pair of running trainers. They’re going to offer you a discounted experience – so unless you know exactly the type of trainer you’re looking for, steer clear.
- Take your trainers for a test run
Another perk of going to a dedicated running shop is that they often have in-store treadmills to help you test your trainers. It’s vital that you feel comfortable in your running shoes, especially when running a long distance like a marathon. Testing your trainers before buying is very useful – and will help you make the right investment.
- Size matters
Your sizing might vary from brand to brand, so it’s essential to try on (and test!) your trainers. Make sure there’s a thumbspace between your longest toe and the ‘toe box’. This ensures your toes won’t keep hitting the ends of your trainers whilst running, saving you from a few blisters, sore toes and lost toenails (yikes!). The same applies to shoes that are too big – you’ll also lose a few little piggies. So, find a happy middle ground.
It the shoe feels right on your feet then it’s usually the best for you. Gut feeling can go a long way here. If the trainer is irritating or rubbing on your feet, then it’ll only get worse when you take them for a run. Likewise, if you don’t feel like the store staff are helping you or listening to your needs then find a different shop – nothing is worth the pain of bruised toes.
Not just for Christmas…
Buying the right pair of running trainers for your London Marathon training will be the gift that keeps on giving this festive season. As soon as you strap them on you’ll see a difference in your running, motivation and progress. Therefore, don’t make a rash decision about your running trainer – picking the right one really is a bit of a marathon!