Couch 2 5k: Finding 5k Footwear!

Have you ever wanted to run a 5K but didn’t know where to start? Good News! We are launching a “Couch 2 5K” series! Right here on the BeneFIT PT NJ blog. The goal is to give you all the information you need, from finding the right walking, jogging, and running footwear to sharing tips to train for the big day, whether you decide to take part in a 5K in the Chester area or Bridgewater, we’ll provide resources such as how to sign up or get involved with local run/ jog/ walking groups to train through meetup and more. This series is everything you need to get from the couch to that 5k and become healthier along the way! All that and a bag of (kale) chips!

Taking part in a 5k( the k stands for kilometer, equal to .62 of a mile) is a long distance competition race that is about 3.1 miles long. A 5k is a great start for any beginning runner, or really an athlete of any caliber, to improve strength, increasing speed and stamina, making friends and raising money for good causes. There are many 5k’s locally that we plan to take part in. More information on that coming soon!

Our inaugural post starts with the most obvious but one of the most important details in beginning your training: finding the right sneakers.

This in itself can seem like a huge endeavor! Where to begin? Are my current shoes OK? What about insoles, heel lifts or orthotics?  There are many questions and we’re here to help.

Our physical therapists suggest retiring old shoes around 300 to 500 miles depending on your weight, running style, and running terrain.  Sounds great but what if you haven’t been keeping track of mileage or didn’t record the purchase date?  Here are some other tips for when to change your running shoes:

1) pain.  If you have started to notice some increased pain in your shins, on the bottom of your feet, or along the lateral aspect of your hip or knee, in either leg, chances are you may have lost some cushioning.  Give yourself a week of running and if the symptoms don’t improve you should look for a new pair.

2)midsole.  The midsole is the area between the shoe and the tread.  If it looks crushed or you can easily compress it with your fingers chances are they need to be replaced, even if the tread looks fine.

3) bottom of the sneakers.  Easily seen worn spots where there is no longer any tread would be another indication that it’s time to ditch those sneakers and grab another pair.

Want to extend the life of your good shoes?

  • only wear them to run not as a cross trainer.
  • Dry them out completely between runs.
  • Rotate a 2nd pair of running shoes into your runs to decrease mileage on each.
  • Change your running surface (trails/treadmills wear slower then roads).

If you’re still not sure, give us a call, and one of our trained Physical Therapists can help you figure out if you need new shoes and if so point you in the correct direction for the proper shoe based on your running pattern and individual needs.

If you’ve gone through our list above and decided you want to get new sneakers there are many choices. If you go online or to the local shoe store there are literally thousands of choices to pick from; different brands, colors, trail shoes, and price.  Now throw into that mess an abundance of running specific terms and it can leave you with more questions than you started .

The first place to start is to find a knowledgeable salesperson at a running specialty store.  That’s why we recommend local running stores like the  Sneaker Factory Running Center in Basking Ridge.  The staff at these locales tend to be avid runners with years of running experience at the high school, collegiate, and professional level. Additionally, they tend to obtain further certifications in proper shoe fitting The process starts typically with a LOT of questions like: How many miles/week do you run, what type of runner are you, what surface do you run on, what experience running do you have, and are you training for a particular event.  Proper fit is the key for preventing injury, promoting  longevity in  running, and having fun.

Go online and check out the Running Stores in your area, check out the reviews and plan your trip. Call ahead and maybe ask when their specialist is in or when it is the least busy so you have more attention for your questions and the best shoe fitting experience.

If you can, it is best to go to the store in the afternoon due to changes in size of your feet from aging and/or swelling.  Often times running shoes are fit about a 1/2 size bigger then your regular shoes.  Bring your old running shoes in so the staff can  gai insight into your running pattern by looking at the wear of your shoes.  The worn smooth places on the sole of the running shoe from repetitive use can give a clue into things like if your foot lands normally or over-pronates (rolls inward) or supinates (rolls outward) and can be crucial in finding the right shoe.

Before you head to the store try a Wet Bag Test or wet test by wetting the bottom of your foot (figure 1 & 2) and stepping firmly onto a paper towel on a flat surface (figure 3). Observe the footprint pattern (figure 4). You can trace the footprint with a pen or marker to bring to the store for further insight into how your foot is positioned.

Additionally, if you wear orthotics and run in them then bring them in to be fitted with as well.  Orthotics are supports to correctly position your foot into the proper anatomical position. They should remove any foot dysfunction you would have while running and therefore remove any need for a specialty shoe. All to often people will attempt to get fitted for a shoe forgetting their running orthotics and will have wasted a trip.

Ultimately, running should be fun and pain free and getting the proper foot wear and fit of a shoe is the key to everything else! Check back next week for the next Couch 2 5k post!!

As part of our Couch 2 5k series, we are offering free screenings at both our Chester and Bridgewater locations. For Chester call  : (908)-879-5700, Bridgewater: (908)-203-5200.