Sunday, 13 December 2009

Power in Listening...

“With the milage you're going to be doing, you'll need two pairs of running shoes...” was the advice and phrase that stuck in my mind after speaking with Paul, Captain of my local Road Runners group at Grantham Athletics Club, about being able to do my 10k-everyday challenge.

Although having a reasonably regular exercise pattern which happened to be running (cheap and easy to fit it in) I wouldn't class myself as a “runner,” in sporting terms I'd pigeon hole myself as a “cross trainer” (pardon the pun) type of person - someone who's successfully transferred skills to a variety of sports and done well. To be completely honest, I'd always viewed Running as a means of training for another sport. Having studied Physical Education at A level I know a good amount about training techniques and programmes to realise, despite being reasonably active and having had a fairly regular exercise pattern (continued since I'd trained my wife's brother to achieve his goal of running a 10k race – I added the 118 theme to it a few days before), I couldn't just start doing 10k everyday.

With 19 days remaining until I start the 10k everyday challenge, the two pairs of shoes advice was a revolutionary concept, to me, and I realised there's more to Running as a “sport” and when clocking up the miles. I'd learnt to get the best milage out of your running shoes they needed to rest too! It turns out that the foam (or EMA) in running shoes compresses during your run and takes about 24 hours to reshape. In most cases running with the same shoes, due to the distance and regularity of the running, it wouldn't really matter about the EMA reshaping. However with 10k everyday the foam would reshape after 24 to 36 hours thus not absorbing the shock of running. Like a car tyre, running shoes should last about 600 miles but using the same shoes day after day would ruin the EMA and subsequently increase the strain on my body as well as my wallet replacing the shoes; during this challenge I'll be going through about 4 or 5 pairs of shoes in this challenge.

I took my family to Lincoln yesterday to kill two birds with one stone, I'd promised to take the girls to see Lincoln at Christmas (old “Oliver Twist” streets and Christmas lights) as well as investigate something else Paul had recommended - talking to a Specialist Running shop in either Lincoln and Peterborough.

If you're like me, where you realised there were different trainers for different sports and they're designed for the directional demands of each sport, then you'd expect to hear running shoes are designed for “forward” only and light to reduce the weight you'll be carrying whilst running. I wasn't prepared, however to learn trainers can be adapted to your running technique. I was at The Lincolnshire Runner trying on different trainers when they asked me to go outside and run off! Shop lifting and entrapment sprung to mind but they really meant it, they wanted to assess my running technique to establish the right foot wear.

They were really good, friendly and informative and I watched as they added bits the trainers and asked me to run off again – watching as I did. After their fiddling there was a sudden difference in how my running felt, although I was running as usual it felt like I was really lifting my knees. The next minute I was running with another pair of trainers but this time one foot left like I was swinging it round – I could feel the air around it like when you put your arm out a car window and resist the air pushing it back. Some more adjustments took place and then they shared with what had happened. We'd spoken about the two shoes concept which they agreed but they'd gone one step further (pardon another pun), they'd given me two different trainer set ups; one would focus the pounding two-thirds to three-quarters up my shin and the other focused the pounding to one-third to halfway up my shin. They sat me down (preparing me for the bill really!) to explain their adjustments and that they'd arranged for me to have two trainers as well as two different set ups. The two different set ups was a shock to me but as I listened they demonstrated that I would need to vary the demand on my body to cope with the milage of running 10k-everyday on my body and reduce repetitive injury.

At this point as huge amount of relief unexpectedly flooded me, in the pace a few days my justifiable concerns about injury had been significantly reduced. This week was one of the most valuable weeks all year - I'd taken the time to listen, really listen, to others talk to me about a topic I thought was easy and straight forward and I'd been rewarded with solutions to solve my greatest concerns.

Thank you for your time and this week to Paul Davidson, Aaran & Keith at The Lincolnshire Runner.

In reading this blog I hope you take the time to click to follow this challenge, as well as support it by encouraging others to follow or sharing the idea either at this blogsite or:,,, &

Send a friend request with 10k-everyday in it and I'll accept.
Be well, Tim

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