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The perfect running shoes can make all the difference

Ensuring you have the right running shoes for you is vital to your training. The right running shoe can help prevent injuries and ensure that your training remains on track. The wrong shoes could cause discomfort, pain, and injuries that can prevent you from achieving your fitness goals. Find a pair that’s just right for you and they can help prevent one of the more painful injuries, shin splints. Let’s take a look at some factors you should keep in mind while shopping for the perfect running shoes for you.

  1. Find shoes specifically for running

Running shoes should not be confused with sneakers or any other footwear. Most running shoes contain wearable technology that allows you to track your training. They’re also designed to support your foot and provide cushioning while running. Make sure they provide the proper energy response, meaning your shoes should provide a “bounce back” feeling after your foot strikes the ground. If they don’t and your legs feel tired and heavy, that’s an indication you need a new pair. Pro tip: learn the reasons why your running shoes should be used for running only.

  1. Wear shoes to see if they fit 

It’s always better to try shoes on rather than roll the dice and purchase them online. There are several ways to determine the right shoe for you. Since feet tend to swell throughout the day, try shoes in the evening to see if they fit. Your foot should feel comfortable and be centered on the shoe’s platform. Walk around or jog lightly in them and see if movement causes you any discomfort.

  1. Invest in quality shoes 

Female runner during the 2019 3M Half Marathon. She's running towards the finish line in running shoes specifically for running. Use our tips to ensure you pick the right running shoes for you at https://downhilltodowntown.com/right-running-shoes-for-you/Most shoes have premium technology like GPS tracking, lightweight materials, or breathable fabric that provide more value. Improved materials and fabrics can help them last longer and accrue more miles. However, these shoes can be more expensive. A cheaper pair might be an option, but they may not be best suited for logging high mileage. Pro tip: take care of your running shoes and keep them organized with these storage hacks.

  1. Pick what’s right for you

Become familiar with all the different elements before you buy a pair. All parts located above the sole are called the upper. Look for an upper with the same shape as your foot. A strong ankle collar, which wraps the top of the shoe opening and holds your heel down in place, will prevent your heel from slipping. A saddle that fits and holds your foot in a secure way is essential.

  1. Talk to an expert 

Consult with a professional before buying your next running shoes. Our friends at Fleet Feet Austin can use their system to scan your feet and make recommendations on the right running shoes for you. They’ll also factor in your goals, running style, and anticipated mileage. The specialists at Fleet Feet Austin can also provide exercise tips and help you get the most out of your shoes. Schedule an appointment with them, they know a lot!

Use our tips when picking out the right running shoes for you. The last thing you want are uncomfortable shoes that make blisters and create shin splints. Do you have a certain tactic you’ve used to pick the pair that’s right for you? Let us know in the 3M Half Marathon Facebook Group and Twitter.

Prevent shin splints and keep your training momentum going strong

Are you a beginner runner? Then, you might’ve heard about “shin splints.” But beginner runners aren’t alone in experiencing shin splints. Veteran runners get them too. However, all runners can agree they’d rather avoid them! Shin splints describe the pain in your shin that occurs from overuse. The shinbone is the large front bone that you can find in your lower leg. Shin splints arise when bone tissues, tendons, and muscles overwork. The good news is there are ways to cure and prevent it. Prevent shin splints with our 8 tips and keep your half marathon training on track. Pro tip: click on the image, download the PDF, and post it where it’ll remind you about these tips!

1. Stretch your calves

Image of an infographic breaking down 8 ways to cure and prevent pain from shin splints. 1. Stretch your calves before and after every run. 2. Focus on your form. Try landing in the middle of your foot on longs runs. 3. Include strength training. 4. Get the right shoes. Running in running shoes does make a difference! 5. Cross-train. Working muscles differently can strengthen them. 6. Rest. Give your body the opportunity to repair itself. 7 Train on softer surfaces like a treadmill or your local trail. 8. Gradually increase your mileage. Build your body up overtime to the desired mileage.Do you feel mild shin pain? If you are running, stop and do a quick calf stretch. This should relieve your pain. To prevent shin splints, you should make it a practice to stretch your calves after every workout session. Regularly doing this will help prevent injury to your calves as well. Pro tip: with your right foot, place your toes on top of a curb and your heel at the bottom. Lean forward or try to grab your toes. Do this for 10 seconds, then switch to your left.

2. Focus on form

One method you can try to prevent shin splints is to change your foot strike. Try avoiding toe running and heel striking on your long runs. On your next run, try to land in the middle of your foot. When you land on your heel, it can stress your heels. In the same way, when you land on your toes, calf muscles are impacted. Both of these methods can contribute to shin splints and other injuries. Pro tip: learn how your stride and cadence can impact your form.

3. Include strength training

If you get shin pain during half marathon training, it could be linked to weak anterior tibialis muscles. These muscles are located on the front side of your lower leg. They make your foot flexible at your ankle. Did you increase your distance too fast? This could be a cause of your pain. You increase the likelihood of injury if your body doesn’t possess the strength needed to run long distances. 

4. Get the right shoes

For some runners, shin splints can arise due to running in the wrong shoes. Make sure you choose shoes that are specific for runners and fit your running stride. Don’t run in shoes that are old or have more than 300 miles on them. You want your shoes to be snug, not too loose or too tight. Schedule an appointment with our friends at Fleet Feet Austin and get fitted for the right shoes!

5. Cross-train

Take a break from running and cross-train. These workouts will give your body a break from the strain of running and the impact on your shins. When you run, your body uses muscles in a specific, repetitive manner. Cross-training works those muscles differently and can strengthen them. Examples of workouts you can do include aqua jogging, cycling, yoga, and swimming. Learn more about cross-training and how it helps you avoid these 5 training mistakes. Pro tip: while you aren’t logging miles, you’re still working towards your ultimate goal!

6. Rest

Rest is absolutely vital. It provides your body with the opportunity to repair itself. If your training plan calls for a rest day, take it. Use your foam roller for 15-20 minutes if you get the itch to go for a run. If you’ve just started running, exercise once or twice a week. Increase the amount of exercise as you become more comfortable with the workouts or the distance you’re running. Give your body the rest it needs!

7. Train on softer surfaces

Some beginner runners get shin splints because they run on harder surfaces. Running on the roads isn’t the only way to accrue miles. Try running on softer surfaces. If you have access to a treadmill, try alternating your runs between the treadmill and the road. Are there trails near you? Get out on the trails! You’ll avoid the unforgiving concrete and all the traffic. Plus, trail running forces you to slow down, naturally causing you to change where your foot strikes. This breaks up the repetitive motions from road running. Pro tip: due to the constantly changing terrain, trail running can strengthen your lower body.

8. Gradually increase your mileage

Shin splints while training is common, especially if you have recently intensified your training routine. If you are a beginner, you should gradually increase your mileage during your training. Runners returning from injury should slowly increase their mileage. Increasing your mileage gradually is another way to strengthen your body over time and prepare it for the distance you want to run.

Nobody wants to experience shin splints, especially runners. It can derail your training and set your timeline back. The best approach is a proactive one. Properly utilize our 8 tips to prevent pain from shin splints and keep your training on track. Do you have a way to avoid shin splints? Let us know in the 3M Half Marathon Facebook Group or on Twitter.

Get the most out of your upcoming training schedule with these self-care tips

A key to crossing the 2021 3M Half Marathon finish line and securing a new half marathon PR is to maximize your training. Whether you’re preparing for an upcoming long run or recovering from a speedy track workout, these 5 self-care tips will help you get the most out of your training! BONUS – we did some shopping for you and found some great deals on some of our favorite items.

5 self-care tips

Pay attention to your surroundings

We get it, we love listening to music during our runs and workouts too! That’s why we’ve built this massive #WeLiketheSoundofThat playlist. But it’s imperative that runners pay attention to their surroundings. We like the Titanium Open Ear Headphones from AfterShokz because they allow for the best of both worlds. They allow you to jam out and hear what’s going on around you!

Wear headgear and sunglasses

Running with a hat and sunglasses can make all the difference. Hats can keep sweat out of your eyes and help your head stay cool. Sunglasses can help you see better by reducing that random glare and protecting your eyes from dust and other debris. We like Under Armour’s Launch Run Cap because of its breathability, keeping your head cool. Check out the Zone Sunglasses from Under Armour. They’re lightweight, wrap comfortably around your head, and have polarized lenses.

Image of female running listening to Aftershokz headphones while running. She can listen to music and her surroundings, an important self-care tip in this 3M Half Marathon blog.

Shorten your stride when running downhill

The downhill portion of your run is coming up and you’re ready to fly! But wait… don’t pick up so much speed that you lose control. You also don’t want to put unnecessary strain on your quads with the extra pounding. Shorten your stride and keep your feet underneath you. You’ll still pick up speed, but you’ll be in more control and will save your legs for the rest of your run. Pro tip: read more downhill running tips.

Hydrate

We know what you’re thinking, you hear this all the time. But it’s absolutely vital. Proper hydration provides energy for your muscles, helps you fuel better, and aids in recovery. Consuming 60-80 ounces daily is recommended. You should drink more if you’re more active. Don’t forget to include an electrolyte-enhanced drink. Water alone does not fully hydrate you! Check out Nuun and their rainbow of flavors. You simply pop a tab or two in your water and voila, you have electrolytes!

Foam roll

High mileage can take its toll on your body. You’re asking a lot from your muscles. Make sure you take proper care of them by foam rolling every day, even if it’s for a few minutes before bed. Setting aside a dedicated daily foam rolling session increases the chances that you follow through. Foam rolling can decrease injury risk and your recovery time, getting you ready for the next run. Set an appointment with Fleet Feet Austin today and check out all the different recovery options they have available.

Training has begun. Now it’s time to maximize your efforts so you can stay healthy. These self-care tips can protect you from the elements, speed up your recovery, and reduce your chances of injury. Is there a specific self-care tip that you use to maximize your training and prevent injury? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter.