Runners World Experience; The Story of my Asics
This post is for all the runners out there. It’s for all the blistered feet, the corn-ridden (gross but true) toes, the taped-up ankles and the damaged ligaments – I dedicate this post to you.
Before I went into hospital, and in my current fitness regime, I spend a lot of my time running. To me, running is my escape. If I’m angry, happy, bored, tired or pretty much any emotion I’m feeling, hitting the road makes me feel better.
There are times when I struggle, times when I feel unstoppable and times when I feel like I have to force myself to put one foot in front of the other, but regardless of how I start the run feeling, by the end I feel 100 times better.
The downside to running? The injuries. I’ve twisted ankles, damaged ligaments in my foot, broken toes and I currently have blisters on top of blisters. Yes, it’s not the most aesthetically pleasing, but there is very little I can do about it. I soak my feet, I exfoliate, I get a pedicure (or try to) once a month and I try to keep them looking as good as I can.
When I complained on Twitter about the state of my feet, I was met with two responses. 1) Are your shoes the right size and fit? And 2) are you wearing the right socks?
The socks issue was pretty easy to fix. I’ve spoken about my Bridgedale* CoolFusion RUN Speed Diva Women’s socks in the past and I’m not even joking when I say that this minor change has made a massive difference to my feet when I go running.
You need cushioning on the more impactful parts of your feet to prevent damage, you need material that isn’t going to keep sweat floating around in your socks until you’ve finished running and you need to make sure that they fit properly. It’s mad how much external damage can be done to your feet by wearing the incorrect socks.
To check my trainers, I decided to take myself off to the Runner’s World shop in Watford to have the Gait Analysis Testing done. It’s a tiny shop at the bottom of the high street which, if you weren’t a runner, you wouldn’t even notice. Step into the shop and again, there isn’t really much to write home about. Trainers lace the walls, a running machine sits in the window and there is an accessories and energy snacks area.
Take a closer look and you’ll see that none of the trainer brands on the walls are what you would expect. There’s hardly any Adidas, no Nike whatsoever and not even a glimpse of Reebok. Instead, you are greeted by Asics, Brooks, Saucony and more.
To begin with, I was asked what size I currently wear (five) and what brand of trainers (Nike Free Run 5.0). I was greeted with a tut and a shake of the head, made me feel about twelve again. I was told from the offset that trainers needed to be at least one size bigger than your normal shoesize to allow for movement, and that my current trainers had no protection depending on what my pronation is. What my what is?!
I was told to wear the trainers that I usually do and to jump on the in-store treadmill and to start with a light jog for a couple of minutes. The video equipment which filmed the treadmill would then document how I ran in my trainers.
Looking back at the video when I was finished, I was genuinely shocked. You could actually see how flat-footed I am, and you could also see my instep leaned in towards the treadmill because I had no support. Turns out, I have a massive over-pronation, which means I am incredibly flat-footed and require the largest amount of support possible. Standard really.
Following from this, the sales assistant spent the next half an hour with me, we tried on five different pairs of shoes from different brands including Adidas, Asics and Brooks, jumping on and off of the treadmill for each pair, watching the footage back and adjusting from there. It turns out the best pair for me was a pair of ASICS GEL-PHOENIX 7 Women’s Running Shoes in a size 6.5 – a whole size and a half bigger than I had been wearing.
From here, I was given a choice. I either pay £20 for the Gait test alone, or I can buy the trainers in store and have £20 taken off of the total price. This, to me, didn’t make sense. The trainers were about £115 in store, but would be a total of £135 including the gait test, which they would take off upon purchase. So really, I wasn’t getting a deal out of it.
Instead, I decided to write down his recommendation and do my own research, which I’m glad I did, as I found the shoes online for a much cheaper price, which included paying for delivery, and still worked out cheaper with the £20 analysis on top of it.
The result? I’ve seen a massive difference since changing my socks and trainers. I get less cramp in my toes, less blisters and overall running hurts less. For all the runners out there, I would definitely recommend going to have your gait checked if you’re struggling with injury during your run. It’s well worth the £20.
Thanks for reading,