You all saw the horrors of my old Reebok trainers, yes? The ones I've worn every day for the last 8 years? That I'd just started running in? No? Well here they are then:
These are obviously no good for running in and were a major contributing factor to the very painful shin splints I suffered last week. There was no other choice - new running shoes would have to be purchased. This meant finding a 'proper' running store where there were knowledgeable assistants who would watch how I run in order to ensure I got the right kind of shoes for me.
The only store I actively knew of - without going online to research - was the London Marathon Store down Long Acre, because when I used to work down Fleet Street, I used to regularly walk past it at lunchtimes on my way to a bead shop in Tower Street. But there was no way on earth I was going to travel up to London in all my running gear - including industrial strength bra - just so I could run on their machine for 5 minutes!
Luckily, I found a much nearer alternative - Sweatshop. Apparently, according to their website, they're the UK's largest specialist running shop and there's a branch in Woking which is about 30 mins drive from me!
So after doing the trip to London on Saturday, TLH and I decided we would go to Woking on Sunday to get me properly fitted. I contacted the shop to ask what was the best time to come along for a go on their machine, and was advised either 11-12 or 4-5 would probably be the quietest times. We walked into the shop at about 11.10am. I was in all my running gear and was very pleased that the shop assistants didn't fall about laughing as I plonked my lardy arse down on the bench and told them about my woes.
In fact, they were most enthusiastic about the fact that I was venturing into the world of running (or, in my case, 'jogging very slowly, in fact more a shamble really') but agreed that better shoes were a priority. So, they got me to put on a pair of 'neutral' shoes - they had no specially supportive areas - for a baseline reading and led to me to the treadmill. I was instructed to start it at a walking pace, then increase the speed until it was at a comfortable running/jogging pace, and they would video the back of my calves and my feet as I ran. This took about 3 minutes and they showed me the video from which I could see that my feet both rolled inwards as I ran through my stride. He drew a line on the screen from the mid point at the back of my knee down to the ground and instead of it going through the mid point of the back of my heel, it was way off to one side. I was running at an angle that would put massive strain on my knees and ankles. This meant that I need shoes with extra support on the inside edge of the heel to stop this happening and keep everything in a straighter line.
Now it was just a question of working through different brands of shoes to find ones that weren't too tight across the toes, and which had enough support. I tried on three pairs of shoes and each time had to try them on the treadmill being filmed and then run up and down the shop, to discover which had enough support. One pair was too tight at the toes, another pair just felt really 'flat' under my feet, like wearing skateboard daps, and then I found them.
Silver and bright, acidic yellow they may be, but they felt brilliant on my feet. It's hard to describe, but the sole felt almost curved under my feet, like it was tilting me forward slightly and making me feel like I wanted to take off running, right there, in the shop. Lovely.
And here they are, say hello to my brand new Mizuno Wave Inspire 7's:
And I couldn't wait so I went for a run in them that afternoon and, blimey, what a difference! There was some residual shin splint pain but nothing like as bad as before. I could definitely feel a difference because when I'd finished, different muscles were hurting - the front of my thighs were aching, which hadn't happened before and can only result from different muscles being used, hopefully the right ones now!