(Normal service resumes with the next post)
On the recommendation of my Magherafelt friend, Anne (and in an attempt to get me back up to there for another coffee & catch up!), I booked in with Geoff in Sportique in Magherafelt:
The process itself is really straightforward. I was asked to put on a pair of trainers supplied by the shop and run on a regular treadmill for about 20 seconds.
I wear orthotics insoles that were custom made for me following my last back episode in 2014 so I then ran with these in the trainers. The good news is that the orthotics are doing what they're meant to do - Geoff was able to show me the significant improvement they make to the ankle movement. After studying the two videos, he recommended a neutral gait flexible trainer with good cushioning. If I did not already have orthotics, Geoff would have prescribed a more rigid pair with arch support, to mimic the effect of my custom insoles.
And there-in lies the point of having this analysis done because had I just wandered into a sports store without this knowledge and bought a rigid pair, it would have resulted in an over-correction of my gait. Equally, if I didn't have orthotics and bought a neutral pair, my ankle wouldn't be supported. Both scenarios would likely have resulted in injury issues in the future - either at the ankle itself or more probable for me, at my weaker point - the knee.
So I then tried three neutral trainers - Brooks, Hoka and Asics - all running specific brands and each (in my opinion) very different. First up it was Brooks and in terms of look, they were my favourite.
Next up, I tried Hoka OneOne.
The reason why I didn't opt for the Hoka's is because they are specifically a running shoe and given running is only about 30% of my weekly exercise, I need a shoe that also works in the gym. Geoff felt that I'd be better with the next trainer - the Asics Gel-Nimbus
So what did I learn about the whole process? Firstly, the right trainer does make a difference to how you run and how likely you are to suffer with injuries. Secondly, you do get what you pay for. All of the running specific trainers I tried were in or around the £80-£100 mark - the technology and innovation within them obviously comes at a price. I'll admit that until now, I would have struggled with paying that kind of money for running/gym shoes BUT if it prevents physiotherapy sessions (dread to think how much I've forked out on those after my last running injury) and allows me to get out there in the fresh air and enjoy running again, it's definitely worth it.
Before I go (and this is not a sponsored post btw!), if you are looking for some really amazing brands that are not stocked in just any old sports or outdoor shop, Sportique really is the place to visit (or phone). All of these niche and specialist brands can be purchased over the phone and can be posted to Ireland and the UK - just give the guys a call on 028 79632899.
and here I was all ready for my first 5k...I couldn't have gotten the proper running shoes without purchasing some proper scary running leggings now could I?
Trainers & Top - Asics