One of the most popular resolutions most of us make for the New Year is to get in better physical shape. If that is one of your goals, you might be wondering where to start. If the “gym rat” experience is not for you, consider running: no membership fees, just a pair of good shoes and good weather guarantees a moderate success. But not just any running – Mindful running!
What is “Mindful Running”? It’s a way of combining the health benefits of running with the mental and spiritual benefits of meditation by using your mind-body connection, drawing from traditional Chinese medicine, Danny Dreyer is a nationally ranked ultra-marathon runner and author of the book Chi Running: A Revolutionary Approach to Effortless, Injury-Free Running.
Dreyer says by using mental focus you can train your body to stay centered, relaxed, and move efficiently. You will be able to prevent injuries if you learn to relax your muscles, open tight joints and make gravity your friend by letting it do the heavy lifting. Sounds good to me!
But, no matter what kind of running you settle on – Chi, marathons, jogging, trails – wearing the right shoes is critical. The wrong shoe, even one that is comfortable, can cause real damage to knees, ankles and backs. But with so many choices out there, how can you find the best shoe for you?
There are several good websites that have a wizard that will help you determine the perfect shoe for you, free from the hype of an individual brand’s website. Try looking at Running Shoes Guru, Runner’s World, or WebMD for common sense advice on buying shoes.
Women’s Health magazine advises women to consider shopping at smaller stores since most major department chain stores don’t have enough selection or trained staff to meet your specific needs. For instance, most people don’t realize that due to the need to let your foot expand in the heat and wearing running socks, you actually need your shoes to be at least a half-inch longer than your normal fit. For instance, I wear a size 8 shoe, but when I ran my first marathon, I got size 9.5 shoes and was glad I did on race day.
You also need to “test run” the shoes, just like you would test drive a car. Speciality stores let you do a couple of laps around the store and watch your body motion to see if you need a shoe that corrects a possible problem like over-pronation or flat feet.
If you decide to shop online, consider smaller retailers like Tilly’s which specializes in athletic gear that is hip and affordable. Their selections can be more reasonably priced than the high-end stores like Nike, New Balance, etc. Also, always check online for discount coupons like Groupon Coupons, which can save you a bundle. Because your second New Year’s Resolution was to save money, right?