Guest Post: How the right running shoes can enhance your performance

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I’m of the opinion – and I’m sure that I’m not alone – that when it comes to running, preparation is the best way of ensuring success and achieving the results that you want.

Preparation covers a wide array of things, the first and foremost being your physical training. You don’t need me to tell you that a lack of training and preparation, including the food you eat and the lifestyle you lead, is going to leave you frustrated at your inability to achieve what you really want. The same can be said for mental preparation; your body might be prepared for the physical challenges ahead, but running a marathon, half marathon or any long distance running without preparing yourself mentally will invariably lead to failure.

Making sure you’re prepared in these areas takes hard work, skill and experience that you’ll only develop by running; there’s no escaping that and there’s no shortcut that will prepare you faster. However, choosing the right running shoes is going to make your journey into the world of long distance running a hundred times easier and will leave you with more time and energy to devote to your training.

What to look for in a running shoe

When it comes to choosing running shoes, there are certain design elements and features that you should prioritise. If you pay attention to what you’re buying and look for the following design aspects in running shoes, you shouldn’t go far wrong:

·         Support – Running may be fantastic for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but clocking up the miles can have a massive, and potentially damaging, impact on your feet and lower body. For this reason, it’s extremely important to choose running shoes that support your feet and reduce the impact of each stride.

·         Cushioning –This definitely ties in with the previous point and cushioning will also reduce the impact of your running; however, it’s also important to choose running shoes that are comfortable. Long distance running is hard enough on your body, without the added discomfort of ill-fitting or badly designed running shoes.

·         Thermal regulation – Naturally, when you’re running long distances, your body heat is going to soar. This is particularly true for areas of the body where the heat is locked in, especially around your feet. The best running shoes incorporate breathable materials like mesh, which allow heat to escape. This is going to keep you more comfortable and enable you to push yourself further.

Wearing suitable running shoes will contribute to your physical capability to push your body to its limits and achieve fantastic results. Furthermore, knowing that you’re wearing suitable running shoes will give you the mental reassurance and confidence that you’re fully prepared for the difficult task ahead.

Jack is a Northumbria University graduate with a passion for sports, athletics and healthy living, and is writing on behalf of Millet Sports,which stocks a selection of running shoes and sports equipment. Jack will be completing his second Great North Run in September 2013.

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