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Run Off The Winter Blues Part 2

Earlier this week we said we mentioned that we will be scheduling a series of blogs with regard to the topic of running in the Winter months. Rob Hanley, of our clinic in Dooradoyle, Limerick takes us through this series. Today we start off with one of the most fundamental aspects to running; the correct running gear.

Running Shoes

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” - Lao Tzu

Runners. You have to have the right runners. As a chartered physiotherapist, I see patients week in, week out, that get pain because their shoes are not fit for purpose. If you get this simple task right from the start you will save yourself a lot of problems in the long term and enjoy your jogging so much more. Your shoes must be proper sports shoes designed with running in mind. Fashion sports shoes and skate shoes like these are not made to jog in.

A sports shoe for running will look something like those on the left: They are big and bulky but give loads of protection to your feet and the cushioning takes a lot of the impact out of running.

As an aside, there has been a recent trend towards minimalist runners such as can be seen on the right. These have gotten a huge amount of press coverage in recent years and while there is role for this type of running shoe it is not the shoe to wear the majority of the time you are out there and certainly not when you are starting off. I’ll discuss this type of runner later in the blog under  “Am I Running As Well As I Can?”

Different Shapes of Feet

Now that you know the general type sports  shoe you need, the next thing on your list is to find out what shape of foot you have, as this will decide the type of running shoe will suit you best.

The shape of the foot is vital. For a very simple 30 second test see “The Footprint Test” below


This test, though very basic, will give you a quick idea of the shape of foot you have. There are 3 main types and this helps determine the type of running shoe you will need as seen below. 

A note of caution here however, modern running shoes, though excellent at providing cushioning for running, are not a golden ticket to injury free jogging.  More than 75% of people experience foot problems in their lifetime that even the best shoe alone cannot completely prevent. This brings us into the realm of orthotics. An orthotic looks like an insole but is a  medical device that is custom made to correct a person’s specific foot imbalance. They fit into your shoes as comfortably as an insole and work on your feet much the same way glasses work on your eyes- by taking some of the stress and strain off. Modern orthotics can be made to last 20 or 30 years.  I see it quite often in clinic where a cost effective running shoe combined with the right orthotic can do a much better job ,and be much  more comfortable than,  the very top of the range running shoe.  For more information on orthotics have a look the orthotic group website or visit our own orthotics page.

Correct Clothing for Winter Running

Now that you have the right runners, the rest is easy. Wrap up warm, and in high vis clothing if you are running in low light. Those of us that get wheezy in the cold (often involved with exercise induced asthma) should make sure that their throat is covered. This will warm the air as it enters your lungs and can help relieve your breathing. Now get out there and exercise!

In my next entry, I’ll be looking at tops tips for motivating yourself to get out running on those wet cold days. Stay tuned!

For more information on running shoes and orthotics contact Rob in our Dooradoyle Clinic. If you would like to book an appointment with Rob or indeed any of our other physiotherapists who can assess you for orthotics and provide expert running advice, please click here.