‘I’m out of my depth buying new runners, and that’s before we start on gel types’

Get Running challenge: Bad weather and tiredness held Claire McMahon back this week but her mindset has changed

‘There is increasingly a scientific approach to marketing products and I can’t help but feel it is complete baloney.’

‘There is increasingly a scientific approach to marketing products and I can’t help but feel it is complete baloney.’

 

The sixth week of my Get Running challenge has been a little bit hit and miss.

For the second time since starting this challenge, I started a run but didn’t complete it. A few things conspired against me this week; atrocious weather, a cold, sick children and tiredness owing largely to sick children. Getting out for a run is rarely a binary choice that rests on motivation alone.

You can find articles, columns, advice and tips at irishtimes.com/health, as well as in print every Tuesday in the Health & Family Supplement.

There are other factors that always need to be considered including work, kids, childcare, housework and significant others. These factors have to be balanced against motivation, wellness and energy levels.

If all these factors magically align, you still have the weather to contend with.

What has changed for me is my mindset. If a particular run is challenging, I try again on another day. This is major progress for me as it was at these points in the past that something as simple as tiredness or bad weather would have derailed me completely.

Now that I am an established runner I decide to upgrade my running shoes. My last pair are well over three years old and despite not seeing a lot of action, they were starting to hurt my feet. Truth be told, there was also dog dirt on one of them from my last run so buying a new pair killed two birds with one stone.

Contrary to popular belief, not all women like shopping for shoes. I am a size 7 which is biggish for a woman. I also have wide feet, they are not quite hobbit-esque but I was never going to play Cinderella in the school play either. Supposedly it is not just women who struggle to find shoes for their odd shaped feet. One of the major running shoe brands suggest that men of a narrow foot persuasion should consider purchasing women’s styles to achieve a narrow fit. I would say that this happens, never. Most men I know would rather run barefoot than admit to their mates they were wearing a ladies’ shoe.

At the sports shop, I’m asked “what kind of running shoe are you looking for?”.

I resist the temptation to respond with “the kind that you put on your feet and run with”.

This question is followed up with, “what do you currently run in ?”, again, I resist.

It turns out that running shoes have evolved quite significantly since I last bought a pair. You no longer simply state the size you require, ie women’s, seven, hobbit-esque. There are shoes tailored for different types of running such as road, trail, marathon, cross-training, barefoot, minimalist and long distance. This is coupled with specialisations for running technique, gait and pronation (something to do with foot rolliness). I am clearly out of my depth here. That is all before you get started on the different types of gel. I am not much of a gel connoisseur myself.

There is increasingly a scientific approach to marketing products and I can’t help but feel it is complete baloney. It is a deliberate ploy to justify charging up to €200 for what is essentially plastic and rubber (and sometimes gel). It is the sporty equivalent of women’s anti-aging creams that claim to alter your DNA and stop the aging process with patented DNage technology. My other half coined the phrase “gymmicks” this the week which seems quite apt. All the gymmicks and science aside I opt for a pair of runners that feel comfortable on my feet.

I didn’t complete my 20-minute run this week but I remain positive. There is always tomorrow (weather permitting).

Claire McMahon is following a Get Running programme (irishtimes.com/getrunning) and is writing a weekly column about how she gets on.
Part 1: You can sit on the couch and get fat
Part 2: The truth is I don’t like exercise
Part 3: Dubious and hopeful
Part 4: Signing up for ‘Wine on the Line’
Part 5: Looking forward to the next run
Part 6: Out of my depth buying new runners

Sign up for one of The Irish Times' Get Running programmes (it is free!). 
First, pick the eight-week programme that suits you.
- Beginner Course: A course to take you from inactivity to running for 30 minutes.
- Stay On Track: For those who can squeeze in a run a few times a week.
- 10km Course: Designed for those who want to move up to the 10km mark.
Best of luck!

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