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Couch to 5K
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Shoes- help/advice needed please!

Best click the kettle on- this is a long one!

Bit of background: I graduated C25K on Christmas Eve 2016, and was running 5km 2-3 times a week after that up until I moved house in September 2017, where a change in circumstances meant running was out the window. As a new year's resolution for 2019, I'm VERY slowly getting back to 'running' (once or twice a week, running for 30 minutes but at my current speed that's only 4 and a bit km a time).

All of the above has been done in the same pair of shoes- a pair of "New Balance 680v3" trainers I picked up cheap in Sports Direct on the basis of "these feel comfy, are cheap, and are not a hideous colour". They're starting to suffer a bit of cosmetic damage in the form of wear/scuff marks, but given I use a treadmill it's not an issue- or so I thought.

I was killing time in a running shop yesterday waiting for a friend and apparently running shoes are only supposed to last 6 months? This has led to the following questions which I'd really like some help on:

1) Is this true, or was this just a salesperson trying to make a sale?

2) How do you know/how did you know it was time to replace your shoes?

3) Gait analysis- is it worth it? The shop I wandered into does it for free if you buy shoes from them, or should I just buy another pair of what I've got off the internet?

4) Does anyone else find their knees knock together on the odd occasion when they run? It's something that's started to happen every now and then recently, but the salesperson said it could be either my shoes, or my legs not being toned enough to cope with running?

If anyone can help at all with any of the above I'd be really grateful- I'm absolutely clueless about shoes!

Thank you in advance :)

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Hi, similar circumstances to you re running history. After a period of regular running I started again in my old faithful trainers and was in so much pain from my outer ankle to knee I could barely walk let alone run.

Luckily I work with physios and podiatrists and was explaining my problem to them. The problem was narrowed down to the age of my trainers. Apparently they have a life of about 400 miles and closer inspection of mine revealed the severe lack of cushioning!

I’ve also considered gait analysis but was advised (podiatrist friend again) it’s not worth it. Check out the underside of a well worn pair of shoes and you can work out your gait depending on the pattern of wear.

I bought a new pair of trainers, purchased some inners from Amazon to correct my gait and so far no more leg pain!

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Looking at the heels of all my Doc Martins they've all worn down on the outer edge of the heel by a good bit so there's probably something a bit squiffy with my feet.

I've no idea how far I've done in these shoes or what the cushioning is- I bought them because they were cheap. I might try going down the insoles route, which will hopefully be a bit kinder on my bank balance!

Thank you!

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1. Maybe... depends how many miles you run and also your weight has an effect.

2. One test is to try to twist your shoe... if it twists easily the shoe is done. There are others.

3. For most people gait analysis is worth it... if you’re not one of those people then gait analysis will tell you so... either way it’s the best place to start. If you run only tails you don’t need it... if you’re running any hard surfaces you do.

4. Mine don’t... but this could be something that the right shoe will fix... if not a visit to your physio will be the way to go.

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If you’re near a Runners Need store, they do gait analysis for free (I think - they did mine with no mention of a cost and I walked out without buying anything after trying on several pairs). However, I did buy a pair online from their website and did click and collect, so I felt like I wasn’t abusing the service 😄

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The life of a running shoe is determined by the number of steps it takes (and shock it needs to absorb each step). In practice the cushioning/support will go before the sole wears out. So measuring the life of a shoe in months makes no sense at all. Was it in the cupboard, or running a HM every day? If the shoes are running a HM every day, then 6 months life might be right. My Garmin app defaults to 800km life for running shoes - that is one million steps with my stride length.

One way to tell if the shoe is wearing out is to record all the little niggles and aches that you are getting. Once you see that you are getting more niggles, then it is time to blame your shoes.

Gait analysis - treat your running shoes the same way that you would a pair of glasses. You know that you need some... so go and discuss your requirements with a professional who can help you understand what your needs are, and help you chose. Running shoes are the best investment that you can make in your running and health. Get advice. You are looking for a professional runner working in an independent running store. The Saturday assistant in an out-of-town sports fashion warehouse is not qualified to give you advice.

Knees knocking - well that suggests a biomechanical problem with your running gait, most likely your feet are rolling inwards, bringing your knees together. If it happens more on longer runs (when you are tired), then exercise/strengthening exercises for your knees and/or ankles will help. Having a sports physiotherapist analyse your running gait with a high-speed video camera (it'll actually be their iPhone :-) ) will help diagnose the underlying biomedical problem and prescribe appropriate exercises for you.

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