March 2017 Newsletter

Note: As with all of our monthly newsletters, the comment section is open.

Welcome New Members – by Dave Sullivan
Do You Have the Right Footwear? – by Kim Sheffield
Celtic Charms – by Judy Phillips
A Short Reflection on Feet – by Greg Hagley
Looking for the Right Shoe… and the Left One Too – by Rob Waryas
Bad Luck. Rookie Mistake. – by Bill Young

Welcome to New Members

By Dave Sullivan

Ellen Bagnato Greg Bagnato Deborah Barnes Anna Bieszczad Christine Bieszczad Ed Bieszczad
Jerry Bieszczad Dirk Black Madeleine Bothe Andrew Brennan Audra Charron Emily Cousens
Thomas Dodds Stephen Dunn Ryan Fitzgerald Steven Glazer Michael Goudzwaard Heather Green
Beth Hackett Kenzie Hackett Kyle Hackett Laura Hackett Sofia Hansen Leah Lee
Stacie Otis Marie Parizo Kevin Pascoe Kristina Richard Mark Ridge Molly Smith
  Dirk Vandewalle Rob Waryas Shane Waterman Carly Wynn  

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Do You Have the Right Footwear?

By Kim Sheffield

We are runners. We need shoes. It’s hard to know which shoes are best for us. There are so many choices. Here are a few fundamentals to think about when choosing a running shoe.

Know the basic anatomy of your feet, or foot type:

  1. ARCHES – Do you have high arches, medium arches or are you ‘flat footed’?
  2. ROLL – Do your feet roll inward, pronate? Or do your feet roll outward, supinate? Or no roll, neutral?

50-60% of the population mildly pronate, according to Running Warehouse. 20-30% of population severely pronate. Only 10-20% of runners supinate.

If you have flat feet, more often, you pronate. If you have high arches you’re likely to be neutral, or supinate. If you have medium arches, you’re either. ☺

Shoe manufactures design a model (shoe type) for a specific foot type: (in other words, each ‘shoe type’ is to be matched up with a specific ‘foot type’)

  • Neutral -usually for med – high arches, limited pronation or supination
  • Stability -med – low arches, likely some pronation
  • Motion Control–very flat feet, or feet issues causing more pronation

An additional feature for shoe design is height of heel to toe lift (measure in millimeters). I won’t go into detail but, most running shoes are between a 4-8 mm drop. The lesser the ‘drop’ the more your calves and achilles ‘work’.

I run in a variety of shoes, for certain training days.

  • Adidas Ultra Boost 10mm drop, 11oz. This shoe fits long run days or days when I’m running a lot of miles on pavement/sidewalks…provides great cushion. Neutral shoe.
  • Hoka Tracer 4mm drop, 6.3oz. Best when I’m running a threshold run, on pavement or soft surface, or if I’m racing a mixture of surfaces. Also a good match if I want a light shoe on a longer run…. very versatile shoe. Neutral shoe.
  • New Balance 1500 6mm drop, 6oz. Perfect for track workouts or races up to 10k . Very light with some stability.
  • Freedom Saucony 4mm drop, 8oz. For me, interchangeable for Adidas Ultra Boost type workouts. Tons of cushioning. Neutral shoe.
  • Trail shoe- Researching for best fit right now. ☺ Probably will be light weight, cushioned and good, gripping tread.

So, you can see, I’m not loyal to a particular brand. I like variety. I wear a light insert in all of my running shoes. I wear the insert to keep my foot in control – basically I want less movement in my shoe.

To summarize, shoe manufacturers have done tremendous research to match up a wide variety of shoe types for various foot types. And to provide shoe designs that fit your training/race conditions. Even if you don’t keep track of all the shoe science….your feet will know when they are ‘treated right’…. your feet will say, “aahhh”.

Also, from Greg Hagley, this NY Times article: Do Nike’s New Shoes Give Runners an Unfair Advantage?

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Celtic Charms

By Judy Phillips


I wear a silver Celtic heart necklace for races, and usually tiny silver earrings with a Celtic knot design. The earrings were a gift from my sister and niece. The necklace was given to me from my goddaughter; it was the last Mother’s Day present she and her sister gave their Mom, my close friend Claudia, who passed too young four years ago.

In our last conversation, a couple of weeks before her final hospitalization, we talked about my running, and Claudia said to me: “JB, I love how you challenge yourself”. I’d always run, but she never had said that before. It was her last gift to me. During tough races, I touch the necklace and think about her words, which have become a mantra for me. I think of so many folks meeting challenges, not of their choosing; this inspires me to push through.

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A Short Reflection on Feet

By Greg Hagley

I have a confession. I might have given The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss to all of my nieces as a thinly veiled excuse to re-read it myself.
      Slow feet, quick feet, trick feet, sick feet.
      Up feet, down feet.
      Here comes clown feet.

The binding theme is that there is a large, variety of feet out there. “Oh how many feet you meet!”

Scientific research goes in the opposite direction of The Foot Book. Exercise physiology research seeks to find common explanations for how all feet work. When it comes to running efficiency a recent systematic review and meta-analytical review arrived at similar conclusions, wearing less of a shoe on your feet is more efficient (see here and here). That is you will have less fatigue running with a “minimalist” and light shoe on your foot. One article described a minimalist shoe as “minimal interference with the natural movement of the foot, because of its high flexibility, low heel to toe drop, weight and stack height, and the absence of motion control and stability devices (see here).” Two things are clear. Your running efficiency will benefit from running in a slightly more “minimal” or light shoe. Secondly, you will benefit from stronger feet and lower leg structures.

There are many factors that influence how your unique feet match researcher’s recommendations for footwear. There are several questions to ask when considering what to lace onto your feet.

  1. Your history matters. Where do you get most of your running aches and pains? If they are in your shins, knees, or hips you will likely benefit from moving to more minimalist shoes and adjusting your running form. If your aches and pains are in your calf muscles and feet you should be more wary of drastically minimizing up your footwear. These are loose guidelines for aches and pains. There are many caveats to this simple advice.
  2. Your goals matter. Do you want to run faster? Then consider slowly changing footwear and strengthening your feet. If you are happy to continue doing what you do, then don’t change. There are inherent risks in changing routines. The most common errors with changing revolves around changing too much too soon.
  3. How you run matters. Do you run heavy on your toes? On your heels? Or somewhere in between? If you tend to run (lightly) on your toes, switching to more minimalist footwear should be easier. If you land hard on your heels, it will be harder.

Below are several exercises to improve the strength of your feet and lower legs.

  1. Calf raises on a step (complete barefoot)
    • 20-30 repetitions, 2-3 sets, 2-3 days per week
    • Begin with 2 leg calf raises and progress to single leg calf raises if you only have minor discomfort in your calf muscles and feet.
    • video
  2. Single leg balance (complete barefoot)
    • Start with single leg stance on the floor. Aim to hold it for 30 seconds. If it is easy, stand on a pillow or foam cushion. video
    • Progress to an exercise such as The Windmill
      • 10 repetitions, 2-3 sets, 2-3 times/wk
      • if easy, progress to standing on a pillow or cushion
      • video

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Looking for the Right Shoe… and the Left One Too

By Rob Waryas

There’s so many options for shoes in today’s world. Where to begin? What to look for? So many to choose from! Maybe I need a coffee to make it through this process? Maybe a beer? HELP!!!!

Step 1: Till death do us part
Many of us run to get out of our heads, so why get caught up in it when buying shoes? Your first big ask should be: “Have my current shoes been working for me?” If so, that’s a great place to start. Have you been running in a high drop, posted shoe and have had no injuries? Would you leave a great relationship that gives you everything you need and desire just because you’ve been in it for nearly countless years? Yeah, I know that there are always outliers. But for the masses that don’t feel the need to self destruct, “If it ain’t broke, then don’t eff-it up!”

Step 2: If all is not Nirvana…
Okay, so maybe your current shoes haven’t been the best. But hey, all those fast food burgers which were supposed to kill me haven’t so… Maybe it’s time to explore the possibilities. Perhaps all those years of being a heel striker have taken their toll. Or could it be that the promises held in that umpteen year old book you just read about how barefoot running cures all ills has actually contributed to those pains never before experienced? If you are less than comfortable in your shoes and/or with your aches and pains, consider some new kicks.

Step 3: Unless You Know, You Don’t Know, Necessarily…
It can be helpful to have someone do an assessment of your body and/or stride to help guide you to the right category of shoe. BTW, that friend that has been running for years isn’t necessarily the person to do the assessment. Just because someone has been at it for decades, even sans injuries, doesn’t make them necessarily qualified to assess the needs of another for shoes. Check out a shop that has someone on staff who can look for certain indicators as to whether you may be better suited for neutral or stability shoes; are better served by low drop or high drop models; may benefit from more cushioning or more ground feel. Or if your wallet or insurance can cover the cost, consider investing in a full running gait analysis with someone like Laura Hagley DPT or Peter Loescher MD. Once the variables have been reduced, trust the feedback of your feet and your body.

Step 4: The Make Doesn’t Make It, the Model Does
You don’t merely drive a Ford or Honda or Kia, you drive a specific model! The same is true of your shoes. And no, the fact that they’re blue with, you know, that neon yellowish green or greenish yellow is not enough to determine what model you have been running in. Come prepared; bring your current kicks when shopping for new ones. The wear patterns of your old shoe can help with the process of guiding you toward new ones. And trust that no one is judging you, your shoes maybe, but not you. So, answer honestly all the questions asked. Such will help you in the process to your newest, bestest (hopefully) shoe.

Step 5: New Shoes Are Not a Panacea
Are you effed up beyond belief? Ongoing achilles tendinopathy? Knee pain dating back to when Frank Shorter and Bill Rodgers battled for US marathon supremacy (FYI: Billy was always the King)? Hamstring issues so bad that you’re sure that your ancestors can feel the pain? Convinced that spending $130, $150, even pushing $200 will take care of your issues? Think again! If things have gotten so bad that you’re buying new shoes in hopes of finding the Fountain of Running Youth…

Finding a running shoe that matches your needs is not that hard, finding one that fixes all your running woes… If this resonates with you, please consider a medical professional (see above).

Step 6: There Are So Many More Steps
It’s become clear to me that there is far more to discuss. Perhaps a Part 2 to follow for next month?

You know, to discuss things like: drop; stack height; splay; cushioned vs responsive; posted vs guided vs neutral; aftermarket footbeds vs OEM socklingers; black vs blue, pink vs purple; road vs trail vs hybrid; etc. If some questions come up from this post, perhaps they can be addressed in next month’s ponderings.

Step 7: Shameless Plug
Come see me, Rob, at Omer&Bob’s for a running shoe assessment. Club members get a 15% discount on all current run items including shoes, clothing, and accessories (got foam roller?). Until we come up with a secret club handshake, please mention that you are a current member of the UVRC to get the discount. Oh, and be prepared to spend upwards of an hour or more doing the assessment and trying shoes in the category that may best serve you. And know that we are happy to order shoes (we’ll discuss the details).

Step 8: Run
Kinda goes without saying, right? So get out there, be it on roads or trails (once the trails dry out) and run, just run…

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Bad Luck. Rookie Mistake.

By Bill Young


“Tuck your loops under the cross lace.” This advice from Mike, a seasoned UVRC mountain and marathon runner has served me well. Several years ago we saw a runner tying his disobedient shoelace midway through a race. The “Rookie mistake” comment was made to me followed by the tuck your loops tip. Despite double loop knots, my shoes had previously untied themselves many times and the long loops had snagged roots on trail runs. Ouch. Since using this new trick, my luck has been good. During 600 miles of Appalachian Trail hiking and a few thousand miles of road running my laces and luck have been good. Do not get thrown for/by a loop. Tuck your laces.

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