Friday, 24 August 2012

Going for Gold

I am generally a very active person, despite having a desk bound job, although unfortunatly my body image reflects my love of food more than my love of all things active.

Recently I have been really suffering with painful calf muscles and a tightening around the ankles when I have been running or playing netball. I found that yoga and body balance (another post on this soon) have been helping to stretch out the problem and keep me a little more supple but I wondered if I was using the right equipment?

Don't get me wrong in order to keep fit, you don't need a fancy gym membership or even any fancy equipment, a simple pair of trainers, some shorts and the great outdoors would more than tide you over. However, I am aware that the trainers you put on your feet can make a huge difference, and I didn't think my £20 pair from Sports Direct were quite cutting it.

It has got to the point where any type of impact sport was too painful to continue and as my exercise levels have increased so has the pain in my right knee. Luckily a friend of mine is a physio and I had her take a look at me running, she was concerned about the way my foot twisted as I ran and suggested getting a proper gait analysis and a proper shoe to rectify the problem.

So armed with very little knowledge of what was going to happen to me, I toodled on down to Moti on Whiteladies Road in Bristol. My physio friend had recommended them to me, although I had initially heard of them via my fancy gym, as I got a 10% off voucher in my starter pack.

You don't need an appointment or anything, you just turn up. Chris was my server and he was so helpful. He first put me on the treadmill in a neutral running shoe, I ran for about 30 seconds and then he showed me the film. It was unbelievable! I could see my whole knee and foot twisting on both sides as I ran, although it was more pronounced in my right foot. No wonder it hurt so much to run.

He then gave me 2 different shoes to try, but with extra arch support and wizzy a whizzy chusioning system typ thing in the soles which he said would make it more comfortable. I got on the treadmill again with each pair and whilst I couldn't feel the difference in my running technique in such a short space of time, the difference on the video was amazing. My foot fell flat with very little twist at all!

I learnt a couple of things whilst I was there. First, that trainers used for exercise should be brought at least half a size bigger than your usual shoe size, and 1 whole size bigger would be ideal. This is to allow for your feet to swell as they warm up during your exercise routine, and to stop your toes bashing against the ends and causing damage to your nails. Also, that your trainers should be changed regularly, and no matter how often you use them at least within every 2 years as the grip and the wizzy compression pads will just not work in the same way.

I was really impressed with the customer service in Moti, they were very knowledgeable about running styles and about the products in the store. As an added bonus, by subscribing to their e-newsletter in store you get a 30 day guarantee on your new shoes and if they are not very comfortable or you do not notice any particular difference you can take them back (provided they are not covered in mud or really damaged).

I eventually chose the Asics GT-2170, which are a limited edition in podium colours for the London Olympic Games as they have subtle flashes of gold, silver and bronze. They weren't cheap but I got a 10% discount with my voucher, although they will give the discount to anybody who comes into the store armed with their gym membership card.

If you are thinking of starting up an exercise routine or running, or have already started running and would like a little more advice I would 100% go and get this done, I know that loads of running stores do the gait analysis so go and give it a try.

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