The beauty of science & sport

I’ve been running now for about 2 weeks short of 2yrs. I remember that first run like it was yesterday. Depressed, overweight & just decided I was finally going to do something about it so I put on some old Asics trainers & ran. I ran 1 mile non stop in about 14min & I thought I was going to die! I carried on & did the couch to 5k & realised that I needed some new trainers as I had signed up for my first 10k at the Great Manchester Run

So I went online & did a little bit of research. I was told in my teenage years that I was an over-pronator which was the reason I was having knee problems, so got some Nike zoom fly in luminous yellow, good stability trainers for over-pronators. I ran in these no problem really for about a year, doing 2 10k races. 

I then signed up for the Manchester Marathon as a 2 person relay in April 2015 & decided that we needed new trainers now for our serious training!! Frankie had already had Nike Lunarglide 5’s and loved them so we went online & checked out the new Nike Lunarglide 6’s on the Nike website. We found that you could personalise them so thought this was great. Matching trainers, each with our own mark. From the moment I got them I didn’t like them. They felt tight & they rubbed my toe but I put up with them.

But now we’ve signed up for the full Manchester  marathon & as the training runs are now getting longer, the longer I run the more they rub my feet to the point of blood blisters on the outside of my right big toe. I decided that I couldn’t do a full marathon in these trainers. 

So after some thought on new trainers, doing a little research & getting some tips from members of ukrunchat, I realised that the best thing to do would be to get a gait analysis. 

From the Asics website…

Gait analysis provides runners with essential information about their running style. This is important however long they have been running, as only through knowing their running style will they be able to select the right shoes.

The major focus of gait analysis is to measure the degree of pronation. Pronation is the natural inward roll of the foot as the outside part of the heel strikes the ground. This roll acts as a shock absorber for the leg and body, optimally distributing the force of the impact of the heel hitting the ground.
Overpronation is when the feet roll inward too much
Underpronation (or supination) is where the feet don’t roll inward enough. 

Gait analysis matches the runner’s degree of pronation with the correct shoe type, with the aims of counter-balancing over or underpronation, helping reduce the risk of injury and improving running efficiency.’

So last night we went to Sweatshop in Manchester Arndale for a gait analysis & in search of some new trainers! After about a 15min wait a guy came over & took us to the gait analysis computer. He ask what kind of training we did & what our problems were & he put some insoles into a machine to hear them up. 

I stood on a glass box  so that i could see how my medial arch was, whether it was neutral or collapsed & for him to take some pictures of the back of my lower leg/ankle. This showed where the alignment of heel, ankle & knee should be when in different bent positions & where the achilles should be in a straight line up from the base of our heel.   

Once the photos were taken & the insoles were heated up, I stood on them on top of a soft memory foam type box which allowed the insoles to mold to my feet, rolling back into my heels & putting pressure on the toes. This is how mine turned out.   

This shows just how much the insoles mold to your feet & how each foot is slightly different. Even putting these into my old trainers immediately made a difference. From my pictures it was clear that I was pretty neutral & had very limited pronation, even after years of thinking I needed stability trainers & was now a ‘neutral/cushioned’ trainer runner! 

I then put on some neutral/cushioned trainers with the moulder insoles in & did some test running on the treadmill, again for him to take a video to make sure the insoles & trainers were correct for my gait.  


It showed that the neutral trainers with the added insoles made my lines straight. The insoles were £45 which isn’t cheap but the guy was great, no pushy sales. He explained that the insoles will allow the muscles in my feet to become stronger & align my heel/ankle naturally as they will continually remould to be feet, whereas if I got a pair of over-pronation trainers (stability) as I had a very slight tilt, that only puts a block in the way to prevent injury rather than naturally strengthening my gait. 

Now I just thought that running was running. Put on a pair of trainers & go. But this shows that even at the basic level of choosing a new pair of trainers as a novice level runner as myself, there is so much science behind it that will make your running easier, faster & more powerful. It’s not all about what looks the best, it’s about what fits right but having said that I love my new New Balance Fresh Foam 1080…..they’re still pretty & as my BFF Hayley says…..’be seen be safe!’. 

Jacqui x


4 thoughts on “The beauty of science & sport

  1. Love the new trainers! I enjoyed going to sweatshop and got the same kind of insoles but then I went to the Physio as part of my treatment for shin splints that I’d gotten through using the wrong trainers and the Physio told me to throw them away ha ha I have seen that many professionals about my running problems and they all contradict each other so I reckon you should simply go with what feels right for you!! Let us know how you get on with the insoles in certainly intrigued!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you – this is a really good overview of how sweatshop can help. I got trainers from them for off road running (& they were great). I just need to start running again. Good luck with your running. Love bec xx xx


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