Walking and running are the two easiest and most convenient health options. For those of you who like to stay healthy without much effort or equipment involved walking and running is the best option. To put the cherry on top they require no gym membership plans or instructors. All you need to do is strap up those shoes and get going. However, for those who take running seriously, it goes beyond just strapping on shoes. The type of shoes you wear matters a lot. Since different types of exercises affect your muscles and joints differently. This is especially true for running and walking. So which shoes are appropriate for a marathon? Do you even need shoes at all? This article will answer these and all other related questions for you.
What is A Marathon?
The best way to describe a marathon is by calling it a long-distance race. The distance can be varied but the official distance for a marathon is 42.195 km. The marathon is generally a running marathon but can be completed with a walk/run strategy as well. Over 800 marathons are held worldwide every year. The major participants of a marathon are recreational athletes.
Preparing for a Marathon
Marathons are run on the roads or sometimes even cross country. The basic point is that they are running a sport. So how do you prepare for a marathon? Marathon preparation focuses on:
- Improving your base mileage
- Long-distance running
- Working on your speed
- Appropriate rest and recovery
The only equipment which is necessary for a marathon is shoes. Everything else is simply accessories that you can make do without and not run the risk of compromising your marathon.
Walking Shoes vs. Running Shoes
Marathons require shoes. Shoes can and do make a lot of difference. They protect your feet from damage and injuries. Shoes also help you in your run or walk by optimizing your comfort and support factor. The question being which type of shoes does a marathon require or will any type do? Before you look for an answer to that question you should understand the different types of shoes in general. The market has a variety of shoes to suit your every purpose and need. The two most popular types are:
- Walking shoes
- Running shoes
You must be wondering shoes are after all shoes. What is the difference between them? As it turns out there is quite a bit of difference. Running shoes have different characteristics than walking shoes. They are specifically designed for running just like walking shoes are specifically designed for walking. Below are some differences that make a huge impact:
- Flexible: Running shoes are more flexible than walking shoes. This is to accommodate the feet arches while you run. Walking does not make your feet flex or arch much and hence walking shoes are stiffer.
- Better cushioning: Running puts a lot of impact on your soles. Therefore, running shoes are optimized for providing better cushioning to your footfall.
- Customization: Running shoes are customized to the style of runners. They offer different heel to toe drop as per your running style. There are three types of runners:
- Toe striker
- Midfoot striker
- Heel striker
You can choose the appropriate heel to toe drop based on your strike.
- Stability: Running shoes give better motion control since running requires more stability and balance than walking. They do this by having built – up and flared heel. Also running needs, you keep your foot neutral so that you do not unbalance and twist your ankle. All this is taken into consideration by the running shoes.
- Weight: Running shoes are made of lighter and more durable material than walking shoes. This renders the running shoes lighter thereby helping you move faster.
- Sweatproof: Walking generates less heat on the soles than running. Therefore, running shoes are made of more open porous material like mesh to allow good ventilation of your feet than the more closed and snug walking shoes.
A lot of people find shoes cumbersome. They prefer running barefoot. There is no evidence to suggest any benefits to running barefoot on the grass or otherwise. You could do some serious harm to your ankles, heel, sole and ligaments by forgoing shoes. Shoes are meant not only as protective footwear but also supportive footwear and should not be overlooked.
Tips to Choose Running Shoes
Having a good pair of shoes is the first step towards running commitment. It can make the difference between healthy effective running and injury or discomfort. Below are some tips to help you choose the best footwear for your marathon:
- Size: This is the most important point. Your shoes should fit you perfectly. If the shoes are loose you run the risk of twisting your ankle or miss – stepping. On the other hand, if the shoe is small you will develop ingrown toenails, bunny foot and feet ulcers.
One common mistake that people do when buying shoes is that they forget to factor in the socks. You should always try on the shoes with your socks on to get the best size.
- Comfort: Your shoes should feel comfortable. The minute you slide your feet in they should feel snug and relaxed.
- Budget: There are all types of shoes in the market with a wide price range. Choose one that fits your wallet size.
- Design and Color: Shoe fashion ranks high on any runner or walker. Don’t compromise on the design or the color.
Both walking and running are similar concepts, but the process and implications are different. They each impact your legs, knees, feet and sole differently and therefore require different shoes. This is especially true in the case of a marathon. Running a marathon is strenuous and involves a prolonged period of running. Hence to keep yourself from any damage or injury you need to provide effective support to your sole and feet. This can only be provided by appropriate running shoes.