21st May
written by Randy

I’ve made real, measurable progress, and I’m finally starting to feel less like I’m suffering and more like I’m working toward something cool.

As I said from the start, this was really intimidating to me — perhaps the most intimidating challenge I’ve ever taken on before. So with that in mind, I didn’t want to go out and buy a bunch of expensive running gear, only to give up a few weeks later — especially since running gear will count toward my minimalism challenge.

Now that I have made it through a few weeks of running, and I’ve skipped far fewer runs than I thought I would, I decided it’s time to take this seriously. So this week, I bought a proper pair of running shoes. What a difference!

I had been running in cross-trainers. All my life I thought that cross-trainers were built to do everything (hence the name cross-trainers) so that’s the only kind of athletic shoes I’ve ever bought. As it turns out, I was very wrong.

Cross trainers are built to give your foot side-to-side stability. They’re made for unpredictable movements, to prevent injury. But they are not intended for the long distance repetition of one specific motion. In short, most of my knee pain can probably be blamed on wearing the wrong shoes.

Running shoes don’t bother with the side-to-side support, which allows them to be much lighter. They also have a lot of padding in the heel, since that is the single place where they will get the most use.

Your foot hits the ground completely differently in running shoes than it does in cross-trainers, and it pushes off differently, too. Due to this, my first two days in the new shoes led to terrible calf cramps because I am using muscles I wasn’t previously using. But my legs adjusted quickly.

Now that I’ve got proper running shoes (Adidas Marathon 10, if you must know), not only do my knees not hurt anymore, but I also feel as if I’m using less energy. I don’t get as sore and I recover faster.

Today, I ran 6km (just short of four miles) and did it in approximately 40 minutes. Both the distance and the time are improvements for me, and I can’t help thinking the shoes made the difference.

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