Running Shoe Fitting

(Disclaimer – I went shopping for a new running shoe all on my own. I was so impressed with the experience that I wanted to share it here. All opinions are my own.) (This post may contain affiliate links.)

When I started running seven years ago, I knew nothing about the gear and importance of a good running shoe. My only thought was that I needed athletic shoes. Due to my recent CrossFit injury, I started seeing a chiropractor and it’s become clear that because everything is connected, good shoes are a must.

Running Shoe Fitting at Fleet Feet Sports Pittsburgh

Why it took me seven years and 3 weeks into training for my third half marathon is a mystery to me; however, I am so thankful that Fleet Feet Sports (in Pittsburgh’s South Hills) offers running shoe fittings. As far as I know, these are a free service from their store – as you’ll soon see, I was immediately hooked on a pair and bought them (so maybe it is rolled into the price?).

After the Half Marathon Kickoff Training Run, I went to Fleet Feet and met Brad. He took me to a bench and starting taking a listen to my concerns in finding a good running shoe. We talked about my history with running, my goals for this year’s half, my chiropractic care, and what I’d done shoe-wise to this point. I was wearing basic athletic shoes from Under Armour, and while they weren’t bad, they weren’t great for what I was putting my body through.

Your feet take on 3-5 times your body weight with each running step, Brad told me. Insane to think about – making it clear that it is so important to have a good running shoe.

After we chatted, he went through the next steps of Fleet Feet’s Fit Process and watched me walk barefoot. Pittsburgh’s Fleet Feet store has the Fit Id, so I stood on the machine which took images of my foot and confirmed things that Brad noticed while doing his initial analysis. We found out my feet are two different sizes (like most people) and that I’d been wearing the right shoe size (a 10, which gives me some space for running motion). My arches are high enough that he recommended an insert and my heels are just a wee bit wide, but for the most part, my feet are pretty normal (or “neutral” in shoe terms).

Picking my Running Shoe

That doesn’t mean Brad was able to pull just any pair of shoes off the shelf. Because I had no brand preference (hey, newbie), he took control and went to the back. The one thing he did ask was whether I had any color preference. When Brad returned, he had three pairs of running shoes for me to try on as well as a running sock.

Did you know that running socks are fit for your left and right feet? My mind was blown.

First, I tried the New Balance 880v7. It felt supportive but cushiony and really cradled my feet. Next up were Saucony’s from the ISO series – I want to say the Freedom ISO. These were SO cushiony I felt like I was on a cloud and could propel myself right across that finish line with no issues. Heavenly. Last I tried Hoka One One and was also pleasantly surprised with the comfort. It came down to the Saucony’s and New Balance and after the fall in week 3, I decided I needed the stability of the New Balance (although I loved all three).

The Final Details

Before I could check out, Brad measured my foot for an insert. This will last me through two running shoes, so probably next summer I’ll go for another. He cut it down to size right there in the store so I was sure it fit my shoe. Such a win!

I picked a pretty pair of Balega running socks and headed to meet Brad at checkout. I was seriously wowed by the service at Fleet Feet and with my purchase. Honestly, I wanted to switch out of my “old” shoes (only worn for three runs at that point) and go for another run, but with almost 16,000 steps in the day already, I knew better. My shoes would need to wait to make their debut until Monday (and that they did).

Was there some sticker shock? Nope. I knew coming into this I’d be spending a good amount of money. The price is totally worth it – these are going to last me through the Half (about 200 miles of training and race) and this fall’s 10-miler (about another 200) plus random training in the summer. In the past, I’ve spent $50-75 a few times a year on shoes that “just worked”!

If you are in Pittsburgh and part of our running scene, I highly suggest you check out Fleet Feet. If you just love running, do yourself the favor I should have seven years ago and get yourself a good pair of running shoes now.

Note – as we started our conversation, I also chatted with Brad about compression socks that I received as a 10-miler participant, more to come on that in another post!

Marathon Monday: Week 4 of 16

While most people who are training for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon are starting today with 12-week plans, I am so happy that I got an early start and am four weeks in. There is nothing wrong with starting now (in fact, I didn’t start until after this for my first Half – and I’d never done an actual 5k at that point!). For me, these four weeks have been helpful in baselining and dreaming of that PR. Read on to hear about my Half Marathon Training, Week 4! // This post may contain affiliate links.

If you’d like to read more about my previous experiences, check them out here!

Marathon Monday: Week 4 of 16 (Half Marathon Training)

This weather. Can it please make up its mind? I am hearing 50’s next week (week 6), but I am not sure I believe it. This week was all about adjusting and going with the flow of what the week brought. Golly.

Monday 2/5: Unintentional rest day. There was ice. Enough said.

Tuesday 2/6: 3 miles (12’06”) – This run was my first run in my New Balance 880v7’s. It felt incredible, but I found myself still being cautious. Ice. Sidewalk bumps. Feeling all things new in the shoes. I am pretty darn pleased with it and my shoes!

Wednesday 2/7: CrossFit – We got 5 or so inches of snow dumped on us, so a lot was cancelled. The commute. The Bigs’ school. Church. It was like I wasn’t supposed to do back to back runs, so instead I got to be part of Clint’s 37th Birthday WOD. Although I scaled it, I got my speed work in – 400’s at 10:00/mile and 9:13/mile where the others rowed. Boom!

Thursday 2/8: 2 miles (12’21”) – Have I mentioned I am over the snow? I decided to run a bit on Railroad Street which at lunchtime was super busy, so I headed to the Railroad Building and ran in the front of the warehouse back and forth twice. It worked, because it wasn’t snowy or windy. Running back to the office was frigid!

Friday 2/9: Rest and Chiro – I am healing, but still not 100%.

Saturday 2/10: 2.56 miles (12′ 12″) + 2.68 recumbent bike – If there is one thing I hate more than snow, it is the treadmill. Unfortunately, I was supposed to do four but when I saw ice all over the sidewalks + rain + cold, off to the Y I went. I couldn’t stay focused, even though I was listening to Peak Performance. At 2, I thought I should quit because my collarbone hurt so bad. I walked a 1/4 mile then got on the bike. My brain still wouldn’t shut off that I needed to do four, so back to the dreadmill I went. Another 1/4 mile and it was clear I didn’t need to be on it. My feet and body kept moving and that’s what’s important. I left the Y thinking #iwouldratherbelifting. Sigh.

Never fear, I am still 100% in it to do this thing. Sometimes I struggle, and that’s normal. If running a Half was easy, everyone would do it, right?

Follow me on Instagram to see how this week goes!

February totals: 11.07 miles, 12’00” pace
January totals: 20.63 miles, 12’40” pace
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Marathon Monday: Week 3 of 16

So excited to tell you about this week of training for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon. This was week three, and if it proved anything to me, it was that this run is going to be a true redemption run. Read on to hear about my Half Marathon Training, Week 3! // This post may contain affiliate links.

If you’d like to read more about my previous experiences, check them out here!

Marathon Monday: Week 3 of 16 (Half Marathon Training)

It was another week of feeling good and inspired. The weather wasn’t awful, but it was cold. It was a pretty trying week for me, however.

Monday 1/29: 3 miles (11’52”) – Oh boy. This run was going so well. Mile 1 finished at 11’20”. It was a whole minute faster than the average of my last seven runs. I felt amazing and thought this was going to be the run that would change things for me.  Well, it did, even if it wasn’t in the way I hoped.

Imagine the way you’d feel if you peeked at your watch and you were set to run your fastest 5k since starting your wellness journey over. You’d feel amazing, right? I bet you’d dig in and find a way to hustle, right? Well, that’s what I did. The training plan called for a 3-mile run. At three, I dug in to add .1 mile and at a fast speed. The problem? I literally dug in. My left foot, in BRAND NEW SHOES, tucked oh-so-nicely into a bit of cracked Liberty Avenue sidewalk and down I went. There was nothing slow about it, but somehow I guarded my right shoulder and took the brunt of the fall on my right knee. My pace above includes about 30 seconds of me crying out to Jesus that this wouldn’t end my running journey.

Both of my knees have war wounds- bruises in a block shape about 3-by 4 inches and both will scar. The left is pretty much scabbed up, but as of writing this, the right is wide open and raw. (I quickly became friends with these wound covers.) It is sort of refusing to heal, but maybe it’s because I am refusing to rest it. I took Tuesday off running and then…

Tuesday 1/30: Rest. I was one with the couch, no shame.

Wednesday 2/1: 2 miles (12’33”) – As crappy as my knees felt, I wanted to get out there and try again. So I laced up the shoes (which have now been retired for CrossFit only – more to come on that) and hit the same path on Liberty Avenue again. This time, I didn’t fall. There was a decent amount of ice out there, so I was a bit cautious. I only wished I’d worn my knee sleeves because I could feel the fight between new skin and wound and muscles that hadn’t gotten quite enough rest. Ouch.

Thursday 2/2: Rest – Greg took one look at my right knee and said no. I napped!

Friday 2/2: Rest and Chiro – It was my 4-week eval, and while I don’t know the results, I feel so much better than I did that first visit.

Saturday 2/3: 3.52 miles (11′ 58″) – I woke up and headed out to the UPMC Sports Medicine Complex on the South Side for the official Half Marathon Training Kickoff Run (basically, if you’re doing this thing, you should be in training now!). The sponsors brought in Steel City Road Runners coaches to pace 3, 5, 7, and 9-mile courses. I joined up with the 12:00 pace group and took the 3-mile option (looping the parking lot and a quick up the trail to grab another half mile and meet my training plan goal).

I’ve never run with a pace group before. My mind was always like, “I’ll hold them back” or “they’ll hold me back”. This time, it was exactly what I needed. The pace ranged from 11:45-12:15 and we were running at a run and talk pace. It felt incredible to be supported by others doing this thing who have similar goals as me. I didn’t think about the hills or the cold, and when we hit that three-mile mark, I was wowed.

When I was done, I took in a deep stretch (so cool to do so on the indoor training center for the Steelers) and had some moments of feeling grateful for this journey. I might have obsessed with running thoughts the rest of the day.

Follow me on Instagram to see how this week goes! Love running? Make sure you enter this giveaway, too!

February totals: 3.52 miles, 11’59” pace
January totals: 20.63 miles, 12’40” pace
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Inspired Endurance: A Running Jewelry Giveaway

While I don’t wear much jewelry, I have several go to pieces that have meaning. For example, I have a few birthstone charms, a bangle with my saying with Greg (“it is what it is”), and of course a few pieces of running jewelry. That’s why I am excited to partner up with Mom Blog Society to bring you their latest giveaway – with a running theme!

Inspired Endurance: A Running Jewelry Giveaway

Welcome to the Inspired Endurance Necklace and Tank Giveaway! This giveaway is hosted by Mom Blog Society and sponsored by Inspired Endurance, a running jewelry coming. One winner will receive a tank (in their choice of size) and this running necklace. The total ARV of the tank and necklace together are $100.

If you would like to read the review you can do so here.

This giveaway will go from 2.2-15 11:59pm est
You must be 18 years or older to enter and a resident of the US.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure:
We reserve the right to make revisions, to cancel, or suspend this contest for any reason. We are not associated with any of the companies named above. The odds of winning are based on the number of entries received Open to the US 18+ only. Confirmed Winner(s) (by Random.org) will be contacted by email. Winner(s) have 24 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. The sponsor(s) will be responsible for product shipment to winner(s) of this giveaway. Mom Blog Society (and any other blog participating) is not responsible for product shipment/delivery. This event is in no way administered, sponsored, or endorsed by, or associated with, Facebook and/or Twitter, Google, Pinterest. This disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements. Entrants must only enter with either one email address, IP address and/or Facebook account, anyone found violating these rules will be disqualified. It is at the sole discretion of the admin of the giveaway if the winner has met the rules or not.

Marathon Monday: Week 2 of 16

Week 2 of my 16-week Marathon Monday series brings a new addition – my *official* logo for the series! // This post may contain affiliate links.

If you’d like to read more about my previous experiences, check them out here!

Marathon Monday: Week 2 of 16

This week I started out incredibly motivated. We started a 10-week Weight Loss Challenge at work and it was the start of our Sales Kick-off. Required reading was “The Slight Edge“, which made me realize the dedication and drive that training for a Half Marathon brings to my life.  I won’t tell you all of it *yet* because I have a lot more to say (stay tuned).  Did it end as well? Read on to see!

Monday 1/22: 2 miles (12’42”) – This was a warm one, somewhere in the 50’s! I ran through the Strip District between SKO and our evening event at LumberJaxes. I wasn’t pressed for time, I actually had lots, but I had stood up in front of about 30 co-workers and told them my goals for the Half (a 12:12 pace). I had to do work. My first mile was just that, but as I started the 2nd, I started to feel a bit of a shin splint (I needed to bring out my new shoes), so backed off a little and just enjoyed the sun.

What shoes do you wear to run? Mine are currently Under Armour Women’s Speed Swift 2‘s (which I bought at Kohl’s, but as you can see can be bought on Amazon). I was fitted for them in 2014 and probably need to get a new fitting. But these are so comfy! 

Tuesday 1/23: Stretch. I took a .5 mile brisk walk in the cold and met a former co-worker who is also running the Half. I also did some stretching in the evening because I sat so much.

Wednesday 1/24: 2 miles (12’08”) – Oh, buddy. This run felt AMAZING. It was just about 30 degrees and at 6:00 AM. Light snow was falling through the Strip District as I ran down Penn Avenue then halfway across 31st Street Bridge (my nemesis). That pace, yo. I was motivated.

Clint & Me after the WOD

Thursday 1/25: Crossfit (scaled way back) – It was leg day, but I scaled with my pvc pipe and turned the WOD into something that worked for me. I did PVC pipe Deadlifts and Front Squats then more air squats for the Wall Balls. For the HSPU I did sit-ups and for the row I ran on the treadmill. My splits for those calories were amazing – the speed work I need to hit my 12:12 goal (or crush it) – 10:54 (34 cal), 10:00  (21 cal), 9:31 (13 cal).

Friday 1/26: Rest and Chiro – because this is important!

Saturday 1/27: 3 miles (12’41”) – This one felt so good. It was my first long run since November and truly felt right. The weather was nice and in the 40s, there may even have been a light fog on the Armstrong Trail. My shoulder hurt after, but I think that was due to the discovery of a knot just under my collarbone on Friday. Feeling like my goal is in reach!

So yes, the week ended on the same foot as it started. I am pretty proud of my progress so far and feel more like 2014 me than I have since then. Just wait until I share what happens in week three, though. Or, follow me on Instagram for a sneak peek…

January totals: 18.63 miles, 12’41” pace

Marathon Monday: Week 1 of 16

Ah! My favorite time of year is here – training season for the Pittsburgh Marathon weekend! My event is the Half Marathon and this will be my third time running it. I plan to bring you my training story over the next 16 weeks through this Marathon Monday series.

If you’d like to read more about my previous experiences, check them out here!

Marathon Monday: Week 1 of 16

Monday 1/15: 2 miles (12’36”) – This was a cold one, 7 degrees! I ran through the Strip District on my lunch hour and basically just tried to stay warm.

Tuesday 1/16: Ab Workout – I can’t believe how much my ab workout flexed my back. Ouch.

Wednesday 1/17: 2 miles (12’56”) – Slowed this one WAY down due to the snow we got. Another Strip District run to the 16th Street Bridge.

Thursday 1/18: Crossfit (scaled way back) – I’m missing my fitfam, so I went to the WOD but really scaled it. No weights, just a thick PVC pipe and some light movements / 6 200m runs. (I am under chiropractor care for issues with three of my vertebrae.)

Saturday 1/20: 2 miles (13’25”) – Eek. Snow wasn’t melted, but it was almost 50! I spent much of this run through Kittanning dodging ice.

Are you participating in 10 Years Running? What event(s) are you doing?