I work with runners every day of my life and I love it. Runners are amazing people with great stories, amazing drive, and lovely personalities. However, runners can also drive me up a wall.
Runners are some of the biggest hypochondriacs I have met in my life. They are very quick to self-diagnose their running ailments and limitations. Hang out on the floor of a running shop for a day and you’ll be amazed at the number of runners who come in saying they have flat feet, fallen arches, broken feet, bad arches, and that they need every ounce of stability they can buy. The amusing thing is that very few of them know what they are saying or if these “conditions” are even issues.
However, I can sympathize with them. The running shoe industry, running shops, and running magazines have done a lovely job at feeding the neurosis of the runner. In college, I suffered a few injuries and thought to myself maybe “motion control” would be the answer. It seemed logical enough at the time, stop the foot from moving, stop injuries. This couldn’t be further from the truth (and luckily I never picked up a pair). Motion control shoes have actually been shown to cause injuries as opposed to preventing them. However, this doesn’t stop people from buying them and running stores from recommending them.
The neurosis is easy to play on and runners are über susceptible to marketing and nonsense. It sounds lovely to have a shoe that provides you with “cushion and support”, yet a lot of shoes that meet that description can cause more harm than good. In addition to shoes, profit margins can further be increased with the sale of insoles and injury prevention devices.
It is tough for the neurotic runner and runners in general to get the truth. There are research studies supporting anything you want them to support, media outlets pulling your attention in every direction, and so-called experts seeking to get you in that “perfect shoe”. At the end of the day, you need to find what works best for you. For me, I go with the simple approach of what feels good and has the least amount of junk in it or attached to it.
My advice for the running hypochondriacs:
1. Stop using WebMD for every tweak.
2. Stop reading Runner’s World.
3. Avoid stores that think an insole is right for every customer.
4. Don’t take your best friend’s advice on shoes.
5. Keep it Simple.
Always in Stride,