Best foot forward - getting the right trainers

Since my back's buggered so there's no running on the cards in the near future, I thought I'd spend some time sharing a few thoughts I'm hoping to take on board for the 09 race.

If there's one thing running the London Marathon teaches you, beyond the fact a leg shouldn't hurt that much, it's that pretty much anyone can do it.

Old, young, whatever. All you need is time to prepare, and stuff to wear.

Yes the preparation is a pain in the ass, but the kit you need to get round is pretty straightforward – t-shirt, shorts, sock and trainers.

Obviously you add some more layers to this when you're training in January, but that's essentially all the kit you need to run 26.2 miles.

The most important, and - rightly - the most expensive, item you need are a decent pair of trainers.

These are trainers in the literal sense - training shoes. None of the playground showing off and taking the piss out of the poor kid whose parents can only afford a pair of cheap knock-off's from the market.

When I started training for the 08 marathon, I had a pair of off-road Reeboks, that were fine for a bit. But I soon realised that off-roading wasn't gonna be ideal training for a 26.2 mile road run. My legs wouldn't be used to the stiffer surface, and my shins would get completely sh***ed.

So, I thought it might be an idea to get some proper running shoes and got myself some Asics 1120's.

These seemed groovy to me, but they're coming to the end of their life, so I'm in the market for another pair.

I've been doing some research using this interweb thing and there seems to be more to trainers than the pretty colours.

There's durability, weight and support for the different ways you run. The first two seem pretty straightforward, but, apparently, not everyone runs with one leg moving in front of the other!

It would seem that how your foot strikes the ground dictates the type of trainer you need. It depends if you over-pronate, supinate (under-pronate) or are a neutral runner.

Now I recognise some of the words in that last sentence, but I'll be honest, there's some new ones in there for me. I like to think I'm a pretty fair-minded chap, and not likely to declare war on anyone, so my gut tells me I'm neutral. Sort of like a more fun Switzerland – I do like Toblerones, but cuckoo clocks get on my tits.

Sadly, according to people who know stuff about running, that's not the right kind of test.

To find out what kind you are, the best way is to go to a proper running shop and get tested by the staff there who will tell you the right type for you. Sadly, I don't live near a proper running shop, and when I mentioned pronation in JD sports, the girl said she'd heard his stuff, but liked those fellas on X-factor better.

So, the DIY test involves:

  1. Looking at your current trainers and seeing where on the sole has worn down most
  2. Stepping with a wet foot onto a clean surface and looking at the impression your foot makes. has a good guide to what you're looking for, and according to this, I'm an supinator.

Upon further investigation, this means I trained for hundreds of miles, and ran/hobbled around the last marathon exactly the wrong trainers.

This may explain the blisters and severe pain.

So, I've bought a cheapy pair of neutral cushioned
Asics to keep me going, but come the new year I'll be in the market for something like the Nimbus range. Ideally they'll have a new model out so the older one, which still works, will be massively cheaper as they're not exactly cheap when compared to food etc.

I'll also probably need to get a couple of pairs as with five and a bit months to go, I don't want to have them fall apart the week before the race, and have to run it in brand-spankers.

So, if you're a rich person who wants to make a benevolent gesture, or work for a sports company who want to give stuff away – email me!


  1. "If there's one thing running the London Marathon teaches you, beyond the fact a leg shouldn't hurt that much, it's that pretty much anyone can do it."

    This is so true! As evidenced by my being overtaken (aged 20) by that Sikh bloke in loincloth and turban (aged 93) last time I ran the FLM!

    Here's hoping the trainers will make a lot of difference and you'll have a great race :)

  2. Thanks Beki. Don't think he got me last year, but will keep 'em peeled for him this time!