How To Choose The Right Running Shoes

How To Choose The Right Running ShoesThe first and most important investment for a new runner should be a pair of proper running shoes. “Proper” does not necessarily mean the latest and top of the line; on the other hand, you probably should avoid the bargain basement brands. And while there are some truly beautiful running shoes out there, neither is this a fashion statement. Choosing the right shoe is important in preventing injuries, which can include anything from blistering and cramping to sprains and shin splints.

“Almost all shoes are good for something,” says Matt Balzer, owner of Reno Running Company, “but it is impossible to say any one particular shoe is good for a (specific) group of people”, whether beginners or seasoned runners.

So how do you know which are the best shoes for you?

Wet Test

You can get part of the story from a test you can perform at home, called the “wet test”. You simply wet the sole of your foot, then step onto a paper shopping bag or other piece of blank, heavy paper, and stand on that leg for a few seconds. Then step back and look down. The shape of the footprint tells a bit about your foot type. If you see around half of your arch region, you have a normal or medium arch. If you see just the ball and heel of your foot, you have a high arch. And if you see almost your entire foot, you have a flat or low arch. This self-diagnostic does give you an idea of the type of shoe you need, but it’s only one clue in the quest for the running shoes meant for you.

Gait AnalysisGait Analysis on Treadmill

The best thing to do is to have a gait analysis. You can can make an appointment with a physician who specializes in sports podiatry. Or, check with your local running specialty store to see if they can perform the evaluation on site. At Reno Running Company, for example, there are two treadmills with high-speed cameras aimed at the feet. The cameras are used to “analyze an individual’s foot strike pattern, along with ankle and foot mobility,” Balzer explained. “We look for the rate of pronation (the natural movement of the foot that occurs during foot landing) to help us fit each customer in the correct category of shoe for their individual needs.”

Following the gait analysis, Balzer and his associates spend time with the customer to find out what type of activity they will be using the shoes for: indoor or outdoor, trail or road, walking or running, etc. Based upon all of this information, they can help the customer choose from several options.

Most major shoe brands carry styles in three basic types:

  • motion control, for runners with low arches
  • stability, for those with normal or medium arched feet
  • cushioned, for those with high arches

It’s a good idea when you try on the shoes to walk – better yet, run – around the store to see how they feel.

The Investment

The cost of a pair of running shoes can be eye-opening. “Running shoes are an expensive investment,” says running coach and trainer Lauren Evans, “but it is well worth it.”
All of the major shoe brands have models that start around $50 and can go up to $150 or more. “The $50 shoe could meet someone’s needs just as well as a $150 shoe,”, said Balzer, but the less expensive shoes can wear out faster and you may be replacing them more often. The general consensus is that most running shoes should be replaced every 300-500 miles, so depending on how much you plan to run, that can mean at least a couple of pairs a year.

And, again, there are some beautiful running shoes out there…so even though a fashion statement isn’t the top priority, it’s not totally out of the realm of possibility!

There are many styles of running shoes to choose from

The First 3 Steps: Committing To Your First 5K

So you’ve decided you want to try running. Your doctor has given you a clean bill of health, and the only thing left to do is commit to the effort.

What? Commit? Other than thinking maybe I should BE committed, what are you talking about?

It’s one thing to promise yourself you’re going to do something new. Here are three steps you can take to solidify your goal and help you follow through:

1. Sign up.

The 5K race (3.1 miles) is the most popular and achievable distance for newbie runners. And there are usually quite a few of them to choose from. Is there one that comes to mind immediately? Do a search online for 5K races in your area.

I had heard for years about a local race called Moms on the Run. It looked like a fun community event and it supported a great cause. So before I could talk myself out of it, I went online, registered and paid for my first 5k. There. I was committed, and now I had three months to get in shape enough to run 3.1 miles.

2. Say it out loud

There are psychological studies showing that if you hear or repeat the same message three times, you will start to believe it. I had made the commitment to myself and to Moms on the Run. But so far, it was still a secret known only to me and the race organizer. I needed to say it out loud. And while that is a scary thought at first, it is a necessary step to help you get out of your own way.

I decided to test it first at the water cooler. My coworkers’ reactions could not have been better. with no sign of judgment or doubt, and in fact a glimmer of respect! So I definitely chose the right people to “reveal” my plans to!

Telling my husband was a tad more difficult – but only because he likes to analyze and is known to point out flaws in an idea, which had been discouraging to me in the past. To his credit, he didn’t do that with this bit of news. I’m not sure he was convinced that I was serious, but he never found any flaws with this goal. Now he is one of my biggest cheerleaders.

When I told my mother, she was surprised. She was familiar with my adolescent lament that P.E. class should be optional, not required; and that forcing students to run around the track was cruel and unusual punishment. So her initial shock was warranted. But, I’m fortunate to have a mom who believed and taught me that I could accomplish anything I set my mind to. As a matter of fact, she did HER first 5K a couple of years later, and now we sign up for races together whenever we can.

3. Start a plan.

Breathe a sigh of relief here; most 5K training plans don’t expect that you’ll start out running. In fact, most encourage walking in the beginning. It’s good to have a training plan that eases you into your distance so you don’t injure yourself. Find a race plan that fits you, your desired pace, and your schedule. Here’s a sample seven-week 5K training plan for beginners. I started out with a Zero to 5k training app on my iPhone; there are plenty of apps out there.

See? This commitment thing really isn’t so bad. Once you’ve taken these three steps, you’ll feel more attuned to your goal and you’ll be well on pace toward your first 5K!

Beginner 5K – 7-Week Training Plan

Congratulations on taking your first step to running a 5k! You can do it!  To get you started, here is a 7-week training plan written by Coach Lauren Evans.* +


The goals of this training plan are to:

  • get you fitter
  • reduce your chance of injury
  • keep it fun!

The main elements of this training plan are:

  • walking (W),
  • jogging (J), and
  • cross-training (XC), including activities such as bicycling, swimming, yoga or strength training, just to name a few.

W = Fast Walk (3.5 + MPH)
J = Jog.

With this plan, do not worry about your pace, just get used to jogging faster than walking pace.  Although it may look complicated at first, you will catch onto the variations in pace. You may also be happy to note that you are not expected to run right away.
*Lauren Evans has been working in the fitness industry since 2009. She has coached 100+ athletes of all ability levels and helped them achieve their goals. She is certified by the American Council on Exercise as a personal trainer and is currently obtaining her Level 3 certification with USA Track & Field, preparing her to coach national/Olympic level athletes.

Lauren and her husband, Ryan, are the owners of Fizio, a locally owned fitness center and athlete recovery lounge located at 400 Mill Street, Reno, NV. For more information about Fizio, please visit or stop by for a free trial day. If you are interested in a personalized plan or have any questions, please contact Lauren. Her email is:
+Please consult with your physician prior to beginning any training plan.

Never Tell Yourself You Can’t


One of the first things women around my age say about my running is some version of “Oh, I could never do that!.” Unless there is a glaring reason why not, my response is, “of course you can, if you want to!”

If you want to do something, never tell yourself you can’t.

I didn’t start running until I was 45. I had quit smoking the year before, after more than 25 years of the habit. When I was a smoker and would see women jogging in my neighborhood, I longed to feel well enough to do that. For all I knew, that kind of physical activity was unreachable. I just didn’t have the energy.

Now as a nonsmoker I did have the energy, and I gradually began to learn that I had the ability to do more than I ever would have imagined.

And I am not the only one to make this kind of discovery.

I have a friend who was critically overweight and had serious health issues well into her mid 50’s. She started exercising, lost over 170 pounds (“a whole person”, she used to joke!) and ran her first 5K race in her early 60’s. A few years after that, I saw her run her first half marathon.

Never tell yourself you can’t.

Author Molly Sheridan was 48 years old when she decided to try running. She was already healthy and active, and the first race she trained for was a full marathon! A few weeks into her training, she suffered a compression fracture of her foot. The doctor told her she was too old to run and essentially ordered her to stop. Not one to give up, she kept training as best she could until her foot healed. She finished that marathon and mailed a copy of her finish line photo to that doctor. Today she is an ultra runner and has run over 45 ultramarathons.

Never tell yourself you can’t. And don’t let anyone else tell you.

Parathletes are competing at Olympic levels in so many sports. It all began with wheelchair races. Now, medical knowledge and technology are ever advancing to allow athletes to participate and compete in ways unheard of decades ago.

These athletes are clearly not telling themselves they can’t do it. They are overcoming greater challenges.

I see more and more stories on social media and in the news, of senior citizens in their 70’s, 80’s and 90’s running marathons and half marathons. I joke that if I’m still running when I’m 90, that’s when I’ll do a full marathon! Clearly, these seniors aren’t telling themselves they can’t do it. They’re just doing it!

Never tell yourself you can’t.

There have been so any times I’ve doubted myself even as I was running. “What are you doing?, I ask. “Why are you even trying to do this? Aren’t you a little old…?”

The trick is not to allow those thoughts any voice. The proof is in the action. In spite of the nagging in my head, I finish races. I’m a runner. Clearly I CAN do it, because I AM doing it!

Get out of your own way. Find these stories. Look around you at the people who are doing it. Let them inspire you.

Never tell yourself you can’t.

Here Comes the Sun: Five Tips for Surviving Daylight Saving Time

by Shelley EnglishHere Comes the Sun

The saying goes that time waits for no one, and at no time of year is this truer than at Daylight Saving Time. You wouldn’t think that one hour of lost sleep would make that much of a difference. But for many of us, the “spring forward” seems more like a vault!

Here are some tips for a smooth transition into the time change, shared by sleep experts at Loyola University and WebMD.

1. During the week before the change, go to bed and wake up 10 to 15 minutes earlier each day. And get outside in the morning. Exposing yourself to sunlight as early as you can will help reset your internal body clock. Early morning is my favorite time to run; there really is something about being out there before the rest of the world (or so it feels). Starting the day out with a brisk walk in fresh air and seeing the sun rise is an awesome way to start the day.

2. This is the perfect time to start exercising. Any kind of exercise can help you sleep better. Before I started running, I took Zumba classes at my gym. The classes were early in the evening – right after work, in fact – and I always came home exhausted and hungry. In the beginning, it was a toss-up between eating and going to bed! Needless to say, I started going to bed earlier and sleeping much better. So if you’ve been considering trying a new exercise regimen, now may be a good time to start. One caveat, though; exercise can also be a stimulant, so if you often have trouble sleeping, don’t exercise close to bedtime.

3. Speaking of stimulants, avoid caffeine, alcohol and tobacco for 4-6 hours before bedtime, as they can interfere with sleep. Indigestion caused by food that is fatty or spicy, or by having too much in your stomach, can also contribute to sleeplessness. Some light carbohydrates and a glass of milk early in the evening are easy to digest and shouldn’t interfere with sleep. I try to stick to water beginning a couple of hours before bedtime…although I’ve learned the hard way to keep liquids in moderation before going to bed, so I’m not up again frequently throughout the night!

4. Relax before going to bed. Worry and stress can cause insomnia – even stress produced by a overstimulating television show. A few of my favorite TV shows are a tad suspenseful and just happen to be a little too close to my bedtime; so I set the DVR and enjoy a good book or a long bath instead. I can always catch up on the recorded shows later in the week. If anxiety is related to situations you might face the following day at work, it may help to write out a schedule for the following day, or journal about your concerns – then let them go before your head hits the pillow.

5. Avoid napping the Saturday before the time change. But if you find yourself dragging afterward, take an early afternoon nap of 20-30 minutes. Sometimes just a 15-20 minute nap during my lunch break breathes new life into the rest of my afternoon and evening. It is also helpful to keep up the routine of going to bed a bit earlier.

The internal clock will eventually adjust, and soon the lost hour will be forgotten…that is, until it comes “back” in November!

What are some ways you have handled the transition to Daylight Saving Time? Please share your comments.

Safety Tips for Running

Fizio Reno recently hosted a clinic for runners concerning safety on the roads and on the trails.

Sparks Police officer Eric Marconato and Fizio owner Ryan Evans demonstrate self-defense tactics for runners

In 10 years as a Sparks police officer, Eric Marconato has served on SWAT, worked undercover, and also serves on the FBI Innocence Lost Task Force. While he acknowledged the information he shared with us was common sense and not “all that groundbreaking”, his experience provided valuable insight for Reno/Sparks runners.

Staying safe

Run in numbers. “Numbers totally change the picture”, Marconato said. Most attackers are looking for an “easy pick”, and are less likely to pick you if you are with a group. One member of the audience relayed an incident where a group of friends was running along the river, and one of the woman was running several feet ahead of the group. An attacker attempted to go after the woman, but was scared off as the rest of the group approached.

Run during daylight hours. “It’s definitely safer… you can see more of what is going on around you, and there are more people out during daylight hours.” However, if you must run after dark, don’t skimp on lights and reflective gear. Run against traffic, and stay out of the street.

Stick to the planned route and avoid secluded areas. Alleys are probably not the best places to run.

Know your route and know your neighborhood. Marconato cited a popular Reno running path with tall willows on each side of it, an area familiar to most of the runners in the audience. To our surprise, he then described a community of men who frequent the area beyond the willows and solicit sexual favors. Marconato assured us that they likely are not violent predators, but they are out there. The anecdote illustrates that runners should always remain on alert.

Be vigilant. Run without earbuds, or with just one, so you can hear what’s going on around you. “If you hear a rustle in the bushes, don’t ignore it. Look back at it. It might be a raccoon, it might be the wind, or it might be somebody after you, and if you have that little of a jump on them, it’s going to help you.”

Look up. “Some people run with their head down, not looking where they’re going.” Scan the horizon, just as we were taught when we were learning to drive; ”don’t just look at the car in front of you, look ahead so you see a bigger picture. That will give you a reaction time.”

How about weapons?

Weapons are an option, Marconato said, but they can be cumbersome, and they require a level of responsibility and a commitment to use. There is always the chance a weapon will be taken away from you by an assailant in which case, Marconato said, you are not necessarily worse off than you would have been.

If you are attacked:

Scream loud, and “be obnoxious about it. You want to make a big deal so you get attention.” Marconato suggested yelling “help” or “stop” and repeating it loudly to ensure you will draw attention to yourself.

Defend yourself. As Marconato memorably stated, “go for eyeballs and balls”. Cause damage:  pull hair, scratch, claw, and leave marks. Remember: if they assault you, they probably have assaulted or will assault others. Scratching leaves noticeable marks, and also leaves DNA under your fingernails.

Report it. Don’t be embarrassed. Get the facts out there. Remember it’s not just you. Don’t wash or change clothes, as that would wash away any evidence. “Call the police, then go straight to them.”

Self Defense

In addition to his law enforcement experience, Marconato teaches defensive tactics and hands-on combat, and demonstrated some basic tactics to the group of runners. He is an instructor in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and recommends the martial art for those who seek instruction in self-defense.


Have you had any uncomfortable encounters while running? Please share your experience.

Virtually Running

by Shelley English

I’m betraying my age here – but when I first heard the term ‘virtual racing”, I immediately thought of the introduction of the concept of virtual reality in 80’s Arnold Schwarzenegger movies. However, virtual racing has nothing to do with “virtual reality”…you really are doing the running, but you are doing it at your own chosen time and place.

The Resolution Run 5k Virtual Race – a New Year’s tradition

Virtual racing is becoming quite a trend. There are a growing number of companies who offer virtual races; such as Will Run for Bling, Gone For a Run, Virtual Strides, and Virtual Run Events, just to name a few. Most of them offer really fun themes and cool medals, which of course is part of the attraction! But there are many reasons to do virtual running, other than the hardware!

The next best thing to being there

My first experience with virtual racing happened a few years ago when I had registered for a local race series. The final race in the series was postponed due to fire in the area. They rescheduled for a date on which I had a prior commitment, but offered the virtual option for those in the same predicament. I just had to run the distance and submit proof of the run via “Map My Run”. A friend and I ran the virtual  race the same day as the live one, but at a different location. I emailed the proof to the race coordinator. By the end of the week, my series medal and shirt arrived in the mail.

It seems more of the larger races are offering a virtual option.  I’m very excited that the Giant Race series is offering the virtual option this year. The series includes four races in different locations between March and September, culminating with the race in San Francisco and offering “sweep” medals for running two, three or all of them. Doing all four of the races in person is not an option for me this year, but doing a couple of them virtually certainly is!

Hold Myself Accountable (and get bling for my effort!)

It’s not always easy to get out there and do the miles; let’s face it, sometimes the medal is a carrot! I’m currently participating in a couple of Virtual Race challenges; one is the 200 Mile Winter Challenge which runs from mid-December to mid-March; and the other is a team challenge with 3 friends, to run a combined 2,017 miles this year. Both challenges are keeping me accountable and getting me out there to at least meet a minimum mileage goal per week.

I’m currently training for a half marathon (a “live” one!) that’s about a month away. These challenges are helping me to get my miles in not only to train for the half but also to meet these concurrent goals. The truth is, the organizations hosting the virtual races are not going to know whether I did the miles or not…but I will know; and in the case of the 2,017 miles, so will my team.

Challenging Others

It’s a great way to challenge friends and family in different locations. My mom – who lives in the Bay area – and I are both doing many of the Giant Race series separately, gearing up for the big one later in the year where we will meet up and both collect our “sweep” medals at the end.

No crowds

Although to me, the crowds add to the race day excitement, some people don’t enjoy being in the midst of a large group. So Virtual Racing is an option for introverted runners.

Support great causes

Most of the virtual races donate a portion of the proceeds to charity. It’s a good way to support lots of different causes doing something you’d be doing anyway.

For the person who has everything

You know your sister likes to run and collect medals, but you may not know her schedule.  The virtual race offers a fantastic gift option. It’s unique, and not likely to be exchanged!

These are just a few of the reasons virtual races are a great option for runners. What has your experience with virtual racing been like?

Fitbit Ionic