When I wrote my most recent fitness related article, 12 tips for getting into shape after the Holidays, I wasn’t really sure how much interest it would generate. I was surprised to see that the article not only got quite a few views but I also received additional positive feedback via the comment section and personal email. The way I see it fitness is very much part of any well rounded prepper strategy, I even included it as one of the tenets on the Prepper Pyramid. Thankfully based on your feedback many of you also recognize the importance of fitness. I mean let’s be honest, all the cool guy gear in the world combined with all of the survival skills of the Les Stroud really won’t be of much help to someone (after SHTF) who is 200lbs overweight and can’t run around the block without choking up a lung…but I digress.
Humor aside, if you just started to work out after the new year hopefully you are sticking with it and feeling great about yourself. I thought to write about the importance of running shoes because quite often this topic is overlooked by many who are new to (or just getting back into) the fitness mindset. To put it quite simply, you must have proper running shoes which fit your feet in order to facilitate your cardiovascular training program. Not wearing proper shoes (poorly fitting, cheap, not meant for running) could result in injury or just make your workouts more difficult than they should be. Here are some tips when considering what running shoes are right for you.
Fit is everything. Personally I wear Asics, and believe me when I say I’ve tried almost every other brand out there (Nike, Adidas, Saucony, Reebok, New Balance et al). Nothing fits my foot as well as the Asics do and so I stick with them. Try to make your way to a real running store, not a massive retail outlet with a shoe section, but a real running store where professionals will measure your feet, check your arches, watch you walk and run so that they can help you choose what is best for your foot. This is not about what shoe matches your workout outfit, not what shoe is being advertised by the latest sports star, but the shoe that fits your foot the best.
Cost does play a role. I guess this is the part where I write about getting what you pay for, and that does apply here. Would you put generic tires which run 1/4 the cost of proper tires on your vehicle? Of course not! Likewise I would hope that if you plan on pounding the pavement and putting in the miles you would choose not to shod your feet with $10 discount store shoes which would probably be only slightly better than running barefoot over hot coals. You don’t have to fork over $150 for proper shoes but be wary of no name brands that look and feel stiff/heavy. If you want to save some money quite often retailers put last year’s models on the discount rack, I’ve gotten substantial discounts (up to 50% sometimes) by looking there.
Wear out factor. This is super important! I typically use my shoes for 6 months after which they are relegated to yard duty. You might think this is a bit extreme but it is not. Of course if you run marathons you will change your shoes more often, or if you only run 2 miles a week you might be able to make your shoes last a year. The important thing to note is that your shoes must be able to provide the level of comfort and support that you need when working out. If you are working out like you should the shoes will take quite a bit of abuse and over time they will need to be replaced. Here a few pics which I recently snapped of my running shoes, the black ones are 6 months old and the blue/gray ones are brand new. What you cannot see is just how different these two shoes feel. I paid $150 for the black ones 6 months ago, but today they feel like beach sandals compared to the blue/gray ones I just paid $90 for, the difference between the two when worn is unbelievable.
The bottom line. Find some quality shoes that fit your feet, when it becomes time to replace them do so without hesitation. Of course all of this becomes moot if you don’t train so make sure to include that essential part of the equation so that if or when T-SHTF your fitness level will not be a limiting factor which will impact your ability to survive.
Bonus tip. Truth be told I hate to run, as a matter of fact I would say that I despise it. I do it anyways because I know that it is beneficial to my body but that does not mean that I don’t mix it up quite frequently. If you find yourself getting into a rut mix up your cardio routine so that you stay interested. Instead of running do some circuit training, ride your bike outside, take a spinning class, walk on the stair machine at the gym (harder than you think), take a zumba class. Two days ago instead of running I did “the murph“, a workout named for Medal of Honor recipient Lt Michael Murphy. The workout consists of a 1 mile run, 300 squats, 200 pushups, 100 pullups, and then another 1 mile run. Mixing it up helps to keep things interesting.