Running Gear – What I use and some advise


Last Updated on: 11th September 2013

When I initially wrote this page I thought it would be pretty static, I was wrong, I have come back to update it quite often. Unfortunately I didn’t date stamp my updates. From now forwards (11th Sept 2013) I will date stamp all updates.

Shoes

11th Sep’13: In July 2012 about 2 months before the Hyderabad Marathon (AHM) I really racked up the miles on my Free 3.0 V2 doing several 275-325km months even during the hot summers. It was time to change shoes. This time I decided to invest in a pair of Free 4.0 instead of the usual Free 3.0 as a compromise between low profile and some additional cushioning. The Free 4.0 V2 has done well racking up 1550km and still going pretty strong.

I am a sucker for deals, in Sept 2012 I got a fantastic deal from Myntra on a Free 3.0 V4 and bought a pair. This shoe has seen very little use since I want to preserve it for races, tempo runs and speed workouts.

Heard a lot about the Saucony brand, especially the Kinvara, which unfortunately is not available in India. Then saw and got feedback from a fellow runner (Noel) on the Kinvara 3 and decided that I too wanted a pair. This summer (2013) I had a holiday planned for the USA and immediately went to runningwarehouse.com and ordered a pair of Kinvara 3.0 (yet another fantastic deal) to be shipped to my sister who lives in North Carolina. I just love this shoe.

So how does my shoe collection look like at the moment:

– I just gave away my 5-year-old Adidas Supernova (Pre-2009) “monsters” ! Even walking in them would make my legs ache 🙂
– A Black Nike Free 5.0 V4 (June 2010) – which I use for everything but running and with suits these days. It just goes on and on
– A Grey Nike Lunarglide Plus (June 2010) – it’s still in great shape but don’t use it at all. Probably time to give them away too
– A Light grey & red Vibram Bikilas (Oct 2011) are still at the back of the cupboard with a couple of minor holes developing. Want to see if I can do ADHM 2013 in them. Haven’t used them in a while so will need to get back to feeling the ground !
– A Lemon green Nike Free 3.0 V3 (Oct 2011) – this shoe has seen a lot of training and racing action all over India and even in Singapore (estimate is about 1800k distance). The upper structure is in super shape but the sole has craters ! Still lying around for sentimental reasons although I keep convincing myself that they are still good for VO2 Max workouts and maybe even some short races
– A Grey & yellow Nike Free 4.0 V2 (July 2012) – even after 1550km this shoe is in fantastic shape. Prefer to use it these days for recovery runs and sometimes for the weekend long runs
– A Black & grey Nike 3.0 V4 (Sept 2012) – marginally used but should be my racing shoe of choice for up to HMs till middle of 2014
– A Flourescent Blue & black Saucony Kinvara Progrid 3 (June 2013) – but for the fact that I want to conserve these  (currently 250k on the odometer) I would probably use these for all my runs! Right now I use them for my aerobic runs and for most middle and long runs. Waiting for a deal and opportunity to invest in a Kinvara 4

Original: Use two shoes for training. A Nike Free 5.0 and a Nike LunarGlide Plus. There is a reason for why I use two shoes which are fairly different. UPDATE (~May 2012): For the last 9 months I have moved to Nike Free 3.0 and Vibram Bikilas. The Free 3.0 has done 1500km plus and the Bikilas about 600km. Both are still going strong. I will change them only when they completely fall apart (to hell with the people who say change your shoes every 500-750km!).

Personally after years of wearing all sort of crappy pronation support shoes (now in hindsight) about a year back I got a pair of Nike Lunarglide Plus (minimal pronation support) and a pair of minimalist Nike Free 5.0 (very little support, extremely flexible). The reason I did this was because I wanted to move into minimalist footwear (unfortunately no Vibram’s available in India). I am completely flat foot by the way and have suffered from Plantar Fascia injuries almost continuously in the past. Now after 1 year plus of using both these shoes my injuries have just vanished (touch wood)!!

BTW it is unlikely that you will find the Free 5.0 in India (I asked someone to pick-up a pair for me during their US trip), you may find the Nike Free or Free Plus (no “numbers” on this). You should buy a half-size or one size up from the regular Nike size you wear but again the brilliant sales/marketing folks in the India office of Nike have decided not to stock half-sizes in India. The shoe may look odd on your feet to begin with but hopefully you will love them after a couple of runs. Use these shoes without socks or with very thin synthetic socks (see further down for “socks”).

I wouldn’t recommend running all out in Nike Free’s straight away (or for that matter any other minimalist shoe) since that puts too much strain on the foot and calf, make sure to start with short runs of 5km or less. The Lunarglide with some support and a very light weight allowed me to make the transition to the Free. About 4 months after buying my Free’s I was doing 20km plus runs in them. Now my shoe of choice for long runs are the Nike Frees. But I still mix my runs between the two shoes since I think it keeps the feet and me challenged.

With more than a year with these two shoes and about 1000km on each I am now looking at adding a few more – so this time I am going with some more aggressive footwear  – the Nike Free 3.0 (the barest Nike till now) and a Vibram Bikila. I will have these shoes by October (when my sister visits from the USA). My last two shoes were half-size up but this time I have decided to go another half-size up, hopefully it will help with my “black toe-nails” problems. Hope to do the Mumbai Marathon 2012 in the Vibrams !!

Clothing

We have all been brought up on the notion that cotton clothing is good to run in as it will absorb moisture. Worst thing that can ever happen to a runner/athlete is to have clothing which absorbs moisture. Never ever wear cotton clothes for running.

Cannot over emphasize the need for “Technical Clothing”. So many people would run better; faster; un-chaffed and with less exhaustion if they just made the move to technical clothing. What’s technical clothing – special synthetic fibre which allows moisture/sweat to be removed from your body as it builds and keeps you cool and dry. All the major sports goods manufacturers have it. Nike “Dri-Fit”; Reebok – “Play Dry” and Adidas – “ClimaCool” are some examples.

This clothing is marginally more expensive than the cotton clothes but they will last you several years and kilometres of training and running. Buy them during the sale season to get great deals !

Shorts Specifics

No jockeys or cotton/denim shorts please, invest in proper “running shorts”. How do you know they are running shorts? Well most major manufacturers will state the use on the label. Clearly avoid football, basketball shorts if you can. Running shorts will also have a few extras – soft inner so that you don’t need to wear briefs and a few pockets for change, id, keys, etc. If you are lucky you will find a short which also has space to store a small ipod/mp3 payer. I use shorts from Nike and Adidas for training. A specific Nike short is my “short of choice” for long runs and races.

If you don’t find these shorts at least invest in some technical underwear. The folks at www.runningandliving.com sell some excellent technical “briefs”.

Uppers Specifics

I use singlets for running be it summer or winter. The body warms up pretty quickly and anything more than a singlet in our weather is going to overheat you after a few kilometers. Again I have several Nike & Adidas singlets. Again make sure these are “running singlets”. They will say so on the label/price tag.

I also have a few half & full sleeve technical T’s. This is for the real cold Delhi winter runs. I will sometimes wear the full T over a singlet so that I can take it off after a while and tie it around my waist.

You can also do this with a light jacket. But remember the more stuff you start with the more a burden it is later in the run.

Sock Specifics

Again, no cotton socks, please, not even cotton socks from Nike, Adidas, etc. Just use regular synthetic socks or if you want to experiment, buy “technical running socks”. These are quite difficult to find in India. I started using Adidas T-Liners a few years back (which I found at a shop in Noida by chance). This time I picked up an upgraded T-Liner (specifics – T Run Liner2pp) during a trip to Singapore. You will thank me for all the chafes and boils you won’t get on your feet 🙂

I will also have some “five-finger” Injinji socks in October. Watch out for an update on them in November/December 2011.

Medical Stuff

A great accessory to buy is “3M Micropore  Tape” or “Doctors tape”. This is easily available at chemist shops. This sticks easily on skin, does not get detached when wet (or sweaty) and causes minimum pain when you want to finally remove it. What do I use it for? To protect nipple chaffing on the long runs. I tape my nipples in a plus before my long runs. Do this if you have nipple chaffing or bleeding problems and then write me a thank you note later 🙂

Tech Stuff

Earlier I used to use a trusted old Casio digital watch with a stop watch as my standard running tech and Sony Walkman phone as my mp3 player. Till a few months back I was using www.mapmyrun.com to keep a track of all my routes and workouts. About a year back I bought a Samsung Galaxy S Android phone. This phone is equipped with a GPS which I now use exclusively to track and measure all my runs. As part of this I also tested out various online apps and finally settled on Endomondo (www.endomondo.com) because it was fairly accurate and the online community looks strong. My Endomondo app automatically updates my twitter and Facebook accounts (handle “runindiarun” on both) with my running route and stats.

Another app which I use extensively during the “training months” is HIIT for Android, sort of short for “High Intensity Interval Training”. This works great to set-up interval workouts or run-walk cycles. Highly recommend it for any one on interval training.

And of course my Galaxy S is also now my mp3 player. I also invested in a Nike running belt which is very compact but yet large enough for me to stash the phone, gels, keys and other odd items.

Ok. Signing off now. But will be adding to this so check back from time to time.

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  1. Thanks for all your great tips…

  2. Good blog. Whats your take on Adidas Supernova range of shoes? Also are barefoot shoes better than the high end running shoes that Adidas/Nike has?

    • Hi Ravi,
      Thanks for taking the time to read it.
      I have personally used Adidas Supernova2 a few years back because I was flat footed and therefore assumed like many runners that I needed pronation support. These shoes had a medial support for over-pronators. After using Nike Free 5.0 and 3.0 and also occasionally Vibrams, my personal experience has been very very positive. Some of the good things – light weight, more feel of the ground, extremely flexible and actually seem to last much longer then my earlier “high end” shoes. My legs & foot have strengthened because of this and I no longer have some of the issues I constantly suffered from earlier like ITB pain, runners knee and Plantar injuries.
      From a price perspective, minimalist shoes should actually be much cheaper (than the high end cushioned shoes) but in India they are not priced that way. Till now I have bought all my minimalist shoes online and got them to India through visiting relatives – that way they work out to under Rs.3000 a pair.
      Many people use the old Bata Tennis shoes (although the sole may not last very long on tar roads) and I frankly think they should do as well as any other branded minimalist shoe. Suggest you buy a Nike Free 7.0 or 5.0 (both are less aggressive) or maybe the new Reebok Relfex. Use them every 3rd/4th run along with your current shoes, slowly adding milage, till you are comfortable and your legs/feet gain some strength (this could take 8-10 weeks). Your running style will also need to change from heel strike to mid-foot/forefoot strike. Actually you will find this happening on its own because of the structure of minimalist shoes.
      Each runner has to ultimately discover what works for him/her best on their own.
      Good luck for the Mumbai Marathon this weekend and for future runs.
      Cheers
      Sandeep

      • Are you sure about the Reebok Realflex? I have been using them for a couple of months now but I think the heels on them are just too big to be called minimalist shoes. Although I have run a lot in them without much problem or any injury I think I always tend to land my heels first unless I am really conscious because the heel is so big that it always touches the ground first. I spent Rs 5000/- on them but now I feel I will be better off running in the Rs 300/- Bata Tennis shoes,
        Do you have any experience with the Bata tennis shoes?

  3. What are your thoughts on the Reebok Realflex shoes? I bought a pair a couple of months ago but I think they have no right to be called minimalist. Do you think I will be better off with the Bata tennis shoes? I bought a pair yesterday. althought the sole is perfect for minimalist running I think they lack a bit of space towards the front.

    • Hi Saurabh,

      I don’t have personal experience using the Reebok Realflex. However on the face of it they look very much like the Nike Free’s. Most of the minimalist shoes out there talk about minimalism from a few perspectives – one heel drop, which is the difference in height of the heel of the shoe versus the toe, for minimalist shoes the difference is pretty low, however that does not mean that the overall cushioning could not be thick and that maybe the problem with the RealFlex.

      Personally I would also look for two more things, the flexibility of the shoe (can I twist the shoe, can I fold the shoe so that the toe touches the heel) and the actual cushioning (the lesser the more minimalist the shoe is). Nike Free 3.0 (which I now use) meets these conditions well. If you want zero heel-toe drop, extreme flexibility and NIL cushioning you could go with a Vibram or similar shoe/glove.

      I also have been using Vibrams for about 9 months (for runs up to 32kms) and I find that even in these I tend to come down on the heels at time, especially the left foot. So the shoe cannot correct the type of strike you do, however doing forefoot running in traditional cushioned shoes will be pretty tough and if you do heel to toe running in minimalist shoes you will have a “pain in the heel”.

      Unfortunately in India there is no company/store which has a run and return policy or treadmills at the store, so you will only get a quick feel of the shoes at the store. If you have a friend who uses a Nike Free, borrow them for a few runs (even if they are 1 or 2 sizes bigger, if they are smaller then you can’t use them) and see how they feel.

      Coming to the Bata Tennis shoes, they meet all three of the minimalist shoe criteria and I too have toyed with the idea of using a pair once just to see they will hold-up. However a few things which have kept me back – too narrow (like you pointed out) especially the toe box. I am also concerned about how long it will last on a tar road (although at Rs.300 that would be irrelevant). Maybe I will buy a pair just to test things out.

      Best
      Sandeep

  4. Hey, nice blog! I’m a reporter for Right Choice magazine and I’m writing an article on ‘Are padded shoes essential for jogging if you have flat feet?’ I just want your comments on this query. Can you please get in touch with me Thanks.

  5. Hi, Thanks for a great blog.
    Very helpful.
    I am relatively new runner having been seriously running for 5- 6 months and 2 half marathons.
    Have you ever used Asics shoes? Are they worth the price ? I am now using an absolutely useless Reebok zigtech shoes. Very easy to twist your ankle in these shoes if you have broad feet.
    I try to tread lightly and hit the midfoot, I doubt I succeed always, specially if I am tired ( technique goes to pieces). I was planning to buy Asics if they are good, but based on my research they appear to be extremely padded.
    Will appreciate your advice. Thanks.

    • Hi Arabind,

      I personally moved away from super-shodded shoes some years back. I also tried the other side of the spectrum of using Vibrams but I felt that with all my road running I still wanted some more protection. My shoe of choice now is the Nike Free 4.0 and 3.0 which is a greater compromise between fully barefoot and shodded shoes.

      As far as the Zig is concerned it’s a complete overkill and just marketing hyperbole to attract newer runners. To be that high in an unstable shoe (with springs) is to me an invitation for injury.

      I have never used Asics. But here is what I would suggest in case you want to use them – forget about pronation and buy a neutral shoe with the minimum heel to toe drop and the least weight in the Asic range and another pair which is 2nd/3rd on the same parameters start with the second pair and then slowly transition to the more minimal shoe. Doing this using the Nike Free range is easier because you can start with the Nike Free 5.0 and then over a year transition to the 4.0 or even the 3.0 (the lower the number the more “barefoot” or “minimilist” the shoe would be).

      Hope this helps. Do write back with the shoe choice you make and your experiences running in them.

      Cheers
      Sandeep

  6. HI Sandeep,
    Thank you for taking the trouble to help me with the advice. Really appreciate it. I think I will go with Nike.
    Will get back on how it goes.

  7. Just came back here to tell that I have now moved on to Adidas Adipure toe shoes. Must say that I am really impressed with them. The sole is hard enough to protect again small stones on the road. Yet they are minimalist enough. No heals.

  8. Hi, enjoyed reading your blog. Some useful tips and advice I could use.

    I’m 48 and female. After years of dabbling in martial arts and fitness routines, tried my hand at serious running six months ago. It didn’t work well primarily because my leg muscles werent fit enough to support the knee resulting in severe pain in the right knee and because of the wrong kind of footwear. I bought a new pair of Puma shoes but the sole was too flexible and soft. I could feel each and every gravel on the road and wince every third second!!

    So I stopped running and started serious cycling, pilates and yoga to strengthen my legs and also for general fitness. Threw away the Pumas and bought myself Adidas Response Cushion 21 and started power walking as fast as I could for 7-8 kms every day. The shoes are brilliant. About 2 months ago, a Danish ultra marathoner showed me the way to start training and it worked wonders. I did 5km on the first day without much ado. Its been hardly a month and I am running 12 kms at a stretch, with more than 30 kms in a week.

    Now I am playing with the idea of running in minimalist shoes but am hesitant after the Puma shoes experience. Should I try them?? I am a neutral runner with a mid-foot strike but sometimes I strike with the heel, especially the right foot. It generally happens when I’m tired out towards the end of the run.

    • Glad you liked my blog.

      You have made fantastic progress in a short period of time. A lot of runners don’t do enough strengthening exercises for the legs and end up with ITB and knee issues, so you made an excellent move by working on strengthening your legs. Make sure you continue to include some leg strengthening exercises in your weekly routine.

      As far as shoes are concerned, forget trends and fads, if the Adidas Response 21 shoes works well for you why change at all ? However if you do want to try minimalist footwear there is a wide range available. In Puma you could start with the Faas 500 or Faas 600 (instead of Faas 300) which are less aggressive shoes with more cushioning. In Nike start with the Nike Free Run 3 (Free 5.0) instead of the Free 3.0. These shoes will help make the transition less stressful. If you do decide to go down the minimalist route make sure you start with only 1 or 2 runs in these shoes per week. Take at least 2-3 months to transition to them fully.

      Most people start heel striking when they get tired as they start to extend the foot ahead of the body instead of landing below the body. When you start feeling tired make a conscious effort to keep the stride length the same and the landing below the body, this way you will continue to strike mid-foot. Also as aerobic endurance improves you will have less problems towards the end (of whatever distance you are eventually preparing for).

      Hope this helps.
      Cheers
      Sandeep

  9. Btw, forgot to mention, I just bought a pair of Adidas Supernova Glide 4 shoes yesterday. They have lower heel drop than the Response Cushion and lighter as well. I thought I might as well graduate to minimalist shoes gradually.

  10. Thanks Sandeep 🙂 I ran in Bangalore last week wearing the Snova Glide 4. The response and the way they make you run is very different from the Response Cushion shoes. They are definitely lighter, faster and my knees did feel the difference. I think I am going to use them for the shorter maintenance runs for now and for longer runs will use the Response Cushion shoes. Slowly, I will try to run more in the Glides. As long as my knees keep up with me. Thanks again and happy running!!

    • Good to hear that it was a positive experience. Many runner use a more cushioned shoe for the longer runs and lighter less cushioned shoes for speed/tempo work-outs. Maybe that’s the way forward for you to.

  11. After a bad case of runners knee on my right, have been trying hard to improve the bio mechanics of my running. Mid foot strike, increased cadence with shorter strides, streching and strength training etc. No idea if all this will help but no harm.

    I saw a new shoe the other day which supposedly will promote a midfoot strike. Skechers go train 2. It has a small bump in the midfoot and a heel which has less height than the midfoot or forefoot.
    Tried it – Minimal padding, very comfortable, excellent uppers, almost zero drop ( -ve actually) and can be worn sockless. Almost a transition shoe.
    Did not buy it the time – had never heard of Sketchers making a running shoe. I did some research -the reviews on the net are quite good actually. This is the version 2.0 and many users say this might be the best shoe they have worn to run ( mind you this is not a great shoe to walk in – you can feel the stretch in your Achilles tendon) . May not last very long but good running shoes need regular replacement.
    I will definitely buy it the next time I visit the store. Will post on how it works out.

    • Experimenting with shoes is a good way to find out what exactly works for you. However make any drastic shoe changes gradually. I wish they had the shoe return policy in India which allows you to return a shoe up to a month after you have run in them (many retailers in the US have this). This would make life easier 🙂

      On another note the Sketchers India head is an old and good friend. Let me see if I can wrangle some sort of “runners discount” from him on the Go Run 2. Will come back if I am able to.

  12. Sorry – that should have read Sketchers Go run 2 [not Go train ( this is a different shoe)]

  13. Breached the 15k barrier yesterday in the Response. My legs are fine except for the left knee and that was probably because I jumped over a rather big road divider and landed on my left foot. Iced it and resting for a couple of days. Friends are tempting me to try for a half marathon event on sunday but methinks its too early for that. I’d rather run better and faster in a 10k than struggle in a half marathon. It would dent my confidence and probably injure my knees. What do you say??

    I’ve also been curious about the Go Run 2 but wont buy it online without trying it on first. Running shoes don’t come cheap and I don’t want to make an expensive mistake! If theres something you can do to help us women runners with apparel and gear, I’d be super happy. Its a sad state of affairs in India where hardly anything is available for women runners. Keep running and keep writing your blog 🙂

    • Congrats on the first 15k. These milestones are proud moments in a runners progress. Remember to jot down the day and place somewhere, in a few years you will be wondering when exactly you did this 🙂

      Hope that knee is better. You were right in resting and icing the knee rather than rushing out for an HM. End a race badly and the motivation gets dented.

      I run throughout the year but I like to spread-out my races. If you race too often you’re not going to see progress and it may actually compromise your training for the real important goals. So keep a balance between the two.

      Shoes are one thing I too would not do too much experimentation with once I find something which works for me. Stick with the model that works for you. In fact go out and buy an extra pair in case the company changes them (happens quite often).

      Keep in touch.

  14. Great blog with highly intuitive observations.The running bug has just bit me and am not really a serious runner yet.But your tips help to go the right way forward.How does a beginner start to train?
    -Pallavi

    • Thanks Pallavi,
      I thought I pretty much knew it all but after some running injuries after a long training season in 2012 and again in 2013 I have gone back to the basics. Literally going back to be a low mileage beginner (less than 30k) since end of January 2014 from running 80-90km/weeks.
      Here are a few things I am understanding a little better now. Strength is paramount especially hip and below. Running without proper strength is like trying to build a multistorey building over a shaky foundation, it’s going to come down ! So if you are not a regular gym goer that’s where you should start, 2 days a week is more than enough. Focus on glutes, quads, hams, calves, back and abs. Forget body weight or free weight use the machines for everything.
      Start running short distances (1k-10k) for 2 or 3 days a week, don’t run on the days you intend to go to the gym. Continue with the gym work and running shorter distances for several months. Don’t increase the distance beyond 10k (and take at least 8-10 weeks to build to a 10k) till you feel that you can complete the run at your fastest pace without feeling that your body is slacking and you are losing form. For the 2 or 3 days of running, run at a pace where you can run as fast as you can without losing form for the entire distance. So if you are going longer go slower.
      Additionally on the days you run or strength train also schedule 20-25minutes for stretching the quads, hams, calves, piriformis/glutes and ITB. Do each stretch 3-5 times holding them for about 10secs each time.
      Will probably do a detailed blog on this at some point 🙂
      Since everybody starts from a different base therefore the above is only generic advice. Each persons base has to be understood to suggest a specific plan. Reply to this message if you want to take this further on email.
      Best
      Sandeep

  15. Hi Sandeep,

    I’m from Mumbai and I’ve just taken up running recently (like three days back) as I plan to run the StanC Mumbai Half Marathon 2015 (for which I need to qualify)

    There is a run happening in Mumbai on 29th June 2014. Though i’m too tempted to take up the half marathon, i’m wondering if i should do a 10k run and secure my position for StanC Mumbai 2015. (any suggestions would be more than welcome)

    Currently I run using my Adidas Sports Shoes (Alcor Grey Sports Shoes – http://tiny.cc/7dxvbx) and I’m fine .. ran 4 kms today

    However, what shoes would you suggest as a beginner? i’m looking for something which is not very very expensive, yet safe to run in.

    Thanking you in anticipation.

    Regards,
    Divesh

    • Hi Divesh,

      On the running goal and attempting the Half marathon in less than 6 months (from zero running till 3 days back) my instinct is to say “too much too soon”. I would recommend a gradual build-up. Read my reply to ‘Pallavi’ just above your post to see my recommendations on how to go about this.

      As far as shoes go, a lot depends on your budget. The Adidas Alcor shoe looks fine (a bit on the bulky side but that doesn’t matter right now). Basic test for a running shoe is that it should feel comfortable to run in from day one. You shouldn’t need to “break-in” running shoes.

      I really like the Reebok RealFlex Run 2.0 as a shoe for “every runner” so I would easily recommend it to you too in case it fits your budget. Take a new shoe decision after 4-5 months of running (and strengthening) is under your belt in the Adidas Alcor. Keep a watch on the blog for more shoe reviews.

      You’ve started a great activity. Keep at it and you will reap great health rewards.

      Best
      Sandeep

  16. Hi Sandeep,

    Thanks for the prompt reply .. really appreciate it ..

    And I guess I will continue with my alcor for a while until I find a good deal for reebok realflex and gradually will move to it ..

    And in the running goal bit .. I guess I’ll try the 10k in June and and try and secure the qualification for StanC Mumbai 2015 half marathon ..

    Also I read the above post to pallavi .. I’m not really a gym fan .. however I play football twice a week and could take up swimming as well .. is that some good work out or you still suggest the gym work outs?

    • Hi Divesh,
      Good choice to target the 10k and not the half in June.
      No substitute for strengthening exercises. We tend to overestimate our own capability when it comes to exercise/edurance/strength. A couple of days in a week will make you injury proof for the future.
      Sandeep

  17. Fantastic blog, Sandeep. Keep up the great work.

    I have a question regarding shoes.I run about 250kms every month in my Reebok trainers. However, it is quite old (about 4 years), and it looks pretty worn out. I don’t think it is causing me any problems while running as older the shoes, the more comfier they fit. Somehow this analogy was keeping me from looking into buying a new pair of shoes.

    However, since I am a serious runner, and several blogs state that running shoes need to be replaced every 500miles, I am now considering to invest in a good pair of shoes. My budget is pretty modest though at 100 US$. I am also planning on investing on other gears like t-shirts, shorts, socks etc.

    I am currently residing in Mumbai, and was wondering if there are any stores that cater to runners specifically. Also, could you advice me on what kind of shoes I should opt for.

    Thanks in advance,

    Ankush Naik.

    • Hi Ankush,
      Thanks for your comments.
      To answer some of your questions – personally I don’t believe in the “shoes should be replaced after a certain mileage” philosphy. I tend to keep using my shoes till I feel they have degraded to an extent where they are changing my gait/foot landing. Usually this is when the soles of the shoe shows significant wear on one side and the shoe instead of resting horizontally on flat grand has started sloping to one side.
      If you are used to cushioned shoes then probably you should look at replacing them earlier (1000-2000k) because the sole compound would lose its elasticity and bounce over time and therefore may not be giving you the protection you bought it for.
      Having said all that, running 250k a month for 4 years is 12,000k. I don’t know what model of Reebok you use but either your data is incorrect or the shoe is truly extraordinary to last this long ! Time to change it !
      $100 is about Rs.6,000. In the US this would buy you a good pair of running shoes but in India only a few “running shoes” would come in that budget. If you can buy your shoes in the US then I would suggest buy an older version of a current shoe they are always available at a steep discount at runningwarehouse or roadrunnersports, and if you search for a coupon code you will probably get a further 15-20% off. I have bought some super shoes for under $50 this way.
      Haven’t heard of any running store in India let alone Mumbai, so you are out of luck on that.
      I don’t like recommending specific shoes (since it it really depends on your preference and running style) but amongst the shoes I have used/tested I like the Reebok Reaflex Run 2.0 or the Nike Free 4.0 as a trainer (great balance between cushion, response and weight) and the Saucony Kinvara 3 as a racing shoe.
      If you are looking for a minimilist experience then Skechers GoRun2 M at a price of Rs. 5000 is a great buy !
      Have fun selecting your gear. And do update us on what you finally buy.
      Cheers
      Sandeep

      • Thanks for the tips, Sandeep.

        I’ve been running 250kms a month since December of last year. But I bought this pair over 4 years ago and I wasn’t a serious runner back then, running about 100kms a month.

        Regarding the wear and tear, the rubber under the soles have long worn out and torn apart. However, the inner cushioning is still doing a reasonable job. Overall, the only issue with the shoes is that it looks severely weather beaten and has few tiny holes.

        I didn’t quite understand what you meant when you said Rs6000 won’t get me much of a choice. Is the amount too less? I have scope to buy shoes anywhere as I travel a lot around the world. However, since I am presently in India, I would love to have purchased a pair from here. The non-availability of stores to cater for runners in Mumbai is very dissapointing, considering how the Mumbai marathon is a success each year.

        Nonetheless, thank you once again for replying. I will keep you updated on what pair, gears and other knickknackes I purchase.

        Cheers.

  18. Priyansh chachra

    Is their any difference between nike free 5.0+ and nike free 5.0

    • Priyansh,

      Missed this earlier. The only difference is that the 5.0+ has a pocket for the Nike+ sensor which pairs with the iPhone, etc to give you a foot-pod to log the distance run. You can use this instead of a GPS watch/phone. Otherwise the same shoe different version/edition.

      Cheers
      Sandeep

  19. Hi,
    Came across this blog aciidently.Its very helpful.I am a 45 year old,overweight.Just started running 4 months back.from running 20 seconds at stretch now come up to running 2km at a stretch.I want your advice
    1)I have come to conclusion that companies like Nike,Adidas,Fila etc etc do not care for womens requirement at all in India.The technical gear that you get in these stores…the sizes are way too small for avarage indian women, forget about me. Most of them do not cater to waist size beyond 32
    also if u manage to find a trackpant of ur size, it does not have zipped pockets.where do we keep car keys,cell phone,entry passes to various parks etc?.almost none of them have capris or 3/4th tracks with zipped pockets.same goes with uppers.most of them cater to slim ladies.what do people like me do? I am not at all in minority ,there are many like me
    2) I will be joining a running group and training myself.would half marathon inSCMM in Jan 2014be too early?

    • Hi R :),

      You’re right even moderate women sizes for sports clothing is difficult to get by in India. You might want to try lessor known brands like Decathlon, also try online sites like playgroundonline or 365sports they have other options available which may work. Otherwise any upper/lower made of synthetic material would work well. Just avoid cotton as it’s going to stick when wet and not allow moisture to evaporate fast enough.

      Actually most of the major sports companies don’t consider India as a sports market at all forget for running, women or men. Most of their products are for fashion and style. The very fact that half shoe sizes are not available for any sports in an indication of this psyche.

      As far as your second question, everyone is different in terms of adaptation and recovery so a generic answer to this is difficult to give. I started pretty much from where you are today and I too was 40+ and had never run before. When I started running and for many years thereafter the only choice for a race was really the HM (Airtel Delhi really), today there is an explosion of running events with several 5k and 10k events in Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi and even smaller cities. As runners we become greedy, once we have done an HM we want to do an FM and then multiple of them or even longer to Ultras. You will also likely crave speed and personal bests every time you race.

      So here is my advice – get really good at running a 5k distance first with perfect form and your best speed. Do a lot of speed and interval training (3 days a week) for this along with 3 days of strength and core training every week. Next choose a 10k distance (continue the 3 day running 3 day strengthening routine) and conquer that as well. I would suggest you focus only on 5k and 10k for at least a year and during that period you absolutely must keep the strength training going (gym or body weight, whatever you prefer – squats, back/side lunges, push-ups, planks, etc).

      When you can do a 10k race with your best possible form and speed and without injuries or “knee or shin” pains that’s when you should target the HM. From a strong 10k base a strong HM should be doable with 16-20 weeks of training (3-4 days of running and 2 days of strength work).

      The above is from hindsight, there is no way to prove these things. You could very well just decide to run the HM at SCMM 2015 and be very successful with it !

      What ever you decide to do, may you run strong and for long 🙂

      Best
      Sandeep

  20. Many thanks for reply Sandeep.I think I should give myself a years time.just one question-Mumbai marathon now asks for a timing certificate as a criteria for regisration .This certificate can be of a 5k or a 10 k event.qualifiying time has been put up on website gender and agewise.which are the races that I should run so as to qualify for Mumbai( half) marathon? please under stand I am asking you for 2016 Mumbai marathon.Next year by this time I should be ready with a timing certificate.Pl tell me the events so that I know when they are coming up etc

  21. R, you can run any race in 2015 which is timed via a chip and the results are published online. If you are a woman and don’t live in Mumbai then it is easier to enter the SCMM since there is a specific quota. Have a look at runinfinity(dot)com which has a full calendar. Also look at runningandliving(dot)com for a list of their events. Timingindia(dot)com times most of the key events in India, if you run any of the events which they time you should have no problems qualifying. BTW the registrations for SCMM 2016 can open as early as July 2015 so keep an eye out.

    Also consider joining various facebook groups like “marathon runners india”, “40 plus marathoners and aspiring marathoners”, etc. These are quite active and you will see most races being announced on them from time to time.

    Cheers
    Sandeep

  22. Such an informative blog . I am 25 yr old lady with flat feet ,Can u Please suggest some good running shoe for flat feet with reasonable budget,as the current one is not great . Frequently end up straining my knee as i have to jog on uneven and rough surfaces.

    • Hi Swetha,
      Apologies for getting back a little late.
      Recommending a shoe for someone is a bit difficult without understanding your running style, preferences and current shoe model/type in more detail. It’s probably best to take a discussion like that on email. I’ll drop you a mail on your vkhXX id and then you can send me the info required to make a better recommendation.
      The knee problem you are facing could be because of the shoe or is more likely because your legs (especially the quads) are not strong enough. If the pain is on the outer side of the knee (ITB) then shoes play a bigger role but if it’s on the front of the knee then probably quad strengthening would really help. Either way you should include some lower body exercises like squats, lunges, step-ups, calf raise/drops 2-3 days in a week. Done consistently this should help in your knee pain.
      A lot of runners (including myself once-upon-a-time) assume that running itself is a leg strengthening exercise and so they don’t so anything else, but it’s not. Also most recreational runners don’t have sufficient lower body strength to bear the impact of running over days, weeks, months and years. Since you are just 25 years old, you should include strengthening now rather then later – it will make you a stronger and faster runner and will also increase your running longevity.
      Watch out for my mail on the shoes.
      Cheers
      Sandeep

  23. M.Gadadharan Nayar

    Hi,

    Just discovered your blog while browsing for some affordable marathon running shoes. I ran the 2012 Mumbai Marathon with Nike Free Air. Was very light and comfortable but had some injuries in calf and leg. Not sure if shoe was partially responsible.

    Now looking for shoes for the 2015 Mumbai marathon. Am shocked at current prices of the top brands – all seem to be 7000 +.

    I’m looking for underpronation shoes – can you suggest some models with a bit of cushioning. Not too much.? I’m 58 and 64 kgs.

    Thnks and will look forward to reading your various blog posts and putting in my two bits occasionally.

    M.G.Nayar
    Chennai

    • Hi MG Nayar,

      Thanks for coming by and reading my blog. The shoe question is always a difficult one to answer. And like I have just replied to Swetha below probably best handled on email. However just a few comments – I don’t think you have your shoe model right – it’s either a Nike Free x.0 (where x would be 3, 4 or 5) or Nike Air. Both are hugely different shoes.

      Assuming you use some form of Nike Free and the first time you used is was for racing and training for SCMM then yes the injury could be shoe related. The Nike Free is a minimalist shoe with a very low heel to toe drop. If you don’t gradually transition to such shoes then it will create tremendous strain in the calf and Achilles (and therefore the whole foot) and can result in injury. Are you still running in the same shoes?

      Yes, unfortunately running shoes in India are horrendously expensive (unless you pick them up on sale – try the online retailers). You are quite light weight and the Nike Free 5.0 could be a good shoe for you (especially if you have been using the Nike Free earlier). If you want some more cushioning and something which is still light I would easily recommend the Reebok RealFlex Run 2.0 – it’s just slightly heavier than the Free but gives better cushioning and the heel drop is also less aggressive. It also has more structure than the Nike Free and will give your foot more support. When I reviewed it earlier it was for Rs.7000 (look up the detailed review here https://runindiarun.wordpress.com/2013/11/12/review-of-the-reebok-realflex-run-2-0-the-official-line-impressions-out-of-the-box-part-13/). These days most of my runs are in these shoes.

      Another shoe which I have tested but unfortunately not got around to writing about is the Skechers Go Run 2. It is much more affordable upfront (around Rs.5000) and due to a very clever design is extremely light but feels very cushioned.

      Now here is the catch – in my experience the Nike Free is more expensive, I have used about 4 pairs – the 3.0, 4.0 and 5.0, but they have each lasted me more than 1200km (an even 1600km) without significant wear and tear. The Reebok RealFlex is nearing the 600km mark and still holding up fairly well. However the much cheaper Skechers is not doing too well, at around 300km it’s starting to look in trouble, maybe good for another 100-150km. So in terms of cost/km the Skechers seems much more expensive.

      So you have a tough choice to make 🙂

      I’ll also send you a mail with some questions to help you nail down the shoe selection.

      Regards
      Sandeep

  24. Hi, Sandeep.

    It’s been over 2 months since I purchased Sketchers GoMeb Running shoes. Its price was Rs. 6804 & I’m loving each day running in them. They’re so comfy, I even tried running barefoot in them. I’d recommend trying Sketchers to those who want a comfy, no-frills running shoes that last long, look good and isn’t too harsh on your pocket either.

    Hope this info helps other runners.

    Cheers & keep running. 🙂

    • Good for you Ankush. The Skechers is a good shoe. I am just not convinced about its durability (see my reply to MG Nayar) beyond 400-500km. I have significant sole erosion plus upper body erosion in the Go Run 2 I have and it has only done around 300km.

      Cheers
      Sandeep

  25. Hi Sandeep,

    My name is Divesh. I had posted some query sometime back and you were kind to reply. Appreciate that. Thank you.

    I wanted to ask you this – I have been running in my Reebok Currently I run using my Adidas Alcor Sports Shoes and I now feel the need to invest to in a good running shoes. However, I dont know if i will be too comfortable with the idea of minamilistic. I maybe come from the old school of though and feel as long as you feel comfortable in your shoes and enjoy running, they are good.

    Which shoes would you recommend for me? I plan to run a half marathon in the next 5 – 6 months and I train thrice a week, approx 6 – 7 kms each day, so that makes it anywhere between 20 – 25 kms a week..

    Thank You.

  26. also, btw im overweight .. i weight around 92 kgs and im 5’7″ ..

    i read somewhere that gel shoes are better for people who are weigh more because of the cushion they provide.

    • Divesh,

      You are spot on, there is no need to follow the minimalist or barefoot or any other fad/trend. Just use what has been working for you. I really like the RealFlex Run 2.0 as a great in-between shoe (compared to the minimalist or the cushion monsters) but I am not sure if it is still available. You could try the Reebok One Cushion which is slightly heavier but will provide good cushioning for your frame. Yes, the Asic “Gel” shoes are advertised to give a good cushion.

      Otherwise just choose any shoe which feels comfortable and provides decent cushioning. And if you are currently using a neutral shoe (which I suspect the Adidas Alcor is) continue with the same type unless you have problems with knee pain or ITB issues. Don’t bother about changing the shoe just because it has done a certain mileage – change it only when you start seeing significant wear and tear or if the sole shows significant erosion, especially to one side.

      Remember a “good running shoe” is what works for you and not what works for the company to generate $$$ 🙂

      Good luck with your HM.
      Sandeep

  27. Hi, Sandeep,

    I have covered about 500 kms in mine so far and a thorough check has failed to find any wear and tear so far. However, I will keep your experience in mind & check within the next 200 kms. I must also mention that I run on promenades and alter between turf and grass. This has probably helped in reducing the wear & tear.

    • Ah.. on a nice cushy surface shoes will definitely last longer. Unfortunately all my running is on tar or concrete 😦

      • Hi Sandeep,

        I am preparing for my first half marathon early next year. I’ve been consistently covering 9kms a day for the last 5 months. But since a half is more than 9kms, how much kms should I be running? I’ve run 21kms at leisure and timed myself at 3:21:20. However, I aim to complete within 2:30:00.

        Also, what kind of clothing is suitable for long distance running? How does Spandex clothing work for running?

        Thanks for all your suggestions & help. 🙂

  28. Hi Sandeep,

    Thank you for your advice on the Reebok RealFlex Run 2.0

    Praise God, I found a good deal on Myntra.com and picked up a pair for 4K 🙂

    Thanks for the Reebok RealFlex Run review. helped me make up my mind.

  29. Thank You for that nipple chaffing solution 🙂

  30. Hi thanks for this very informative post. Wanted to know if you’re aware of any specialist running stores in Delhi or even NCR where I could get my running gait analyzed and have shoes suggested to me basis that.

    Tanmay

    • Also I currently use the sketchers gorun2 and have about 200kms on them. These are the only real running shoes I’ve ever had and though they’re doing good service I want to make sure they’re the best considering my foot pronation, etc.

      Almost all of my running has been on tar and concrete.

      Tanmay

      • Thanks Tanmay,
        I have heard there is an Asics store in West Delhi which does gait analysis. Frankly I would just forget about gait analysis. For most people (unless they need orthotics) a neutral shoe, around 220-260gm, with decent cushioning and heel-to-toe drop of 6-10 mm would do just fine. I too have used the GoRun2 and they are an excellent shoe for some fast running. In training I would use them for intervals and tempos but would probably not for the long runs. Similarly in races I probably wouldn’t use the GoRun2 for a full marathon but would definitely consider it for an HM or less.
        One question, how is the wear and tear on the upper and sole of the GoRun2 after 200k?
        Cheers
        Sandeep

  31. Hi Sandeep,

    I’m 32 yrs old, obese (178cms – 105 kilos) and have rock climbing as my primary hobby… In case your wondering, yes it is indeed possible for people of my size to climb. I also have absolutely flat feet which ends up giving a lot of underfoot pain while climbing. Most of the body weight in climbing is taken up by the forefoot and toes, sort of like being on tiptoes. This pain feels similar to cramps and occurs on the outer edge of my feet. It goes away when I either take the weight off my feet or roll my feet outwards and stand on the outer edges for some time.

    It was while searching for methods to manage/ get rid of pain that I came across your blog. It is very well written and motivating. And also encouraging from the perspective that you too are flat footed but that hasn’t stopped you from being a competitive runner and doing it well. The last time I did any serious running was 8 years ago so I’m basically starting with a clean slate. My primary motivation for wanting to run again is to get rid of pain and develop strength in all parts of my lower body (feet especially). And the improved fitness should also help me climb better. Please suggest how to go about it. Also are there any specific shoes I should be looking at? From what I remember of my running I seem to place my entire feet on the ground when landing.

    Thanks,
    Prashanth.

    • Prashanth thanks very much for your kind comments.

      A lot of runners, even the ones who have been running for years, are under the impression that running will strengthen their legs. Well they are probably both right and wrong. Running definitely helps strengthen the joints and bones and even the muscles we use during the runs – however the problem is that a lot of people start running (including myself) with inherent weakness in one or more of glutes/hams/calves/hips etc. The human body is so unique and adaptable that when a muscle is weak another muscle tries to take-up the slack. This is fine for short term but over the long term leads to further imbalances and injuries especially as you increase training volume and/or intensity.

      So my advise to a new runner (and even to an experienced one) is to include strength training as part of their regular training. Exercises like the squat, dead-lift, lunges, push-ups, burpees and planks are probably where you want to start. For most runners body weight training should be good enough as long as it is consistent and you vary the routine with ladders, super-sets, pyramids, interval, etc to keep the muscle guessing and therefore getting stronger. I would suggest that you to start here. You may already be doing strength training as part of your rock climbing in which case look at tweaking and adding the variations. For the foot/achilles/calves look up the downloads section of my blog for the eccentric loading exercise for the achilles (https://runindiarun.wordpress.com/downloads-reports-presentations-and-other-useful-documents/) this should definitely also help your foot pain.

      On the shoe front – at 105kg you definitely need good cushioning so forget all the light weight shoes or running barefoot. Choose a shoe which is neutral but has good cushioning like the Reebok Cushion or Asics Cumulus or Asics Nimbus or Nike Pegasus etc. These shoes are usually heavier then other shoes but you will find them just right for your body weight. Any running shoe must fit and feel good when you first wear it – there is no concept of breaking in a running shoe for fit/comfort (but you would break in a shoe gradually if you were moving from say cushioned to minimal).

      As far as running goes, it is easy to get carried away and run too much too soon (TMTS syndrome) or get frustrated with progress and run intermittently. Best strategy to begin with is to progress slowly and consistently. In the beginning I would recommend 2 days of running (along with 2 days of strength training) for 5-6 weeks while adding distance gradually. Once you can do a 5-6k run add another day for a very short run 3-4k. Keep running 3 days a week (adding 1-2km a week in total) till you can get up to a 10k run (in about 16-18 weeks) and then add another short run day. For most people 4 days of running with strength training of 2 days is a good base. After another 6-8 weeks (22-26 weeks from start) of 4 days a week running with a weekly distance of around 25k (5k-5k-5k-10k type of spread) you can start getting ambitious. For this initial phase forget about speed.

      After 20 weeks (unless you want some inputs midway) lets exchange notes again and see where you want to go from there 🙂

      Good luck and happy running.
      Sandeep

  32. Hello sir
    Very informative blog.am 28yr Mom of twin babies. I started my weightloss journey 6 month back by healthly eating excercise n power walk.lost Almost My Extra Weight .2 month back started running really love the felling after run. Completed couch to 5k programme but my speed n timings r poor How to increse my speed distance n time n how many days a week should I run. Have no idea about running N wanted to buy budget shoe and Gps watch which in Brand you recommend for beginner. think I asked more questions I think I wil get my answer here. Thank you. Looking forward for you reply

    • Thanks. Probably best to answer this via email since I will need to understand a few things about you before making recommendations, everyone is different (and same) when it comes to running 🙂
      Will send a reply to your mail id over the next 2 days. Meanwhile if you like you could browse through some of the responses to similar questions below.
      Cheers
      Sandeep

  33. I also have planter f and get lot of shin and calf pain, and some pronation issue as well. I wear a Nike trainer shoes for everything for the lat 3 years since I have this issue, now that I want to run, I am checking out shoes for change and I am well impressed with asics Kayano, since I see that you also have gone through similar issues, I wanted your opinion, if am looking in the right direction, awaiting your response

    • Catching up on a whole bunch of comments very very late. Hope you are enjoying the asic. If you still need help drop me a line. Promise to be more prompt this time 😉

  34. wonderful work Sandeep..very informative for beginners like me(wud be running my 1st half marathon in ADHM this year)…can you suggest some gud running socks as regular sports sock wont work due to cotton material..

    • Several running socks are now available easily from Puma, Adidas and Nike. Otherwise a good synthetic sock which binds to the foot should be fine as well. Avoid the bulky cotton socks 🙂

  35. Dear sir,
    i have been using asics gel lyte for tempo & asics nimbus16 for half arathon distances. As my ASICS gel lyte is worn & torn up, i am looking for a replacement shoe for my tempo runs do you think Under Armour speedform appolo .
    please advise

    • No idea about the under armour speedform. If the gel lyte is still available just buy another pair. Otherwise any light and neutral shoe with a reasonable heel drop (I personally prefer 6mm to around 12mm) should be fine for your tempo and speedwork.

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