A lot of you may know that I am a Mizuno lover. Even before I was lucky enough to have the support of Mizuno providing me with excellent kit, I was a dedicated fan. Besides from the very first pair of trainers I had, which I quickly dismissed as they didn’t work for me, every pair of trainers I have had since then has been Mizuno, and this isn’t an exaggeration. I have been a Wave Rider girl since day one. So, I thought it might be helpful for some of you if I wrote about what shoes I wear for what, and why I wear them. It can be difficult to find the right shoe for you and a brand that suits your style, but for me, a neutral runner, these are my go to shoes on a daily basis.
Easy runs and long runs
My go to shoe for everything easy is the Wave Rider. Whether I am going for an easy 30 or a 90 minute long run, I will always have Wave Rider’s on my feet. For someone like me they are the perfect balance between being cushioned whilst also being light weight. I’ve worn the Wave Rider for a long time, but the Wave Rider 24 with the new Mizuno Enerzy technology is another class. It is such a smooth shoe to run in and feels so much more responsive than the previous riders. It is definitely a shoe to try!
I have recently turned to wearing the Wave Rider Neo for all my sessions, whether they are on track, road, longer tempos or shorter fast reps. The Neo differs to the regular Rider as it has the Mizuno Enerzy technology running throughout it rather than just in the heel. It is lighter and more springy which makes it perfect as a session shoe when you want to feel that forward drive when you’re working hard. I also like having a different shoe to session in, which isn’t a race shoe, as it puts me in the headspace for a session but whilst providing me with more cushioning than a race shoe.
I personally think the Wave Rider GTX is a revolutionary shoe. How often do you go for a run, step in a puddle a few minutes in, and for the rest of your run your feet are soggy and grim? I do it literally all the time! However, the Rider GTX has a waterproof lining so when you step in a puddle, your feet stay dry. When I wear these shoes I don’t even try to avoid any puddles, I just run straight through them. It is even more fun when you feel invincible as you know your feet will be cosy and dry.
This is one of my favourites. Mostly because it means racing and we definitely haven’t been able to do enough of this in the past year. For road races, I wear the Wave Aero. These are a much more traditional racing flat in comparison to a lot of present day racing shoes, but they are springy and fast. They glide your foot off the ground and are incredibly light weight. They truly help get me in the zone, as they are a lot lighter than my training shoes, so I feel like I can go so much faster.
I consider myself very lucky as when it came to finding the right trainers for me, I only tried one other brand before I realised Mizuno suited me (and this was nearly 17 years ago!!). The shoes above all work for me and I think you'll like them too.
To some, running is just putting one foot in front of the other, but to most, running is so much more than that. Not only is it a type of exercise, but it is also a form of education. There is so much running can teach you, and some of the lessons I have learnt from it are invaluable. This got me thinking, what are the 5 key lessons running has taught me?
1. Importance of fuelling. This had to be at the top of my list, because in my eyes, it is one of the most precious lessons I have learnt from the sport. You can’t drive a car without fuelling engine, so why do we think we can run without fuelling ourselves properly? It wasn’t until I malnourished my body, that I was able to learn how important it is to eat enough and not restrict myself. Whilst I had to learn the hard way, I don’t want others to. Malnourishment led to injury and all sorts of complications that did not aid my running, but sufficiently nourishing myself and being the strongest, healthiest individual I can be, has allowed me to run faster than I have previously, and will hopefully allow me to get A LOT faster.
Whether you’re a long distance runner or a sprinter, there is no set way you should look, as long as you’re eating plenty and you’re healthy, you look how YOU should.
2. Respect and listen to your body. Your body, just like your mind, needs to be respected. It works hard, and we ask a lot of it, so in order for it to gives us what we want, we need to try to respect and listen to it.
To get the most out of it, we need to work with it, not against it. So, if our body is telling us, today I am very tired, there is no point working against it, because this won’t be productive. If instead we listen to it, maybe take an extra easy day, or factor in a rest day, we are bound to reap the benefits of a refreshed, stronger feeling body the next day. Just like with anything, if you respect it, it will work with you. Thus, in order to get the most out of our running, we need to do just that. It has taken me a while to listen to my body, and even now I struggle, but I am getting better at knowing when something doesn’t feel right and I need to take my foot off the pedal a little bit.
3. Patience. This is something running is still teaching me, because I can’t say I have fully learnt it yet. I am not a very patient person when it comes to getting things done. Especially when it comes to work, paid or uni, I like to be on top of it, and get it ticked off in plenty of time, but of course to the best of my ability. However, with running, you are forced to be patient. No matter how hard you train, you are always going to have to wait. You won’t get to your full potential overnight, nor would you really want to. It can take years to reach your best. There is no point smashing your body to the limit for a couple of weeks and then dying for the next month, because there is no consistency to this. If we consistently tick off solid weeks of training it will add up over time and have a positive effect, but there is no benefit in rushing this. I began to learn this after my injury a few years ago. I learnt that if I ran more than I was told, and ate less than I should, I WOULDN’T get where I wanted faster. Progress can’t be rushed. Running and improving takes time and consistency, so patience is key.
4. Hard work. From what I have witnessed so far in my journey, and what I have seen from others, both professional and non, this is 100% true. As the quote goes, “Hard work beats talent when talent refuses to work hard”. I believe there is only one way to succeed in this sport, and that is through honest hard work. I think this is a vital lesson that relates to everything in life. If you work hard for what you want to achieve, you will, at some point, be rewarded for this.
There is no easy way to achieve your goals, if there was, everyone would succeed at what they want to do, and for example, everyone who thought they wanted to be an Olympian would be one. Unfortunately, or I think fortunately, this isn’t the case. I feel, whenever you witness progress and see yourself developing from hard work, the reward is so much greater, because you know you have worked hard to get there and you have given your all. Nothing worth having is easy, it takes hard work over a long period of time.
5. Importance of enjoyment. Running is a tough sport, but it is also an incredibly positive and rewarding one. There is no better feeling than that you have after completing a tough session or finishing a race. Nothing compares to it. However, I have learnt over the past few years, that my best running occurs when I am enjoying it. I have placed too much pressure on myself in the past, and still do at times, and this never seems to have the same positive effect as running happy does. When I am completely relaxed in my approach to the sport and enjoy the journey, no matter what each day throws at me, training and my progress flows a lot more smoothly. Whether it actually does, or I am less sensitive to every up and done, I don’t know, but enjoyment and positivity is so important. Yes nerves do arise, and this is good, but when I am excited to run and enjoy training as much as I can, the process and the journey flows better.
These are my top 5 lessons that I have learnt from running, what are yours? I’d love to hear what running has taught you.
In previous years, it was often difficult to lose direction as an athlete because we always had a race to work towards. This is why athletes have the personalities they do, because they thrive off the focus and direction their sport provides. No matter what else you do in a day, training always provides a sense of purpose and structure. You always feel like you have achieved something with your day because you have worked towards those racing goals you have.
However, this year has been a little different. Whilst in normal times we all work towards long-term goals as well, there are always regular races to act as stepping stones to keep you focused and feeling directed. With racing once again a thing of the past, it can be difficult to feel like your goals are very far away. As a result, we can lose sight of what it is that motivates us and what we want to achieve.
When all you see on social media is professional athletes training in Dubai and other athletes abroad, it is easy to feel as though you are a long way from where you want to be. Whilst other times the gap doesn’t feel so big, at times like this it can feel a lot bigger.
This is when it is vital to remember your why. Keep reminding yourself of what you are training for, and WHY you do it.
Keep those long-term goals in your mind at all times. No matter how difficult this period may seem at times, especially without racing, it will return, and we will get back to the life we knew before, it’s just a case of holding on. This time of training, even if you aren’t abroad, is incredibly valuable. It will be helping you, both mentally and physically, step closer to your long-term goals than you realise.
Also, be cautious not to put too much pressure on yourself. There is no need to pressurise yourself at the moment. The key thing is to enjoy training. The time we have now had to focus on training and get in a solid block of work is a once in a lifetime opportunity. There really is no pressure. If the odd session doesn’t go to plan, it isn’t the end of the world, because we are in no rush to be fighting fit yet. Instead, it is a great time to embrace a little bit less pressure and be raring to go when the time comes.
So, if you are finding times tough at the moment, both in and out of training, try not to lose sight of the bigger picture. Better times will come and racing will return, we just have to be patient. Remember this next time motivation is feeling low.
I love to run and I love to write, so I write about running!