Real Runners Wear Real Running Shoes

ShoesFirstThis is my first pair of running shoes.

That is not to say that this is the first pair of shoes in which I have ever run.

When I started running, I took to the streets in an older pair of cross-trainers that I purchased more for the hot pink and grey color combination than for anything else. I reasoned that I would not spend money on running shoes until I could commit to running on a regular basis. Then, once I actually started running on a regular basis, I talked myself out of shoes until I could run 2 consecutive miles without stopping. When I could do that, I still talked myself out of the purchase until I could run a 10-minute mile.

And before you go thinking that all this took place over a matter of weeks, let me tell you – it took a long time to teach myself to run. I started out in intervals running 1 minute and walking 3 minutes and wondering how I was ever going to string 2 running minutes together.

In the time that I was holding real running shoes over my own head, my ankles started to hurt and then my left knee. Yet, I continued to run in my old beat-up shoes. It wasn’t until after I had to stop mid-run because of ankle pain that I gave in and bought my first pair of Asics. And…relief. (No, shoes don’t heal all wounds – but the right cushioning and support make a huge difference.)

A quick lap around Twitter and Facebook tells me that I am not the only newbie runner to hold off on buying the first pair of real running shoes.

Why do we do this?

Whether you are waiting for a certain distance or pace or level of commitment, our reasoning seems to come down to this: We wait until we feel like we can call ourselves runners before we decide to dress the part.

How ridiculous is this? How many times have you said or  heard a version of this: “Well, I run but I wouldn’t say I’m a runner” or “Oh, I’m not a real runner…I never run more than a few miles at a time” or “I run one mile in 12 minutes – I’m so slow! A real runner would be faster”? Why are newbies so hesitant to identify themselves as runners?

Listen, if you run then you are a runner. There’s no qualifying distance or pace or level of commitment. The running community is an accepting one and you are welcome…as long as you are wearing proper shoes.

Don’t hold off. If you run, you need to run in shoes that fit you, and that are right for your needs. Find a pair that you love…or several:


Ali Wechman

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