THE SUDDEN popularity of running has seen the Philippines with more runners than ever before, and along with more runners is a slew of running-related injuries.
For while running is an excellent way to keep fit, the repetitive pounding on the pavement for extended periods is merciless to the body.
Without the correct running form and properly fitted gear, running can be an unpleasant, even painful experience.
?Everything starts at the feet. When the feet are not properly aligned and don?t support the body well, it will translate to problems all the way to your back and neck,? said Toby Claudio, founder of Runnr at Bonifacio High Street, The Fort in Taguig.
Runnr is the only running specialist store in the country, said Claudio, and probably the only one in the world that brings together under one roof three technologies that address the major components of running.
Footworx Fitting involves three critical processes in determining the foot type before recommending the right footwear: Footprint Scanning, High-Speed Video Gait Analysis and Custom Insole Molding.
With running events held almost every week and registrants running into thousands per event, Claudio said now was the best time to have the right running equipment, such as shoes and insoles, properly fitted to prevent injuries and/or to correct feet alignment.
Getting properly fitted means getting accurate and comprehensive recommendations based on individual foot type and gait characteristics, he said.
A team of highly trained staff, all runners, will guide clients through the Footworx Fitting process.
Foot morphology is analyzed in the Runnr Podoscope.
The Podoscope has two features: A thermodynamic scanning system to view and measure the footprint, and arch dimensions to determine foot type.
Next step is the High-Speed Video Gait Analysis, where customers run on a treadmill while their feet are recorded on video to check pronation angles while they run.
?This will check your natural tendency when you run. Then you get to run to test three different shoes recommended to you and see how they correct your running form,? Claudio said.
The correct alignment from feet to leg, he said, should be 180 degrees. Ten degrees off that mark and you?re going to need the right shoes and probably insoles to reduce the angle of pronation.
When the pronation is corrected, Claudio said, the running form and speed would improve, and the sport would become pain-free and enjoyable once more.
Look for shoes that will give you the straightest alignment so that stress is equally distributed.
?Feet properly aligned absorb shock better. In flat feet, for instance, knees bend inward so the stress is on the inner side of the knees. With the right shoes, alignment can be achieved and shock absorbed better. You run better and run longer distances with less pain. The gait improves and the strides become more powerful,? he said.
The final step is the custom-insole technology called Flashfit, a molding process where insoles are heat-treated for a few minutes.
Claudio highly recommends this for people with flat or high arches, and even for those with medium arches, as a preventive measure against injuries.
?Your left foot is different from your right. With custom-insole, you?ll have insoles that conform to the exact shape of your foot and correct the alignment. Best part is, you can use the insoles in shoes other than your trainers,? he said.
Combining product and service, Claudio said Runnr has the widest selection of running gear in the country today.
The store introduces for the first time Newton, a respected shoe brand in the running industry.
With its distinct design of logs that protrude outside the sole, Newton shoes become more efficient in absorbing shock as the foot hits the ground.
The shock goes into the shoe, explained Claudio, which returns energy so it can propel the runner forward.
He also said Newton was designed to promote the natural way of running, which is on the mid or forefoot.
?The midfoot uses your whole anatomy to absorb the shock, compared to landing on your heel where the shock is translated all the way up to your body,? he said.
Other running gear
Also available are running tights and shorts by CW-X Conditioning Wear. CW-X is compression wear that wraps the leg muscles, weakened knees, thighs, buttocks and calves.
The patented Support Web weave reduces impact and load on the legs by aligning the knees, hips and ankles.
According to studies, said Claudio, the CW-X tights and shorts reduce energy expenditure by 26 and 36 percent, respectively.
They promote better circulation?very important especially when in a vertical position for a very long time.
They help reduce the workload in the running motion?s pull and push, for more efficient strides.
Coming from a family of sports enthusiasts, Claudio admitted he has never been a running fan until just over a year ago.
?I have bad feet. I have two screws on my surgically repaired knees [from soccer] and a bad back from other sports. Running was a painful experience until I discovered that with the right gear and fitting it can be an enjoyable, pain-free experience,? he said.
Expect to see results within a month using properly fitted running gear, he said.
Runnr also has accessories such as caps with sweatbands; running socks specific for the left and right foot, of nylon and spandex that are snug and which don?t absorb sweat; polar heart rate monitors specific for running and general exercise activities; water bottles; anti-fatigue energy supplements; and more.
?Everyone can run. When I started to run without pain, that?s when I enjoyed the sport. Now I do my thinking when running,? Claudio said.