|Me in my younger days on the way to school|
But from a young age I never liked running.
After all these years, recently I think I've found out why.
At school I'd usually come second-to last in any running race (thank goodness never last because Maree Smith was always behind me). I never really wondered why, because that was just the way it was. But when I look back, I was relatively fit, very thin, biked the five mile trip to and from school daily, yet I ran very poorly, would sprain my ankle very easily, and even now I take care to wear boots that support my ankles if I am on uneven ground at all, so people won't have to carry me home. I just assumed I had 'weak ankles' and rarely ran anywhere once I left school.
Last week I happened upon an article* about pronation - the flexing of your feet when you run (and walk, presumably) - and how the flexibility of your foot affects your running style and the footwear you need.
This is my interpretation of it, although if anyone knows better or more, please comment, as I'm no expert!
When we take a step, the weight of the body presses down on our foot, and the centre part flexes and takes the strain. Most people's feet have an arch underneath to flex. There should still be a bit of an arch left when the foot is pressed down. This is called normal pronation and is a Good Thing.
If not enough sole is touching the ground when the body weight is over the foot, then you are an underpronator or a 'supernator'. The arch isn't collapsing enough and the shock is traveling up the leg, and can cause knee and ankle injuries.
You can test which type of foot you are by getting a piece of brown paper and placing it on the floor.
Fill a sponge roll tin or some pan with a little water and place your foot in it, and then make a footprint on the paper.
You can see which your feet are most like by comparing your footprint to the images above.
Here's mine below. You can see I have very high arches because there's no wet between the heel and the toe pad place. I guess this is why I sprain my ankles so frequently. What are your arches like?
(No, there's nothing wrong with your eyes - it's a double print because the first one was drying while I hunted for my camera)
*The information and images came from an article from runner's world.com here