Now spring is upon us and the days are getting lighter and warmer, more people are taking to the streets in their running gear.
It may be that some are simply keen to get fit and shed that extra winter layer they may still have after Christmas. Some might want to shift a few pounds so they can look good on the beach in the summer.
Still others might have bigger goals in mind, such as planning to undertake one of the many showpiece races on the calendar, such as the London Marathon in October or the Great North Run in September.
Alternatively, instead of one of these major events with many thousands, you might simply be looking to take part in a local 10K or fun run, either for your own achievement (especially if it is the end goal of a fitness regime), for the physical and mental health benefits running brings or to raise money for charity. It may be a combination of all these things.
Whatever your motivation, it is vital to get properly fit so you can be at your best on the day. You might not be the next Mo Farah, but it is always about everyone running their race to the max.
That means doing a lot of training, especially for a half marathon or even the full 26 mile, 385 yard event. Not only will you need to avoid getting out of breath; your body must get used to running for longer distances without getting injuries to your muscles, joints or feet.
Of course, nothing can be more disruptive to your training plans than picking up injuries along the way, which is why it is important to do the right warm-up and warm down exercises, as well as taking other steps to avoid injury. There are even a number of foot exercises you can do to prevent them being injured.
However, it’s also important to consider the impact of all that pounding on your feet. You certainly don’t want to run on very uneven surfaces as this brings the risk of ankle injuries, while grass surfaces may be very soft and muddy for some time yet.
At the same time, running on artificial surfaces like roads and pavements adds extra impact that the human body wasn’t designed for; after all, people were running long before concrete and asphalt were invented. So if you are looking at running shoes that will limit the impact and stop you getting sore feet, knees and shins, something with extra protection for your soles is ideal.
The sort of model that could fit the bill for hard surfaces is the Men’s Nike Air Vapormax 360 in grey enigma stone. A key feature of this is the large air pockets that cushion the impact and isolate it from your feet, absorbing the shock while still allowing you to have a bit of a spring in your step.
Your running goals this year may be modest, or may be grand. But whatever you want to achieve, the right kind of footwear can help you to get fit and ready without limping home afterwards.