There’s always this point when you are breaking in new shoes that you start running and you know that the realignment process is complete. If you haven’t run a lot, you might be fooled into thinking that if you have bad shoes and replace those shoes, then you are not going to experience pain anymore.
But what happens most of the time is that if you have been running in bad shoes, your legs, feet, and body have slowly adapted to the pain you experience and compensated for that pain. You can see this in people who are running on the street. They may hold their body so tightly on one side that you can literally see that they are running with one shoulder and one side higher than the other.
For me, it happens in my feet. When I run in shoes in which the support is slowly dying, then I tend to start turning my right foot out as well as running on my toes. I’ve done this process enough to know that when I put on my new shoes, the first 2-3 runs are going to not only be painful, but slow. I have to fully concentrate on my stride and my posture. Literally, that means tuning into each step.
When you run a lot, you know that running becomes a semi-automatic process. When you can shift the focus from each step, then you can free your mind to think and to reflect. It’s why runners like running so much. But as annoying and frustrating as the process of realignment is, I’ve learned to appreciate it. Not only does it slow me down and make me think about the process of running, but it also makes me tune back into my body. By centering on the process, I know I am working towards those mind-freeing runs next week.
The numbness and soreness that permeated through my right side last week has subsided after two runs in the new shoes and I am close to getting my stride autocorrected. For some reason, this makes me want to run more because I know what I am working towards. I am working towards being able to run long distances again and to explore again. The realignment process is something worth enduring for the centering and balance it brings.
Now, I’m wondering how I can implement this realignment process in other aspects of my life. I’ll work that out on my mind-freeing runs that are just around the corner!