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Yesterday, I took delivery of some new Nike Pegasus shoes I had purchased online and christened one pair with a 6km walk around Copa this morning, including some steep hills and steps.

I wore the new shoes in the hope that their cushioning and arch support would be better than my current Pegasus shoes.  I could feel the arch support pressing on the painful area of my right foot, suggesting that it was, perhaps, offering more support than my older shoes.  Consciously walking on the outside of the foot almost eliminated the pain and I remain hopeful that I might be able to jog lightly, pain-free, on Sunday.

When runners consult me about injuries, I often suggest they try wearing different shoes to see if that makes a difference.  Even if they are the same brand, slight manufacturing variations and differing levels of wear can make a difference.  I have been wedded to Nike Pegasus and its forerunners for many years and am now reluctant to change brands for fear of creating new injuries.  However, I don't think there's anything special about them - it's more the devil you know versus the devil you don't.

Taking a break while hiking the Appalachian Trail in 1986
Like many runners who started in the 1960s and 1970s, some of my earliest shoes were cheap Korean and Japanese imports bought primarily because they were light and cheap.  Later I graduated to some of the early Tiger models which met the same criteria.  I think that, when you are young, your body is more adaptable and forgiving, so you can get away with less support and cushioning in your shoes.  Someone once told me that there are fat pads in our feet which provide cushioning and that these break down as you get older.  This is consistent with my own experience.  For instance, back in 1986, at the age of 35, I hiked the 2,200 mile Appalachian Trail up the east coast of the U.S., mostly in a pair of New Balance running shoes.  Despite carrying a pack that averaged 20 kilograms, I had few foot-related problems.  When I resumed my long-distance hiking career a few years ago, wearing running shoes, I experienced severe pain in the soles of my feet after a few days.  After switching to good quality hiking boots, offering support and cushioning, I have had no foot problems.

Although I favour Nike, I think that there are many excellent running shoes out there these days.  In my earlier career, apart from Tiger, I also wore Brooks, New Balance and Adidas for extended periods and found them all good.  Every individual is different, and every individual needs to experiment with different shoes until they find the brand and model that suits them best.  Sometimes, if injuries persist, orthotics might be needed.

A road rage story

No training today, just an easy 4-5km walk favouring my right arch.  So long as I walk on the outside of the foot, there is not significant pain.  The sore right arch does feel a bit better, so the plan not to run, but walk, for the rest of the week still seems viable.

Since there's not much running to discuss today, I thought I would relate another anecdote from my long running career.  It relates to road rage, and if there's any moral to the tale, it's probably to avoid it if possible.

Back in the 70s, I sometimes did my long runs with a friend from the running club I will call Harry.  I can't remember what Harry's best marathon time was, but I think it was around 2:40.  He was small and stocky, and not really built for running, but he trained hard and was quite obsessive about sport, running in particular.

Bridge Road, Richmond, these days.  Not much
changed in 40 years.
We both worked around the Melbourne CBD and commuted by running to and from our offices.  Occasionally, after work, we met up for a run of about 32km, finishing at my house.  I would then drive Harry home.  One twilight, we were about 25km into our run, travelling on the left-hand footpath of a main road, when a car travelling in the same direction turned left into a minor street right in front of us, causing us to pull up sharply.  Road law said that, when turning left or right, a driver had to give way to pedestrians.  I tended to get annoyed when drivers cut me off in this fashion and had adopted the custom, learned from another running friend, of giving the offending vehicle's boot (trunk) a bang with my palm as it passed in front of me.  This didn't cause any damage, but sounded very loud inside the vehicle.

That's what I did on this occasion, before Harry and I continued on.  However, the unhappy driver made a U-turn and followed us for the next 5km, stopping periodically to remonstrate with us.  He didn't try to physically stop or harm us, and each time we encountered him we just gave him a wide berth and continued on.  Harry was enormously impressed with the impact of my action on the driver, and filed the technique away for future use.

About a year later, he was running home along Bridge Road through the Richmond shopping strip when a tradesman's vehicle exiting a narrow side street from the left blocked his path.  Harry banged a panel on the side of the vehicle and began running round its rear.  Unexpectedly, the tradesman quickly jumped out of his vehicle, ran around the front, grabbed hold of Harry, and began roughing him up.

Suddenly, yells were heard from shoppers and the tradesman turned to see his vehicle rolling slowly across busy Bridge Road.  In his haste, he had not applied the hand brake.  He released Harry and raced back to his vehicle but was unable to stop it from mounting the opposite kerb and rolling into the front of a florists shop.

Harry seized his opportunity to escape at speed up Bridge Road and never again ran home via that route.