Ask the Experts

Local running shops like Ann Arbor Running Company and RUNdetroit are more than just retail stores. We’re here to support you and your running endeavors with expert advice to help you reach your goals.

Recently we met up with Justin Craig, owner of RUNdetroit and answered a few questions submitted by some local runners.

We hope to make this a regular column so please let us know what you think!

What one workout do you feel helps make someone a faster runner?

NS: A progression run that last for about an hour for a well-trained runner. For a person that is new to running they probably want to start out with a 30-45 minute progression run. The run starts out near one’s aerobic threshold and progressively gets faster each mile… ending around tempo/lactic threshold pace for the last mile.

JC: Body weight core work! I see a lot of runners have a big breakdown in form as they try to increase speed which opens them up for injury. I wouldn’t say one movement is the best but rather a simple routine with movements that focus on hip stability like planks (squeeze your butt!), mini bands, star reaches etc. You need to be durable enough for the workload in order to reach your goals.

What do you say to people/runners who say that shoe choice doesn’t matter?

NS: I like comparing shoes to eye glasses. You don’t go to an optometrist and they give you whatever… or what your best friend likes. You need something that is for your specific eyes. The same is true for your feet. Everyone’s foot structure and biomechanics are different. I personally need a stability shoe and it works for me. If I try to run in a less stable (more flexible) shoe running doesn’t work out so well for me. Runners should know about what amount of “torsional rigidity” works for them and stick with it (how flexible/stiff the arch of the shoe is).

JC: I’d say they are lucky! They’ve obviously not run in a shoe that has an arch that rubs or a toe-off that kicks in too late. I’ve tested countless shoes and I’ve found plenty that might be perfect for someone else but are not for me. When shoes are designed they are created around a complex series of motions. This is far more than just “pronation”. What I try to do is find a shoe that works with your foot naturally and doesn’t impede the foots natural range of motion. Every brand will have a number of products that can be used for various movement patterns, and each model has a unique fit, i.e. fit, cushion, arch profile.

What’s your beer run PR?

NS: Boy that was a long time ago and things were a little fuzzy at the end… so hard to remember. I think it was in the 7-8:00 range.

JC: My first Beer Mile is still my PR, 7:08. Not only did I win but I also held everything down! At last year’s Mother of All Beer Miles that wasn’t the case. Everything came back up 2 steps after the finish line….