I Wanted to Get Fit and This One Purchase Made All The Difference

An Amazon Prime box, perhaps containing shiny new running shoes

An Amazon Prime box, perhaps containing shiny new running shoes | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Following a minor surgical procedure that limited my ability to adequately exercise, I found I was ready to get back in the swing of things. With my body repaired and some goals in mind, I set out to get fit. To build some muscle, and slim down. I went to a sporting goods store and bought myself some running shoes, a couple pairs of shorts, and a good pair of headphones. I was ready to roll.

Except, I wasn’t. Like many others, I found my enthusiasm quickly waning after only one or two workouts. I slipped back into my pre-surgery habits of avoiding exercise and letting numerous excuses validate my behavior.

I knew my problem mostly had to do with my unwillingness to give it an honest go. I had always been fit and active throughout my younger years, but since a nagging injury slowed me down in my late 20s, I had fallen behind. Since that injury has now mended, I simply needed to simply push myself to get fit again. So, I made a decision to take it seriously and invest some real time and money. I made the decision to buy some expensive (for me, anyway) running shoes. And that single purchase made all the difference in the world.

How new shoes helped me get fit

A man stretches before a run

A man stretches before a run | iStock

I found a pair of New Balance running shoes at the Rehoboth Beach Running Company in Rehoboth Beach, Del. They were having a half-off sale, and I took advantage of it to get my hands on what were my first pair of real, quality running shoes. I took them home with me, and over the next couple of weeks, wore them around to break them in a bit.

They felt great on my feet — a gigantic difference from the cheaper shoes I had purchased before. No, these were light, cushioned, and made me feel like I wanted to actually get moving. Which I did. I was very surprised at how big of a difference there was between a pair inexpensive running shoes and a pair of quality ones. I was in less pain and discomfort following my workout, and I actually enjoyed wearing them.

And when I wore them, I wanted to work out. So, by wanting to wear them, I was actually fooling myself into wanting to exercise. It was a glorious feedback loop.

The specific pair of shoes I purchased originally cost $140, but at half-off, I was able to get them for $70. That was a lot for me to spend on shoes I planned to only wear while I worked out, but as it turns out, it was the best investment I could have made. I would have never suspected this at the time.

Running shoes: an expert’s opinion

A runner on a treadmill

A runner on a treadmill | iStock

While a good pair of shoes was hugely helpful for me, it’s not going to do the trick for everyone. But if you’re serious about getting in shape, I would suggest that you make the investment and buy a solid pair. There are so many options out there these days that you’re bound to find something you like at a reasonable price. There are also some great resources to help you choose a pair that fits your specific goals.

A while back, I had the chance to speak with a professional long-distance runner, Tina Muir, about this very subject. Though our conversation covered many topics, Muir was able to point to some specific shoes she uses and recommends. Muir is sponsored by Saucony, so take that into account, but the conversation is worth reading through to get a better idea of what you might want to look for when shoe shopping.

The truth is, there are tons of brands, styles, and types of shoes out there tailored for athletes of all stripes. Yes, you can get by with a cheap pair of shoes or whatever you have lying around, but in my case, actually spending the money is what truly made the biggest difference as I tried to get fit.

In short, a good pair of running shoes is well worth the investment.

Follow Sam on Twitter @Sliceofginger and Facebook

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