Hal Higdon

Got a question about running? You're in the right place. Every Tuesday, world-renowned coach, author and athlete Hal Higdon posts and answers athlete questions here. You can submit your question by joining the discussions on Hal Higdon's Virtual Training Bulletin Boards.

Hal Higdon is a Contributing Editor for Runner’s World and author of 34 books, including the best-selling Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide. He ran eight times in the Olympic Trials and won four world masters championships. Higdon estimates that more than a quarter million runners have finished marathons using his training programs, and he also offers additional interactive programs at all distances through TrainingPeaks.

Learn more and visit Hal’s site:

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Shoe Inserts

QUESTION: What can you tell me about shoe inserts? I ordered some inserts online, but they didn’t improve food comfort much, so I had to send them back. How important are inserts? Do they make a huge difference in your time? Where can I get custom made ones that are legit?

HAL’S ANSWER: Important? Make you run faster? I’ll offer a qualified “maybe” on that. If inserts make the shoes feel more comfortable, that’s reason enough to get out your credit card, but they will not suddenly make you a faster runner. On the other hand, if you are prone to injury because of biomechanical imbalances affecting your foot plant, yes, inserts may help. And if you can run more miles without pain, that might allow you to run faster simply because of the extra training you can do. Some running shoe stores will customize inserts for you in a few minutes, charging around $80 for the service. But if you have a true foot imbalance, you might be best served by seeing a podiatrist, who can examine your foot structure and construct orthotics specific to your biomechanics.

Hal uses TrainingPeaks to power his interactive marathon and half marathon training plans. Check out more of Hal Higdon's training plans here or on his website. Archived Q&A's from Hal can be found here.

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