Mom to 5K Week 3 Featuring Mary Jennings, 

Another week down and we’ve survived, despite that cheeky Doris attempting to scupper our chances. We’re a week closer to panting red-faced over a 5K line somewhere, folks. Yeow! It’s all good!

This week’s guest is Mary Jennings, founder of and she’s sharing her advice on choosing the perfect running shoes. Mary trains runners at all levels, from beginners to those running marathons. She is also the creator of The Irish Times’ Get Running programmes and she believes that if you can walk, you can Get Running!  She’s probably right, you know.

My Second Week 

The Lows 

  1. My commitment was tested by Storm Doris who had no regard for how hard it is to run with sodden socks while continually blowing drips of water off the tip of your nose and being  blinded by a combination of rain and wind-induced tears.
  2. I spent the duration of my runs on Monday and Wednesday in a panic that I would have to submerge my iPhone in a bag of Uncle Ben’s in the hot-press on my return. Yes, it was THAT wet.
  3. I had no inclination to run on Friday or Saturday. I drank wine and ate Cadbury’s Creme Eggs instead.
  4. I left my third run of the week until Sunday which meant that there was a four-day gap. I felt it.

The Highs

  1. I can now officially brag about running in adverse weather conditions. In your face, Doris!
  2. Not only did I obey the app to the second, I ran an additional minute at the end on all three runs this week. In your face, App Voice-over Girl!
  3. I tried out the Bluetooth headphones I got for my other half for Christmas. It was nice not battling wires and the ear-hooks totally made me look like a running profesh.
  4. The showers after my encounters with Doris were particularly spectacular – second only to those after childbirth – and gave me a renewed appreciation for the simple things in life.
  5. Running in insanely wet conditions meant that being splashed by inconsiderate drivers made no difference.
  6. I found this week easier than last week. I’m aware that this a) sounds cocky and b) will almost certainly not be the case as the weeks progress but for now I feel like I’m winning.


       with Mary Jennings –
Running Shoes


Mary is no stranger to running, with over 45 marathons and ultramarathons as well as many more half-marathons, 10ks and 5ks under her belt.  She is a certified ChiRunning instructor and personal trainer and an experienced running coach. She has kindly agreed to share the answers to some of the most common footwear-related questions asked by newbie runners.


1) Where should I shop? 

I recommend going to a specialist running shop. Get advice from runners in your area as to where they would recommend. Generally anyone who has such a shop is passionate about running, knows their stuff, sees lots of runners all the time and is qualified to give you the best advice on which shoes work best with your feet and gait.

Running Shoes 2) How do I know when I’ve found the right pair? 

It’s very hard to know by just standing still in a new pair of runners.  In good running shops, specialists will analyse your gait by videoing you running. They will look at how your foot hits the ground and how your legs move when you push forward. They will examine existing running shoes and notice how you wear them down. Based on all of  this, they will select three or four pairs which are good for your feet. After that, its up to you to try them on and see which ones feel best on you. This bit is a personal choice. Try not to judge too much by the colour!

3) What’s the best brand? 

There is none. The question is which is the best brand for your feet? Some of us have an allegiance to a brand we have always worn, and that’s fine, but don’t be afraid to try a new one. There are so many running shoes out there and it’s about finding the one that moulds best to your feet. What can be a perfect shoe for you, might not be comfortable for someone else.

4) How much should I spend? 

Some people think that the more expensive the shoe, the better it is. This is not necessarily the case. Some of the best shoes I have are actually cheaper than you’d think! Generally you can pay anywhere from €70 to €170 for a pair of runners.  A big investment but in the long run, you’ll save money on physio bills if you look after your feet correctly.

5) How do I clean my running shoes? 

Obviously you want your shoes to last and to look fresh for as long as possible. Do not put your runners in the washing machine or tumble dryer. If they get dirty, allow the muck to dry, brush it off and wipe clean with a damp cloth.  If your runners get very wet, stuff them with newspaper and place them near a radiator. This will help them dry quicker.

6) When should I replace them? 

The lifetime of your runners really depends on your mileage. Each pair of shoes has approx 500 good miles in them, so changing your shoes will depend on how frequently you are running. When your first pair reaches about 250 miles, you could introduce a second pair. Then you always have a pair broken in and a pair for back up.

running shoes

So there you have it – everything you need to know about choosing and caring for running shoes from a lady who knows exactly what she’s talking about! There are all sorts of fantastic running-related articles on, as well as details of one-to-one coaching and running workshops. This handy post detailing how to correctly lace your running shoes (yup, we’ve been doing it wrong this whole time) is well worth checking out.
If running apps aren’t your thing then consider following Mary’s Irish Times’ Get Running Beginners’ programme which will take you from inactivity to being able to run for 30 minutes non-stop.


Here’s what we’re up to next week, folks…

running couch to 5K

Do stop by the blog or the Facebook page to let us know how your week is going. Moaning is allowed and often welcomed! Have a good week and as Mary might say, GET RUNNING!

If you’re a blogger or someone with an interest or background in fitness and you’d like to contribute to the series, get in touch via email. You’ll find me at I’d love to hear from you! 

Did you miss the other posts in the series? Find them here:

My Petit CanardPink Pear BearMy Random Musings3 Little ButtonsMummascribblesReflections From MeCuddle FairyMummuddlingthroughDiary of an imperfect mumDear Bear and BeanyYou Baby Me MummyethannevelynThe PramshedKeep Calm and Carry On Linking SundayPost Comment Love

Not sure what you're looking for in running shoes? Here's the complete guide to buying shopping for new runners...



  1. Fair play to you for doing this! I have considered it so many times but have never done it; are you using the couch to 5K? I’ll keep reading and maybe you’ll eventually push me to do it! I love the advice on runners as I wouldn’t know where to start but I know how important it is.

    • Sinéad Reply

      Well thanks kindly for reading! Yes, am using an app called C25K from Zenlabs but there are loads of free apps. It’s slow progress but definitely progress all the same. Like I am woefully unfit so I had to do something. Have started and stopped so many times and I figured that if I committed to documenting in on here, it would keep me going until the end. We have a little crew doing the programme every week now so it’s quite motivational to know that I’m not alone! If you decide to join in, let me know! I’d definitely recommend The Irish Times series that I mentioned in the post – Mary has loads of really fantastic advice.

  2. Good woman! What Bluetooth headphones do you have? Have been meaning to get a pair.

    • Sinéad Reply

      They’re by iSound Susie. Think they were around 5o quid.

  3. Good for you. I’ve just been looking at loads of different runners for my son as he has really gotten into his running. I was surprised to see how much cost was involved and how many different types you could get. Theres always so much more involved in these things than you first think.



    • Sinéad Reply

      There really is. But at least they will last a while. Well mine will, with the limited mileage they’ll be doing!

  4. Amazing that you got out running while Doris was lurking! Sounds like you’re doing so well – I agree that the right pair of shoes is so crucial and can make all the difference 🙂 Thanks for linking up to #dreamteam x

    • Sinéad Reply

      If it wasn’t for the fact that I have said I’d document it on here, Doris would have deffo stopped me in my tracks!

  5. Glad to hear you are getting on well! Finding the right running shoes is so important, but it can be a total minefield as there are so many to choose from. This is sound advice! Thanks so much for linking up to #Blogstravaganza, hope to see you again next week xx

    • Sinéad Reply

      The only trouble is that some of them are rather unattractive! lol

  6. Hi Sinead, well done for completing week two. Focus on what you have done and not the didn’t do’s. I don’t like heading out for a run in the rain, but don’t mind getting caught once I’m out (and nearly home) and there is something invigorating about that shower after being wet to the knickers.


    • Sinéad Reply

      It’s so true – it’s the thought of it that’s worse than the doing it.

  7. You write in a way that makes me feel motivated, like its achievable for me. I am definitely checking out that app as I went no plans into running a few months ago rather than pacing myself and burnt out quick. My shoes need an upgrade as I have had them for ten years! Keep going with it! #Thank you for linking to #stayclassymama x

    • Sinéad Reply

      Aw – that’s a lovely thing to hear! Thanks so much, Jade! I did that the first time too – I ran before I could walk, so to speak. The app makes it so much more doable!

  8. Ah well done with your running! I did the coach to 5k a few years ago and it really worked! I went on to do two 10k races, my biggest achievements ever! I have since found out I have flat feet/problems with my calves and hips so I stopped – but I have now got specialist insoles so I may give it a go again in the Spring/summer. I’m a bit of a fair weather runner! I do need a new pair of shoes though and right now I don’t have the cash… but yes definitely go to a proper shop where they put you on a treadmill. xx #StayClassyMama

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