Yumi Yoshikawa


Running Club captain gives instructions on a running debut.

In this first issue, Yumi Yoshikawa, Shiseido Running Club captain from 2017, gives running instructions based on her own experience as a professional athlete.

Fri, Sept 14, 2018

Ms. Yoshikawa used to play basketball at elementary and junior high school, and got more serious about track and field after she joined the track-and-field club at high school. She specialized in short distances first and started taking part in mid- to long-distance runs such as 3,000m, 3,000m steeplechase and 5,000m at University.

Ms. Yoshikawa is now a member of a corporate team. As a professional athlete, she has something she particularly wants to share with active amateur runners and those who want to take up running from now on.

ADVICEProfessional advice on running

Don’t push yourself, take it easy

For me and other team members, running is a job. But that is not true for you, right? You are not forced to run. So just take it easy and enjoy running. You shouldn’t think, “running has to be like this or that” before you actually start.

You may feel exhausted by running or find it hard to continue. If so, I suggest you do something else you like and relax. And once you feel like it, you can start again and enjoy it. Even if you don’t run, no one will scold you, right? (laughs)

Start with a small goal

Of course, I’ve been through tough times, feeling like running was an ordeal. Looking back now, that was when I had no goal or ambition. But now, being in a professional team, I have so many things to do, let’s say bringing the team to the top or renewing my personal record, so I feel running is more enjoyable and have no room for compromise.

So I’d say, don’t set a big goal like “running a marathon race” from the start, but instead, set a small goal, something you can achieve relatively easily, like “running for 10 minutes” before you make a start. And then, set another small goal and achieve it. Repeat this cycle so that you can continue running.

The most important item for running

A must-have item for running is shoes. If you are a beginner, choose a pair of the right size but on top of that, choose the ones with well-cushioned soles. That is because they reduce the burden on your legs while running. You feel much less tired after a run and that helps reduce the risk of injury, too.
We usually wear a pair of lightweight shoes with thin soles for a race because they are best for a fast run. However, they are a burden for the legs. So I normally wear a pair with well-cushioned soles during training or jogging. Most of my team members use different shoes depending on the occasion.

Ms. Yoshikawa is so particular about running shoes, isn’t she? So here, we introduce some basic knowledge on running shoes.


Perfect fit! How to choose the right running shoes

A common concern among all runners, from beginners to those who run on a daily basis, is how to choose the right shoes.
Here, we offer you tips on selecting a pair of shoes that suits you best, and the best running shoes for each level.

How to choose the right shoes

1. Check the thickness of the soles

For beginners, I recommend shoes with thick soles because they are well-cushioned. In the past, thick-soled shoes tended to be heavy, however, thanks to technological advancement, “thick yet lightweight” soles are available now, and even expert runners can find more running shoes with thick soles that suit them.You may not notice your fatigue over a short distance but when you finish a long run, the damage to your legs will be immeasurable. Even some advanced runners who have strong legs that can withstand the shock of hitting the ground select thick-soled shoes, aiming to reduce the damage to their legs.

2. Check the heel cups besides the toes

Heel cups are one of the most important parts to check when you select running shoes.Generally speaking, runners care more about the toe parts, saying“the tips of toes shouldn’t be touching the tip of the shoe.”However, I‘d recommend focusing on the fit of heel cups and around the Achilles tendons. Though it varies between individuals, women have narrower heels and women’s shoes are therefore designed with narrow heel cups.Anyway, don’t forget trying a pair beforehand and checking if the heel cups fit your heels comfortably or not.

3. Fit and breathability of the upper are also important

Upper is a part that holds the upper part of the feet. These days, running shoes offer a better, comfortable fit no matter what kind of shape your feet are as more mesh upper shoes, which are stretchy and breathable with fewer stiches on the upper, are available at stores. That said, it is important to try a pair first. You don’t want shoes that fit you only when you tie shoelaces tightly. Select a pair by checking the fit of each part such as heel cups, upper, soles, and foot width.

From beginners to expert
runnersRunning shoes for each level

Beginners(run 10km in 60 min or longer)

Beginners need to build up their leg muscles. These are shoes with comfortable, cushioned soles that reduce the damage to legs.


As you can see, the soles of HOKA ONE ONE running shoes are quite thick. That’s why they are comfortable, feeling like marshmallow. Moreover, they weigh only 246g (24cm), which is super light if you consider this volume. The soles have a rounded shape like tires so they help your legs step smoothly as if rolling. This pair allows beginners, whose legs are not yet strong enough, to finish comfortably without pain.


These running shoes are soft and comfortable. They are designed in pursuit of a smooth, comfortable run by increasing the number of slits on soles. The upper is an updated engineered mesh made to fit various foot shapes, lined with stretch mesh to improve the fit and breathability. With a high heel-to-toe drop of 12cm, they support runners to shift body weight smoothly, which is good news for beginners and those who have difficulty keeping left-right balance while running.

Intermediate (run 10km in about 50 min/ complete a full marathon in 4-5 hours)

Once you become able to run 10km within 60 minutes without any problem, you may want to speed up. Here are the shoes recommended for intermediate runners who want to speed up while protecting the legs from injury or fatigue.

ASICS RoadHawk FF 2

These are equipped with an excellent shock-absorbing material called FlyteFoam Propel over the midsole part which gives you a smooth ride, a sensation as if you are hopping when your toes leave the ground. Super light and highly breathable air mesh upper realizes a comfortable fit. These are recommended for runners who want to go for a fast run, feeling as if their toes are gripping the ground.

Advanced(run 10km in about 40 min/ complete a full marathon within 4 hours)

For advanced runners aiming to speed up even further, I would suggest shoes with an excellent fit and high shock absorption. This is because their foot contact with the ground is very short.


They are not just soft and flexible. With a sole material “MIZUNO WAVE” that well absorbs the shock and gives runners a sensation of hopping and gripping, this pair is ideal for experienced runners who aim to complete a full marathon within four hours. This model is designed to realize a better hold on the forefoot and midfoot parts as well as an excellent fit, and will take you to the finish line without fail.
Weight: approx. 165g (24.5cm)

How to lace your shoes

Needless to say, it’s important to select shoes in the right size. But the overall fit is determined by how you lace them. If you fail to tie the laces properly, you cannot make full use of the shoes’ functions.

If you are a long-distance runner, try “underlap”

There are two ways of lacing: “underlap,” when you put the lace through eyelets upward, and “overlap,” when you put the lace through eyelets downward. Either is fine,but I’d recommend underlapping for long-distance runners since it doesn’t put pressure on your feet even after long hours. That said, listen to your body, which is most important. At the end of the day, your ultimate goal is to enjoy running without injury, right? So try them both and find your favorite style.

How to improve the fit with double eyelets

Do not tie shoelaces with loose loops on double eyelets.

Fasten the loops tightly so that you get good ankle support and stability and fully utilize shoe functions.

These days, most of running shoes have double eyelets, but I bet many runners never use them. Double eyelets increase comfort and you can fully utilize shoe functions if you use them correctly.
It’s simple and easy. After putting a lace through both eyelets, put the lace through a loop between them and tighten up. Here is one thing you need to keep in mind. Don’t tie the laces with the loops loose. Fasten the loops tightly, then tie the laces.


Shiseido Running Club, Captain

Took part in 800m race at the Inter-High School Competition. After joining Shiseido Running Club in June 2015, she has steadily improved her running skills and renewed her records in 1500m, 3000m and 5000m. In her free time, she enjoys watching DVDs. She undergoes intensive training every day so when she has free time, she relaxes by watching favorite movies. This year, the team aims to deliver a better performance at the All-Japan Women’s Corporate Ekiden Championship, in which they were seeded last year. Meanwhile, Ms. Yoshikawa is pursuing her own goals such as renewing the 2,000m steeplechase Japan record and her personal record in 5,000m.