Shopping local makes a difference in your running, too!

There's nothing like your local running shops. You can go in and talk shop with pretty much everyone in there. The customers are usually seasoned runners or up-and-coming enthusiasts. The employees are out there pounding the pavement and know the pains of plantar fasciitis. Everyone in the store can give you a recommendation and have several personal stories to back it up.

Fleet Feet

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I went to Fleet Feet for my running shoe needs throughout high school, and the benefits were noticeable. They kept my shoe size and the style I wore last on file. Not only was it faster to buy shoes (something a runner always appreciates!), but it helped me stay in the same kind of shoe that worked best for my feet and for my stride! Even though Fleet Feet has locations all over the U.S., it manages to maintain that local feel. 

Fleet Feet has a running club to get people out and about in their hometowns and surrounding areas. It has that friendly neighborhood vibe with weekly meet-ups and fun runs where you can get out, see some familiar faces, and maybe meet some new ones, too.

Fleet Feet Annapolis is hosting their annual Ugly Sweater Run on December 20. Registration is $25, and the after-party will be at Armadillo's. Join their mailing list for training opportunities and group runs you can join for free!

Annapolis Running Shop

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Located right on Main Street, Annapolis Running Shop was (and is) the first full service running gear store in the area. It's a local store that definitely uses its hometown to its advantage.

You can meet at the shop every Wednesday night with local runners of all levels for some free group fitness. On their website, you'll find maps with routes of different lengths, starting and finishing at the shop. Follow that up with their "Runners Happy Hour" at Rams Head Tavern, and you've got "Cheers"-meets-the-gym!

I love that they make sure you get to know the city. There's nothing like running all over town to get a feel for the place you live. But they're also welcoming to those out-of-town runners! ARS's routes showcase what's best about running in Annapolis -- taking you over the Eastport bridge, around the Naval Academy, through downtown, or over to Ferry Farms. You get the best of Maryland's capital with any of these chosen runs. And bonus: They've got a great state pride thing going on with their large collection of "Maryland flag" running gear!

So next time you're in the need of some new running shoes, you've got holes in your lucky race socks, or you need to pick out some sharper spikes, make use of what you got around town. You'll be able to pick somebody's brain on their running experiences, get everything on your running list, and probably learn something new. 

(P.S. Shopping local directly supports your community. Some more bonus points for you!)

Where do you get your athletic gear? Let us know in the comments below!

The Run-Around is a weekly feature, focusing on fitness in and around Annapolis, MD.

Last week's Run-Around explores the importance of having a good cheering squad! Read more here.