Summer is the season for marathons (and half-marathons and countless charity 5k fun-run events). If you plan to participate, it’s time to get your feet in gear! Right now – during your training – is the time to take care of your feet to make sure you’re ready to run on Marathon morning!
Whether you’re preparing for your very first race or you’re a marathon pro, your feet are always susceptible to running injuries. And the risk is greatly amplified during the extra demands of marathon training. Additionally, during the big race, the tendency to “run through the pain” with a focus on the finish-line makes it more likely that you won’t notice the early signs of injury or overuse. Therefore, it’s important to keep in mind these helpful tricks to keep your feet happy and healthy for the big race:
Buy the Right Shoes- The most crucial step to help assure a pain-free race day is to make sure you have a supportive shoe that’s tailored to your foot-type. Do you have flat feet? Then you’ll need a shoe with more stability and motion control. Do you have a high arch? Then you need a shoe with more shock-absorption and cushioning. Consult an expert on the proper shoe to wear while training in order to make sure your feet are well supported and protected. You’ll be more likely to avoid common running injuries such as blisters, calluses, fractures, heel pain, and ankle sprains.
Invest in Good Socks- This might not seem crucial, but choosing the right pair of socks could be vital for your race day success. It’s important to steer clear of your everyday cotton socks because cotton absorbs, rather than sheds, moisture. Wet socks rub against your feet and create painful blisters. The best running socks are those made from synthetic materials such as polyester, acrylic, and CoolMax, because they’ll keep your feet cool and dry. Some runners also suggest a double layer of thin socks for additional blister protection.
Train Smart- If you find yourself behind in your training (with race day sneaking up fast), stay calm and don’t over-do it. If you over-exert yourself and increase your mileage too quickly, you’ll make your feet much more susceptible to debilitating stress fractures. It’s also important during your training to keep a balanced diet full of Calcium, Vitamin C, and Vitamin D, as these are crucial for maintaining strong bones to avoid injuries.
Pay Attention to Pain– Pain is an important signal that something may be wrong. If at any point during your training you encounter foot or ankle pain (especially if it persists or gets worse even with rest), it is important to immediately visit your podiatrist. Continuing to train on an injured foot may worsen it and lead to injuries that’ll keep you on the sidelines on race day.
In the end, realize that long-distance running places a high demand on your feet and you’ll have to pay extra attention to their care and maintenance. Take the precautions necessary to prevent and minimize any damaging effects. The best way to keep your feet pain-free during your marathon preparation is to make an appointment with a podiatric physician at the Advanced Foot & Ankle Care Center location nearest you. The AFACC physicians will examine your feet to identify any possible problems, discuss training tactics, and recommend the best footwear to keep your feet injury-free all during training and on Marathon Day. Preventative care now just makes a lot of sense for the “long run!”