Running season is now upon us and many of our patients here at Family Foot and Ankle Specialists in Hillsborough, NJ indicate that they are training to run 5Ks, 10Ks, marathons, an Ironman or even an ultra-marathon. Thankfully they are in the right place to get the info they need to protect their feet from the stresses of these activities. However, to those who can’t make it in to see us prior to race day, these tips will help keep your feet in top form for race day.
My number one rule for anyone running any significant distance is to dress appropriately; this translates into wearing the right shoe, sock and insole for your particular activity.
Lets start with your socks, in general stay away from cotton socks when training or running. Cotton tends to absorb heat and moisture; this will not only encourage fungal growth but also will lead to blister formation, which any experienced runner will tell you is like having a nail in your foot. Instead, choose socks made of wool or other synthetic material. These tend to wick away moisture and reduce friction on your skin thereby preventing blister formation. Most running/athletic stores actually care socks specifically made for running and these make an ideal training partner.
Next, the proper shoes can make or break your race day experience. Many people purchase shoes specifically for the race/run itself and do not take the time to break them in properly. This is a Tier one rookie mistake. Ask any experienced marathon runner and they will tell you that you have to break in the shoes for your race. New sneakers are often stiff when you first purchase them. This can lead to the development of blisters on race day, should you venture out in new sneakers. Also, everyone’s feet are unique while shoes are not. If you don’t take the time to wear the shoes in properly during training, you wont know if these are the right shoes for you.
Also, feet and legs tend to swell as the day wears on. I always recommend my patients trying on and purchasing shoes later in the day to accommodate for this swelling. It is preferable that a shoe be slightly larger than your foot rather than smaller.
In addition, when purchasing shoes, make sure to bring/wear any race day accouterments with you and try them on with the shoe. If you wear orthotics, ankle braces, or special insoles during training, make sure that your race day shoes accommodate for them. The last thing you would want is to find out that your orthotics don’t work on the morning of the race.
Just as you train your body for a marathon, you also need to train your feet and shoes. By wearing appropriate race day equipment, you ensure that you have the best experience possible with the least amount of discomfort. If something during your training comes up, don’t hesitate to call or see us at Family Foot and Ankle Specialists; we will be happy to help!