Look after those running feet
Thursday 21 December 2017
Sustaining an injury whilst training for a marathon or a local charity race can become a soul destroying and frustrating episode in any sportsperson’s career. The good news is that we have the power to limit our risk by being aware of the simplest of mistakes. Here are a few repeat offenders that are easily remedied yet are surprisingly common.
Blisters and Chaffing
Your feet sweat about a cup of water a day and that’s without exercise, so imagine how much they sweat when you go on a run? It is vital that you make sure you have absorbent and breathable socks, ideally natural fibre socks like cotton.
If you are prone to blisters try to wear two pairs of socks so that the socks themselves abate the friction. If you prefer, a good petroleum jelly lubricant can be rubbed onto your feet just as you would other friction prone areas.
Finally make sure your foot wear is the correct size. Remember the thumb rule: Thumb width from end of shoe to beginning of toes.
Ensure you do not buy new running shoes close to the run or race. Allow yourself and your feet the time to get used to the shoes. Ideally 3 weeks to a month graduated wear–in before the big day.
As a guide shoes should average 500-600miles, after which a new pair should be bought. Ensure you judge the wear of the trainer by the midsole and not the upper or outer sole. If the midsole looks compressed or you start to get shin or joint pain it is probably time for a new pair. A quick test is to fold the shoe in half; if you can do it easily with one hand then it is time to get some new shoes.
Warm up and stretches
Make sure you give yourself the time for a warm up and a cool down. There is the fact that cold muscles are about 20% shorter and research recommends active and dynamic stretching over static. You should do a series of lunges to stretch the muscles out. We recommend a good active 5 minute warm-up and then the ‘10% cool down rule’ i.e. If you run for an hour you should do stretches for six minutes to cool down. All runners should ensure they do this before and after every training run or race and not ignore this vital stage of their running routine.
“No pain no gain” is a common term yet complicit in sports injury. Arguably with regards to fitness and increasing endurance there may be a remnant of truth to it. However, when there are particular areas of pain or injury it is your body saying “no more”, ignore this and you are guaranteed a very long and frustrating rehab. Remember there will always be another race to run, so if you are in any pain you must go and see a specialist.It may not all be doom and gloom and could simply be that your solution will be different stretching exercise or a change of footwear.
If you are determined to become a statistic and truly must race with your injury then give yourself a fighting chance with the “wrap them and strap them” maxim. Keep injuries warm before and cool down properly after your race. Try and support any injury during the run by strapping or braces. Whatever works best for you.
We will share a little secret with you, a phenomenal little injury fighter that is available to all. Sleep. Yes, it is the truly amazing elixir to your health and improving running performance. Sleep and periods of rest are vital to allow your body to repair and grow in strength and ability. So remember get a good rest during your training and especially before your race.
Help is at hand
If you do have any lower limb Musculoskeletal concerns then contact Jared Green, Musculoskeletal Podiatrist at North Downs Hospital. He is available to offer advice on injuries and put you on the road to recovery for your next race. For an appointment please call 01883 348 981.