Four Way To Reduce The Risk Of Foot Injuries During Marathon Training

To many runners, the marathon represents the ultimate test of endurance and fitness. Running 26.2 miles is a challenge to be reckoned with, and training for such as race is no easy feat, either. In fact, many runners don't even make it to the starting line of the marathon because they end up sidelined by injuries that develop during training. Foot injuries, such as Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis, are quite common in marathon runners, but that does not mean you're doomed to develop them. Follow these tips to reduce your risk of injury.

Make sure you're running in the proper shoes.

You might be able to get away with running 3 or 4 miles in shoes that aren't quite right for your feet, but running 15-mile weekend long runs in the wrong shoes will lead to injuries quite quickly. Before you get too far into marathon training, visit a local running store and have a running specialist analyze your foot shape and gait to recommend shoes that are right for you. If you have very high arches or have been prone to foot injuries in the past, you may even want to have a podiatrist at a clinic like Northside Foot & Ankle design specialized orthotics to put inside of your shoes.

Do the tennis ball trick.

When you're sitting around watching television and recovering from your long day of work and running, roll a tennis ball back and forth under the arch of your bare foot. This will massage and loosen the muscles in this area, reducing your risk of injury.

Ice your feet after long runs.

Many distance runners value taking an ice bath after long runs to help reduce soreness and speed recovery. If sitting in a tub of ice water for 10 minutes sounds like torture to you, at least soak your feet in ice water for a few minutes after your long runs—especially those 18 and 20-mile long runs towards the end of your training plan. The ice will reduce inflammation and jump-start the healing process.

Remember to stretch your feet.

Most runners are pretty good about stretching their legs after hard runs, but the feet are another story. Make sure you're taking your shoes off and spending a few minutes stretching your feet after each run. You can stretch your feet simply put pressing your toes back, and then down with your hands. Doing some barefoot toe raises also helps.

What starts as a little foot soreness can quickly progress to the point of injury. If your feet are sore, take a day or two off from running, and ice them several times throughout the day. For soreness that does not subside withing 4 or 5 days of resting and icing, see your podiatrist. The sooner a potential injury is diagnosed, the sooner you can work towards healing it and hopefully get back on track with your training.