3 Tips for Keeping Your Feet in Tip-Top Shape for Race Day – What to Know
When training for a run, you might focus on improving endurance, keeping your speed optimal, or preventing your leg muscles from cramping up. That is understandable; the completion of your race depends largely on these three things. You need to have the stamina, especially for long distances. You should be quick enough so that you can finish within the cutoff period. Finally, you must hydrate properly, eat a sufficient amount of carbohydrates, and stretch to prevent cramps.
Aside from these, though, you should not neglect taking care of your feet. Any runner with enough race experience has stories of blistered insteps, broken toes, ripped-off toenails and other distressing anecdotes from the road. These are all part of the experience, they would say. However, you can help reduce the risk of foot injuries by following a few easy tips.
Choose your footwear wisely
Choosing footwear is basic but often overlooked. Shoe fit contributes greatly to a runner’s success. If a shoe is too tight, it causes blisters and irritation to the pinched areas of the foot. It is not only distracting but also dangerous to run with constricting shoes.
You must also choose your socks for the race day. Too-thick ones will restrain blood circulation, while too-thin ones will cause blood blisters, especially on the pads of the toes. When you attempt to run through these, it proves counterproductive and might even cost you the race. Prevent all of these and choose your footwear beforehand.
Practice good running form
Your habits during training will contribute to your performance on the big day. Though there are no hard and fast rules about foot form, it is good to strike the ground with the ball of your foot. Hitting with your toes or heel first puts the strain on body parts that are not built for that impact. Your footfall also impacts your entire body, from the position of your hips all the way up to how you hold your head when moving.
Use the ball of your foot to push you forward. That keeps your weight more evenly distributed. If you run this way, it also helps you build momentum, which makes you a more efficient runner. Toward the end of your race, that will become important.
Incorporate foot exercises in training
Aside from limb exercises like lunges, core strengthening activities, and practice runs, you should include foot exercises in your training regimen. It is because targeted training helps make your foot muscles stronger.
Start with incremental movements like walking barefoot on grass, toe curls, and heel lifts. Barefoot walking and running help with stability and in stimulating blood flow to the feet. When you curl your toes, you exercise your intrinsic feet muscles. Heel lifting, meanwhile, strengthens your ankles. If you are prone to strains and sprains, you should definitely include it in your training program.
When you’ve spent a few days doing toe curls and heel lifts, start incorporating outer-to-inner edge exercises. While standing up, shift your weight from the instep to the outsides of your feet. It helps improve your balance, a necessity for rugged courses.
Preparing for a race needs hours of training and commitment. You cannot expect good results if you skip your training and exercises. When preparing for a race, it is good to include best practices in keeping your feet in top shape.
If you are looking for a sports chiropractor in New York City, consult with us today. We are a fitness-focused sports medicine practice. Our chiropractors and physical therapists provide athletes with comprehensive fitness and medical assessments to help them get to their best and most fit selves.