One of the biggest worries of any runner is getting injured. Whether your goal is getting out in the park for a run or running a marathon, no-one wants to be injured. But what can we do to avoid injury. We can take the well-known basic steps. Finding the right shoes and socks, not increasing distance too quickly, planning rest days – all good, but sometimes a little niggle creeps in anyway. Why?
We all try to explain away the niggle. My current favourite: “It’s my age!”. But then I see women around me running easily and injury free, they’re older, maybe fitter but certainly wiser. What can I change?
I have come back to the foundations of running, my feet. I have noticed that if I can keep my feet happy the rest will follow. It makes sense when you think about it. A runner’s feet are the most important part of her body. They carry us up hills and down dales, day after day. So what can we do to keep them in good shape?
My top tips for happy feet are:
– Moisturise: It’s a little thing but really helps avoid blisters and soreness. Try to do it a couple of times a week. If you have dry feet or are prone to blisters, slather some vaseline all over your feet before a long run.
– Massage: Moisturising can be treated as a mini-massage, but at the first sign of any niggle in your legs try giving your feet a little massage to see if it might be coming from tightness in some part of your foot. Massage this point until the tension releases. Rolling your foot over a tennis ball or foam roller works wonders too. The ultimate is of course a professional massage from time to time, I find it really “resets” the body to go on to the next challenge.
– Yoga and stretching: Most cross-training is good for runners but my favourite is yoga. There are so many amazing stretches for tight muscles. I find those for the feet so valuable as they not only release tightness but build stronger feet and ankles. It’s also good to take time to stretch your feet before putting on your running shoes, and to think about stretching your toes as you run really feeling the ground beneath your feet.
Take the time to take care of your feet and your happy feet will take you further than you can imagine.
Happy running on happy feet!
Check out these articles for some more ideas: