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Ignoring that pain in your foot during a run or after a run can come with some major consequences.
When it comes to pain in our feet, I know as a runner it's really hard to work around that pain. But I know the option of just not running and waiting for the pain to go away is not good enough — as runners we want to get out, and we want to run!
Here are some things that you can do right now to help alleviate that foot pain and get you back to running happy and healthy.
Warm Up and Cool Down
Before you go out the door on your next run, be sure to get in a good dynamic warmup. These movements are going to help mimic the movements you’ll be doing out on the run. This is going to help raise your body temperature and increase blood flow to all of your muscles so that they can move more fluidly out on the run. So that means you're not going to be super tight when you start that run, helping to prevent any kind of overuse injuries like a pull or a tear.
A great place to start with this would be 10 to 15 minutes of dynamic movements. Dynamic meaning you're going to be moving, right? We're not just sitting here in this position and stretching. We're moving around, getting our heart rate up.
When you are done with your run, spend another 10 minutes or so doing some static stretches. Static stretches are where I'm just stretching and holding it to really help lengthen out those muscles and have them cool down in an elongated state.
If you want to add some extra love to yourself, be sure to sure to your foam roller out (I know it's been hiding — you got to blow the dust off it a little bit there!). Extra time spend with the foam roller will really get into those trouble areas and work out any extra tension that's built up. You really want to make sure you're focusing on all the big areas — your calves, your quads, your hamstrings, hips back, and yes, your feet.
Check Your Footwear
Just like you spend tons of time agonizing over the proper pair of shoes, invest some of that time in picking out the proper insole. Just because the shoe you've tried on is comfortable and meets all of your requirements in a shoe, you can improve the way it fits by putting in an insole that matches your foot, your activity and your specific needs. (Need help choosing? Take this easy insole finder quiz.) A better fit means increased comfort in your feet and overall body, and a better experience before and after running.
Over the course of just three miles, a 150 pound runner is going to expose their feet to a total of 150 tons of impact. That's crazy. So considering the amount of pounding our feet take on a run, finding the proper footwear and insole combination is crucial for preventing foot pain. Not only can the right insole provide comfort and cushioning for your foot, it can also provide support in all the right places. By helping your foot get in the right position, you can help drastically reduce the amount of pain you experience with conditions like plantar fasciitis, shin splints, heel spurs, and knee pain.
Switch up your running surface
Concrete and asphalt are really unforgiving on the body and don't help absorb any of that impact that we were talking about earlier. So if your feet are starting to hurt, head to the dirt! So if your feet are in pain, change up your terrain! If your feet are feeling frail, go find you a trail!
By switching to a softer surface, you're going to be giving your body a break and taking away a lot of that impact that your feet are absorbing. Personally, on those heavy interval workout days, I like to head to the track to give my body just that little bit of extra break from the impact because running on the track is super springy, it's made out of rubber so it gives my body that extra break and I'm going to end up recovering a lot faster.
I also like to run on the trails the day after my long run. When my legs are feeling pretty beat up and destroyed a little bit, I feel like I get a little bit of extra relief on the trails, and that helps me recover a lot faster.