Tuesday, May 10, 2011

FEET! (Part 1)

As a woman I am no stranger to abusing my feet with stilettos and all sorts of other horrible yet beautiful devices. When it comes to running, abusing your feet is going to stop your training in its tracks.  Quite simply if your feet aren't happy, you aren't going to be running very far for very long.  As such now is the time we are going to tackle common feet problems.

Blisters are common complaints.  I will admit I have yet to have a major running blister.  Yes you can hate me.  But I will tell you why I think that is - despite having some really unfortunate running conditions - heat, humidity and lots and lots of moisture.  Preparation.  Socks and shoes are normally the main culprits.  So on that note my guidelines for sock selection. I wish I could recommend you a brand that beats out all others, I cannot.


Consider the following when searching for the right sock for you:

1. Foot specific
2. Gender specific
3. Technical fabric
4. Sport/Climate Specific
5. Rise Specific

So to break down those areas

1. I have found that the small/pinky/baby toes are the first to fall victim - and it is almost always a seam.  A foot specific sock means that the fit is more "tight" without being actually tight.  Normally these can also come without seams - that is a good thing

2. Look at a man's foot and then look at yours or vice versa.  They are different - it isn't just size that changes.  While I haven't invested in a gender specific sock, you might want to

3. Technical fabric - we've talked about it before but cotton is not your friend.  Let's repeat that cotton is not your running self's friend.  You need to have moisture wicking.  Wool or synthetic are the only options.

4. If you are running through cold/wet areas wool might be a better fit for you than a synthetic

5. Rise - I like mine low, maybe you like yours high.  I used to run with really minimal ones but I found if the seam is too low that can become a pressure point.

You might also want to consider a toe sock or an arch support sock - try, try and try some more.  While your trying notice pressure points when you take them off, any rubbing, friction or discomfort of any kind, these will steer you in the right direction for your next selection testing.

As to the sweat component: I use Chafe stick all over my feet before any long races, some use deodorant because it blocks sweat.  If you suffer from hyperhydrosis you might want to consider getting treatment...  If you have a blister check out this guide.


I do not wear polish while training so I can keep an eye on my toe nails.  Trim close but not too close, and don't do it right before the race.  If you have them too, long or too short you can end up with black toes.  And while they are oddly cherished in running circles, intentionally trying for them is going to make you cry.

As someone who has had black toes, it is also a really pain to grow them out - so be kind to your feet.

Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mogwailun/4916740162/

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