Anyone who attempts to run a full marathon should be aware of the risks and dangers associated with this 26-mile feat of endurance.
It is very important to begin your marathon training knowing all the facts so you can choose the best approach to completing the race without injuring yourself. Nobody wants to be forced to stop at mile 20 due to stress fractures or shin splints, so preparation is key.
Most marathoners have suffered an injury at some point in their running career. Marathons simply involve too punishing of a distance for runners to expect to complete the race without some type of injury.
Whether the injury is a result of stress, improper stride, shoes, or some other cause, you should be aware that running a marathon will hurt.
Pre-Training Foot Exam
Before you start training, you should ensure you have no physical impairments or conditions affecting your feet that running will complicate.
These include bunions, ingrown toenails, heel pain from plantar fasciitis, or periodic shin splints. Get all of that taken care of before beginning your marathon training.
Visit an orthopedic podiatrist for a thorough examination of your feet and ankles. Tell your foot doctor if you feel any pain when running and address these issues before they can worsen and cause a Did Not Finish (DNF).
While diet, conditioning, and hydration all play important roles in your marathon preparation, the most important factor and the one that sidelines most people the day of the race is the condition of their feet.
Get the Right Running Gear
Your orthopedic foot specialist can help advise you on the type of shoes you’ll need.
In general, shoes protect a runner’s feet for about 300 – 400 miles; after that, they should be replaced. That is not very far when you’re training for a marathon. New shoes or socks should never be worn on race day. Buy the exact same brand of socks and shoes for the race that you used for training. Avoid using any new gear for at least 2 – 3 weeks prior to the marathon. That should provide ample time to break it in safely and ensure there are no mitigating factors that can cause problems during the race. Check your shoelaces to ensure they are in good condition and won’t snap on race day.
Protect Your Feet
Taking care of your feet and ankles while training for a marathon is critical. That’s because distance running takes a toll on the body, primarily on the feet.
Typical risks for runners include black toenail, blisters, and callouses. File down callouses before they become too big; left untrimmed, they can feel like rocks in your shoe. Keeping your toenails short and square can help prevent ingrown toenails.
Proper foot care means both caring for and toughening up your feet. Soaking your feet in water infused with teabags may help toughen your feet, thanks to the tannic acid in the tea. Your orthopedic foot specialist is specially trained to help guide you in safe and effective preparations.
Tell your podiatrist about any issues that have troubled you in the past. An X-ray of your feet can identify whether old stress fractures are present.
The better you care for your feet, the farther and faster they will take you on race day. Visit the orthopedic foot experts at Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland. Schedule your pre-race consultation by calling (410) 644-1880 or request an appointment online.