Breast cancer survivors, breast cancer patients, and friends and family members run to raise awareness and show support. Veteran runners will be familiar with caring for themselves before, during, and after running a 5K. However, new and inexperienced racers need to understand how to take care of their bodies when it comes to a demanding physical activity like distance running. Your feet and ankles are going to take the brunt of the labor from running. Learn how to prepare and care for them by checking out these three tips:
1. Select the proper footwear
Running a 5K means you’re going to spend a lot of time putting force on your feet. Your shoes and socks are the only barrier between your feet and the hard ground below them. Running in old, worn out shoes may not provide the protection you need. Running shoes need to be retired every 400-500 miles, so if your pair is old, it’s best not to trust them to hold up for a distance race.
Purchase a quality pair of running shoes with insoles that support your arches. Your shoes should have a snug fit in the heel and across the foot, with a little space in your toes, but they shouldn’t be too tight. Ask an expert from a footwear retailer to help you select and fit the correct pair of shoes. Wear socks that are moisture wicking to keep your feet from getting hot and soaked in sweat, and help prevent the formation of blisters.
2. Stretch and massage your feet
Before running a race or going on practice runs, you should stretch your feet. Your arches will be doing a lot of expanding and contracting. Stretching them will help them perform with less stress. A common stretch for your arches is to sit on the ground with your legs straight, wrap a towel around your foot and gently pull on the towel for 15 seconds. Do this for two or three intervals on each foot.
After each run, get off your feet and relax. You can massage your arches and heels by rolling your feet around a tennis ball or a golf ball. Many footwear retailers sell a foot massager with rubber spikes that really massage deeper into your foot. Whatever you choose to use, massaging your foot promotes circulation and feels nice after a hard run.
3. Eat well and stay hydrated
When you’re going to be physically active, make sure your body has the fuel it needs. Runners participating in the Susan G. Komen Race can easily get foot and leg cramps if they haven’t had enough water, potassium, or Vitamin D. Eat potassium- and vitamin D-rich foods, and drink plenty of water throughout the day prior to your run. Try not to eat within 30 minutes of the run or you might get cramps from digestion.
If your foot starts to cramp, step off to the side to sit down. Usually, stretching and massaging your cramped foot for a few minutes will help it feel better, and you should be able to continue your run. If the pain continues for a long period of time, you may have a more serious injury requiring medical attention.
Do you need help preparing your feet for a run? Have you hurt your feet running or in another physical activity? Call Kansas City Foot Specialists to schedule an evaluation at (913) 338-4440, or request an appointment online so we can work with you to keep your feet healthy and working toward a cure.