Partner Spotlight ~ Sidas: On Foot Care
Content provided by Pikes Peak Marathon sponsoring partner - Sidas, Your Foot Company
Look for Sidas at the 2022 Pikes Peak Marathon + Ascent Expo
Whether you run to maintain physical fitness or enhance mental clarity, your feet are tools helping you achieve your goals. To enjoy your run, your feet need to remain your friends. You tell your feet where to go but are you listening to what your feet have to say?
While a certain level of fatigue is usual and expected as you increase mileage and intensity, it is important to remember that there’s a difference between muscle fatigue and faulty biomechanics. Your feet don’t have to hurt. Achy arches, blistered toes, painful calluses are all ways of your feet telling you something isn’t right. Your feet deserve your attention before these tiny inconveniences become big problems.
It's widely accepted that strengthening and stretching muscles can improve your technique and performance. An often underestimated element to improve performance is the use of insoles to improve the foot-to-ground interface. Insoles improve the fit and durability of your shoes and your feet, ensuring you can run longer with better biomechanics.
Insoles help to increase your body’s proprioception, which is the body’s awareness of itself in space; a critical element to ensure proper biomechanics for runners. More contact between your foot and the insole means more contact between your foot and the shoe. This contact provides feedback from the ground to your brain, leading to more efficient stabilization. Less extraneous movement results in more transferred power, and less wasted energy. This is an essential piece of running with less soreness.
An equally important concept of biomechanics is the kinetic chain – the interrelationship between all elements of the body during motion. As you push closer to your physical limits, the human body must increasingly call on all segments, connecting joints, and muscles to work in unison to perform at its peak. If there is a weak link in the chain, your body will attempt to compensate, creating faulty movement patterns. The body subconsciously changes your gait to avoid pain, adopting a new movement pattern, no matter how inefficient.
Just like training to improve your aerobic capacity, there are steps you can take to ensure that your running form does not deteriorate over the course of a competition. To improve the strength of the whole kinetic chain, it is critical to train movement patterns not just muscle groups. A commonly forgotten piece of the kinetic chain are the intrinsic muscles in your foot and toes. These muscles are easy to overlook but weak intrinsic muscles can quickly take you out of the running.
Two easy exercises to increase toe and arch muscle strength is performing heel lifts on an unstable surface (such as a step or a half-ball) and toe opposition (bringing the big toe up, little toe down, then vice versa). Toe weakness can be tied to many common injuries of runners – plantar fasciitis, heel pain, metatarsal fractures and can contribute to lack of balance and increased fall risk. The goal here is to identify and change faulty gait patterns before they become a part of your training.
You owe it to your feet to pay attention to how they move. Selecting an insole that will move with your foot will enhance your stride and allow you to reach the finish line faster, with less pain!
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