By Tish Monahan, Podiatrist, active feet
Most of us find exercising hard enough without adding to it unnecessarily. The constancy of a training challenge is going to present many of you with various foot and lower leg problems such as blisters, burning feet, arch pain, calf soreness and for some a consistent case of D.O.M.S (Delayed Onset of Muscular Soreness).
The reason shoe selection is so important when you are pushing yourself to achieve a running/walking goal, is that when we place a high or rapidly increased load on our feet we automatically increase our risk of developing stress related injuries like ‘shin splints’, knee, arch and achilles pain, along with general leg soreness. Placing this increased load on hardworking feet that are not functioning optimally eg rolling in or out too much (over-pronating or supinating) will further increase the risk, and most certainly the rate of developing these problems.
Biomechanics, the way we move, are individual, which is why all shoes are built differently. Only some models within various brands will suit your individual foot type, fewer of these will actually be built for the right shape/width of your foot. There are two different categories of shoes generally referred to as those that control excessive pronation (rolling in) and those that support a neutral foot (ideal foot posture). Being under-supported or over-supported in shoes both increase your injury risk.
At active feet, all customers are assessed via a Podiatric gait assessment on the treadmill. Our staff consist of qualified Podiatrists and final year Podiatry students who are able to talk to customers about their activity background, goals, injury profile and then fit the most appropriate shoe via a walking or running assessment. It allows us to ensure that we have the correct shoe type for YOUR FEET, and you have a 30 day satisfaction guarantee on all recommended shoes!
In the lead up to your endurance event, it is important to start training using any nutrition supplements you may consider consuming on race day. For most taking part in the marathon and half marathon this means getting yourself used to energy gels and/or electrolyte replacement drinks. Beyond 60 – 90 minutes of activity our natural sources of glycogen (from the liver and our muscles) deplete. Nutrition supplements are an easily digestible way to refuel, allowing our body to maintain intensity. If we run out of energy the body starts to burn fat to use as fuel which results in a subsequent drop in pace and intensity.
Carbohydrate loading is essential before prolonged activity. Either a high Carbohydrate snack, 30 – 60 minutes before (40 – 60g Carbs, e.g. Powerbar Performance bar) or a high Carbohydrate meal (100 – 160g Carbs), 2 – 4 hours before exercise, is required to yield sufficient energy.
During activity, the general rule for nutrition is that beyond 60 minutes of aerobic activity (running!) we require 1g of Carbohydrates per kg of body weight, per hour. E.g. A 75kg man will require 75g Carbohydrates per hour. There is generally around 25-30g of Carbohydrate in most energy gels.
Post activity it is all about recovery and replacement. To aid in recovery consume food with a combination of Carbohydrates & protein within 30 minutes, a good example of this would be a Powerbar Protein bar. Alternatively a meal rich in Protein and Carbohydrates within 2 hours will aid in recovery. And don’t forget to replace all the water lost during your event!
Talk to any distance runner and they will have horror stories to share about blisters, black toenails and the much dreaded chaffing. Although common, they can ruin your race day and in most cases are easily prevented. Running in materials that ‘wick’ moisture from the skin will help prevent the moisture build up that leads to blistering and chaffing. Blisters are caused by a combination of moisture and friction. Technical running socks are designed to reduce both of these nasties. The same idea is commonly applied to running apparel often referred to as ‘Technical’ or ‘Dri-fit’ fabric. As with nutrition, you should be training in your race day socks and gear to test out any areas of irritation.
Lastly, as your training spikes with only a few weeks to go we hope that you continue to enjoy the challenge you have set yourself. We look forward to seeing you in store to offer you personalised service and advice to assist you in achieving your training goals.