Terry Mitchell is the Medical Director at Vionic, responsible for engineering our innovative orthotic technology into shoes our customers love to wear. Good footwear before and after a marathon is important. It provides your feet the support they need leading up to the big day and after for recovery. The feet are pushed to the extreme during training and are rarely given the proper recovery time they require to stay healthy. Vionic shoes can give athletes the relief, recovery and pain-preventative support they need to maximize performance.
Look for a shoe that has a firm heel counter, a good “spine” to assist in reducing twisting in the mid foot and good flexibility in the ball of the foot. Many running shoes have variable density materials in the heel to assist with reducing over pronation – rolling inwards of the foot during heel strike. When running, we can strike the ground with up to 4 x our body mass. We measure force by multiplying mass by acceleration, so a firmer material (usually EVA) is designed into the medial aspect (inside) of the midsole at the heel to assist in preventing the foot from rolling in too far. This firmer “post” under the medial side of the heel can help reduce over pronation. The material is typically 20 to 25 percent harder than the foam that composes the rest of the midsole of a shoe.
Put your Feet to Work
Like all muscles in the body, the feet need to be strong or soft tissue damage can occur. When pronation occurs the heel bone tilts inward and the arch lowers and elongates. Pronation is the natural shock absorbing mechanism of the feet. However, pronating too far and for too long can contribute to a number of lower limb biomechanical issues. Running a marathon exposes our feet to greater stress and therefore greater risk of injury.
If you have a “Neutral” running shoe – no medial posting as mentioned previously – you may well benefit from fitting some Orthotics. They can assist in stabilizing your feet as most OTC Orthotic’s primary function is to help prevent over pronation, which can help your performance. Orthotics can correct imbalances by adjusting the angles at which the foot strikes and subsequently makes contact with the ground. Orthotics are often considered the “cure-all” for any kind of lower-body, running-related injury. Whilst this is not necessarily so, they can assist in preventing soft tissue damage due to overuse.
Ice, Ice, Ice
Our feet hit the ground approx. 8,000 to 10,000 times a day, far more during a marathon. The impact is both repetitive and strenuous. Ice can help to reduce soft tissue inflammation. Ice both before (for 3 days) and after (for 3 days) the race. Then, if necessary you can switch to heat. Post marathon, the feet are in the recovery stage and warm foot baths and spas will help relax the joints and increase blood circulation to assist with healing and ease any pain.
Make sure you have reached the level of fitness necessary to run a marathon, and the mentality. You can do anything you put your mind to, but if you aren’t fit enough or haven’t trained properly or adequately, an injury is likely to occur. Most injuries occur in the last 30% of the race because the runner is tired and fatigued. The running style becomes sloppy and unstable. Maintain a balance where you feel good, mentally excited and challenged.
Listen to Your Body
Pain is an indicator that something is not right. By all means challenge yourself but you must also recognize when it is sensible to back off or even stop.
Support Your Arches
After the marathon, put on a pair of recovery sandals with arch support to relieve the pressure on your plantar fascia, which, when it becomes inflamed, can cause plantar fasciitis, or heel pain. The contoured arch and deep heel cup of our Tide Flip-Flop makes it the perfect post-marathon footwear choice.