It was once believed that a marathon was the limit of human endurance. After all, it requires more than 50,000 individual steps, and each of these steps requires your foot to absorb much more than your body weight. But, as an ultramarathoner, you know that your body is capable of going long beyond the marathon.
Here's a quick guide to help you keep your feet healthy before, during, and after an ultramarathon.
The average ultramarathoner runs hundreds of miles in preparation for race day. These miles are designed to train your body both inside and out. In particular, your feet can be strengthened or weakened a great deal during training.
The Right Shoe: When training for an ultramarathon, it's critical that you choose proper footwear. The type of shoe that works for you should compliment your body type, running gait, and foot strike. The best way to find the right shoe that works for you is to consult a podiatrist and a running specialty shoe expert. Both types of specialist can assess your specific needs to help you find footwear that works for you.
The Right Fit: Even after you find the right shoe, it's equally important to choose the right fit. Because running long distances can cause your feet to swell, you'll want to choose a fit that's slightly bigger (wider and longer) than you typically wear. Most ultramarathoners benefit from wearing a shoe that's a width bigger and size longer than they would typically wear.
The Right Socks: Choosing the right sock is matter of comfort and functionality. Ultramarathoners simply run longer than most runners. As such, you'll want socks that offer enough cushioning and absorption. The only way to really figure this out is through trial and error. You will want to buy five to ten different styles of running socks, train in them, and see which sock works best for you. A good fitting sock should leave your feet consistently blister-free.
Whether you're running a 50k or a 50 miler, you will depend on your feet to get you through the race. The best approach to foot health during the race is to be proactive and prepared.
Fresh Clips: Every ultramarathoner should invest in a good pair of nail clippers
Fresh Socks: Ultramarathons tend to be sweaty, dirty, and wet. To prevent chafing, blistering, and other foot discomfort, you'll need to freshen up your socks periodically. Generally speaking, every two hours you should attempt to swap out your socks. Switching your socks will give your feet more cushioning and better absorption, and prevent grit from irritating your feet during the race.
Fresh Lacing: Another easy way to ensure that your feet feel good during your race is to periodically tighten and adjust your shoe lacing. When you stop to swap out your socks, use the opportunity to make sure that your laces are tight, but not too tight. For most runners, this might mean loosening the bottom laces to compensate for foot swelling in the latter stages of the race.
You finished your ultramarathon. Congratulations are in order. However, it's not time to prop your feet on the coffee table and rest just yet.
Salty Ice Bath: To make sure that your feet recover completely from your big race, you'll want to manage inflammation. One of the easiest ways help your feet recover from your race is to give them a salty ice bath. The ice will reduce inflammation, while the salt can repair the inevitable derma-abrasions your feet will suffer during an ultramarathon. You'll need a bucket or container deep enough and big enough to fit your feet up to your ankle. The solution you'll need for your salty ice bath should be one-third ice, one-third cold water, and one-third epsom salt. You'll want enough of each ingredient to cover your feet and ankles. You should soak your feet three to four times for fifteen minutes in the twenty-four hours after your race.
Ultramarathons require you to push your body to limits few can imagine. You'll need your feet to carry you every step of the way. For the best results, make sure you work with an experienced podiatrist to keep your feet in the best shape possible. Visit http://www.westmorelandfootdoctor.com for more information.