My feet are gross. I’ve run 6 marathons and clocked up thousands of miles in training, and my feet have borne the brunt of this. I’ve lost toenails (see how to avoid losing your nails in this blog), had countless blisters, a corn, and there’s been less than impressive nail varnish application over the years. Not to mention the fact that for this blog I have tried and tested numerous pairs of trainers, not all of them suited to my feet and running style.
It used to be my post-long run treat to have a pedicure with my old flatmate, Amanda (Tom is less willing to partake in this tradition), however I’ve never paid too much attention to my feet during marathon training otherwise. I keep my toenails short and try to wear suitable socks…
However, if you think about it, most of us when training for a marathon see a physio or sports masseur at some point, but never a podiatrist, despite the fact that if your feet are messed up, not only is it very painful but it’s likely that you’ll injure yourself elsewhere.
Back in December I was invited along for a ‘medi pedi’, a medical pedicure at Margaret Dabbs, where it’s a trained podiatrist that does your pedicure and a beautician that paints your toes so you leave with a full service. As well as trimming my toenails, buffing and removing the dead skin using their one use only tools (apparently the disinfecting that goes on at your ‘local’ salon might be less than effective). I’ve also soaked my feet before the peeling of my dead skin, however apparently it’s better to do this on dry feet.
Rather than using a vegetable peeler like blade to remove huge chunks of dead skin, it’s done with a small surgical blade (don’t worry it doesn’t hurt at all), and tiny tiny bits are removed for precision, although rather quickly by the trained podiatrists. My toes and cuticles were buffed, smoothed and looked so pretty, even without nail varnish. The perfect break from all the Shellac/gel nail varnish I’ve had on my feet.
Additionally, I went to see David at Perfect Balance (since I spend all my time hanging out on Trump Street nowadays with Elle), to have a foot check up. I’d been experiencing some pain on the side of my foot where I’ve had a corn develop before and didn’t want to be doing any damage to my feet.
When we buy a new pair of trainers, we mostly just check our gait analysis in store, however it may be worth speaking to a podiatrist in advance of purchase to check what we should be looking for. They have a real understanding of the individual biomechanics of your feet, rather than just pronate/neutral etc. I was told that I have quite a flat front of my foot, and that it’s also quite wide, however my ankle/back of my foot is narrower. I should be looking for an E/EE width of shoe, not always available in smaller running stores.
After a super fun event last week, I was in agony on the way home due to the tight trainers (such a shame as I love the shoes). However I also discovered a ridiculously comfortable pair or Saucony’s this week too and they’ve quickly become my easy run/recovery shoe. Although this pair of Freedom ISO from their Life on the Run collection isn’t the prettiest running shoe I own, as soon as I slipped my feet into them, I knew we were going to be firm friends. The wide lacing is unlike any other trainers I own, and are a wider fit than most of my other shoes – plus I think you can actually choose your width preference on their website!! P.S Yes those are personalised leggings from the awesome team at GAP!
According to David, I have quite a wide front foot, with a flat front arch (did you know there are two arches in our feet? clearly I didn’t as I don’t really have an arch at the front). This could explain why the sides of my feet are what I find most painful in tight trainers.
Additionally, it’s clear that I pronate from the callouses forming on the outer skin on my big toes – I also usually develop blisters between my big toe and second toe – more proof of my form!
So, if you’re just taking up long distance running, have been running for a while but had issues with your feet or undertaking a number of long runs, it might be worth seeing a podiatrist rather than just relying on your local running shop or physio! Although it’s not cheap (I paid £60) it’s definitely worth knowing, and if your feet are in pain then it’s going to make running pretty miserable. Furthermore, if you’re like me and you’ve let your feet get into a bit of a state whilst marathon training, perhaps a pre or post marathon trip to Margaret Dabbs is in order… the Cosmos nail polish is gorgeous.