Ok my runners, the long cold lonely winter has finally (probably) passed and spring is here. It’s possible, but not likely that we will have more snow this season, but barring another polar vortex, I think we can look forward to some great outdoor running days for the near term. In your face, Al Gore! For those of you who have braved the elements and run outdoors this winter, my compliments, and I feel your pain. For those who haven’t, and for the crazy group too, let’s review some basics.
If you’ve been hibernating all winter then your muscles are colder than NYC in January. Take it slow at first, and do a short run to blow the dust off the old joints. Warm up before going out, and stretch after the run. The most recent studies indicate that stretching before a run is not necessary, but I do it and recommend it for my NYC podiatry patients.
If your running shoes look like something Marty McFly wore when he drove the Delorean to November 5, 1955, then it’s probably time to refresh. The average life expectancy for a shoe is 250-500 miles. Look for something lightweight (no more than 12 ounces, preferably less than 10), in a neutral platform. High arched feet might do better in a structured cushioning type shoe, but try to avoid the motion control shoes, even for flat feet. The latest studies have failed to demonstrate a real benefit from foot type specific shoes. And no, I’m not a fan of barefoot or minimalist running, and that topic has been covered previously in the pages of this blog. Of course, almost all feet feel better with custom orthotics, as I recommend for my runners, and just about everyone else.
Do you have a midfoot strike, heel strike or forefoot strike? Should you try to change? The answer is: who cares, and NO! The position in which the foot strikes the ground is determined by many factors, including foot structure, leg length and orientation and muscle strength. As I have been telling my NYC podiatry patients, and as the studies published recently have confirmed, it’s best to land where the foot wants to land. Don’t worry about foot strike, or position. There are better ways to maintain posture and other body positions. However, for the most part, it’s important to run with a natural stance and pace that feels good for the body. And always try, as with everything else in life, to get a little bit better with each run.
So my NYC podiatry runners, it’s time to get out there again. Don’t overdo it, have some fun, and don’t forget to stop in to your friendly local NYC podiatrist for some more running magic.
See you in the office.