I can't say I ever really thought about my feet until I became a runner. And now that running is a defining part of me, my feet are one of the parts of my body I think about most. (Yes, really.) Making sure my feet are protected and in fighting form so I can comfortably run and log my miles without pain is just as important to me as any aspect of my training. Here are the four ways I make sure to take care of my feet just as I would the rest of my body when training.
Always Have the Proper Footwear
This is the big one for me. Long gone are the days of strappy heels and supportless ballet flats. Because it's essential for my feet to be tough and sturdy (not to mention my ankles and surrounding muscles remain powerful), I've opted solely (see what I did there) for shoes that give me support and don't rub. This not only means the shoes I select for running and strength training, like the UA HOVR™ Phantom 2 RUNANYWR Running Shoes ($150) that offer both stability support externally as well as interior cushioning, but also what I wear in my free time. I'm very careful to wear shoes with arch and ankle support that never rub while walking about. What's more, I even look for house shoes that can offer the same.
Skip the Pedicure
This may be a sad one for some, but for me, it's important that I prioritize the roughness of my feet over silky-smooth baby feet. It took me years to build up the calluses that help me run without rubbing. (Think of how a guitar player lets their fingers get tough to make playing easier!) While I may skip the pumice stone and foot peels, I still allow myself to indulge in pretty nail polish like the Olive & June Nail Polish in JJ ($8), a cinnamon red that's perfect for fall but is also durable enough to last on someone who's as rough on their feet as I am.
Soothe the Muscles
After running 20-plus miles, everything hurts. Although I make sure to massage and care for all parts of my body after my longer training runs, I'm particularly careful to give my barking dogs some R&R. That's why I'm always sure to have Burt's Bees Coconut Foot Crème ($10) on hand. It's available at the drugstore, so it's always easy to find, and it soothes and heals cracked and tired feet just as good as my favorite spa product. A little drop of this after a nice, hot soak sets me back on the road to recovery that much faster.
Stretch and Roll
Just as you'd foam roll your body after an intense workout, it's essential for runners to do so for feet as well. For me, I always keep a lacrosse ball on hand to work out kinks and knots. Beyond giving that hurts-so-good feel athletes know all too well, it's important for my recovery. What's more, I'm always adding in ankle-specific moves and stretches to help strengthen not only my feet but also my entire posterior chain, as having a solid and strong base is essential for core and all-over strength.