You should allow a thumb-width of space between the tip of your big toe and the tip of your shoe.
For about two decades, I wore a size 8 running shoe. I usually wear a size 8.5 shoe. I had this theory that running shoes should be super snug and basically meld into your foot. And then my left big toe stopped growing and had to be removed. I now wear a size 9 running shoe.
When training, you should only add 10% of your total weekly miles from the previous week.
You’ve probably seen this rule before. It’s pretty simple. Except when you aren’t paying attention and think it only applies to your longest run of the week. I was adding runs every week, which greatly increases my weekly mileage. In three weeks, I went from 6 miles to 9 miles and then to 12 miles. Don’t do this. My podiatrist and running coach both said my foot injury is due from this overuse.
Two (or three) steps forward, one step back.
Increase total mileage for two (or three) weeks by 10-15% and scale back 10%-15% for one week.
Don’t tie your shoe laces too tight.
This video from Newton Running was really helpful for me. I was pulling my laces tightly to ensure my foot wouldn’t slip around. But when I loosened them up and did as the video suggested, I found that my foot stayed in place anyway. I was basically strangling my tendons that run along the top of my feet. Before mention of overuse, I thought this might have contributed to my foot injury. Even if it didn’t, I think it’s a helpful lacing technique.
Run hills properly.
It’s difficult to avoid running hills where I live. I’ve been running mostly on the treadmill for about two months now without injury. When I do venture back out to the road hill running, I’m going to incorporate the tips from this Active.com video.
Use your running shoes for running only.
Running shoes have a life expectancy of 350-500 miles. How do you know how many miles they’ve got on them? See my next lesson learned. Running shoes might look and even feel like they are working fine, but the cushioning and support could very well be spent. If you wear them as everyday shoes, it will be very difficult to keep tabs on how much use they’ve had.
Keep a running journal.
When my foot first got injured to the point where I was limping, several people asked me when I first suspected something was wrong. ummm… three or four weeks ago? I had no clue really. It would have been really helpful to be able to pull out my running journal. Here are one and two and three that you can purchase. Or you can create your own with Excel, like I did. Here is a what information I log:
- Time of day
- Intensity (easy, medium, hard)
- Surface (road, trail, track, treadmill)
- Description of run
- Distance and time
- Pain or discomfort