My feet are killing me! Actually! That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but they are sore along with my legs after running in the Ridgefield Half Marathon this weekend. I have to confess that I was not as prepared for this event as I would have liked to be. Preparation is the key to performance at anything we do. Long distance running does put a lot of stress on the lower extremities. Our bodies are made to be able to travel long distances on foot, however, most of us don’t put that much mileage on our feet regularly. One of the key strategies for increasing our bodies ability to withstand longer distances of running or walking is to gradually build up mileage and speed over a period of time. Gradual build up allows our bodies to adapt to the added stress while minimizing the risk of overtraining injuries such as stress fractures, arch strain and tendonitis. There are many resources available to find training programs for any activity. Consider joining a training group or finding a coach to help keep you on track. Another area of preparation that can be overlooked is the equipment, in this case, foot wear(unless you are a barefoot runner, which is a whole different discussion). It goes without saying that foot wear should be appropriate for the activity planned. There are many brands and styles of running and walking shoes available with a variety of features for comfort and protection. Specifically for distance running, I recommend a more sturdy running shoe with adequate shock absorbing material. Those light, flexible shoes may seem like a good idea, but they don’t provide the support or protection need for training and racing longer distances. A professional fitting and recommendation is always a great idea. A good running store like Ridgefield Running Company, can be a great resource in finding the best shoe for your foot type and activity. Of course, I can provide footwear recommendations based on biomechanical examination findings and determine if custom foot orthotics are needed as well. Feel free to give me a call if you need help finding the right shoe! Don’t be afraid of long distance running or walking. With the proper preparation we can all go the distance!