Since the beginning of April, I have logged 750 miles, or an average of 47 miles a week. Running higher mileage like this for an extended period of time is new to me and I didn’t think that I would be able to hang onto this higher volume. Doing a few double runs has helped me to build but looking after my feet has made a huge difference.
Many older runners will tell you that their feet start to hurt when they reach a certain distance. My Mizuno waveriders gave me the support that I needed until five years ago when, at age 49, my feet would start to ache as soon as I reached 15 miles. Thinking it was just the shoe, I tried a few other brands but kept going back to the waverider; I knew the sore feet were not caused by the shoe but, simply, just my getting older. But, stubborn like a marathoner can be, I trained through these aches for the Buffalo, Chicago and Boston marathons, with my feet hurting more and more each time. Now aches are common with many distance runners but they are that much more pronounced in older runners as our feet tend to have less fat. Determined to not walk away from long distance yet, I needed to find a solution and turned to a chiropodist, Dr. Werkman.
I saw Dr. Werkman last August and he designed a more supportive insole for my shoes – not an orthotic, but my mizuno insole with the addition of poron, which provides more cushioning under the balls of my feet, the point of impact when I land. It took a few adjustments to get them “just right” but they have made a huge difference in how comfortable my feet feel. Since they aren’t traditional orthotics, this is also a much more financially reasonable solution.
Last week, I went to see Dr. Werkman as I knew that I was pushing the limits on my last pair of insoles. He built this pair for me in March and, by mid-June, I could tell that they were well-worn because the balls of my feet were starting to hurt a little, something that I haven’t had in almost a year. When Dr. Werkman saw how flat my insoles were, his eyes popped. “How far have you run in these?” he asked. The man is a magician. He took my Mizuno insoles from the shoes that I purchased in June, lined them up with my old insoles (also Mizuno) and replicated them. They felt exactly the same but the true test was my long run on Sunday. After 18 miles, I complained about the heat and I complained about the hill at Mile 16, but I did not complain about my feet.
The 12 weeks ahead in preparation for the Chicago Marathon are not just about logging the miles. They involve a lot of self-care; looking after my feet is just one part of that, one step to keep me chasing my dreams.