Whether you’re a marathon maven or prepping for your very first race, D Magazine is here to help. With the Dallas Marathon just a few short weeks away, we enlisted the help of last year’s winner, Dr. Logan Sherman, to help you fly through those 26.2 miles with ease.
Training for a marathon is hard-hitting on the body. Injuries are more common than not, and the slightest hiccup of a detail can result in a bigger issue. What precautions can a runner take to make train safely? Starting with the appropriate footwear is literally the first step.
If the Shoe Fits
Dallas podiatrist Dr. Allan Sherman (father of last year’s marathon winner Dr. Logan Sherman) has been running since 1967 and has completed 50 marathons and 15 ultramarathons. The foot expert himself says the first thing you should do when deciding to train for a race is to visit with a sports medical doctor, followed by a running store, such as Luke’s Locker, where you can get properly fitted for the correct shoe for your feet and gait and a moisture wicking sock to cut down on abrasions.
Since feet often swell while running, Dr. A Sherman recommends that your sock size should be your actual shoe size, while your shoe size measures slightly bigger. A good tip is to check for a thumb’s width distance from your longest toe to the end of the shoe, but shoe selection is not a one size fits all. Your weight, for example, should play a contributing factor into what shoe you purchase.
“If you’re putting in a lot of miles and are a heavier person, you probably want a shoe with more substance in it,” Dr. A Sherman said. “If you’re a lighter, quicker person, you’ll want to get a lighter shoe with a better transition to propel you forward.”
Running shoe experts can also identify if you supinate or pronate while you run. There are special shoes made for those instances, as well as if you’re a heel striker, forefoot striker or midfoot striker.
So now that you’ve started training in the right shoe, what other precautions can you take?
“I always encourage people to establish a more holistic running routine that regularly includes foam rolling and strengthening exercises to help keep injuries at bay,” says Dr. L. Sherman. “Runners are typically better at moving in a forward direction, but their bodies lose stability in other planes of motion.”
He also believes that weakness in these areas is what causes most “repetitive” running-related injuries. It is crucial that you allow your body to rest as soon as you experience an injury.
“For issues related to the muscle, tendon or ligaments, it is helpful to foam roll and try to maintain non-weight bearing movement of the affected area,” says Dr. L. Sherman. “If you believe the injury is specific to a joint, icing the area will help reduce inflammation, and moving the joint from a closed-packed position to an open-packed position will help flush fluid out of the joint. If you believe that the affected area is a bone, then rest is immediately suggested until you can bear weight pain-free.”