Friday, April 25, 2008

26 Tips for Marathon Training and Racing: #23 Inserts

For all of the technology that has gone into the development of running shoes, not much has been done with the removable inserts.

Not everybody, myself included, uses the inserts that come with the shoes. A runner with a high instep, for example, may feel more comfortable with enhanced arch support.

Ever since I had plantar fascia surgery way back in 1980, I've tried various types of support. For years I ran in superfeet, a company that now makes inserts for any number of sports.

Most recently I've been using barefootscience- a nice concept if you can get by the obnoxious Joe Theisman video on the home page. What's unique about these inserts is they come with 6 levels of support- you plug the appropriate reinforcement pad in the bottom. This allows you to increase the level of support for the arch over a period of weeks giving you time to adjust. Whatever you decide, comfort and function are critical.

There are several types of inserts on the market today. Full length, 3/4 length, shock absorbers, arch support, composite, soft, you name it. Like shoes and socks, run plenty of miles in whatever you are using before entering a marathon.

Runners with biomechanical problems or chronic foot or leg pain might be wise to visit a sportsmedicine podiatrist. They can analyze the problem and design custom orthotics that help.

(c) Dave Elger 2008 All rights reserved

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