Monday, April 11, 2011

Strong and Healthy Feet

At some point I'll be able to say that I have strong and healthy feet. The pain is leaving but it seems like it's just a slow process. It's actually feeling really good compared to last week, so good that sometimes I forget that it's even there. And the old me would have taken them out for a test run but the new me is going to wait until the pain is completely gone. At least that's what I'm saying today. The sun is out and that always makes it hard to stay inside. Especially when I want to be working on my barefooting. All the progress that I seemed to make last month with my feet is gone. The pool has just destroyed my feet. I hope I won't have to do it much longer.
Back to strong and healthy feet. There are several exercises that I used a lot in the beginning to strengthen my feet. And I think it really helped. But I had gotten over confident and quit doing them regularly. So I'm back to being a good girl and Julia asked if I would share some of the exercises that I do. Keep in mind that these are good for any runner and not just barefoot runners. And go check out Julia's giveaway while you're at it. She's a super strong runner and although she's just recovering from a stress fracture, she is doing amazing! She'll be at the Utah Valley Marathon with me and I can't wait to see her in person again!

My photographer is my 5 year old boy. Be patient with me. These aren't the best!
My chiropractor taught me this exercise years ago when I was dealing with IT band problems. It is deceptively simple yet pretty hard to do. All you do is stand on one foot, like a stork. You will feel all the little muscles in your feet and legs immediately engage and start to work to stabilize your foot and keep you from toppling over.

When you can do that easily for 30 seconds, do the same thing with your eyes closed. It's much harder.

When you can do that for 30 seconds, stand on something unstable like a big fluffy pillow. I use my sand filled medicine ball. Again, once you can do it for 30 seconds, try it with your eyes closed. I like to mess around and try ballet poses or yoga poses while doing it. Just be safe and do it where you won't get hurt when you fall. It's a great thing to do while doing dishes or blow drying your hair. But it can be done anywhere. Like when you're standing in line or watching your kids play soccer. One more tip, it's best done barefoot so that all those muscles can work.

The next one I found in Runner's World a couple of months ago under a preventing injuries article. This one was specific for plantar fasciitis. While putting equal pressure on your toes and heel, lift your arch. Imagine a string pulling it up and hold it for a couple of seconds, release, and then repeat.

Lift only your big toe and push the other toes to the ground.

Do the opposite and push your big toe to the ground while lifting all the other toes.

Spread your toes out as far apart from each other as you can get.
I'm not super good at this one. But interestingly, my 2nd toe on my left (gimpy) side was frozen and wouldn't move until I physically moved it with my fingers. I discovered this 3 weeks ago. I think that's it's been part of my problem. I can now move it without extra help.
Try tapping your toes individually on the ground like you were playing the piano. I still can't do this one with all of my toes.

The last one is really fun. Try picking up objects and moving them with your toes. Like marbles or sticks or your kid's toys. Anything that causes your toes to grasp things will help with strength.
If your feet are strong, it will translate upwards to the rest of your legs. Your feet are what stabilizes your whole body! Make them strong!
When you are done, stretching the toes and feet feels really good. I have a wooden foot roller that I roll the bottoms of my foot with, although like many of you suggested a tennis ball or golf ball would work well too! I have also heard of a frozen water bottle.

I have also loved my mailman as of late. He brought me a couple of new barefooting shirts from Krista. I love them because I don't feel nearly so self conscious in my bare feet running through town as long as I have on one of her shirts "telling" them that I didn't forget my shoes, I'm just a barefoot runner.

He brought me my shirt from EMZ. Go check her out and donate if you can, to her cause. She'll be running for 24 hours on a treadmill for her charity. She is a machine. She is awesome.
I also won some blister care stuff from Candice's blog and I can't wait to use it. And Lauren sent me a USB with a ton of great new music that's kind of like the traveling pants and is headed to Boston next. And just yesterday I won some music and a circuit timer and jump rope from Megan. I'm so excited! I can't say how much I love the running blogging community. I've met such great supportive people. People who get me and my insanity. Friends that I love. O.k. I'm done being all mushy but I am a girl after all!

Monday: full body weights, 45 minutes pool running
Tuesday: 60 minute spin class
Wednesday: full body weights, 60 minutes pool running
Friday: full body weights
Saturday: 120 minutes of pool running


Missy said...

Very cool exercises, I will definitely have to try those out. I'm sure it helps with balance too!
Have a good week!

Connie said...

Wow Jen, I'm so impressed with all of your pool running. That takes patience for sure!
Also, thanks for the new strengthening moves. I'm gonna try some tonight!

Vanessa @ Gourmet Runner said...

Thanks for including these exercises! Have suffered from plantar fasciitis in the past so they're perfect for me. Like the new shirts too!

Sam {} said...

thanks for these! i definitely need to get better about doing my foot exercises. great idea to work them in while doing dishes or drying hair.

zapmamak said...

Nice shirt! ;-) You look hot!

Tricia said...

thanks for sharing!

Alma said...

Good exercises. I've been trying to remember to do the one-legged balance more...

Jess @ Blonde Ponytail said...

Thanks for sharing these execises jen! Looks like a beautiful day in utah!!! And, I know you are making those look a lot easier than they are!

I thought of you during my run on Sat--your key phrases were part of my mantra!

You look so beautiful in your pics!

Sarah said...

Thanks for posting these! Some of them I've never seen. Also, your toes look great!


Pam said...

I am embarassed to tell you how long I've been sitting here trying to do the "tap your toes individually one." I can't do it! My husband just walked through the room, saw me, and asked, "What the HELL are you doing?" LOL I can't move any of my three middle toes independently! Big toe and pinkie toe, yes. But the other three, when one moves they all move.

Emz said...

you in THAT shirt!

Thank you again.

The photo above that one though - love the look ---- so fierce!!

fraking. love. it.

Audrey said...

GREAT EXERCISES! Totally going to do them! Also, I keep golf-balls in the freezer to rool my feet over after a run - it feels painfully amazing!

katie thompson said...

hey a cool one that i do is stand on one foot with your other foot 2 inches hovering above the ground. balance on the one foot and bend over touching your hand down to your opposite foot touching the ground. do this each side like 25x. did that make sense?

Tara said...

Thanks for those tips!! I just saved them in my "Running" folder for all my favorites.

Julia said...

yayyyyy!!! so glad you posted these tips on feet strengthening!! I will have to remember to link them tomorrow. I really think it is so important to pay attention to our feet. We forget how hard they are working sometimes :) and how it easy it is for them to become weak!

I hope I can see you soon! Thanks so much for the shout are so awesome and I seriously LOVE your blog...and YOU of course.

My brother is coming this week but is visiting campus on Thursday and I have to But I told him if he said yes that we should drive back up Friday and check out apartments so maybe we could still meet up??? I will let you know if we end up coming on Friday or not :)


Penny said...

I'll be trying some of those ex. You got balance girl. I need to work on that one.

ashley & sundance said...

I seriously love your blog... You have the best ideas and are so supportive and just all around freakin' awesome. I can't wait to run Ogden AND Utah Valley with you!

Lindsay and James Cotter said...

such good exercises to remember. Why do we always forget that feet have muscles?? Glad you are slowly healing!

Michael said...

I know what you mean by the running community "getting" your insanity. I've learned to keep my running pursuits under my hat at work. If someone at outside the running community asks how my running is going I reply, "Don't get me started now... how serious are you asking? Do you have an hour..." Great post Jen. M :>)

Katie said...

Those exercised look great. I ahve been doing some of those for a while now, but it is so good to see some more!

Mallory said...

I'll definitely have to try those out!!! Thanks for the pics to show us how!

Stephanie said...

I love these exercises. From my prior life as a dancer I find myself standing in different poses while doing things like my hair and the dishes all the time! Thank you so much for your support these past few days. One more thing we have in common: same toe nail polish color!


Rachelle Wardle said...

Awesome exercises thanks for sharing. I am terrible at balancing and the first one looks hard.

You are awesome Jen thanks for all of your sweet comments on my blog. Have a fabulous week!

One heart and mind said...

Yeah! I found your blog and I love it girlfriend! So much fun. I can see why you love it so much!

Nelly said...

I've recently found your blog through The Hungry Runner Girl, I think you have some of the best running scenery photos. Utah looks gorgeous, I haven't been there yet, but I might try to go sometime. And the Run EMZ shirt is awesome, I just got mine recently too, haha

Candice @ I Have Run said...

Great exercises! And I love the pics. You have lovely feet =)

I need an EMZ shirt!

And how do I get in on the traveling music?

Maia said...

Holy cow!! You feet are soooo strong! That is AMAZING!

Muncher Cruncher said...

I can't believe you did pool running that many times for that long! OH MY GOSH. You are amazing. I would have been bored to tears. I'm still so glad you won! I shipped your package today! :) xoxoxo

Anonymous said...

I found you through Janae... Love this barefoot/strengthening post! I had IT band problems this winter/spring from overtraining, and I have found that running barefoot (well, kinda - vibrams) and working towards more minimalist shoes have helped a lot. Great list of exercises for foot strengthening!

Morgan said...

1. Thank you for your kind words on my injury post the other day!!!

2. My chiro has me doing all those same moves and the eyes closed one is so hard!!! Why is it so hard?!?!? :)

Sending you healing vibes girl!

KrishaLiva said...

Thanks for sharing those info on how to strengthen and keep our feet healthy. Keep on posting!
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