Strength In Marathon Training- Countdown to the Boston Marathon

Strength In Marathon Training- Countdown to the Boston Marathon

Spring has officially sprung! This means that marathon season is right around the corner. Whether you’re in serious training for a marathon, a half marathon, a 5K, or even just trying to get out there to run a mile this spring, there are some key tips that you can implement to help you perform your best.

The Boston Marathon is always a big event for OOFOS as our hometown marathon. It will be here in just over 3 weeks, so we’re using it as inspiration to provide you with tips on training for “your marathon”—whatever that may be!

We’re happy to introduce two experts in their fields to weigh in with some important tips when it comes to training.  Dr. Robert M. Conenello, DPM is a respected podiatrist, past president of the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine and a clinical advisor to Special Olympics International.  Linda Jaros, LMT is a licensed muscular therapist who has specialized in sports rehabilitation for over 35 years.

This week, both Rob and Linda have tips on strength in regards to marathon training (or any physical activity, for that matter).


Rob’s Advice:

I have always said that a healthy runner is a strong runner.  Most runners are quite good about putting in the miles, but actually concentrating on strength training is out of their comfort zone.  The runner's gait is a kinetic chain...meaning that what happens in one area of the body has a profound effect on another part.  

I screen all my athletes by challenging them with simple tests.  One such is a single leg squat.  Running is a series of single leg squats.  Many of these well-conditioned athletes are unable to perform this simple task.  They may need to use their upper body to gain balance or they exhibit a drifting of the bent knee inward on the bent leg.  These are indications of poor core strength as well weak hip abductors.  Simple exercises such as planks and clamshells can be performed to increase strength in these areas.  Often these are the patients that present to my office with pathologies such as plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis, as they compensate at distal areas for proximal weakness. 

Just as there is a lumbosacral core, there is also a foot core.  The muscles that originate and insert into the foot are known as intrinsic.  In primitive days we used our feet much like hands to grip and balance.  As we evolved and began to wear structured shoe gear, these intrinsic muscles weakened.  As a result, secondary structures such as the plantar fascia were recruited to help with the demand of gait.  This ultimately leads to overuse injury and ultimately painful plantar fasciitis.


Linda’s Advice:

Most of your strengthening programs will be winding down at this phase of training... however, so many athletes overlook the strengthening of the feet! It’s never too late or early to start to pay attention to your feet. The deep (intrinsic) muscles of the feet are often overlooked which can often lead to increased stress or strain on the plantar fascia ligament. In extreme cases, this sadly results in painful plantar fasciitis and inability to run the race you trained so hard for...

When the deep muscles of the feet are not doing their job, the plantar fascia begins to overload....thus, strengthening those muscles can create a very different result.

A simple exercise for those deep muscles is what’s called “short foot” exercise that I learned from a great coach, Al Lyman of Pursuit Athletic Performance.

The Exercise:

Focus on one foot a time.

With your feet on the ground, make sure your toes stay relaxed and begin contracting the muscles under your foot as if you’re lifting sand with the arch of your foot, then relax and repeat several times. You’ll notice the foot appear “shorter” as the ball and heel of the foot draw closer together. This may feel challenging initially, as these deep muscles may not be used to working as efficiently. Stay with it daily and watch how quickly it begins to get better.

Irene Davis, PT, developed the terminology of doming, or the short foot maneuver which involves starting with your foot in a neutral position on the floor, then shortening it by contracting the intrinsic muscles to arch the sole, while keeping the toes flat on the ground. It is important to keep the foot core strong in order to perform your best in physical activities.

And remember to wear your OOFOS, which research has proven help the deep muscles of the feet wake up and do their job supporting the feet and the body.


Have you run a marathon? Do you have any tips when it comes to strength training? Leave a comment and let us know your best tips!

Be sure to keep your eyes peeled from more tips from Rob and Linda coming soon!

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