Improve Your Running Performance with Strong Feet

Improve Your Running Performance with Strong Feet

by Dr. Emily Splichal, DPM MS

Whether you are a weekend warrior or an avid marathon runner, everyone wants to improve their running performance.  Optimal running performance is often associated with proper running technique and cardiovascular endurance.  But what if I told you there was an often-overlooked secret to enhancing running performance?   

Strong feet. 

Due to the unique demands of running, having strong feet seems quite intuitive but how many of you are currently training your foot muscles?  

My guess is, not many. 

With over 29 muscles in the human foot, these muscles work together to coordinate foot strike, shock absorption and energy transfer.  

Below are three powerful foot exercises which can easily be integrated into a running warm-up and are an effective way to not only enhance performance but also combat foot pain and potential running related injuries.

Exercise #1 – Short Foot


Exercise #2 – Ball Between Heel Raise


Exercise #3 – Inclined Single Heel Raise


Strengthening feet is only the first part of a healthy foot regimen.  As you ramp up the mileage, it is also important to remember to recovery your feet as well.    A simple 5 minute foot release is a great way to reduce excessive stress to the foot muscles and keep your feet ready for the next day’s run.  


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