Let’s face it — most distance runners would not describe their feet as pretty. After all, pounding the asphalt for mile after mile can cause a slew of podiatry ailments. There are those painful blisters, unsightly black toenails and of course layers of hard dead skin known as calluses.
Fortunately, many of these ailments can be prevented or treated with a little foresight. Black toenails can be dealt with by regularly trimming your nails. Blisters often emerge because of ill-fitting shoes or the wrong pair of socks. But the story isn’t quite as straightforward for calluses. Unlike these other ailments, calluses are inevitable.
Calluses commonly occur on the balls of the foot, heels, and inner big toe. They emerge as a protective response to the friction caused by the foot striking the ground. In other words, if you run regularly, your skin is going to adapt to the constant stress you’re putting on your feet. You’re going to develop calluses.
But don’t panic. Unless your calluses blister or crack, they can be managed with a little moisturizer and an emery board. And while this might do little to mitigate the embarrassment of a lumpy big toe, at least your training won’t come to a standstill.
Of course, for some runners this isn’t enough. We need reasons to love our ugly runner’s feet! So here are four mantras to help you embrace calluses for what they provide come race day:
Calluses – Kevlar for the Feet
There’s a reason your feet look the way they do. And no, it’s not to guarantee that you never wear flip-flops at the beach again. Calluses are examples of your feet getting tough. They’re preparing you for race day by creating protective shields for your heels and toes.
They’re Not Unsightly, They’re Badges of Honour
Those thickening layers of dead skin cells aren’t there to curse you. They’re evidence of your body at work. And the more you run, the more your body is going to respond by building up your feet. Remember, calluses appear because of your consistency. They serve as a physical example of your commitment to running.
They’re Nature’s Cushion
Calluses can provide padding for your feet during those intense workouts and that padding can improve results. Just like the technology in your shoes, calluses are designed to help you maintain your effort and maximize your potential.
They’re Confidence Boosters
Elite runners have them. They offer you protection. They’re symbolic of your work, your hardship and those endless long runs on weekend mornings. So don’t wake up on race day and frown at your feet. Instead, thank them for what they’re about to give you — the confidence that you’re prepared to step into the corral.