How to Strengthen Your Feet for Running

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Your feet perform incredible duties, particularly when you consider that during a one-hour run, your feet hit the pavement thousands of times. Feet are vital to movement such as walking and running, yet are often under-appreciated. Running provides a great form of exercise, but can leave your feet sore if you're not used to it. There are easy ways to strengthen your feet for running.

Choose minimalist shoes for running. These types of shoes are thin, contoured to the foot and simulate barefoot running. Researchers at the Institute for Biomechanics and Orthopaedics conducted a study to determine the impact of minimalist running shoes. The study found that running in these types of shoes leads to strength gains in the muscles underneath the arch and the muscles that control the foot and ankle.

Perform foot-strengthening exercises. Place 10 small marbles on the floor and position a small cup nearby. Use your toes to pick the marbles up one at a time and drop them into the cup. Do two sets of 10 repetitions with each foot.

Balance on one foot at a time. Work your way up so that you can balance on each foot for one minute. Try it with your eyes open initially and then do it with your eyes closed. For an added challenge, do it on an unstable surface, such as a mini trampoline. Balancing helps strengthen the muscles in your feet and ankles.

Condition feet using a foot-strengthening machine. These machines are typically compact, light-weight and designed to help you build stronger foot muscles. Foot machines may seem like a gimmick at first glance. However, University of British Columbia basketball teams showed improved balance and vertical jump after using a foot machine for 12 weeks, according to the Canadian Newspaper, the Globe and Mail.