As I was sitting watching a rerun of one of the weight-loss TV shows, I was very impressed how one of the contestants had tried to finish a triathlon. As a podiatrist, I thought about the points I would want to discuss with a patient before they would undertake a marathon or triathlon. I instantly thought of the acronym S.H.O.E.S.

Tips For Marathon, Triathlon Training: S.H.O.E.S.

S: Stretching

We need to stretch; there is no way around it. Before and after we exercise, if we don’t stretch, then we will pay for it. If you have not stretched or warmed up, not only do you have an increased risk of tearing a muscle or tendon, but you also risk injury in future workouts.

We need to stretch to warm up the muscle, and running on a cold, tight muscle will hinder your workout and performance. Some of my patients mention that they never stretched before. I do remind them we are not in college or high school anymore, and our body does not repair as fast as it once did. Just ask some of our professional athletes who are in trouble for trying to heal faster with the use of performance-enhancing drugs. A night splint is also an excellent way of stretching feet and legs.

H: Hydrate

Hydration is very important for any exercise program. Without replenishing your body with liquids, you will become dehydrated and have a horrible workout and not feel refreshed after your workout. Some of the most common symptoms of dehydration include nausea, headache, vomiting, lethargy and fatigue.

The magazine Runner’s World recommends drinking “water or other low-calorie fluids in small, steady quantities throughout each day, to the point when your urine flows clear.” An hour or two before your run or race (depending on your tolerance), top off your fluid tank by guzzling 16 ounces of water or sports drink. Then take in between five and 12 ounces of fluid every 15 to 20 minutes during the run. When you take run longs, use a sports drink.

O: Orthotics

A foot orthotic needs to provide a rigid lever for propulsion while allowing for shock absorption and terrain adaptation. This need is only magnified in athletes. Whether you are on a bike, in running shoes or in ski boots, your foot is always working on shock absorption and propulsion. To assist in these functions, a foot orthotic needs to be properly calibrated to your weight, foot flexibility and activity level. Different athletes and sports require different orthotic sizes and properties. However, they all require the same biomechanical control and function. (Of course you will need proper running shoes for the orthotics to fit into.)

E: Eating a Balanced Diet

You are what you eat, and what you eat will either help or hurt your run. A balanced diet, consisting of a balanced meal program, eating 4-6 times a day, will make you less hungry later at night and will stop that late-night snack before bed.

S: Start Slow

Slow down; you need to start slow and slowly increase your workout. Make sure you have enough time to train for your marathon so you will not burn out or injure yourself.

For more information about marathons or triathlon training and/or Put Your Feet First, a podiatrist in the Scottsdale area, visit