So I'm new to this forum and want some advice from other runners. I've been running regularly for about 2 1/2 years. I've done a variety of distances, but never a full marathon. It seemed like the next step in challenging myself, so I signed up. I will be doing the Rock'n'Roll in Phoenix, Arizona in January 2014. I've been researching, reading books, and figuring out my training plan. I start this week with a 23 week plan that I customized from Runner's World Smart Coach based on my recent half time and my goals. The plan is doable, but I'm excited and terrified at the same time. I have plenty of runner friends, but none have ever done a full marathon. I've never run further than 14 miles.
Within the last few weeks I've been paying a lot more attention to my body and how my shoes, distances, and terrain have an impact. I'm also dealing with some odd feet issues and I'm trying to figure out what it triggering it so it does not cause me problems as my mileage increases. I hurt my ankle earlier in the summer and had to take some time off from my personal runs to heal. I already know my shoes are not what I want to run in, but financially, I have to put off new shoes for a short time. My main concern is a my four outside toes begin to go numb around mile 6. I don't know if the shoes are causing it, if I need to try a different lacing pattern, or if I might have a nerve issue. I tried some different intervals, as suggested through some research of the problem, but that didn't help. I'd like to avoid the expense of physical therapy if I can. Has anyone else experienced this and self treated? Or does anyone have to tips on solving the problem? Advice and thoughts are much appreciated! Thanks!
It's hard to be sure. Your problem could be caused by shoes that aren't giving your toes enough room, either because of length or a toe box that is not wide enough. For length, you should have a thumb-nail width between the longest toe and the front of the shoe, which usually means sizing up a half to a full size from your street shoe size. Width varies a lot from shoe to shoe, even different models with a brand. You should have good "wiggle room" for your toes.
As I said, it's hard to be sure. Check your current shoes to see if these might be the problem.
Lezlaw is right on the money: it's probably the shoes... Remember that your feet will naturally swell a little bit after a couple of miles, and if your toes have no where to go, then you might start having some toe issues. Make sure that you have plenty of room not only in front of your toe, but also a bit of room around your entire "toe box". That's why lenslaw mentioned "wiggle room". I know that running shoes are expensive, but don't skimp. After all, it's your feet that are going to carry you through several hundred miles of training before you even get to the marathon, so take care of them! If you are going to invest in anything, do so into shoes and sox.
If your shoes are fitting properly and seem to not be the issue, you might want to consider seeing an orthopedic doctor or even a podiatist.