QUESTION: I have a problem with one of my feet going numb as I run. I purchased a new pair of shoes last week. So far, I have run two times in the shoes, and both times my right foot has fallen asleep. It didn’t seem like my laces were too tight. This hasn’t happened before.
HAL’S ANSWER: Whether or not the laces were too tight, the shoes apparently were. Check the fit, particularly the right shoe. Should you have gotten a half size larger? As we run long distances, our feet begin to swell. So runners often need shoes somewhat larger than street shoes. As we run, fluids descend to the low points on our body (feet). But then those same fluids must be pumped back to the top. Unfortunately for beginners, their cardiovascular systems are not yet well enough developed for efficient circulation. So some of the fluids get stuck down below, and the feet swell. (So do the hands.) Don’t worry. Developing a more efficient cardiovascular system is one of the positive results of training—but it takes a while. In the meantime, you need to be more careful about shoe selection, particularly if your plan includes regular long runs.
Hal uses TrainingPeaks to power his interactive marathon and half marathon training plans. Check out more of Hal Higdon's training plans here or on his website. Archived Q&A's from Hal can be found here.