15 In Running

Running on Flat Feet – The Effects

Hello, hello!

Hope everyone had a lovely, not too cold, weekend! My weekend was fantastic, and included an early Christmas celebration with my side of the family. I’ll post a recap of Christmas probably on Wednesday!

christmas in franklin tn

Miss Truckee was not invited to this picture. She’s too big for her cousins 🙁 Aren’t my mom and sister-in-law beautiful? I think so too.

You know what else this weekend included? The painful realization that my legs and feet are definitely not made for marathoning.

That’s right.  I truly believe that ANYONE can train for, and run a marathon, but I also truly believe that not everyone’s body mechanics are designed to withstand the repeated ware and tare that the marathon distance presents. Luckily, there are fantastic running shoes on the market that can help with this, and I’ve quickly learned that FIT is everything!

Training for a marathon. It’s hard. It’s even harder on your body. On your hips. On your legs. On your feet. On your back and neck. On your everything. And over time, as your body takes on the intense pounding force of running excessive miles, it will break down. Especially if you’re like me and blessed with collapsed arches and over-pronating feet. It’s just the nature of the beast. I can try to properly support my feet all I want, but in the end, they will win every time.

Don’t get me wrong. There are thousands of marathoners out there who have run MULTIPLE  marathons, and will remain unscathed. And I wish I was one of them. But, that’s because THEIR body was built for it. THEIR feet and tendons and ligaments were designed to support the milage. Everyone’s body comes from a totally different gene pool, and I envy those ultra-marathoners who are capable of pushing their bodies to limits I could only dream of. I will never be an ultra-marathoner. Not because I don’t have the determination or the mind-set to make myself run 100 miles, because Lord knows I do, but because I know my feet would literally, and physically, not be able to support me. I know my genetics and I know the weakness that lies within in my non-existent-arches and I know how prone to shin splints I am.

And that’s okay.

I’m still a runner. But, like my family and I discussed this weekend, physically, I’m starting to think God intended me to be a half-marathon girl.

I’ve had several people ask me, “so why are you running a marathon?” and “so like, after the marathon, are you going to quit running, like, you’ve conquered running?”, and “after your marathon, are you going to find another hobby?”

The last two questions just made me laugh, for obvious reasons, but the first question, “so why are you running a marathon” has been a question I’ve asked myself a lot lately. Especially since this tendon pain started and I’ve realized how badly I may really be injuring my feet and ankles in this long process.

I am running a marathon not just because it’s the next obvious distance after a half marathon, but because I wanted to prove to myself that I could. That it’s possible. That I can put my mind to something and accomplish it. That I can say, “I ran a marathon!” That I can mark it off my bucket-list. That I can brag to my kids one day, “did you know your mom ran a marathon before she had you?” That I can prove to myself that I am strong, and capable. And so that I can finally experience the feeling of crossing that finish line, a marathoner, not a half-marathoner.

I’m not going to quit running after the marathon. I’m not going to pursue a new hobby after the marathon. But I am going to reassess the distances I run, and focus my attention on half-marathons again, and shorter distances. I know I haven’t run my official marathon yet, and I very well might love it and be super pumped to run another full, but the way my feet are feeling now, it’s looking like it’s going to be a smart idea to not run another marathon anytime soon.But I refuse to let my bad feet win and I’m on a mission to still find that perfect shoe, that perfect support, and keep my feet as happy as possible!

If you’re still confused. Let’s play catch up on what’s been happening with my feet.

I trained right on schedule up until St. Jude, or what was supposed to be St. Jude on December 7th. I ran my 20 miler just fine, felt great, and was full of optimism afterwards. My arches hurt a little bit, but that’s just going to happen after running 20 miles on flat feet! (Yes, I always wear my orthotics in my running shoes, but who’s feet DON’T hurt after 20 miles??) Well, then my new shoes came in the mail. A little over 3-4 weeks out from race day. The perfect amount of time to break them in with some medium and short runs. I ordered the newest model of my old running shoes. Theoretically, should have been the *same* shoe. Or so I thought. They felt fine at first, maybe a little stiff, just like any new shoe would feel. Then I started to notice a little bit of pain on the inside of my right ankle. I just assumed it was from breaking in new shoes. No big deal. Then I started to notice the pain turn more into a shin splint pain along the bottom inside tibia, right along the posterior tibial tendon. I tried to ignore it, thinking it was just overuse, so I tapered a bit longer than I was planning, was sure to ice plenty, knowing that I wanted to be fully rested for the race on Dec 7. Then, the marathon was cancelled, so that day and the day after I did a 10 and a 13.1. I could barely finish the 13.1 because the pain had gotten so bad! It took me almost 2 1/2 hours to run that half, and you KNOW I’ve been running half’s fairly consistently right under 2 hours! Yea, red flag. I rested again, and kept icing. And then this weekend I did another 13.1, and was in tears by the end of it. I almost couldn’t finish it. By this point, a half marathon should be a breeze, and it was…before the new shoes. This was the final straw. I was already starting to doubt things a little after my two runs last weekend, but this weekend’s run, really got to me. I’m beyond frustrated with my new shoes, and have already written the company asking if there have been any other complaints. Side-note, I know it’s my new shoes because when I tested out running back in my old shoes, the pain went away almost completely.

I wear custom orthotics in my running shoes religiously to try and combat the effects of my flat feet and collapsed arches. When I show you these images below, you’ll see why.

My dad is a chiropractor back home, and he’s got a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the importance of proper alignment within your body. He has a machine that can scan your feet and show you everything you ever wanted to know about your feet, and how that in turn effects your whole body. Everything starts with your feet. Seriously.

what flat feet look like

The image on the right is what a normal foot looks like. The red is where you are putting pressure and distributing your weight. The blue on the inside obviously symbolizes a healthy arch. The image on the left, is my feet. Virtually no arch, and pressure all over. Basically…BAD.

Since my feet are flat, wearing custom orthotics helps properly support my feet, and in turn, keeps the rest of my body in line and working together the way it’s supposed to. The image below represents the way my body is tilted when I’m standing barefoot, without orthotics.


Shoulder drops, pelvis tilts, knee rotates, and arch drops. Because my feet are just naturally so flat, when I’m standing barefoot, my right side takes 57.88% of my weight bear, and the left side takes 42.22%. Ideally, it would be 50-50. This off-balance throws everything off kilter, causing more problems than one, and effects my whole posture and stance. So you can imagine what kind of damage running barefoot would do to my body! Ha!

In fact, I don’t have a screen shot of it, but with every step I take misaligned like this, it’s as if my feet are feeling 580 lbs of force, and 58 lbs of force up into my neck and head. See, it all starts with your feet people!

Here’s another fun result-


Optimal pronation range is a 0-34, and I’m a whopping 119. Percent difference in balance should be less than 1%, and I’m at 15.6%.

You’re probably thinking by this point that I walk funny, run funny, and how on God’s green earth have I run as much as I have, and WHY am I even still running? If you think I walk or run funny, you’re crazy. This is just an in-depth analysis of the detailed mechanics of my feet and where the pressure hits most. I’ve had flat feet my whole life, and sure my arches hurt from time to time, but it’s all what you get used to. It’s not like this scan really comes as a surprise. But, I’ve never had a problem with running until just recently when my new shoes aggravated everything.

As runners we hear ALL THE TIME how important proper fitting shoes are, and I just wanted to stress the importance of wearing shoes that fit YOU, shoes that properly fit YOUR feet, and why if you don’t already wear orthotics to better support your feet, you probably need to! The insoles that come with your running shoes are standard.

All of this to say, my dad ordered me a new, fresh pair of orthotics that I should have tomorrow, and I’m going by the running store tonight and try out a couple different pairs of shoes. The makers of my current “new” shoes have also already offered an exchange. At this point, it comes down to either wearing my old worn out shoes WITH my new orthotics and just know that my feet will hurt because of how worn out my shoes are, OR, try to find a new pair of shoes that might keep my feet from pronating as bad plus wear my new orthotics and hope it’s a miracle. Two weeks before my marathon. UGH. **update! I ended up buying a new pair of shoes, but this time a “neutral” shoe, and my problems went away! The new shoe I had previously purchased was too stiff and was too far off from what my feet had grown used to running in!**

I’m still really excited for my race, but after experiencing my first “running injury” I’m appreciating more and more the distance that my feet have already taken me, and I’m learning more and more about what my feet and body mechanics are capable of. I’m not willing to cause myself harm farther down the road!

I will run and conquer this marathon, and if I never run another one again, I’ll still be a marathoner. Not a failure.

Do you have flat feet? Do you over-pronate? Have you ever felt like you were injured so close to a big race?

Tomorrow I’ve got a guest post from one of my favorite fellow bloggers so be sure and check back! She’s the cutest!


Follow on Bloglovin


  • Reply
    December 16, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    Wow! It’s never fun to read about a fellow runner who has feet probs. Sorry to hear, but you are a true champ for conquering the marathon distance and continuing to run. I’ve had feet issues most of my life, but not to your magnitude. I didn’t realize how much I over-pronate, until my sister borrowed a pair of my shoes to do a 10k and said her feet hurt after 10 minutes in them. I over trained for a half marathon two years ago and was told I had “jumper’s knee,” nothing seriously wrong with me. I did the elliptical for two weeks before the race and thought I might have to walk some of it. I actually was able to run the whole thing and I didn’t have any pain either. Although our stories are different, race day always brings better than what we expect. Good luck on the shoe hunt and I’ll be rooting for you for your first marathon!
    Ganeeban recently posted…‘eeeeef FridayMy Profile

    • Reply
      Sweet Miles
      December 19, 2013 at 10:04 am

      Stephanie- That’s crazy about your sister! Everyone’s feet are just worlds apart! You’re so right, race day is always better than what we think, at least it’s always been for me too 🙂 Thanks for commenting!

  • Reply
    Kelly @ Kelly Runs for Food
    December 16, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    Wow, that’s crazy about your feet! I’m always fascinated by how different people are. You’re so right that everyone’s body is completely different. I grew up a dancer, not a runner! I feel like my legs, hips, and ankles are accustomed to a totally different type of movement. Running doesn’t come naturally to me at all (even though I love doing it), and it’s made me realize that shorter distances are where I feel best. I may never even run a half marathon and I’m ok with that!
    Kelly @ Kelly Runs for Food recently posted…Weekend HappeningsMy Profile

    • Reply
      Sweet Miles
      December 19, 2013 at 10:02 am

      Kelly- Good for you!! Everyone needs to realize what their strengths are, and treat their body the right ways, I’d much rather take care of myself now than not be able to run when I’m 40!

  • Reply
    December 17, 2013 at 5:19 am

    I will give a 3rd wow, that’s crazy flat, but sounds like you are in good hands and on the right track.
    You will rock the marathon either way
    Matilda recently posted…A Year of Running – The 2013 EditionMy Profile

    • Reply
      Sweet Miles
      December 19, 2013 at 10:02 am

      Matilda- Haha! Yes, new orthotics and a fresh pair of the right shoes work wonders!

  • Reply
    December 17, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    Wow! Seriously that scan of your feet is shocking. I feel like I have a HUGE arch, and have admittedly complained about it in the past, but I never will again! Cheers to you for pushing through!

    • Reply
      Sweet Miles
      December 19, 2013 at 10:01 am

      Ashley- Haha yea…they’re pretty flat 🙂 They only look flat though when I’m standing barefoot, if you just looked at my feet you’d think there was a good arch. No worries!! I’m sure a high arch causes pain too!!

  • Reply
    December 18, 2013 at 8:28 am

    I hope lots of runners (especially newbies) read this! It’s so easy to pick out a cool looking shoes, the most popular new pair, what your fave blogger wears, etc etc. So important to know the mechanics of your own feet!

    I actually have pretty high arches, I blame this on my years on pointe 😉 However, I’ve had a couple knee surgeries (I’m in my mid twenties yikes….) and I realize running should be my enemy, but like you, I love it too much to give it up due to some injuries. I fully believe in cross training to avoid further injury and always be open to new hobbies! 🙂

    Good luck with your future training and marathon! Stay positive!

    • Reply
      Sweet Miles
      December 19, 2013 at 10:00 am

      Molly- Yes! I hope so too!! It’s so tempting to just buy the cutest pair, but a lot of people don’t know that all running shoes are different! Cross training is super important, and I know I’m guilty of not cross training enough! Here’s to more cross training in 2014!

  • Reply
    Kristin @ A Mom on the Run
    December 18, 2013 at 11:30 am

    We have the complete opposite feet! I have ridiculously high arches and it can also be a total pain!

    I’m reading backwards today (oops!) but I’m glad to hear you found a shoe that will hopefully help!
    Kristin @ A Mom on the Run recently posted…Coffee DateMy Profile

    • Reply
      Sweet Miles
      December 19, 2013 at 9:59 am

      Kristin- Everyone’s feet are SO different!! It blows my mind!! My new shoes were great last night, fingers crossed they’re still great when I add more milage!

  • Reply
    Patty @ Reach Your Peak
    December 19, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    omg I have flat feet too!!!
    Before my marathon I had an issue with my posterior tibialis too and had to take 2 weeks off completely. That area on my left was swollen and it felt like little balls rolling around under the skin-turned out to be adhesions.

    I have shin splint issues and have had it for YEARS and people always ask, so why do you run? so annoying lol. It’s just a pain I have learned to live with though it can be annoying during longer distances.

    My shins are tender to the touch, even when I am not running (ie-I have been off from running for over a month). Does that happen to you?
    Patty @ Reach Your Peak recently posted…Training With Marc: “Training For a Marathon”My Profile

  • Reply
    January 24, 2015 at 5:33 am

    Great article! I was curious to know what shoes you bought for flat feet. I have flat feet too, and just can’t seem to find the right pair of shoes. Also, I wish you all the best on your runs. I understand your passion for running as only a runner could. 🙂

  • Reply
    Roy Robbins
    June 28, 2017 at 6:35 pm

    great in-depth article. I have a whole blog on flat feet running shoes. check it and out and let me know what you think. Thanks.

  • Leave a Reply

    CommentLuv badge