Build stronger ankles and feet

My right ankle, which first got cranky on me while running in Rock Creek Park December 2008, was the only part of me that felt a little sore and swollen after the Marine Corps Marathon Oct. 25. So as part of my six weeks of laying low and being smart following the marathon, I’m prehabbing like crazy, attacking foot and ankle exercises with the gusto I approached core- and hip-strengthening workouts with a few months ago.

Here’s a roundup of what I’m doing:

Towel scrunches: Lay a towel on the floor. Move it closer to you by scrunching your toes repeatedly.

Toe taps: Tap your foot for a minute straight. Repeat.

Calf raises on a step: Self-explanatory.

Various resistance-band exercises in which I pull a resistance band toward me or push it away from me with my feet. (Check out a photo of the latter here).

Picking up small items with my toes. This one barely feels like work, so I’m having a hard time committing myself to it.

Tracing the alphabet with my toes. Again, I don’t feel an obvious challenge or benefit here, so I have a hard time making myself do it.

Tons of balance stuff, which was already part of my core- and hip-strengthening workout. And fear not: I haven’t forgotten about the good ol’ core. I even added some new exercises lately: a side plank in which you place a stability ball between your feet, a front plank in which you balance your feet on a stability ball, then bring one knee at a time toward your chest.

Any favorite foot- or ankle-strengtheners I should add to the list? Share them by posting a comment!

In other news: I’ve found a fantastic new pool! The Takoma Aquatic Center, located about 10 minutes from my apartment, or maybe 20 minutes by Metro, is an Olympic-sized pool set up horizontally, so there are something like 12 lanes open for lap swimming at any given time. It’s a fast pool, and I immediately felt awesome once I got in despite a three-week hiatus from swimming. I glided through 2X1,000 yards, and didn’t feel tired and creaky until the end of my 5X200 IM set. I’ll definitely be heading back for more soon.

Finally, my Women’s Running story about sports psychology and motivation, Think Like the Pros, is live online at Check it out — I got so many helpful tips from it, and hopefully, you will, too!


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4 responses to “Build stronger ankles and feet

  1. Now we need some “toe tapping” music ; )

  2. After a premature hip replacement … I need some low impact stuff 😉

  3. umm. i think i am challenged for having a hard time imagining how to do the “toe tap”… yeah….. i assume it’s – heel on floor, tap toe up and down, but then i think what if you have to be standing up with your foot in the air tapping your toe? i have a tendency to make things harder than they need to be…

    i definitely need to work on my misc. workouts like these. i spend so much time running, but other little exercises will help a ton. i think i’d be more inclined to do the pick-things-up and alphabet ones than pulling out a rubberband. (something about those bands/bungees i just can’t make myself do)

  4. Pingback: Wanted: Moderation « Amy Reinink

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