If you’ve run a race lately, your feet are probably in need of some serious TLC at the moment. All those hours spent training in sneakers, the pedicures (if you bothered) where you asked them to “Leave the calluses, please,” and the aches and pains are behind you, at least for a little while. Thank your feet for all their hard work and patience with you with a nice post race recovery at-home foot treatment.
Soak Those Feet
There’s no better time to turn on a sitcom or your favorite trashy reality show (whatever your guilty pleasure!) than when it’s time to soak your feet. Make sure you have a towel and all the snacks, drinks, and remote controls you’ll need before you get started, though, because you won’t be going anywhere for a while (not that you’d want to, you’ll be so relaxed).
Make the water as hot as you can stand, fill up your soaking container, and settle in for a 15-20 minute soak. Add ½ cup each of Epsom salts, sea salt, and baking soda. These are good for soreness and detoxification, so if you’re still feeling a little pain post-race, this soak should help. Choose from lavender, tea tree, and peppermint essential oils, and add a few drops to the mixture. These can help with foot odor, athlete’s foot, and more. If you choose the peppermint route, your feet will feel cool and tingly when you’re done.
Scrub Away the Calluses
All those calluses that protected you from injuries and other foot discomfort while you were training served a valuable purpose, but they don’t look very pretty. Use a pumice stone—not a razor—to gently scrub the calluses down, focusing on one foot at a time and rinsing once you’re done. Dry your feet off on the towel once you’re done scrubbing.
If you don’t care about the soak, you can always do a dry exfoliation and still get fantastic results. Try the Emjoi Micro-Pedi Callus Remover ($24.95, Amazon.com).
Take Care of Your Toenails
Your toenails are probably feeling a little sore, especially if your race was fairly long or you’ve been practicing on a hilly course. Your toenails may have been rubbing against the inside of your shoes for months. Once they’re completely dry, trim the nails straight across and don’t file down the edges (this helps prevent ingrown nails). That’s probably all they really need while they recover.
Hydrate and Enjoy Some Cozy Socks
Slather on a thick cream (try Eucerin Plus Intensive Repair Foot Crème, $4.59 at Drugstore.com) and slip your feet into your favorite pair of thick, fuzzy socks. The heat that gets held in when you wear thick socks will help the moisture penetrate the skin better (preferably overnight) and give you back the soft heels you’ve been missing since you started training.
Here’s the final touch, and usually the part that’s the most fun. If you can make this pedicure a two-part process, all the better: Stop after the hydrating step the first night and save all the trimming and polishing for the next day. It does the most to restore that prettiness you’ve been craving for your feet. Choose your color. Remove residual nail polish and oils from your nails by sweeping a cotton ball wet with nail polish remover across the nail surfaces. Apply your base coat, two coats of polish, and a top coat, letting it dry between coats. This combination will give your color longevity and prevent it from staining your nails.
It doesn’t take long to make your feet look pretty again after a race. With a little bit of work, your feet can be callus-free, with shiny new chip-free polish. The best part is, you can do it on your own schedule in your own home—without spending $30-60 at a spa or nail salon.