Thursday, May 24, 2012

My Plantar is a Fasciitis

If you've never been injured, than you haven't been a runner very long. I consider myself lucky. Without anything outside of some mild overtraining and a few illnesses, I rarely have an excuse to miss a run. In the past two years, I've been injured - hanging up my running shoes and pining to run - exactly 0 times.

To my dismay, I woke up Wednesday morning and could not walk on my right foot. My heel, which had been bothering me for about three months (I attributed it to adjusting to some minimal/barefoot shoes), was having none of it. I hobbled to the bathroom, looked in the mirror, shook my head, and went back to bed. I knew I was in trouble.

Luckily, my sister-in-law (who is also a runner), is an accredited physical therapist and has helped me through injuries over the years. She knew right away - Plantar Fasciitis. "Stay out of the barefoot shoes, you hippie!" She told me. Which makes at least once in my life I've beeen called a hippie.

Today is the second consecutive day off of running. And I'll be back tomorrow. But PF is not much fun. Here's how you can avoid it:

1) Get properly fitted for the right running shoes. I don't blame mine on my shoes, but there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that just changing shoes can help.

2) Stretch out your calves and hammies. Tightness in our legs never leads to anything good.

3) Lift your legs! I hate lifting weights. I hate stretching. Anything other than running, pretty much, is on my list. But lifting helps address muscle imbalances (when done right). Imbalances cause you compensate (or overcompensate), and that leads to injuries.

4) If you're hurt, take a day off. Each workout contributes less than 1% to your overall fitness. And although that is extra reason to stick with it when motivation is low, it is also good reason to hang it up for a day when things are tight. It is better to miss a day than a month. Or months.

5) Run on softer surfaces. Where I live, there is not much unpaved trail or road to run on, so I find myself logging all of my miles on paved surfaces. This is what I've chalked my PF up to. Don't follow my lead. Hit the trails. Yes, your boring Nike Pegasus will work on most anything but the most technical trails.

6) Exercise your feet. Although I'm sure some barefoot enthusiast will disagree with everything I say (already have Vibram Named in Lawsuit), one thing they have to agree with me on is this: Our feet do not get the love they deserve. Take your shoes off next time you're out in a grassy area (at the family reunion this weekend - you'll be a hit)

I've taken to rolling a tennis ball under my arch and heel, even at work, to try and loosen things up. It seems to be working. And I plan to run through it. Just one more obstacle to overcome.

I've got a race this weekend, my second 5k of the year. Goal time: under 19 minutes. We'll see.

Happy Memorial Day weekend!

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