I’ve had plantar fasciitis before and it’s a really big pain. The bottom of your foot throbs and aches, especially in the morning, and it hampers everything you do! Walking hurts, so you know that even thinking about running will cause meteoric pain running throughout your foot.
What is plantar fasciitis?
Here’s what plantar fasciitis is, according to the Mayo Clinic: “It involves inflammation of a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes”. That band gets irritated and causes severe pain you feel.
The morning is typically when you’ll find it hurts the most. According to Runner’s World, “you may feel a sharp pain first thing in the morning because the plantar fascia shortens during the night”.
So what are you supposed to do with this debilitating injury to the bottom of your foot? If walking hurts, you know running will. Plus there’s no relief in the morning.
Signs you can injure your plantar
Most runners will never have to worry about a plantar acting up. Hurting your plantar is not like straining a calf – you aren’t going to finish a run with a tight plantar. Plantar injuries manifest gradually, although, I’m sure they can also be hurt rather acutely. That being said, here are some ways in which you can injure your plantar:
- Wearing really old running shoes
- Doing lots of walking/running barefoot (when you feet aren’t ready for it)
- Having really tight calves
- Running on slippery surfaces (snow/ice, loose sand) for long periods of time
- Running in shoes that don’t support you (racing flats, racing spikes, wrong training shoes)
How do I deal with Plantar Fasciitis?
You can choose to continue to train and eventually race on your hurt plantar. It will hurt and it will hurt a lot in the morning. You can obviously do serious damage to it, but if you take normal precautions, you’ll just be in a lot of pain. I would run through a plantar issue if you absolutely have to race (like if your team depended on you or you were in a once-in-a-lifetime race and you’ve done most of the training already). Sure, you can do long-term damage, but the risk might be worth it.
If you’re close to finishing your training for your peak race, you can gut through the pain, but know that prehab (exercises before your workout) and rehab (exercises after your workout) will help manage the pain and eventually help you overcome the pain.
The only real way to make sure you recover from plantar issues is to take time off and stop running on it.
Take time off and let the inflamed area calm down. Be prepared to go through weeks and months of physical therapy. The injury will get better with no running, therapy and consistent TLC. Once it heals, you’ll have to continue working on the foot to keep it strong and loose.
There will be other races out there, so don’t schedule any until you’ve worked your way out of the pain period, you’ve gotten back in shape, and then you’re safe to sign up for a race.
As a coach, here’s what I believe she should do:
Be aware of the mileage on your shoes. Plan ahead and buy a second pair or rotate your shoes. Shoes are really all you need to run, so don’t skimp on old or crappy shoes. The best way to track your shoe’s mileage is by keeping a training log. In TrainwithMarc’s log, you can specify what shoes you wear and the log will track your mileage for you.
Listen to your body for warning signs. If something’s going to happen, your body will let you know. Don’t run through persistent pain. And if it lasts for longer than a day or two, you should see a specialist who works with runners.
Don’t wait for the pain to take over your world. If you need to take a day off to let it calm down, that’s so much better than 2-4 months of serious pain.
Track Your Training
TrainWithMarc has great training logs that track mileage. This will help you see trends (good or bad) that can steer you away from injury.
Create a Plan
Have someone create a training plan for you. Take the guesswork out of what you should do on a daily basis. A coach can help you steer clear of overtraining and can offer suggestions to you if you do come across an injury.
Continue to stretch, ice, and roll out the bottom of your foot. Make sure you are warmed up properly before a run and do not go barefoot!
Stay in Shape
Cross-train on a bike, elliptical, or swim. Replace the time spent running for time spent cross-training. You can limit how much you get out of shape by how much you can cross-train.
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