I might not be the most talented runner it the world, but I really love running! The more often I run, the better it feels, which allows me to enjoy it even more... And then I am motivated to run MORE... and so goes the cycle.
For the most part, this is all be good. The only issue, really, is that I am not 25 anymore! I am running almost every day (often quite hard!) and consequently I have a few body parts that are starting to whisper to me that they might not be 100% happy with my recent running intensity. Of course the best way to improve your running is to run consistently and I know this... Must.Avoid.Injury... With that in mind I find myself going way out of my way to proactively keep myself healthy.
The tissues on the bottom of my right foot were feeling uncomfortably tight last week. It wasn't a sharp pain at the heel so I wasn't super stressed about plantar fasciitis, but it didn't seem like a stretch to understand that if I ignored that stiffness and just kept running, I'd end up hobbling every morning and eventually would be unable to run! So instead of ignoring it, I took a couple of proactive steps...
~Put a lacrosse ball under my desk and rolled my foot out on it a few times/day while I was working (doing it right now in fact!).
~Use my trusty Supernova ball all up and down my calves. That supernova ball gets used daily- I seriously don't think I'd be healthy without that thing. Hands down my favorite tool for body work! I use it on my glutes, adductors, psoas, and calves.
~Started doing some foot strengthening exercises... standard stuff just squeezing my toes super hard, moving towels around with my toes, etc.
That stuff seemed to keep it from getting worse and allowed me to keep running, but I still felt the stiff tissues so didn't have complete confidence that I was in the clear. In good news, for the last ~4-5 months I've had a standing weekly appointment with Dr Zen at The Zen Center so I had him take a look at it. Dr Zen pretty much works magic... He used his electric stim thing on my calves/feet and then adjusted my ankles to his liking and wouldn't you know it? Completely pain free walking out of his office! So it seems maybe I dodged a bullet with that one, but I know I have to keep up the rehab stuff so it doesn't come back.
Yesterday, I got to run twice! Hill reps in the morning then hill reps again in the afternoon! Woohoo!
Fitting all this training in while acting as a single mom while my husband is out of town has been no easy feat, but with the help of awesome friends, I've managed. However, it does mean I am at the mercy of anyone who is willing to watch Moana. Yesterday that meant doing repeats up/over Diamond Head for an hour at 2PM on one of the hottest days of the year while my kiddo played in the ocean. Moana had a blast while I got my hurt on. (Thanks to Kelly!)
Speaking of getting your hurt on, you can imagine how hill repeats twice in one day made my achilles tendons feel... Once again I spent some quality time with my Supernova Ball digging into my calves last night... and my next appt with Zen is tomorrow! My confidence is high that I'll be just fine, but in the meantime, I'm doing a sets of eccentric calf dips whenever I get to a step.
So that's the thing- to achieve your running goals, you have to push some limits. But while you're pushing those limits, understand that your injury risk is going to be higher so you have to go out of your way to keep yourself healthy. Be proactive and listen when body parts start whispering to you. Don't skip those PT exercises, roll yourself out often, and find talented professionals to help!
See you on the roads!