It’s getting better, but I still have pain in my left heel. It started last Wednesday, got worse after Thursday’s run, went away after a day of stretching and rest on Friday, came back after Saturday’s 7-mile hilly run, and became excruciating after Sunday’s 3.5-mile run. Sunday I was limping and still in pain yesterday.
When I searched for “heel pain from running” I get lots of results for plantar fasciitis. Sounds like what I have. 🙁 I’ve read that for most people the pain goes away throughout the day, so that most people don’t have to miss runs. Unfortunately, it’s persistent with me. Today it was better but still a dull ache, and I feared making it worse if I did my scheduled tempo run. So I skipped my run and did strength training instead. I hate missing a run, but I’d rather miss today’s run then get worse and be in a lot of pain for Saturday’s Pittsburgh Marathon 5K.
I love the “Inside the Doctor’s Office” series of videos on Runner’s World, and the one on plantar fasciitis has good information. But I don’t know what to think about all the stories from other runners and what helped them. Some say barefoot running and going barefoot at all times improved foot strength and ultimately got rid of it. Others say to always wear shoes with good arch support. The things that everyone seems to agree on are what I’m doing to heal:
- icing to reduce the inflammation
- taking NSAIDs to reduce inflammation
- foam rolling on my calves (I finally opened the foam roller I bought months ago!)
- rolling my foot on a tennis ball
- lots of stretching throughout the day
So how did I get this? I recently got new shoes, but they’re the same kind I’ve worn for the past few years that have worked for me and that Elite Runners chose for me. I’ve increased mileage, but very gradually and only one week out of the past five was at slightly more than a 10% increase. I think the cause is likely an increase in speedwork. I went from doing none to doing speedwork twice a week. And maybe it’s not a coincidence that the pain came back after a hilly long run on Saturday.
I’m ignoring the warnings that PF takes a long time to heal and am hoping it resolves quickly…or, at least, the inflammation goes down enough that I can still run while continuing the foam rolling and stretching to get rid of it entirely. I’ve read that it’s best to do easy, short-distance runs and eliminate speedwork until it goes away. Good thing I’m running a 5K this Saturday!
On the positive side, I was happy to start the day by doing the sun salutations and standing sequence of Ashtanga yoga. Ashtanga is a very athletic, vigorous yoga, and it’s what got me first interested in yoga. I have a DVD that I do at home, but to get through the entire series takes about two hours. The sun salutations and standing sequences–the first two sequences in the series–takes about 40 minutes, so it’s doable before work. It felt great.
I also started a new strength training routine. A personal trainer I worked with a few years ago advised switching up strength training every four to six weeks so that your body doesn’t become complacent and not continue to progress. I started a routine I’ve done before I really like–the Jeans Body Workout from Women’s Health Magazine, which includes exercises for legs, core, and butt.