Tag Archives: running injuries

Long Warm Ups + PT Discharge

I’ve officially been discharged from physical therapy but that doesn’t mean I’m all better.  My right hip and glute are definitely feeling fatigued from all of the concentrated work they’ve been doing.  This has lead to some longer than desired warm ups on more intense efforts and it’s a little bit concerning.  The last thing I want to do before a race is have to run four miles.

Yes, four miles.  It takes me almost four miles (thirty+ minutes) to really feel like I can run hard for more than a mile.  Not only does that mean extra miles, it’s a little bit upsetting.  I usually run a 2-2.5 mile warm up for everything except a long run (shorter) or track work (longer).  It all started last Monday with an ugly run.  I went out for an easy hour and spent the first 30 minutes fighting ankle and shin pain.  I stretched, I squatted, I activated my glute the best way I could.  Then, boom!  The second half was great. 

A similar situation occurred this past weekend when I went out to tackle my first mile repeats since One City.  The first two repeats my right leg felt heavy and I carried a decent amount of tension in that ankle.  The second two?  Great.  I’m hopeful this means my glute and hip are very beat up right now and a little rest will set them straight.warm ups

I really need them to get straightened out, too.  The Elizabeth River Run 10k is coming up next weekend and I want to race.  Am I in PR shape?  No.  I want to get out there, push myself and get a solid idea of where my fitness is heading into summer.  So here’s to a little rest, longer warm ups and a solid race day.

Meredith

How long are your warm ups?  How did you feel after finishing physical therapy?

Fit Friday: Strong Feet are Fast Feet

It’s Fit Friday!  I’ve spent lots of time this year working for strong feet and stable ankles.  Making both more capable has definitely helped my running, jumping and mobility.  Because each foot does so much work every time we take a step, having strong ones gives you a solid base for any task you wish to perform.  Here’s how and why I’ve worked hard to develop stronger, faster feet and ankles that help me run faster and more efficiently.

Strong feet and ankles mean better balance, improved posture and stronger core alignment and engagement.  These are the ways I’ve worked on making mine the best they can be.

Practice standing on one foot without shoes.  Wobble and fight to stay standing on that one foot until you can hold it for at least a minute.  To make it even tougher, and continue making progress, try it with your eyes closed.  Practice keeping your big toe flat and foot long to help develop balance and know that each wobble helps strengthen the tendons and ligaments in your ankle.  You might be surprised how hard this is on your first try, especially with eyes closed, but it can quickly improve with a little work.

Spend as much time as possible barefoot and in flat shoes.  I love my stilettos just as much as the next girl but if it’s bad for my running, I’ll take a step back.  I’m switched from cushy slippers to fuzzy socks around the house and save the heels for special occasions this year.  Wearing a thick sole between the foot and the strong feetground prevents you from feeling what’s going on beneath you.  This ends up making us all very visually dominant for feedback on what’s happening on the ground and that is a very slow process.  By not wearing shoes to earn strong feet you can increase your foot’s ability to respond to the ground it touches, even with a shoe on, making balance better and helping protect you from potential injuries.

Take care of your feet.  Rolling the muscles of your feet on a golf ball, lacrosse ball, Trigger Point set or softball can keep them soft, flexible and relaxed.  After a hard foot workout of barefoot jump roping, sand running or balance work, massage allows blood and oxygen to start helping muscles get stronger by healing.  Remember that each step you take starts at your foot and rolls up through the rest of your body.  Taking good care of your feet can help keep all of your other muscles happy, too.

Start trying to stand on one foot while you brush your teeth and the other while you brush your hair, work on not wearing shoes at home and give them a little extra care each night to have strong feet and ankles that can carry you anywhere.

Meredith

Do you have strong feet?  How do you work on them?

Fit Friday: Let’s Talk Toenails

I was upset this week to see this article claiming running ruins your feet and all runners because of it have horrible feet.  Start running and kiss your flip flops goodbye.  This piece makes a similar claim.  But, wait!  Not so fast.  I’m a runner.  I run anywhere between 100 and 180 miles a month.  I rotate through three, four or five pairs of shoes each week.  Sometimes I even wear cotton socks (!).  Sometimes it’s raining.  My toenails are just fine and I am keeping my flip flops, thank you.toenails

No fungus.  No ingrowing.  They might be tiny and un-pedicured but they’re perfectly healthy.  As a coach, it’s easy to see how toenails get damaged from being crammed into too small shoes or stuck in damp, sweaty socks.  If you take care of your feet, your toenails will be just as gorgeous as the day you were born.  Here are the ways I keep my toenails, and feet, happy.

Massage them.   I dig into the arch and heel with my finger and thumbs for at least five minutes on each foot a day.  If my hands are tired, I pull out my lacrosse ball and stand on it.  This keeps the circulation in my feet flowing, which is good for my toenails, and helps the muscles in my foot stay loose.  As a bonus, and since the foot connects to all of my other muscles, rubbing them down helps my hamstrings and calves stay loose, too.

Bare them.  I love shoes.  My Asics make me feel fast, my Jimmy Choos make me feel pretty and I leave them all behind as much as I can.  Being barefoot means my toenails aren’t rubbing on the inside of a shoe or trapped in sweaty, fungus friendly socks.  I do most of my gym workouts, the ones without box jumps, rowing or running, sans shoes.  Running barefoot on the beach?  A free spa treatment.  Hello, exfoliation and adios, dead skin.  Spending time apart from my favorite shoes keeps my feet strong and toenails happy.

Dry them.  Feet are home to 125,000 sweat glands a piece and I’m pretty sure mine are overactive.  My feet sweat like crazy, especially when I’m working out.  I admit to running occasionally in cotton socks, mostly for short, easy runs or on laundry day.  I also take them off immediately after I finish, dry my feet with a towel and put on a clean pair if I need to.  Moisture-wicking socks are a staple of my running attire, keeping fungus and blisters at bay.  I make sure to tote a pair of clean socks around with me, which might seem silly but it’s a great way to keep my toenails fungi free.

Running does not have to ruin your feet.  Blisters, fungus and ingrown toenails are all avoidable if you keep your feet in the right socks and give them a little post-run love.  I’m proud to wear my flip flops, work out barefoot and stick my toes in the sand all without thinking twice.  If I never hear sometime say that “running ruins your feet” again, it will be too soon.

Meredith

How do you protect your toenails and take care of your feet?  Ever dealt with blisters and fungus?

Can You Run Too Much? My Thoughts

Can you run too much?  If you have a serious health issue, are in brutal weather conditions you aren’t prepared for, doing a workout way above your ability level, are over training or any other myriad of things, you sure can.  If you’re an average person, running an average pace for an average distance, just trying to stay active, odds are you’re not going to run too much.

So what’s with all the rejoicing over this study that claims jogging too much is dangerous?  The media jumped right on it and has been all abuzz the last few days.  Here’s what WebMD run too muchreported.  And the BBC.  How about New York Magazine?  I could keep linking to articles, but you get the idea.

Why is this study, which is full of holes, going viral?  There’s little acknowledgement of the ‘don’t run too much’ study’s numerous shortcomings.  Why are these outlets so excited to tell everyone they don’t have to run?  They already knew 30 minutes of any physical activity five days a week will have benefits.  Riding a bike, going for a walk, yoga, swimming, all not running.  All great.

What is going on with the running haters?  Why is NYMag calling this ‘cool news’?  There is an epidemic of obesity in America.  It is costing taxpayers and insurance premium payers millions of dollars each year.  But the running industry has grown massively over the last ten years and made an effort to help fix that problem.  Running has been a phenomenal way for people to build relationships, get healthy while earning same fancy bling and do things they never believed they could much more than it’s caused harm.  Why so much enthusiasm for not doing it?

Yes, I am a fitness professional.  I help people reach their goals and I love it.  I’m also a passionate runner who spends every single day interacting with people who exceed the ‘thirty minute’ recommendation, whether it’s jogging or another modality.  Of course I’m going to stick up for my profession and my sport.  I know running isn’t for everyone, and that’s just fine.  In fact, there is research into the effects of extreme endurance sports on cardiovascular remodeling.  This study explains some of the real reasons you might want to slow down a bit but asking if you can run too much and supporting your answer with a different study that says it’s a simple ‘yes’ unfairly turns people away from an activity that could potentially be a huge benefit to them is sad.

The answer isn’t simple.  There are too many people with too many body types and too many health histories to make any kind of judgement about what whether the collective ‘you’ can run too much.  So…can you run too much?  Yes.  But you can also run too little.  The media should be pushing education about making competent choices with your body and listening to how it responds instead of jumping on, and pushing, an unreliable study.

Meredith

What’s your opinion?  What do you think the research shows?

New Year, New Ankle Injury

It’s a brand new year and with it comes a brand new ankle injury.  Two of them, technically.  They also are technically not new because there isn’t an old ankle injury.  I’ve never had ankle problems other than a lack of dorsiflexion.  Not a sprained one, not a broken one, nada.  Yes, I’ve had the step in a hole, trip over something tugs and pulls but nothing has lasted more than a few hours or stopped me from doing anything.

Unfortunately, I’m currently stopped from doing something.  My goal to get better at pistols has meant working on calf and Achilles tendon flexibility by doing this stretch.  It’s been effective at stretching the posterior side (back) of my leg and, apparently, equally as effective at crunching the everything between both my right and new ankle injuryleft side talus and tibia.  Put that daily dose of squishing together with eight hard miles of speed work on pavement in light shoes Friday and I’m not surprised to be dealing with a bit of anterior ankle impingement on both sides.  Oh, hey, new ankle injury!  I am, however, hoping it will heal quickly.  As in ‘before Wednesday’.

I have strength training scheduled today and tomorrow with rest on Tuesday.  Wednesday is my next scheduled run and I’d like to be able to actually run it.  I stretched after that tough session Friday but had a little pain and stiffness in both ankles at the start of my scheduled 13 miler yesterday.  I thought I’d be able to get my blood moving, stretch the legs and run out of it.  I was wrong.  My legs were doing fine but my ankles wanted no part of it, even in more supportive shoes.  Because I don’t actually want to be injured, I quit the run after 2.5 miles and called it a day.

With a semi-serious goal to break 1:40.00 at Rock n Roll Arizona, last week’s 15 miler under my belt, two weeks and one ten miler to go, I’m OK with skipping this long run.  Hopefully a light Saturday run, three days of massaging, anterior ankle stretching and sticking to straight leg posterior leg stretches will help me quickly shake this new ankle injury and get back on track.

Meredith

What do you do when you get a new ankle injury?  How did you recover?