Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Mileage AND Maintenance


Did you know I'm training for a marathon?


Actually, my training is almost done and my taper is fast approaching. YIKES! That went fast!

I should be feeling all kinds of apprehension. After all, I'm about to finish my second consecutive 100+ mileage month (currently "sitting" at 87 as I type this). The past two years, it's been in the month of May that I've had high mileage...and it's been in the month of June when I have paid dearly for it.

Coincidence?

Both times, I was rewarded with Plantar's Fasciitis, first in the left foot (2015) and then in the right (2016). I had never before experienced PF, and (in retrospect) I was fortunate to have had very mild cases compared to what others have described. Both times, I felt it mainly in the heel area (called a heel spur...it felt like there was a jagged pencil eraser poking my heel with each and every step of the affected foot). **Side note - the heel spur didn't hurt much when running, due to my mid-foot strike. Walking, though, was another (painful) story.

But, so far, nothing's happening with my feet. And I'm not complaining (and keeping my fingers crossed, just for good measure).

So, what am I doing differently this year? The short answer : Maintenance. With the demands of 26.2 training, I have had to be very careful to keep the daily maintenance going...not just with the increased mileage, but throughout this entire training cycle.

Here are the key maintenance crutches that have kept me (mostly) injury-free as I've trained for Grandma's Marathon:

Maintenance crutch #1- Foam rolling. I have foam rolled in the past, but I have never been as consistent with the roller as I have been in recent months. In April, I made it a goal to foam roll daily for 4 minutes. Often times, I rolled for much longer...not because I "needed" to, but because it felt good. For me, foam rolling is a lot like house cleaning...the more often you do it, the less frequent you seem to need it.

I foam roll before every run. Not for a long time, but for at least 5-10 minutes. It warms up my muscles and helps get a few kinks out before lacing up the shoes. I'll be honest, I do not foam roll after every run, but I'm diligent about rolling before I hit the street.

Maintenance crutch #2- Foot/Ankle TLC. Before I climb out of bed in the morning, I take a couple minutes and massage my feet, especially my arches. I also do some ankle rotations, because after several hours of inactivity, they need to wake up as well. Since I do a lot of early morning miles, the "wake 'em up foot massage" is crucial.


Also, as a means of prevention, I tape my arches before all of my long runs, and sometimes before shorter runs if my feet have been feeling strained. I first learned this trick in 2015, at Grandma's Marathon (which was, coincidentally, just a few weeks after that first PF episode). While at the expo, one of the vendor booths had physical therapists taping runners for the race, so I got in line. Taping my arches adds a bonus layer of support, which lessons the strain from over-pronating. Even with good, supportive shoes, if I'm fatigued and my form starts to go south, the first place I'll feel it is in my hips as they absorb the brunt of the effects of my arches giving out...therefore, keeping everything taped and supported keeps everything else in its best working condition.


Maintenance crutch #3- more water. I have never been a water drinker, but if I add a squirt of flavor enhancer, I can guzzle with the best of them. I keep a 20-oz. bottle at my desk, and  I usually can drink two or three full bottles of that while at work (I'm at work anywhere between 4-7 hours each day).

Maintenance crutch #4- Less sitting. I work for a great company where they are very pro-active and treat their employees well. Several of us have been given convertible stand-up desks, and that has made a world of difference for me! My piriformis issues have been dramatically minimized in recent months, and I have to believe not sitting on my bum has been a major factor in that.

How does May 2017 compare to the past two years?

In 2015, my May mileage came in at 98, with 320 cumulative miles for the year (at that point). In 2016, my May miles just reached the century mark, bringing my cumulative count to 337. Not a big difference between the two...and, actually, my 2016 PF epidemic was much shorter and easier to deal with (because I actually knew what it was) so  I was able to "treat it" right away when I felt the early symptoms coming on.

Currently, my cumulative 2017 mileage is at 381 (87 of which are from the month of May, so far). I still have another 10-mile long run on my agenda, and a few more #5at5's (5-milers), so I will easily surpass the 400 mile mark by months end. (gulp) And I'm feeling pretty good.

So, that's my story (and I'm sticking with it).

Have you ever surpassed the century mark in a month, and resulted in injury? Ever experienced Plantar Fasciitis? Any secret "crutches" that have helped you through a training cycle?

I'm linking with Suzie and Rachel and Debbie and Lora for the Running Coaches' Corner

And with Nicole and Annmarie and Jen for the Wild Wednesday Workout



38 comments:

  1. Ohhh I have on and off pf issues and it's such a pain. I"m going to try your massage thing. Curious about your foot taping too!

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    1. When I had PF for the first time (2015), I heard about a PF compression "foot" sleeve. Can I just say, "ugly!" I also heard (and read it numerous places) that it was best to keep the arch fully supported for comfort and for healing. The tape acts like a compression sleeve of sorts...keeps the arch "tight." I tape my arches more as a preventative measure now because I have to believe once you have a running-related injury, there's an increased risk of it coming back until you quit running altogether.

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  2. I think it's awesome that being diligent about maintenance has really helped you this training cycle! I've never had PF (knock on wood) but I've had other injuries (IT band, etc).

    I try to be pretty good about doing my PT exercises at home to strengthen my hips and glutes, but I am making it my number one priority this marathon training cycle. I also use KT tape on my knees and IT band for a majority of my runs.

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    1. Fortunately, I've never had IT Band issues, but I have heard so many horror stories about them. UGH. But, yes, the PT and the "maintenance" stuff mentioned...I think prevention is far better (and manageable) than recovery.

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  3. I too have struggles with mild PF the last few years despite cutting my mileage significantly. I should foam roll before my runs as well as after good point

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    1. I foam roll after most of my runs, but should be doing that for every run as well. There are so many things we all know we "should" be doing, huh!

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  4. PF is my nemesis, but it's just one of those things I've kind of worked around. Those Spenco soft inserts are the best things I've found and every pair of running shoes is equipped with them now! I don't foam roll nearly as often as I should. Bad me.

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    1. Foam rolling is an easy thing to skip when you're in a hurry....seriously, most of us usually have other things to do than lounge around for 30 minutes post-run, right? I have seen first-hand what it can do for me, though, so I'm trying to be more disciplined about doing it.

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  5. Funny, I'm much more diligent about foam rolling after a run, then before. Although I often do both.

    Although so far I haven't had PF, knock on wood, my knees/hips/IT are my achilles heel, so to speak (although my feet are developing some aches & pains of their own, and I, too, tape prophylactically before long runs. Works for me.

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    1. The PF I had (though it was a nightmare for a short time) was not fun. That said, it was one of those injuries that was manageable after the first week or so. I'm lucky I only had it in one foot at a time, and it wasn't as bad as I've heard it could have been.

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  6. I've never foam rolled before a run...hmm...maybe I should try that out? I've definitely had to teach myself to roll after all my runs, not just the long ones! I've never done taping before but I keep hearing great things. I can't believe you're almost in taper mode, that went fast!

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    1. Taper will be here in about 10 days. EEK!!! Taping works for me, but I have "circus feet" with the over-pronating. UGH.

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  7. I haven't foam rolled since moving to Austin. YIKES!!

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    1. No foam rolling? Bad Nicole! Bad, bad Nicole LOL

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  8. You are definitely ready for this. I am sure that it will be a great race for you.

    I don't foam roll or do much before or after. I am lucky to only have bunion problems...hence blisters. I wrap the key areas in mole skin and it helps most of the time.

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    1. I don't have prominent bunions, but I frequently get a good blister on my right foot in the "bunion" region. What's ironic is that's my smaller foot (?)

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  9. Congrats on getting to taper (now to stay sane during it). I've never foam rolled before going out, but I rolled after a race last Sunday and I was fine the next day. Not even a twinge. That surprised me so much! #WildWorkoutWednesday

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    1. Well, my marathon isn't until June 17...so taper is about 10 days away ;-) I actually look forward to the taper, though, because by then I know I have done all I absolutely can to prepare...and extra mileage or workouts just increase my chance of injury...so I"m glad to relax and take things easy.

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  10. I feel like I am finally getting back to good running. Foam rolling daily has becoming something I need to do so everything doesn't hurt but also stretching properly.

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    1. Daily foam rolling can really be a pretty easy task....I do a lot of it while watching the news.

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  11. I am so bad at foam rolling. Even when I do it I do not feel a difference. Maybe because I do not do it long enough. But it just hurts too much!

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    1. A lot of times, I don't really feel the effects of it as I'm doing it, but I do notice a general overall "better" feeling regarding the aches and pains of running. I seriously think the pre-run rolling is what's made a substantial difference for me.

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  12. It's great to see the maintenance work you've done has paid off! Injuries are more common with runners that it's so important to pay attention to the little things we can do to help prevent one. I love my foam roller and therapy balls - it's part of my nightly routine. Too bad it didn't prevent my metatarsal pain but hoping it will be resolved soon.

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    1. I'm glad I've stuck with the "little" maintenance things...it is amazing what a few minutes of maintenance can do in preventing (or minimizing) injury. I hope you get some relief from your metatarsal pain ;-)

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  13. It's been years since I've dealt with PF, but I clearly remember all the taping required! Plus ice, stretching, exercises, cortisone, a boot, the Strasburg sock...etc. Thank goodness I seem to have it licked.

    This will also be my second month in a row with 100+ miles, but I seem to be doing fine. Back when my feet were flaring I was running much more, probably closer to 200 a month. I can't even imagine that now!

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    1. I can't even comprehend 200 miles a month. I had 169 miles back in October. which was right before my taper for the marathon (and, October had 5 weekends LOL...5 LONG runs!). That was crazy, especially for this "moderate" mileage gal ;-)

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  14. I'm dealing with some sort of weird ankle/arch pain. I don't think it's PF because I've had that before, but I'm definitely keeping my eye on it.

    Also, this is our last long run this weekend before taper. SAY WHA?!

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    1. I'm only doing 10 miles this weekend...after the past three weeks, I need a low mileage weekend LOL But I have a half marathon on June 3rd, and am planning on 5 bonus miles afterwards. So, 18 will be my last long run for Grandma's...and I'm alright with that.

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  15. It's been awhile since I've had anything close to high mileage, but I did usually end up with an injury. Kudos to you for keeping up with your maintenance plan. It's so hard to do!

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    1. The daily maintenance is tough...it's boring!

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  16. Maintenance really is key - I roll out and get adjusted (even my foot) on a regular basis!

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  17. I love how your company supports its employees by providing standing desks. I really wish that more companies would do that. I could build my own, but there is absolutely zero support from my school administration in terms of having school be able to help me with getting one.

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    1. Oh, that's a bummer! A few people got these stand-up desks late last summer....I think as a trial basis. I asked the office manager about it, and she said she'd put in my name and request one for me. Within a few weeks, I had my desk! I'm very thankful it was that easy....too bad that's not the "typical" routine everywhere ;-(

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  18. Sounds like the maintenance is working, I am going to follow your lead and try to incorporate some this into my training. Thanks!

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    1. The maintenance has been phenomenal. This is the most "maintenance" I've ever done during a training cycle, and it seems to have helped me keep things in balance.

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  19. Your posts are so informative! Keep up the great work, Kimberly!

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    1. Thanks! I've learned so much through trial and error, I hope by sharing my experience(s) with others, they may benefit and not make the same mistakes.

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