It’s the sort of thing other people talk about that you think you’ll never get, yes, I’m talking about Plantar Fasciitis. Considering I am on T-minus four months away from an ultra marathon, I am NOT best pleased about the situation.
What even is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar Fasciitis basically feels like you have trodden heel-first onto the pointiest bit of lego. Except when you do step on a bit of lego, normally the pain goes away pretty quick. Plantar Fasciitis likes to stick around, like the unwanted party guest that never goes home. It is an inflammation in the tendon that runs from the heel all the way under the foot. Typically the pain is worst first thing as you get out of bed. I won’t bore you with any more details, google it. All I know is that is blows.
So, Chrissy, how did it happen?
Well, the condition is common for those on their feet a lot, however injury causes it too. Like spending all day digging in your allotment plot with shoes that are falling apart. Then ignoring the pain and running a 10k race the next day. Then carrying on training through the pain. You get my point.
What’s the prognosis?
It’s bleak guys. Just kidding, well, slightly. It’s been months since the pain started and my intense commitment to fixing it includes a lot of stretching and icing. That and the most awesomely sexy foot brace that I wear to bed each night, much to my partners horror! I’ve done a lot of trial and error to get to this point and even though my pain hasn’t gone yet, if you’re suffering the same issue I’ve got a few pointers:
The Plantar Fasciitis to-do list
1) Buy yourself some insoles
I swear by them, they really help to reduce the impact walking has on your already damaged heel. The good news is they’re pretty cheap, Amazon has a huge range for under a tenner.
2) Don’t train on it if you can help it
I know, this brought a tear to my eye too. I LOVE my running and I was absolutely gutted to have to give it a break. Take it from me, I trained through the pain for months and it just got progressively worse. It’s much better to deal with a small hiatus in your training to allow this condition to solve itself, rather than further irritate it.
3) Ice and stretching are your best bet
Daily icing and stretching. Get into a habit of it. Invest in a spiky ball to roll your foot over. There’s lots of conflicting ideas about stretching online so if you’re able to, book in with a good sports physiotherapist who will show you what to do and send you on your way.
4) Invest in a foot brace
Plantar fasciitis is typically worse first thing in the morning, as your little feeties have had some time off overnight and that inflammed tendon has shortened as a result. When your first few steps happen, they stretch it again, queue pain. The amazingly attractive looking foot brace keeps your foot stretched all night long. It’s hideous but worth it.
I hope my advice comes to some good use to you internet peeps looking for help. I’ll be honest, I’m absolutey gutted about this issue but am just doing everything I can to try and resolve it. I keep the word “chronic” at the back of my mind and keep positive instead. This WILL go away..eventually!
Once in a while I get a bit..well, lazy, to be quite honest! So in order to kick start myself back into healthy mode I set myself a challenge. My 30 day running challenge began on the 1st of July.
I’ve always loved going for a run. After work being my chosen time to go, as it really helps clear the ole’ noggin’ from a busy day and helps me relax for the evening ahead. I know that it’s not just me, for many people running is a theraputic hobby. It’s just an added bonus that it’s a great thing to do for your fitness levels too.
If you’re getting stuck into the same old boring fitness schedule, or falling of the wagon with one too many summer BBQ’s, I’d definitely recommend setting yourself a 30 day challenge. It’s a long enough time to allow you to see results, but short enough so that you can keep committed. For me, doing a 30 day running challenge made loads of sense, as I already enjoy it!
The 30 Day Running Challenge
It’s a pretty simple concept. Run every day, for 30 days.
When we’re talking 30 days, it is good to remember that each day doesn’t have to be a Mo-Farah style dash. Tune into your body so you know when you can push it and when to take it easy. If you’re weight training in between runs (like me) then some days you might be too achey to go far, so just take it easy with a light jog.
3 Things I Learnt From Running Every Day
1) Footwear is super important. When I first started doing races I suffered a lot with blisters. However, making a small investment in some oxide tape and second skin socks did the trick. As long as I remember to tape up and keep my feet well moisturized they are just fine! You wouldn’t want something as trivial as a blister hampering your efforts.
2) Routes can get boring. Make sure you keep things interesting, don’t do the same run day in and day out. I combined running on treadmills with running out in the open, going to Park run each weekend with friends, or simply just trying a new route. If you keep things fresh it’s much easier to motivate yourself.
3) You will surprise yourself. At the end of my challenge I thought I would be so pleased to hang up the trainers and take a day off, but that wasn’t the case. I embraced running every day and when I did finally have that rest day at the end I missed my daily run! Don’t get me wrong, it was nice to hit the gym and not feel obliged to spend half an hour on a treadmill, but running is definitely in my blood now. I am mega proud to have covered 100 miles in a month too.
All in all, it was a great positive experience to set myself up with this 30 day challenge and I would recommend it to anybody. Whatever your fitness level is, you can tailor a challenge to suit. I wasn’t 100% perfect and life did get in the way sometimes, but I just let it be and carried on as best as possible. It’s really improved my running and just proved to me that I can stick to a plan if I put my mind to it! Over the next few months I’ll be setting myself some more challenges like this one in an aim to improve my fitness levels and lifestyle. It’s worked well so far, so why not!
..Did I mention I ran over 100 miles in a month? (J.k, I know I did I just wanted to show off! That’s like..four marathons, almost!).
Running is a lonely sport, or so I always though…
When I started off running outdoors I wasn’t that confident, so going it alone was fine for me. Yet now I have been doing it for years I craved something slightly different.
I recently decided to venture out on some new routes and realized they are a hell of a lot longer than I thought I was capable of. Result! So with this new found confidence I thought it’s about time I try to get out there and join some of my fellow running enthusiasts. I’ve been so surprised and excited by what is on offer locally for runners. So here’s a round-up of my first three ventures:
3 Local Running Events in Watford
Cassiobury Park, Watford
My first ever group run. On a cold, dreary Saturday morning I headed to Watford with a friend and was introduced to this great little community. Despite the fact is was seriously chilly and raining there was around 200 people there and ready to kick start their day with a jog. These events are weekly, free, and run completely by volunteers (who were all really friendly and encouraging).The course is 5k and had a range of abilities. Oh and at the end they record your time with a barcode, you get an email through telling you all your stats. Throughly impressed. In case you’re wondering, the picture below is from my second, sunnier, park run!
(photo credit Glyn Jagger)
Beer and running? You bet. Over the weekend I happened to be enjoying a beer at the Watling Street Brewery (a great bar in Watford with the brewery attached). It was there that I was made aware of a weekly run that starts and ends at the bar, with a free pint for all runners. What a great concept. Held every Wednesday, there are three routes so great for all abilities, set on a pretty trail through parks and woods.
I turned up that very Wednesday on my own. As I walked through the door I was greeted by owner, Rudi, who remembered my name and introduced me to the group, so no ice to break either. After the run everyone sets themselves along a big table to enjoy the runners high and a refreshing beer. Plates of freshly cooked steak slices are put out to nibble on, and to my relief the staff remembered I’m veggie, offering up a hearty, home made, veggie burger as an alternative. Can’t ask for much more than that!
Cassiobury Park, Watford
My first race. This 10k race is hosted annually by storage company Kelly’s at Cassiobury Park, Watford. Kelly’s put on the whole event so 100% of all donations go to charity. You can enter the race for free, although most make a donation to worthy cause Watford Mencap. It’s strange how the minute you turn up to a race rather than a social event it changes your outlook. On the day, I collected my number and was pysching myself up to keep a good pace. The course was very pretty and takes you through woodlands as well as the park. A great atmosphere with everyone cheering each other on, plus a medal at the end. I’ll be along next year for sure.
What Are You Waiting For?
I can’t quite believe it’s taken me so long to get out there and do some events. If you, like me, have been going it alone, I would definitely recommend joining a local club or park run. It is surprising just how many are out there. It’s sociable, motivation for when you can’t be bothered and other runners let you in on new events too. There’s also the fact that there is always someone faster to keep up with. It’s bound to do wonders for your PB times. Have I reeled off enough yet?
Bring on the Regents Park 10k next!Yum