Despite my three day running hiatus after the Trail Mix Race, diligent icing, lots o' stretching and even wearing something that resembles this gem at night, I still find myself battling not only the dreaded pf but also a little piriformis pain. All of this pretty much sucks because I have semi-committed to running Grandma's Marathon mid-June (meaning I've mentally committed but haven't actually signed up) and am running the New Prague Half Marathon a week from Saturday.
And did I mention that I want PRs in both? (more on that later)
With that said, I've developed a little "Get Well Soon" routine for my ailing ass-cheek and hurting heel.
Step 1: Warm up properly. I'm not a huge fan of static stretching - nor walking/jogging for ten minutes - prior to running. Instead, I usually do a series of butt kicks, high knees, and this fancy move to loosen my hips where I swing one leg back and forth as high as I can go.
Step 2: Cross-train like it's nobody's business. I am a huge fan of the recumbent bike. Put the same effort into cross-training as you do when you're running. It's my biggest pet peeve when I see people reading magazines when they're "working out." In my opinion, if you can still read small print, you're probably not working hard enough.
Step 3: Static stretch. After you workout. Like really stretch. Runner's World has a bunch of great targeted stretching routines so you can hit specific muscles. If you're short on time, cut 10 minutes out of your workout and use it to stretch. I promise you'll benefit more from that than an extra mile of running.
Step 4: Alright, stop, collaborate and listen.... (do you know where this is going?). That's right. Ice ice baby! I proactively ice, so even if I'm not necessarily feeling any pain, I'll throw some ice on my shins or other known problem area just to keep it quiet.
Step 5: I'm a recreational drug user, as in anti-inflammatories. Vitamin I is typically my drug of choice but I also use arnica and to be honest, I think it works better than Ibuprofen. After the Twin Cities Marathon last year, I took arnica in the hours after the marathon and wasn't nearly as sore as I was the year prior and it was the only thing I did differently. However, please keep in mind that pain is your body's way of telling you that something is wrong so if you have a chronic, nagging pain, you might want to get that checked out instead of self-medicating.
And that's it. This is what I've found works the best for me to keep me up and running. There is a lot of advice out there on injury prevention but I find that these are the tried and true standards that almost every article mentions. Nothing too weird or extreme.