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April 29, 2010

A Pain in the Ass (and heel)

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.

Happy running!

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