I hope you all are doing well. I wound up taking a total recovery week, since I got the double whammy of allergies flaring up and the tendon in my right foot knocking me out of service for five days.
As you can probably guess, the January run streak is kaput.
I ran consecutively from January 1st to January 10th, and discovered that running every day wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I felt some fatigue, but it wasn’t enough to throw off my pace or desire to keep going. There’s something about waking up and running every day that elevated my mood and mind to another level, and I was having fun.
Then came January 11th. I ran that day and was having some issues in my feet, where an ache would start out pretty dull and gradually get worse by the end of the run. I took more walk breaks than I liked, and was cranky instead of joyful once I was done. As much as it bummed me out, I knew I was going to have to take the 12th as a day of rest.
So I did that, and as much as it was necessary, I still couldn’t shake feeling disappointed in myself. I made a promise to myself I was going to step up to the challenge of a run streak and not let myself make any excuses. Granted, pain is definitely not an excuse – and I don’t recommend anyone run through pain – but I was still disappointed.
I ran again on the 13th. Emotionally and mentally I was glad to be out there and running again; physically I still had the aching and didn’t run well. My pace was 12:08, which is turtle pace for me. That’s the pace I fight off at the end of a marathon, not during a three-mile run around my apartment complex. I took the 14th off for some foot pain that had developed, but then felt better enough to crank out four miles on the 15th.
This was the moment the Titanic hit the iceberg. The next two nights had me jolting awake at 2 a.m. with a throbbing, miserable pain in my right foot. Laying down was more painful than sitting with my feet flat on the ground, and I was unable to fall asleep. A Google search told me I had peroneal tendonitis, and some of the ways to get over the pain included medicine, rest and massage.
Even with all three of those, it still took a week for the pain to travel from the side of my foot down to my heel and then disappear for good. In the meantime I went to the Columbus Running Company and bought some insoles for the two pairs of shoes I rotate between. I’m now running again, slowly making my way through January with my modified running goals.
This wasn’t the triumphant post I was hoping for, so I want to make sure I leave you all with some advice about running and foot care. Losing sleep and having a time walking for a few days was one of the crummiest experiences and I don’t wish it on anyone. So here’s some tips for you:
- Consider changing your running shoes between 450 and 550 miles. If and when to change out running shoes will depend a lot on how frequently you run and how much mileage you’re getting. Obviously someone whose running involved shorter miles and regular 5ks with their family isn’t going to be going through shoes the same way a long-distance runner would, but 450 to 550 miles is a general rule of thumb.
2. Rotate between pairs of running shoes. Currently I have two pairs of Brooks I switch between, one of which is about five or six months older than the other. Sometimes if I run in my older pair I might have some straining afterwards, so for the following run, I’ll wear the newer pair. This gives me a chance to determine if it’s the shoes needing new insoles, or if there’s something off with me. Rotating between running shoes also reduces injury risk by eliminating potential muscle imbalances, which can create problems with stride and eventually pain.
3. If you have high arches or run on rough terrain, buy insoles. I have high arches, and swear by Brooks running shoes – specifically Brooks’s Ghost – for offering heavy-duty support without feeling like I’m being weighed down when I’m running. The insoles that come with the shoes are fine, but because of my high arches, I use insoles that are designed to offer additional support and cushioning. The differences between insole versus no insole can’t be overstated. If you have high arches, run long miles or on rough terrain – or simply like having extra cushioning – you need insoles and you need to be changing them regularly. I’m a fan of CURREX insoles, which you can find here.
4. Post-run, make sure to massage your feet. I’m pretty good about Epsom salts and rolling my calves out, but for a long time I was bad about remembering to massage my feet. My boyfriend bought me a Shiatsu foot massager for Christmas 2019, which we both use regularly. Not only does regular massaging help my feet feel better and reduce pain after a long run, but they also help improve circulation and stimulate the muscles. I’ll always recommend saving up and buying a massager (this is mine), but if that’s not possible, you can also use tennis balls or frozen water bottles. Simply roll those under your feet back and forth for a similar effect.
5. When pain flares up, listen to your body. Sometimes you need to scale back or take a day of rest from running or life in general. So those are the days you curl up on your couch, watch a show, read a book and otherwise breathe easily.
I hope you all have a great Saturday. Show today who’s boss.
Yours in writing and running,