I've been saying for years that I need a running coach, that I don't know what I'm doing, I don't know how to improve. I kept finishing though, then I switched to the Hansons program and my times starting falling across all my distances, and a coach became one more thing pushed back to my wish list for when I have a million dollars.
Then my foot ruined 2016. Coincidentally Bill is friends with Rob and Marie, owners of PR Fitness so I asked him to introduce me to them. I didn't need coaching per se because I'm not running. The best description I could come up with was a new client orientation. I wanted to meet with either of them, and look at my shoes, my feet, my legs, my run, then tell me what to do. I figure a running coach has seen or had every ailment, especially one as common as PF.
I met with Marie after work on Tuesday. She looked at all my shoes and confirmed they're the right shoes for my feet. She watched me run and offered a few suggestions:
- Wear the Mizunos with orthotics around the clock. The insert fits in a pair of slippers I have - wear them to bed.
- Add in leg strengthening exercises. On alternate days, work the calves and the hip flexors.
- Add in balancing exercises ie stand on one leg while I do dumbbell exercises for my arms.
- To get more downward force when rolling my calves, cross the other leg on top of the one being worked.
The big recommendation was to change my gait. She said I heel strike way too much and a more fore-foot strike would help immensely. Why didn't she just tell me to become left handed...? A friend agreed that it sounds mentally exhausting. Physically it's not a huge change, but I'll have to be cognizant of every step. I tried it on a Saturday walk, jogging about 20 paces. It didn't feel terrible, certainly better than anything I'd been doing.
Something else I tried is a more holistic approach. Maybe the problem isn't in my foot, maybe it's inflammation in my hip or just general inflammation? I have a half bottle of Salflex in the medicine cabinet from a few years ago. It said "take as needed." I didn't need it then, I do now. Previously it took 12 days to kick in. I've been using it a week now and my foot feels better. Not healed, but improved. Is it the drugs? Is it almost complete rest from being sick? Is it following Marie's advice? Has enough time elapsed since the PF flared? I can't answer why I've been enjoying a brief respite, but I can take drugs until May 1 if that's what it takes. I've been drinking tart cherry juice as well and trying to avoid dairy and sugar (daily attempt, daily struggle).
She asked an important question after asking about my race plans and determining I'm obsessed with keeping my Piggie streak alive. They make a huge deal about "streakers" and I've done every 4-way challenge they've had. She asked When is it going to end? Perfectly reasonable question. If I'm this obsessed after 3 years, what am I going to be like after 9 years? After 24 years??? I said It'll stop when I get pregnant. Unless I can time it to get pregnant immediately after the race, or perhaps right before and be in the first month or two at race day. Hah stupid Piggie streakers! I'm putting way too much pressure on myself to keep it going.