I am currently listening to Born to Run on audio and I am really enjoying the stories of these ultra runners. Like others, it has reminded me how much I love to run. I think now more than ever, after a forced hiatus from running, I realize how much I enjoy running.
Like the author of Born to Run, I am frustrated by an injury and even more frustrated by the conflicting advice that is currently saturating the running community. Newtons and the Barefoot phenomenon vs more supportive shoes is just one example.
I have not finished the book but my husband and others have, so I know generally how the author feels about stretching, cushioned running shoes, podiatrist, orthotics, etc -- and spoiler alert -- he thinks they are crap.
I am currently running in a light weight fairly neutral shoe. I have been wearing this exact shoe and style for over a year, but in that time, I have gone through 3 pairs and until mid-November I was totally injury free. In fact, I have run for exercise for as long as I can remember and have never had a running injury.
I know a lot of people who swear by stretching and orthotics and others who think they cause more harm than good.
So what gives? Is there a right answer? My guess is that it depends on the person, so I need to figure out what I need. Has something changed in how I run and what is the best way to be entirely injury free again? I am working on getting these questions answered.
After 3 weeks of rest from running and 6 weeks of PT, I have had three runs back. My first run, a 4 miler, went off without a hitch and I had no pain during or after. My PT encouraged me to increase my distance to see how I felt, so on Tuesday I ran 7 miles with no pain during the run, but I felt the Piriformis Syndrome for the rest of the day. It is not extremely painful, but, it is literally, a pain in the butt! It also makes my leg tingle. I had no pain on Wednesday though, so I tried again this morning and I will see how I feel the rest of the day. I had no acute pain during today's run.
I have an appointment on Monday with a new podiatrist that treats a lot of local triathletes and runners. I will be interested in what he has to say. I still have some pain in my left foot in the anterior tibial tendon, so I will ask him about that too.
So, the bottom line for me is that neither of my injuries bothered me while I was not running, but came back, at least to some degree, when I started running again. I know there is a formula to get back to the point where I could run forever without any pain, during or after, and I just need to figure out what it is.
The good news is that the fire pain I felt in my calves on my two runs immediately before I took my 3 week break has not returned. That was the main driver on taking the time off. At the time the PT thought I may have been overcompensating from the Piriformis Syndrome, but I think it likely had more to do with the hills and speed work I did the weekend prior. The PS in my right hip and the tendonitis in my left foot don't hurt (much) while I am running, so I am confident that I can simultaneously work on correcting these issues while keeping my April races on track. A bike focused program is usually beneficial to triathletes, right?
So, for now, I am gathering opinions on the best course forward. My last PT appointment is tomorrow so I will see what they have to say. Then there is the podiatrist appointment, and I am also looking for someone to look at my running form. I would love to hear what you all think.
Do I hang up my running shoes for a while longer? Note: I don't think this is the answer :)
Do I try custom orthotics?
Do I work on my running form?
Do I do nothing and see if I leave it alone - no PT to aggravate it, whether it gets better on its own?
Recommendations on who to visit for a second / third / fourth opinion?
I do agree with the author on one thing for certain -- we are born to run and running should be generally pain free. I WILL find a way to get there again!