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Recovering from a running injury

Avoiding injury is a huge priority for runners, but often easier said than done.  Since I started training for my first half marathon back in college, I have dealt with numerous injuries that have interrupted my training and definitely created some stress in trying to get back on track.  

This year, I decided to get a little more ambitious with my running goals and completed two full marathons.  Leading up to the New York City marathon in November, my training was really well structured and I felt strong going into that race.  I ended up running a 3:43:01 marathon, which was a 32 minute PR from my Chicago Marathon two years earlier.  This race also gave me the confidence to set my mind on trying to qualify for Boston at the Houston Marathon in January 2016.

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Unfortunately, my training for Houston involved a pretty rough foot injury.  I wasn’t able to hit my weekly mileage goals because I had to take a lot of rest time with my foot.  Training became really discouraging and I was pretty worried I would not be even able to finish the Houston Marathon.  I actually only completed one pretty terrible 19 miler before the race and just hoped that my training since New York would carry me through on race day.

Somehow the stars aligned on January 17th and I ran my BQ at Houston with a 3:29:02 time.  The entire race was painful, but I had my sister, aunts, and girl cousins there cheering me on through all 26.2 miles.  Crossing the finish line I broke into tears knowing that I had just accomplished one of the biggest challenges of my life.  It was definitely a day I will never forget.

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Following Houston I was in pretty rough shape and realized I needed to take recovery seriously if I wanted to keep setting new running goals.  I had previously seen a podiatrist and received over the counter insoles, but they were not making enough of a difference in my recovery.  I had the option to receive cortisol injections, but I knew that would just be a temporary solution.

So….I decided to seek out a Physical Therapist for the first time ever.  And it was the BEST decision I could have made.  My PT Adam is absolutely wonderful and has so much understanding of my running obsession.  Adam determined that I have pretty severe plantar fasciitis, a very common runner’s injury, as well as some muscle imbalances that definitely led to my pain.  We are currently working on foot stabilization and hip/glute strengthening exercises, which should help me become a stronger, more balanced runner down the road.

My biggest advice to others out there who struggle with injuries is to seek help early and look for long term solutions.  I definitely empathize with those of you out there who do not take the “just rest” advice well.  Running is as much a mental release for me as a physical workout, so I cannot imagine my life without it.  But I definitely have learned the value of taking recovery seriously 🙂

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One of the nice things about recovery though is more time for pug snuggles!  Lola is an awesome therapy pup and definitely supports some addition sleep-in mornings when I am not training.

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