For space reasons, we have to cut the list a little short there—but you can probably think of a wide range of other additions that you would choose to include.
And if you happen to be a part of our city’s vibrant running community, one of them might be “participating in the nation’s best half-marathon: the Indy Mini!”
That wouldn’t be terribly surprising:
We’re talking about one of the nation’s largest half-marathons—one that has earned the nickname “The Greatest Spectacle in Running.”
“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” – legendary basketball coach John Wooden
“50% of preparation is not perspiration but prevention” – less legendary (wait for it…) foot and ankle healer Dr. Leibovitz
No matter if you’re a rec, veteran runner or first-time newbie that has decided to try challenging yourself by running the Mini, here’s a basic fact:
You can’t just jump into it without training.
On the now-classic sitcom How I Met Your Mother, one of the main characters, Barney Stinson (played by Neil Patrick Harris) once proclaimed “Here’s how you run a marathon. Step 1: You start running. There is no Step 2.”
In that episode, the premise for a variety of jokes and gags is centered on the overconfident, boastful Barney taking his buddy Marshall’s place in the New York City Marathon—without training at all for it.
Now, since it was a fictious television series—and not real life—Barney is able to run all 26.2 miles.
Of course, he also pays for it by not being able to move his legs (even to get off the train he’s taking home!).
Here in the real world, the consequences would be a bit more drastic. Mind over matter may get you to the finish line but it will not matter for the next 3-5 days while the body repairs the damage.
Hopefully this is quite obvious, but you need an appropriate amount of training if you want to run a half-marathon. You also need to protect the muscle groups that will carry the distance.
What exactly constitutes “appropriate” vs “minimal” will depend on your specific circumstances. As a general rule, if you are an active person that only runs once per week and go for about 4-5 miles, you’re looking at around 12 weeks to build up at a minimum base (and giving your body the chance to adapt to new demands and physical stress).
What counts as “appropriate prevention”? This is the same from elite to rookie – A flexibility program will allow muscles to endure better, reduce injury, and improve recovery. This is a four letter word for most middle or lower tier athletes. It is a critical part of an elite athlete’s program (but may still be a four letter word). For every hour of primary training there should be a minimum of 20 minutes of muscle rehab (stretching, restorative yoga, Pilates).
For those who run more frequently and for greater distances, it’s really going to vary based on your existing training program.
Either way, the important thing here is that you have a plan and perform the training and stretching necessary to protect your body.
Of course, sometimes overuse injuries happen in spite of our best efforts.
At the risk of sounding like an infomercial—Don’t delay! Act today!!
If in your training efforts—perhaps you’ve been participating in the 500 Festival Miller Series or 3RUN7 Training out of Athletic Annex —you’ve started to experience heel pain, it can be a real bummer. After all, you might start questioning your ability to even participate in the Mini.
Well, we have some good news for you:
All hope is not lost!
Sure, if you ignore the problem and try to “push through it,” things are going to get worse. If this is the only Mini you will ever do- then you might be tuff enough to get through to the finish (like Barney). It will most likely be your last event because you will never want to do it again. This is my favorite Goodwill commercial about the treadmill. If you want to continue to be active post Mini, then something needs to change (we are talking about biomechanics and not using the treadmill as a clothing rack).
How soon would you react if your fire alarm went off in the middle of the night? Remember, pain is how your body draws attention to an existing problem so you can take the appropriate action. In this case, continuing a heavy running workload is decidedly not appropriate.
Option 1: Decreasing training would lessen the damage, but how would that effect the end result?
Option 2: Come in for an appointment. We’ll determine the cause of your condition or injury and then develop an effective treatment plan.
Do that soon enough, and we can probably get you back on track to take your place at the starting line on May 4.
(Keep in mind that “soon enough” is the key.)
Get by with a little help from your friends (or, better yet, your friendly, neighborhood go-to foot doc!)
Most people are surprised to learn this, but there are many heel pain issues that develop from the soft tissues connecting to the heel bone. Here’s the real kicker, though:
The soft tissue injuries can often be avoided from developing in the first place.
With a regular stretching routine that keeps the tissues limber and better equipped to handle the physical stress of moving your body forward.
Before you start to think “I don’t have time to train. How will I find to stretch,” you should probably know this:
It doesn’t take hours!
You can spend 5-10 minutes/2-3 x a day and receive a tremendous amount of benefit. Further, the appropriate stretches can be done while you’re just standing while doing things you would normally do—like watching TV, brushing your teeth, reading my blog, etc.
Okay, so why bring this up in a section on “treatment”?
Because a proper stretching program can also be a part of your treatment plan to overcome an existing condition or injury.
While stretching may be the most boring activity on earth they aren’t the only tool in our metaphorical toolbox filled—we also have orthotics!
Custom orthotics prescribed by an actual podiatrist—and not some random person working behind the counter at The Not Good Foot Store—are devices intended to treat medical issues. They slip easily into your normal footwear and are customized to work with your unique feet.
So what exactly do orthotics do?
Great question. You can learn more about them here.
There are other elements we may incorporate into your heel pain treatment plan, depending on your specific circumstances.
Shoes can turbo charge what an orthotic can accomplish and not all shoes are the same. I should say -what is in a shoe can make a difference. It is not just a “new” shoe or a brand name that makes it good. Stay tuned in for a later blog as I rant about “good shoes”.