01-26-2015

6 Tips For Runners With Flat Feet

I have super flat feet. Like pancake flat. It’s caused some biomechanial issues throughout the years but I keep running because I love it. Mainly, I have shin issues once I start running more. Some days I can’t run, others I do but feel pain with each step.

My PT had told me that continuing to run won’t be harmful, since I’ve been continuing to run since high school cross country. I just need to make sure I take active steps to stay injury free.

Today I want to share some tips for those of you who might have flat feet like me. Some people can have flat feet and no biomechanical issues at all, like my mom. I don’t know why that is! Shes’ never had pain issues due to running. I wish…

The arches of your feet are like “springs” for your legs. They absorb the impact with every step, and also allow you to walk/run and use less energy (due to that “spring” energy action). With flat feet, you get more impact, which is why issues like shin splints can arise.

So here are a few things you can implement into your every day routine:

Tips For Runners With Flat Feet

Orthotics

This is a no-brainer, right? If you have flat feet, you should probably get orthotics. The best would be to visit a podiatrist and get custom orthotics. When I was a kid, my parents got me these orthotics that would have somehow molded my arches back up. They hurt to much to wear so I never wore them…now I kind of regret that!

I don’t have customs, but I love Super Feet. They have different colors, which denote the amount of support. I think blue is the highest. You buy new ones about every 3-4 sneakers you wear out. The weird thing I’ve noticed lately is that I only need one of these in my left shoe. I don’t need an orthotic in my right shoe.

Ankle Strengthening

Ankle strength is important for any runner, but if you have flat feet, this is definitely something to focus on. You’re more prone to shin splints, and strengthening your ankles can help you avoid that. Here’s a great list of exercises to try out. I usually like to add in balance movements at the end of my workout. I stand on one leg, balance for 30 seconds, then switch. I also do this on a pad or bosu ball for added challenge.

Make it more challenging but balancing on the bosu ball, then take a medicine ball and do cirlces with it, both clockwise and counter clockwise. So you’re lifting the ball up over your head, then moving it to your left, then down by your hips, then out to your right and up over head again. Sounds easy, but it’s not!

Band Exercises

As I mentioned above, the main thing flat footed people want to avoid is shin splints. Band exercises can not only help strengthen your ankles, but also your anterior tibialis. The stronger that is, the less you’ll be relying on your calf muscles. Shin splints can occur because your calf muscles are overused/stronger than your anterior tibialis, which leads to a muscle imbalance. Google it to find a better worded explanation that what I just wrote :) Here’s an example (all you need is an elastic band):

Arch Exercises

I’m just going to find a video for this because I’ll do a horrible job of explaining it. Doing these exercises can help train you to use your arches a bit more rather than letting them fall.

Taping

I used to do this for cross country. I tried it last year with kinesio tape and did like the extra support it gave me. Though I do feel it’s hit or miss because if it ends up being too tight you’ll be uncomfortable for the whole run. But if it’s the right amount of pressure, you’ll feel like a totally different runner…one with nice arches! :-P

Below is the video I had used. It’s for plantar fascittis prevention and healing, which is also another runner’s injury that can occur due to flat feet.

Avoid Flip Flops

Doctors used to tell me this a lot in high school, but alas, as a teen I didn’t listen. People should avoid flip flops for multiple reasons, but people with flat feet should especially avoid flip flops. There is ZERO arch support, which is the worst thing for you. It can lead to other issues too like inflammation and plantar fascittis. If you have issues like shin splints and lower back pain (caused by your flat feet and biomechanics), wearing flip flops will only make it worse.

If you want open shoes, opt for sandals instead. In the summer, I usually wear casual sneakers. I absolutely love the Reebok Skyscapes that I got at FitBlogNYC this year! I usually find that with casual sneakers, they don’t have much arch support, but these are great. I can use them for when I know I’ll be on my feet for a while and I’ll be pain free. These Converse slip-ons are on my buy list too…I love the look and feel like they would go great with a casual/beachy summer outfit.

So who of you are part of the flat footed tribe?? It’s been a pain throughout the years but I’ve learned to deal with it. It sucks that I can’t walk for long periods of time (aka shopping) without my lower back hurting, and that’s why I’m usually in sneakers. I always see girls shopping in cute boots and flats…I wish! I would last probably 15 minutes before my feet and back were in pain. Sigh…

Do you have flat feet? What tips would you add?

What’s the most annoying running injury you’ve had?

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08-29-2014

Injury Prevention & Prehab

Coach Marc is back today to chat with us about injury prevention. I’ve written about how to prevent certain injuries, like shin splints before. Here are some quick tips and ways to “prehab” so you’re not sidelined this fall racing season.

Staying healthy will allow you to run and race your best.  This is also known as doing exercises to prevent injury.

As someone who is always injured, I know first hand the importance of staying healthy to be successful. But unlike most runners who wait to be injured before doing something about it, I’m proactive. You should be too.

Always have sore shins? Write the alphabet with your ankle. This exercise strengthens those smaller muscles in your lower leg that stabilize your body.

 
Have a cranky knee? Do squats and lunges to strengthen your quads and hamstrings. Strong Quads and Hammies are the foundation to happy knees.

Have a bad back? Try doing abs and core to strengthen the surrounding areas of your spine. The stronger your front side is, the better it can hold up your back side.

The key to injury prevention is to fix it before it’s a problem. That way, you don’t miss as much time and you’re back out on the roads sooner and stronger!

What other injuries can’t you seem to get over?  Tweet @marcpelerin and for tips to get over them!

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I’m always telling Marc about my shin pain/issues – though lately they haven’t been as bad!

What nagging injuries do you have?

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10-07-2013

NYC Marathon Training Week 14

4 more weeks!!! So close…but it needs to get here already because my body is ready for a break.

Had to skip some runs again due to my shin pain. So I’ve officially seen a physical therapist, an athletic trainer, and an acupuncturist. They think it’s adhesions (I have these weird bumps under my skin). I’m going to see a sports specialist to hopefully get an answer. I needed to run 7 miles today but that’s probably not happening. Sigh.

Here’s last week’s training:

Monday:

off

Tuesday:

1 mile warm up, 2×3 miles at 10 sec. faster than goal marathon pace, 1 mile in between each, 1 mile cooldown.

Felt ok…second 3 miler was uphill so pace slowed down a bit.

Wednesday:

off

Thursday:

Supposed to be a 9 mile tempo run with 1 mile warm up and cooldown. Ended up only doing an 8 miler because of the humidity. We felt miserable. Our tempo pace needed to be 10:18 and we could barely do 10:45. Awful run.

Friday:

Recovery 5 miles. Also got my first kinesio taping, which I think did help!

Saturday:

Easy 7 miles. Still feeling meh…

Sunday:

Needed to do 11 miles, but guess what…did zero. My shin pain is coming back. This SUCKS.

I don’t know what’s going on but the marathon needs to get here. I’m starting to feel blah about runs and probably because I’m just frustrated with my shin problem. Hopefully I get an answer today.

How is your training going?

Have you ever had to see a physical therapist?

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10-03-2013

That Time I Got Acupunture

Today I had my first acupuncture experience. One of my clients for my business is offering free introductory sessions for a limited time and suggested I try it to relieve some swelling in my shin area. I figured, why not.

acupuncture

I met with the acupuncturist and she asked me a few questions, and I explained where my pain was/what was going on. She explained that usually she gets to know the patients a lot more in depth, but since it was only 30 minutes it was abbreviated. She explained the reasoning behind acupuncture and how it works.

She had me lie down face down on a massage table and started feeling around my calves. She was surprised at how tight they were (but at the same time, not surprised because I’m a runner haha). She said that usually she doesn’t do anything aggressive for the first session, but since the marathon is close, and my calves are so tight, she wanted to do trigger point acupuncture on me.

Trigger point is a bit different than normal acupuncture. Here’s a better description than anything I can give:

Trigger points are located in soft-tissue, primarily in bands of tightened muscle fibers. Trigger points often develop as a consequence of acute or repetitive strain, muscular-skeletal imbalance, injury or disease. They may cause localized pain, referred pain, and reduced range of motion and function.

Whenever we are treating pain conditions we thoroughly examine the physical structure and musculature to find areas of tightness, constriction and trigger points. These are all potential acupuncture “points” used to treat a pain condition. When trigger point acupuncture is done, patients may experience twitching contractions of the tight muscle as it is being treated. This twitching serves to bring the muscle out of its contracted state, so it can loosen and regain normal tone. This allows better range of motion, and function and reduces or alleviates the associated pain.

For being so shallow, it was a bit painful! As she inserted the needles, my calf muscles contracted on their own and tightened up, which she said is necessary for them to “release.” My left calf (and the side I’ve been having issues with) hurt a lot more than my right. She also inserted the needles into my traps, as she said those were tight too (and again, my left side was way tighter. How can such tiny needles cause your muscles to contract like that??!

Clearly, my left side needs some work. She suggested stretching my calves regularly, which I do try to do. I know that my left side is considerably weaker in my hips, ankles, etc.

After she put the needles in, she left me in the room for 15-20 minutes to just relax. On the needles she put near my shin, she added a pad for electric stimulation, which just feels like a tingling sensation. When she came back in, she removed the needles and cleaned the areas down with a cotton ball, though the majority of people don’t bleed (I don’t think I did because I can’t even see where the needles were). She applied some BioFreeze to my calves and traps which felt really good! It makes the areas feel chilled for a period after you apply it…kind of like Bengay.

As soon as I got up, I could feel my left calf was very sore/tight. She said it’s normal for 24-48 hours after treatment. It’s a similar feeling as if you did like 100 calf-raises yesterday and are super sore today. She advised me to stretch my calf all day for longer than I usually do and drink a lot of water. She said doing the acupuncture in my calf and around the swollen area should help get rid of the metabolic waste that has accumulated from the swelling. The area does feel better and less puffy, so I think it worked! And hopefully it helps relieve some of my calf muscle tension.

I would definitely do this again! Despite some pain, it was a relaxing experience (once the needles were in) and the science behind it makes sense to me.

If you’re in the NJ area, you should check out Riverwalk Physical Therapy for this and other general physical therapy. They are great, and treat a lot of athletes.

Have you ever gotten acupuncture before?

Would you consider trying it?

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10-02-2013

Training With Marc: “I’m Injured, Now What?”

I’m starting a new series on my blog, called Training With Marc. Marc Pelerin is a running coach, and runs TrainWithMarc.com. He provides runners with personalized plans to help them achieve their goals. Oh and he was also an awesome runner in high school and in college…so he’s got a lot of experience! Visit his website for more info on the coaching he provides. I worked with him for over 2 years and was very happy with the results!

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injured

So, you’re injured and your big race is coming up… What do you do?

You are faced with a tough decision – do you take time off?  Do you run through the pain?  Or do you do some type of cross training?

Unfortunately, there is no clear cut solution that fits for every injury or every runner.  Sometimes, you should take time off; sometimes you should run through; and other times you have to put time into cross training.

Since there is no clear cut guideline for what to do and when to do it, these are my 4 suggestions to getting back on your feet running.

1.  Be as strong as you can be; both mentally and physically.  For your mental side, surround yourself with positive people.  Do activities that don’t delay your recovery time and keep busy.  A busy mind will keep you distracted from missing running.  Physically, begin doing appropriate rehab exercises to not only heal your injury, but to also prevent injuries from creeping back.  This is where general strength comes in handy.  The stronger your can be, the less likely you are to get bit by the injury bug.

2.  Find a cross training routine that you enjoy and don’t mind doing.  We all know that cross training is never “fun”.  But we also know that not everything that is good for us is fun (think vegetables!)

3.  Eat healthy.  There’s nothing worse than taking time away from running and eating like you are still running.  Switch out some of your guilty pleasure foods with fruits & veggies.

4.  When in doubt, or an injury lingers, be sure to check out a specialist.  They will know what to do to get you back on your feet.  Don’t be afraid to find multiple opinions.


For more tips, tricks, and all things running, be sure to visit trainwithmarc.com.

Check out the first Training With Marc post!

How do you handle being injured? What’s the hardest part for you? For me it’s missing schedule runs in my training plan which makes me paranoid!

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09-23-2013

Week 12 of NYC Marathon Training

Only 41 days to go!!! As much as I have liked this training plan, and love running…I’m ready for this to be here. I am ready for a break from running so much and I want to get back into lifting!

Here’s last weeks training:

Monday:

I had this weird pain in the my shin unlike anything I have felt before…so I wanted to take it easy. I felt it just walking around so I knew I shouldn’t run. My mom and I took WillPower & Grace instead (1st time). I really liked it!

Tuesday:

This was supposed to be our scheduled rest day. But when I got home from work my dad wanted me to go for a short run with him. I ended up doing a really easy 2.5 miles and it made my shin feel a little better.

Wednesday:

1 mile warm up, 9 miles at goal marathon pace, 1 mile cool down.

I was really nervous about this because of my shin. I had to stop for a bit at mile 2 to stretch my calves because they were on fire. I told myself, just get to 5 miles and if it sucks, call it a day, if not, keep going. Surprisingly, by mile 3 my body was warmed up and my mom and I were cruising! Our goal marathon pace is 10:18, and most of the miles here were a bit faster. Our training plan tells us to stick to paces, but this felt fine to us as we were running. I don’t own a Garmin, so we use RunKeeper on our iPhones, therefore we can’t be checking paces while we run, and don’t know our splits until the end (it only gives us average pace per mile as we are running). Overall awesome run!

Thursday:

Easy 5 miles. My legs were feeling it. They felt like lead. We slogged through this one.

Friday:

Easy 10 miles.

Legs still felt a bit tired, but we were able to keep a consistent pace for 10 miles. Ended the last mile a bit faster.

Saturday:

Easy 5 miles. Ran these in the morning because I knew I’d be tailgating/going to the Rutgers football game all day. Surprisingly, my legs felt good and I was running at what is now my goal marathon pace…I don’t know how that happened! Here’s a pic from the game (that we won!)

Sunday:

5 miles.

I ran the 5th Avenue Mile with my parents…such a good time! My legs were feeling tired from standing at the game all day the day before, but my final time was 7:22. Hope I can break 7 min. next year! I ran 1 mile warm up, then 3 miles after for a total of 5 miles for the day. Also ran into fellow blogger Theodora from Losing Weight In The City! First time meeting a blogger in real life, hopefully I can meet more eventually! If you have the chance, definitely run this race one day! I will be posting a race recap in the coming days.

This weekend I made a dailymile account. I track my miles on my own, but figured this would be a good way to be social with other runners as well, since I’m sure my Facebook friends don’t really care as much ;) Add me if you are on there as well!

What is your favorite race distance? I love this one mile race and wish it was more popular…short and sweet!

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09-03-2013

Week 9 of NYC Marathon Training

I hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend! Mine was spent running 15 miles in 75% humidity…though I did get to go to a BBQ as well :)

Here’s last week’s training recap:

Monday:

Track workout. 5x1K with 400 meter recovery.

This was rough. I don’t know why 2.5 laps felt so hard but we could not keep on pace (5K goal pace). But we got it done even if we had to slow down the pace a little bit.

Tuesday:

Off

Wednesday:

Needed to do a 10 mile tempo (1 mile warm up, 8 miles tempo, 1 mile cooldown).

Due to time constraints (my mom had to finish work before heading out) we ended up needing to run inside because it got dark, and we did 1 mile warm up, 6 miles at tempo, 1 mile cooldown. This workout reaffirmed the fact that I hate the treadmill.

Thursday:

6 easy recovery miles.

Let me tell you…these miles were slooowww. My shins were hurting so I just took it slow. At least I got new shoes that day too!

Friday:

Easy run. Again, I took it real easy because my shins have been hurting recently. I needed to do 5 miles but did 4 instead. 2 min run, 2 min walk.

Saturday:

14 mile long run.

Theme of this week’s training is “I needed to do ____ but did _____”

Check out the weather for the run:

It was HUMID. I was drenched after 6 miles. We did a 3 mile out and back from my house so we only needed to run with 1 bottle. I was really struggling by the end. I sweat a lot as it is, so humidity makes it so much worse for me. I had to change my outfit at mile 12! We got to 14 and I called it a day. I was exhausted and drenched. But a “natural ice-bath” felt SO GOOD afterwards:

Sunday:

4 miles recovery. Actually felt good on this run even though I thought I’d feel stiff. Shins are still hurting a bit. We ran 4 minutes, walked 1 minute, but our average pace still ended up being a little faster than it should have been!

Do you sweat a lot? Like A LOT?? I can’t stand it and wish I sweat like a normal person. How do you make sure you keep your sodium and electrolytes up?

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08-12-2013

Week 6 of NYC Marathon Training

Another week of training DONE. This was the most running we have done in a week since marathon training in 2011. I did one day of cross training, and including that it was 33.5 miles, but not including that it is 29.5. The most we ran in 2011 in 1 week was 37 miles. This week we were actually supposed to do 39 but I wanted to ease into it because of my shins…here’s my recap!

Monday

Treadmill track workout. 12×400 meters, with 400 meter jog in between. We ran each interval at 7.0 speed, which is 8:34 pace, and jogged at 11:00 pace. We also had a 1 mile warm up and cooldown, which made it a total of 7.5 miles!

Tuesday

Off

Wednesday

5 mile tempo run, 1 mile warm up and 1 mile cooldown.

I felt awesome during this run. I was actually really nervous for this workout but once I got in the groove I was feeling great. The tempo was supposed to be marathon goal pace (10:18), and we fluctuated a little, but Hansons say that once you do enough of these you will internalize your goal pace.

Thursday

Easy 4 miles for recovery.

Friday

Ok, so I was SUPPOSED to do 8 miles. But I was up at 4 am to go see Kenny Chesney in Central Park (which was awesome by the way!!)

I got home and napped but I was still so exhausted because realistically, I only got 4 hours of sleep. I went to the treadmill and my goal was 4-5, but it was just not my day…so my mom and I just did an easy 3 miles.

Saturday

8 miles at an easy pace.

As some of you may have seen on my Instagram, this was an interesting run. I honestly almost threw in the towel at mile 4 because my shins were hurting a lot. So I said I will run back to my car (which would make it 5 miles) and call it a day. Once I got to 5 miles I started to feel good again, so I said ok I will run an extra mile…but then the pain completely went away somehow and I figured I might as well try for the full 8! I’m so glad I finished this race…I felt great once I finished. And I got to go out that night to celebrate my birthday with my amazing friends!

The trail I ran on. I can’t believe this is in my town and I only just discovered it.

Birthday celebration with BFFs :)

Sunday

Was supposed to do an easy 4 miles but since my shins were hurting a lot on Saturday I really didn’t want to make it worst before going into the bulk of training. Therefore, I just stuck with 30 minutes of pool running. Pretty boring but gets the job done and keeps my shins happy!

Who else is marathon training? Or training for a race? Do you sometimes have to lower your prescribed distances due to pain or life events?

 

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08-05-2013

Week 5 of NYC Marathon Training

Wow can’t believe today is the start of week 6 of training! Only 11 more weeks until NYC MARATHON!

This past week was a good week in running. There were some off days but overall a good week, and I am feeling like my legs/shins are getting accustomed to more running. There is still pain sometimes (like today) but I’ve been feeling good so far. Today is the beginning of week 6, which marks the beginning of running 6x per week as opposed to 5x. I love 2 rest days per week, so we’ll see how this goes! Here’s last week’s training

Monday

off

Tuesday

Was supposed to do 5 but did 4 and walked the last mile home. My achilles/lower calf was on fire again AND my foot fell asleep during my run? I loosened my laces but that feeling didn’t go away so I just walked home instead of forcing it. Has this ever happened to anyone?

Wednesday

off

Thursday

Easy 4 miles.

This was my awesome group run I did with my local running shoe store. I highly suggest you try a group run sometime!

Friday

Easy 5 miles

Saturday

6 miles.

My mom and I did this on a trail by my house that I’ve never run on for some reason, even though it’s 2 miles away. I loved it! It goes through woods, and there is a lake…very scenic. Although it’s only 2.6 miles long but we can just add on at the end. Here’s a pic from that run:

Sunday

Easy 4 miles.

This was done extremely slow because I made the horrible decision to eat Chipotle for lunch. Even though I waited about 2 hours, I still felt awful during my run. I felt sluggish and heavy, and towards the end got major stomach cramps. BAD IDEA DON’T EVER DO THIS.

So that’s that. We had a track workout today which was great, though now I’m in NYC waiting for a networking event and have been walking around all day so my shins are hurting :( Ice and compression tonight!

I am so nervous for running 6 days this week…and it will total 39 miles!!! That is the most I have ever ran in a week. Ahhhh…

Have you ever been nervous for ramped up training? How do you avoid psyching yourself out?

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07-22-2013

Week 3 of NYC Marathon Training

Can’t believe week 3 has come and gone! My mom and I completed 21 miles this week, which is crazy because at the height of our Brooklyn Half training we were at a high of 23-25 miles per week. So we will definitely be doing a lot more running, clearly, for this marathon cycle.

I just really hope my shins cooperate and allow me to run more than I have in the past!

Which is why I have been wearing PRO Compression socks on my runs, and my 110% Compression socks for recovery and during sleep.

I have a little bit of shin pain sometimes, especially after today’s 4 miler, they were really throbbing. But I will try to stretch and be diligent with the exercises I need to do. Here’s what we did this week:

Monday:

Off

Tuesday:

4 miles. We decided to do this on the treadmill because it was feeling like over 100 degrees outside. I hate treadmill running but in order to make it go by faster I like doing hill intervals, like this.

Wednesday:

Off

Thursday:

5 miles. We did this outside but on shaded back roads. My sister was house sitting, so we had a pool we could cool off in. We mapped out 2.5 miles and did an out and back. Jumping in a pool post-run is awesome!

Friday:

4 miles

Saturday:

4 miles (before leaving for South Carolina!)

Sunday:

4 miles on an out and back around where we are staying in Myrtle Beach. I loved running in temperature that is a bit cooler and with less humidity…and a nice ocean breeze! I averaged 1 minute per mile faster than I have been usually in the crazy heat. But my shins were hurting so thank goodness I have an off day today. I found a golf course and ran about a half mile on this…reminded me of the good ol’ cross country days! Will have to go back and run here again.

For the rest of the week, I will be on vacation in Myrtle Beach, so I apologize for the lack of posts or tweets this week, but I have some guest posts coming up hopefully :)

Time to enjoy the beach and relax!

Do you make sure to get your training in on vacation? What’s your favorite way to relax?

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