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Time to get honest. Marathon training with a foot injury.

February 17, 2014


I think I have a foot injury. There. I said it. I started developing pain on the inside of my right foot above my arch on Saturday, January 25th. On Sunday January 26th I did a long run anyway, and didn’t mention a word about the gradually increasing foot pain that developed towards the end of my run. Then, on Monday morning January 27th I woke-up to a visible bruise on the spot of the pain. Shit. And this is how my foot injury developed.

bruised foot

See that bruise on the top of my foot there? Yeah. That.

I haven’t said a peep on here since Christmas. At first it was because I was so busy loving and living life! I didn’t make the time to sit down and blog about Boston Marathon training, working with a new coach, living life as a fiancée, or wedding planning. I still want to blog about all the joyous things in my life, but I’m going to save that for another day. Today, I’m ready to admit I have a problem. A foot problem.

Week 1: Denial. Inner monologue: Oh just a bruise from my new custom orthotics. I ran really hard and fast on Saturday, and I probably got a bruise from all the pressure I was putting on my orthotics which weren’t allowing my feet to collapse like they wanted to. A bruise is no big deal. At least it’s not a REAL injury like last year.

My coach told me to take 3 days off from running and then reassess because taking 3 days off is better than taking 3 weeks off…

Week 2: Worried…but I only skipped certain runs. I still did a 10k. I just ran through the pain the last half because it “wasn’t that bad”. Sound familiar? (I’m an idiot.)

Cardiff Kook 10k

Cardiff Kook 10k

Week 3: Panic. I finally decided to call it an injury and I’m not running until the pain goes away. I got my foot looked at by a professional, and have been rolling it on a frozen water bottle and popping pills to reduce the inflammation. I’m RICE’ing, spinning, ellipticalling, aqua jogging, strength training, massaging, stretching, and resting. I’m also stewing. Whyyyy is this happening to me, again?

Foot pain isn’t new to me. If I think back to my very first marathon in 2011, I remember experiencing foot pain a couple of weeks before the race. Luckily it wasn’t serious enough to keep me from the start and finish line. Then in 2012 when I was training for what turned out to be 1 full marathon, and 2 Ironmans, my foot pain got serious. Luckily I had a coach to keep me on track and I filled my time with other workouts and ART sessions. 2013 guess what? Foot pain resurfaced, but I still managed to train through it and PR at Eugene and achieve a Boston qualifying time, even though my coach cautioned me that I would probably hurt myself. Yep. I was in 1 million pieces once I crossed the finish line, bawling my eyes out, and I could barely walk for several days after that. (Whatever. I PR’d!!) Late 2013 I finally invested in pricey custom orthotics (thanks mom!) after much persuasion. In 2014, orthotics caused me to develop new foot pain. Different spot. Different foot. WTF? My feet hate me. (Long story short, my feet are hyper-mobile and kinda cray cray.)

So now what?

First of all, I’m updating my custom orthotics because those clearly aren’t working for me. I’m training without any orthotics in the meantime, and I can tell it’s making a difference. Definitely less of that “bruised” feeling.

Mentally, I’m going back and forth between optimism (I can still break 3:30 and PR at Boston! All this rest is good for me!) and severe pessimism (I’m not even going to be able to finish Boston because of severe foot pain at mile XX.) Physically, I have no idea if I’m doing enough to nurse my foot back to health (RICE, stopping running) while simultaneously trying to train for my first ever Boston Marathon which is now only a short 2 months away. Looking at the BIG picture, if I don’t PR, it won’t be the end of the world. If I can’t even make it to the starting line due to an injury, however, well that will be an entirely different story, so I’d prefer not to think about that.

If you’ve ever suffered an ongoing injury, I’m sure you can empathize with me right now. It feels like taking time off from running is the worst thing in the world. But when I start to get down, I try to fill my head with positive thoughts to put things into perspective. (I’m getting married this year! I already qualified for Boston, and I get to run it this year! Life is good!!)

Thanks for listening to me get honest and admit that I have a foot injury. Same story. Different year. Different foot. Training with a chronic injury is a real problem that so many runners face, even though I really wish it wasn’t. So what have I learned this time around?

Don’t push through the pain, no matter how insignificant you think it may be.

Back to my RICE, and hopefully, the road to recovery!

What do you do to keep yourself sane while sidelined from running due to an injury?

This dishes holder is actually much better served as an ice bucket

This dishes holder is actually much better served as an ice bucket

  1. I know it’s tough but stay positive!! You have at least determined that its probably the orthotics and that means you are healing by not running in them! You will get to that start line!

    • Thanks, bestie! I’m definitely having my low moments, but trying to remain optimistic and let my foot heal! #bostonbound

  2. Shaun permalink

    This is a setback but don’t let it get you down. I recently completed 2 70.3 races within a month & because of a knee injury I didn’t do more than 5km runs for 3 months before the races. I got thru them fine. I just did extra swimming and cycling when I’d normally be running. I suggest you do something similar. You might be a bit slower but I bet it’ll make hardly any difference. You might even go faster!
    Happy ice bathing, Shaun.

    • Thanks for your encouragement. Glad you got through your races with your injury! Sometimes taking time off running can be the best medicine, right? I’m becoming an ice bath pro.

  3. As someone who both wears (sometimes) and makes custom orthotics I can tell you this. I have both read and studied all of the relevant sports medical research regarding orthotics and here is the bottom line. They shift pressure from one area of your foot to another (in this case your arch). There are 3 primary variables that are important to orthotics. In my opinion they follow in this order
    1. They must fit in your shoes = they must be practical
    2. They must be comfortable = if not you won’t wear them anyway
    3. They must be effective = reduce or eliminate the issue they were made for….and not cause a new one
    Your foot is made of 26 bones and 33 joints because it is suppose to move. Trying to eliminate movement by wearing a hard, rigid orthotic is usually not practical or comfortable which then makes it ineffective and can cause further injury. Plus it goes works against the natural biomechanics and design of your feet. Running requires movement. for more info you might find this helpful

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