By C.J. Lin, Daily News Staff Writer
Posted: 12/11/2011 01:00:00 AM PST
One step forward, two steps back.
Unfortunately, that’s not very helpful when you’re trying to run a marathon.
For the last few weeks, my training has been at a literal standstill.
I did eight miles one freezing morning about a month after I started running, and I guess I pushed too much too soon. What I thought was a lingering soreness in the arches of my feet was actually plantar fasciitis, where the tissue connecting the heel to toes becomes inflamed.
Oh, and somehow I blew out my knees, too.
Unfortunately, (again) these types of injuries are inevitable for runners, whether they be newbies or veterans, said Rayna Drago, coach of the L.A. Roadrunners marathon training group in Westlake Village.
“Marathon running is a real shock to your body,” Drago said. “Even if you’ve been athletic, it’s just something different for your body to take in all those miles. Your body is just waking up and saying, `Hello, what are we doing here?”‘
The most common injuries are shin splints, runner’s knee, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, and some type of foot fracture, according to Dr. John Pagliano, a Long Beach sports medicine podiatrist.
And there’s more bad news – they’ll probably keep popping up for the first year for new runners.
“Your body’s just kind of got to learn what’s coming,” Drago said. “But it does subside after the first year.”
I don’t have a year. I only have three more months until the L.A. Marathon.
Suffice it to say, I’m getting pretty nervous. The finish line always seemed just a bit out of my reach, but even more so now.
But, I (and you) shouldn’t be discouraged, Drago said.
“It’s more frustrating than anything,” Drago said. “But it’s good when it happens at the beginning of training rather than at the end.”
For these types of overuse injuries, it doesn’t take too long to heal and get back up to speed, Drago said.
Be sure to ice anything that hurts and rest. But the key is to keep moving, just not in high-impact exercises.
“It’s also for your mental balance, that if you’re not running, at least I’m doing something,” she said.
Take a break by hopping on a bike, getting on the elliptical, going for a walk, swimming laps or even jogging in the pool, Drago said.
Take ibuprofen for the pain, and make sure you stretch sufficiently.
You’ll want to build up the muscles around the knee by doing strength training such as squats and lunges to help support you on those long miles, according to experts.
Pagliano recommends strength workouts three times a week on alternate days, which should include upper body strengthening.
And if the pain lingers for more than two weeks, that’s when you should go see someone.
Some tips to avoid running injuries include: shortening your stride, running on even surfaces, cross-training, and getting shoes fitted to your gait at a specialty running store, according to Runners’ World magazine.
So, there’s hope yet. I just have to take it easy for a couple of weeks.
“It’s possible to get right back out there and get back on it,” Drago said.
“And your body will just come along for the ride.”