runfreeforever

Live. Love. Run. It's what I do.

Plantar Fasciitis Massage

I tried this stretch and it ACTUALLY WORKED. I was kinda surprised! I will have to keep doing it! I’ve tried other stretches and other ways of massaging my foot, but none of them really got rid of the pain like this one did! I’m excited to see if it can actually help me get better!!

TRY IT FOR YOURSELF 🙂

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Plantar Fasciitis

I found this video on Runner’s World, and I think it sums up Plantar Fasciitis pretty well!
State Track was this past weekend, so now I’ve got a week to rest my foot up so I can get back to training for cross country and get 400 miles in this summer! My foot is getting a bit better, but it was still acting up enough at state that it messed up my stride 😦 I ran a not-so-good leg, but my team still did decently!
But my whole state meet recap will have to wait, I gotta ice up my foot and get some sleep!

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My Best Friend, the Roller Massager

I’d like to introduce y’all to my bestie, Pro-Tec Athletics’ Roller Massager!

Ta-da!!!

If you ever have tightness or soreness or pain ANYWHERE before or after a hard run or any other time, THIS WILL BE YOU’RE BEST FRIEND TOO!!! It’s a massage roller with four foam sections that feel like angels kissing your legs when you use it. According to their website, “The Roller Massager stretches muscles and tendons, breaks down soft tissue adhesion, and soothes tight fascia while increasing blood flow and circulation to the soft tissues. Deep tissue stimulation and massage maximizes muscle performance and flexibility!” I use it to roll out tightness from my muscles before and after races and tough workouts. At one track meet last year, my quad inexplicably cramped up while I was warming up for an 800. Without one of these, I don’t know how I would’ve been able to run my race with as much pain as I had before I used it. My calves are always so tight and it’s led to worse problems like shin splints and Achilles problems. But when I use the roller massager, it helps release the tension and it feels so much better! There’s also this thing that happens more often after a shorter distance race, like a 400m race or shorter, where your butt cramps up. It’s commonly known among the girls on my team as “booty-lock,” and, let me tell you, it is one booty-kicker. It hurts so bad and you can hardly walk until it’s stretched out. This roller massager helps with that too! And if you’ve got a huge knot in your back, the roller massager has you covered there too. The difference it can make is like magic. From calves to backs to butts to IT bands, this roller is a life saver! It helps reduce soreness and tightness like no other! Here’s a video on how it works:

I’ve also tried The Stick’s Original Roller Massager. While this one has the same basic idea, it’s basically a bunch of hard plastic beads that hurt a lot more than the foam on Pro-Tec’s Roller Massager above. My friend likes it; I don’t prefer it. I guess it’s personal preference, and maybe you’d get used to the way it hurts after a while, but that is not the thing for me.

WHITE/BLUE

 

I’m not trying to sound like a saleslady or anything, a girl I know uses a rolling pin (like the wooden kind you’d use in the kitchen) to roll out her muscles, and it works just as well for her! If you’re sore, there’s a seemingly endless supply of ideas out there to help you! I hope you try out the roller massager though, because it has worked wonders for me and I’m sure it will do the same for you!

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Bye-Bye, Blisters!

Back in eighth grade when I started running on my own (outside of track season), I used to get awful blisters on my feet, especially on my arches. Especially after long runs and when it was rainy or snowy or wet, I’d get blisters so bad that I just wanted to take off my shoes, or I’d favor one leg over the other. If you ever have any ache or pain while running that causes you to change your running form, STOP RUNNING!!! It will only lead to even more injuries!!  But going back to my original point – blisters are so annoying! Part of my problem was due to my poorly chosen shoes, but even a new pair of quality running shoes didn’t cut it for me and my picky feet. But I’ve found a cure. Socks.

I used to just wear whatever socks I wanted – usually thin and 100% cotton. I had no idea that my choice in socks could make that much of a difference in my comfort while running. The most important thing that I look for in a good sock is that they’re made from synthetic materials. Even if they say that they’re sweat-wicking, but they’re made from 100% cotton, I wouldn’t get them. I’d always opt for something with more polyester, more spandex, more nylon, etc., over more cotton. When I started wearing socks made from better materials, I noticed a huge difference in the frequency of the blisters I got. Rather than being every single day, I now only get them on rare occasions! Here’s five of my favorite socks! (not necessarily in order of preference; I like all of them!)

1.)Pro Spirit® Women’s  Cushion Poly No Show Athletic Sock

Pro Spirit® Women's 3-Pack Cushion Poly No Show Athletic Socks - Assorted Colors

I first tried out these socks from Target. At only $5 for a three-pack, they’re budget friendly. They’re made with 79% cotton and 21% Nylon, and while this ratio isn’t ideal, they’re still good at wicking away sweat and moisture.

2.) Running II

I tried these socks from WrightSock, because they’re made specifically to prevent blisters. They’re made with two layers to reduce friction, plus they keep your feet dry and speed evaporation. I haven’t gotten any blisters from wearing them, but they have shrunk in the wash and don’t quite fit my feet anymore…so I would recommend making sure you get the right size before buying these!

3.)Women’s Recur No-Show socks

Besides being super fun, cute, colorful, and comfy, these Under Armour socks are made with a Moisture Transport System to get sweat away from your feet, with a blend of polyester, nylon, and spandex. Plus they have an Anti-Odor system to help prevent all that icky, stinky stuff that nobody wants!

4.) Women’s Grippy II No-Show Socks

These socks, also from Under Armour, are thinner than the previous socks. They’re made with Microfiber Nylon, Nylon, and Lycra® Spandex, and also have the Moisture Transport System. They have OdorBlock, Under Armour’s most advanced system of preventing odor-causing bacteria. They have the little grippy nubs on the bottom of them to help keep you from slipping too!

5.) Nike Cushion No-Show sock

161 - Spark/White

I’m not sure if they make these Nike socks anymore; I had a hard time finding them online. But they fit my feet great and have a specific left/right sock for an ideal fit. They also have a built-in arch that seems tighter than most built-in arches, in a good way. They’re made from Nylon, polypropylene, elastane, and polyester, so they wick away moisture as well.

If you are still having blister problems after you have good socks and shoes (or you have to wear certain socks/shoes for a uniform or something and have no other choice), Body Glide could be your new best friend. It looks a little like deodorant, and you apply it similarly. It helps prevent chafing and friction, and it doesn’t feel sticky or icky anything. I use it when I race or play soccer, when I’m running longer or faster than usual, or running in shoes that don’t fit my feet as well as my regular running shoes for some reason. It works wonders!

I hope these tips help! Happy comfortable, blister-free running!

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Shin Splints Suck

It’s the second week of track practice and it seems like EVERYBODY is complaining of shin splints and other ailments. I’ve had my fair share of shin splints and sore feet, arches, Achilles, knees, IT bands, and all that icky stuff. But now the question is, what do you do about it??? Do you just keep running with the pain? Do you sit out for a while? Is there a way to get rid of them or prevent them?

Now I don’t want to take the place of your doctor, physical therapist, or anyone else like that. I don’t claim any medical expertise, but I have gone through it many times, and I’ve done my research and gotten lots of helpful hints from coaches and other runners.

My very first rule of thumb is to make sure you have the right shoes! I cannot stress enough how incredibly important your shoes are!! I’ve talked about the importance of good running shoes in previous posts, and I am a firm believer in the fact that the quality of your shoes will affect you entire body. When you’re running in old, worn out shoes or shoes with the wrong amount of support for your foot type and your style of running, whether it be too much or too little, it can cause all sorts of problems. I don’t want to get into all the things your shoes do for you, but I promise that a quality pair of running shoes that fit the needs of your feet will help you sooooo much! It will help if you frequently suffer from blisters and shin splints, to even knee and back problems! Even though it can get expensive, it’s totally worth it!! I promise!!

If you’re still having problems after you know you have the right shoes, increasing your mileage or intensity too quickly could be another cause. A 10% increase in mileage every week is the recommended amount, but it really just depends on your body. Some people could be easily capable of increasing their mileage faster than that, but 10% could be too much of  an increase for others. If you’re increasing your mileage quickly or adding in more speed work and your body is screaming “NOO!!” sometimes you gotta listen and give yourself a break or risk hurting yourself. I hate listening to my body when it’s telling me “NO!” because it makes be feel so weak. I’ve been running for the past five years and I can tell from the way my body responds when I’m increasing my mileage too quickly and when I should stop. I know that it’s better to take one day easy so I can keep myself from getting hurt rather than being out for a week, but all too often I risk it and keep pushing when I should’ve backed off! Do as I say, not as I do; I don’t want you to get yourself hurt like me!!

As you’re backing off the mileage and intensity, icing your shins can help relieve some pain and help with swelling. Also taking ibuprofen, naproxen, or aspirin will help since they are both pain killers and anti-inflammatory. Compression socks/sleeves can also promote blood flow and speed healing. I like to sleep in my compression socks, a girl on my team runs in hers and wears them all the time, it’s personal preference!

Stretching your calves can help, too. Here’s some stretches to try from tapingshinsplints.com. It’s a blog full of info about shin splints and ways to treat and prevent them!

Another stretch that I like is when you kneel and sit back on your feet like in this picture:

Advanced Shin Stretch
http://www.teachpe.com/stretching/advanced_shin.php

Lastly, regularly doing exercises to strengthen your calves can help prevent shin splints. My coach has us walk only on our toes, only on our heels, with our feet pointed out, and with them pointed inwards for a few minutes after we run sometimes, to help strengthen those lower legs. Several repetitions of heel raises will help calf strength too, either by standing on flat ground or with your toes and forefoot on the edge of a stair, then lifting your heel up to stand on your tip-toes before returning back down.

I hope these tips help!

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