By Zachary Kernan
John had been training for the St. George Marathon for the past 10 weeks and as life will have it, work and family obligations took their toll on his training schedule. Expense reports had come due and the kids had been sick for the previous 4 days, preventing him from running for the past 3 weeks. This was going to be John’s second marathon and he’s loosely followed a training program that he found online. The training guide indicated that his mileage should have been at 38 miles for the week with a tapering schedule anticipated over the next 2 weeks.
John was quite nervous about the marathon and was concerned that his training program had not been adequate enough for him to finish the 26.2 mile course. In an effort to catch up and prove to himself that he’d be able to complete the marathon, John skipped ahead on his training program and completed the current week’s prescribed 38 miles.
John was on his long run of 20 miles and at mile 16, began to feel an achiness through the arch of his right foot. The ache was initially dull and John was able to push through the run as it did not affect his pace. The next morning, John threw back the covers, stepped onto the ground and experienced a sharp pain through the bottom of the heel and the arch of the foot. The discomfort slowly dissipated by the time he was walking out the door on his way to work. After being on his feet for most of the day at work, John felt that aching foot come back to haunt him.
John is experiencing plantar fasciitis, the most common cause of foot pain in adults and one of the most commonly cited injuries among long distance and marathon runners. Pain is typically experienced through the arch of the foot or through the bottom of the heel. Symptoms of plantar fasciitis are typically at their worst with the first few steps in the morning and/or with prolonged standing and walking.
The plantar fascia is a thick piece of tissue connecting the heel to the 5 toes. Its purpose is to provide stability through the arch of the foot. There’s a higher incidence of plantar fasciitis in the running population compared to the general population due to the repetitive impact, or microtrauma, of the plantar fascia. The bones and ligaments of the foot must withstand forces that are equal to 3-4x your normal body weight with running. This repetitive microtrauma can overload the plantar fascia with faulty biomechanics or with overtraining. Read More….