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Plantar Fasciitis: What to Know and How It Impacts Your Training

Ascension Seton’s Dr. Allen breaks down Plantar Fasciitis and its impact on runners

Plantar Fasciitis is an ailment that most runners will experience at some point in their life. Fortunately, there are many options for runners to overcome this injury. The most common symptom is pain in the heel. Typically this occurs in the morning and is aggravated during the push-off phase. Plantar Fasciitis is caused by the tightening and inflammation of the band of fascia (connective tissue) that connects the heel to the metatarsals. This tightening can be caused by a number of factors. One factor can be overly tight calf muscles that pull on the fascia under the foot. Treatment involves reducing inflammation, strengthening the muscles in the kinetic chain, and lengthening the fascia.

Build strength now so you can finish your race strong.

Preventative measures

It is important for all runners to build strength training into their schedule, especially if they’re training for their first marathon. Strength training has proven benefits like maintaining muscle mass throughout the lifespan, reducing injury risk, and improving running economy. Off-season strength training should lay the foundation for more sport-specific training throughout the competitive part of the season. When beginning a strength training program, high repetitions and low weight should be the primary focus. This helps build general strength. As training progresses functional strength is established. This eventually leads to an increase in weight and more advanced exercises like plyometrics and power-focused training at high velocities.

Exercises and recovery

Strength training exercises such as single-leg calf raises can be very beneficial for strengthening the kinetic chain above the foot, reducing the likelihood of developing Plantar Fasciitis. Additionally, runners should incorporate stretching into their training program. This can help avoid overly tight calf muscle that can aggravate Plantar Fasciitis. Foam rolling and traditional calf stretches are both effective for loosening these muscles. Runners can also use a golf ball or other similarly sized round object to roll out the fascia on the bottom of their feet. It is also important that runners wear comfortable running shoes and limit their mileage increases to less than 10% per week.

Don’t let Plantar Fasciitis derail your training and you’ll be all smiles at the finish line.

This advice is intended to be for educational purposes. It’s in no way intended to be a substitute for any treatment prescribed by a doctor. If you are concerned about pain caused by running, Ascension Seton’s team of Sports Medicine physicians will work with you to address your injury. Runners can contact them by calling 512-324-0177. Additionally, they’ll work with you to establish a strength training program to prevent and address your ongoing running injuries. If you are interested in learning more about a strength training program for runners email ascensionperformance@ascension.org

About Dr. Allen

Dr. Jakob Allen received his Doctoral training from the nationally ranked University of Texas at Austin. He was an 8x All-American collegiate swimmer at Stanford, American Record holder, NCAA and Pac-10 Champion, and 2x Olympic Trials qualifier. Dr. Allen is now an avid cyclist and triathlete, frequently placing in the top-5 overall amateurs in Central Texas triathlons. He is driven to bring about the greatest potential of all athletes whether you are a weekend warrior or an Olympian.

Dr. Allen currently serves as the Sports Scientist for the Austin Bold FC team in addition to his work in the clinic. He believes that exercise remains one of the best ways to improve every physiological system in the body throughout the lifespan. Whether it’s helping prevent changes in mental acuity or improving muscle function, the benefits of exercise continue to be supported by scientific studies. Dr. Allen specializes in designing exercise training programs for improving muscle and cardiovascular health for aging wellness and masters athlete performance.

Tips and Advice for Running Your First Marathon

If you’re running your first marathon, this advice is for you!

Runners register, train for months, and run their first marathon for countless reasons. Some because they love the challenge and sense of accomplishment that comes with completing 26.2 miles. Others because they want to prove something to themselves, improve their lifestyle, or raise money for an official Austin Marathon Gives charity. While the reasons for running your first marathon differ, one thing remains true for everyone: you never forget running your first marathon! It’s an experience you won’t forget or replace.

With many on social media telling us they’re training for their first 26.2-miler, we asked veterans for their advice. We checked in with them on Facebook and they delivered. All the tips might not work for you, but most will. Just like training, find what works best for you. Thanks to all the veteran runners who responded in support of those running their first marathon.

Training

  • Trust your training.
  • When running up and down hills, shorten your stride. Study the maps. Run the tangents. – Phillip B. 
  • Don’t worry about finish time! The slower your time on your first marathon, the easier it is to PR the next one. – Molly B
  • Join a training group or run club and utilize the accountability and community.

Hydration and nutrition

  • Hit the water stations and before you think you need to. You risk much more by letting yourself get behind on hydration and nutrition while running your first marathon than overdoing it.
  • The first few water stops might be very crowded. Visit the last table. Or bring a throwaway water bottle.
  • Practice consuming hydration or gels during training. Make sure your stomach tolerates it. You might deal with some things better than others! – Timo R.
  • Don’t eat a mountain of pasta – you’ll just give yourself a stomach ache. Eat more, smaller/normal-sized meals throughout the day.

Mental toughness

  • Take out your earbuds for the final mile to hear the crowd and your name being announced as you cross. Epic moment. – Patti G.
  • Enjoy yourself, you only get one first marathon!
  • You’re not going to win, so relax and enjoy the journey!  You’ve got it! – Cheryl M.
  • In the first half, don’t be an idiot; in the second half, don’t be a wimp! – Karen O.
  • I always say the longest distance to overcome is the distance between your ears! Enjoy the day! – Janet P.
  • Keep your head up and look far away.
  • Wear your medal for the rest of the day.

Planning

  • Have friends or family take pictures of you on course if that’s something important to you. 
  • Body glide, don’t forget it. 
  • If you feel a blister, stop at an aid station and add some vaseline or moleskin (if available).

Race day

  • Break the race into smaller parts. For example, get to the halfway point, then mile 20, then you have 10K to the finish. 
  • More steps are better.
  • Start the race slooooow. Like painfully slow. Settle in and speed up for the second half if you feel good. – Rebekah E
  • Make sure you have the splits written on your arm. Trying to remember anything or calculating splits late in the race is difficult. 
  • If you don’t think you’re going too slow, you’re going too fast. – Lisandro Z. 
  • Don’t change your race plan just because everything feels good early on. If you feel like you must go faster, then increase speed after about mile 23.

The one tip ALL veterans had if you’re running your first marathon…

Absolutely nothing new on race day!

Train with Fleet Feet to Run Your Strongest Austin Marathon

Take Austin Marathon weekend to the next level when you train with Fleet Feet

Whether you’re registered for the 2022 Ascension Seton Austin Marathon or the KXAN Simple Health 5K, training with a group can be one of the most rewarding parts of your running journey. Groups provide camaraderie, friendship, and accountability that can help you achieve more than you might on your own. Check out all the benefits you’ll experience Austin Marathon weekend when you train with Fleet Feet. 

Go further together when you train with Fleet Feet.

“There’s nothing quite like a training group when you’re getting ready for a race,” says Kate Schwartz, a Fleet Feet runner in Asheville, NC. “My fellow runners and I really bond over our shared miles and tough workouts. We’re there to motivate each other and celebrate once the hard work is over. In my experience, training with a group is more fun and more meaningful than training alone.”

To help you tap into the “special sauce” of group training this year, Fleet Feet stores around the country will host marathon, half marathon, and 5K training groups specifically for Austin Marathon weekend. Training begins in November and December, depending on your race distance and store location. 

Plus, with a Fleet Feet VIP Austin Marathon weekend package, you get special access to race weekend perks, discounts, and exclusive merchandise that you can experience with all your newly-made running friends. Still not convinced? Here are three reasons to train with Fleet Feet.

Running friends are your best friends

A 2014 study confirmed the statement that “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” Specifically, the study identified that shared pain brings people together. While this may sound extreme, its application to running makes sense. When we push each other through tough workouts (like Schwartz describes above), that experience helps us stick together. 

Train with Fleet Feet experience Austin Marathon weekend like never before.

What’s more, when it comes to long-distance training, the long run serves as some of the best intentional conversation time we can have. Especially when we run without headphones or other distractions. Runners say that these miles have a big impact on their lives.

“Several of my longest and most fruitful friendships have been molded over the course of many shared miles,” says Ari Perez of Fleet Feet Austin, who spearheaded Fleet Feet’s local partnership with the Austin Marathon. “Something about the shared challenge and humility brought forth by the fatigue of countless miles—it’s difficult to replicate but easy to understand by those who share in the experience. And that, to me, is the beauty of running.”

The group provides accountability

When our schedules are jam-packed or we’re exhausted, it can be hard to get motivated. And that’s OK. Meeting a group provides the built-in motivation we need to get in our first step. And, when we find ourselves grumbling about the work ahead, it’s helpful to know that others are there with us. 

In this blog about accountability from RUNGRL x Fleet Feet, two friends discuss how regularly running together helps them stay on top of their goals. 

Group running can make us happier and more connected

There hasn’t been as much social interaction due to the pandemic. Spending time outdoors with others elevates our mood and helps us find meaning, connection, and contentment. According to a leader in loneliness research, Dr. Julianne Holt-Lumstad, who spoke with Fleet Feet for a podcast all about how our running community can help us live longer, feeling a part of a group also helps you live longer. And it’s hard to beat that science. 

Austin Marathon, Ascension Seton Agree to Title Sponsor Extension

Title sponsor extension is a result of significant growth since the original agreement in 2019

The Austin Marathon and Ascension Seton have agreed to a long-term title sponsor extension. The agreement will allow the collaboration to continue to grow, further benefiting the fitness community. In addition to growing secondary community events and expanding content creation opportunities, Ascension Seton will remain the Official Medical Provider. Since 2019, the collaboration has helped others establish healthier lifestyles, prevent avoidable injuries, and provide services for injured athletes to recover. The 30th annual Ascension Seton Austin Marathon presented by Under Armour, owned and produced by High Five Events, will take place on February 20, 2022.

Start line of the Ascension Seton Austin Marathon.

“Ascension Seton is excited to establish a long-term collaboration with the High Five Events team in support of the Ascension Seton Austin Marathon,” said Adam Bauman, Vice President of Orthopedics, Sports and Rehabilitation Services for Ascension Texas. “Over the past three years, our collaboration has helped encourage people to remain active in a way none of us anticipated due to the COVID pandemic. Ascension Seton remains committed to supporting our community and partners to ensure the Austin Marathon and other related events are sustainable well into the future.”

More than just a sponsor

As the Official Medical Provider, Ascension Seton doctors and nurses will staff the finish line medical tent and work with Travis County EMS on course. During race weekend, Team Ascension Seton will participate in all events, volunteer their time, and have a major presence at the Health and Fitness Expo. Outside of race weekend, they’ll continue to positively impact the local fitness community, providing knowledge and insight curated by Ascension Seton Sports Performance’s Dr. Jakob Allen.

“Our collaboration with Ascension Seton has grown over the years and significantly benefited the fitness community,” said Jack Murray, co-owner of High Five Events. “With this extension we expect that trajectory to grow for the foreseeable future as we come up with new ideas and build new opportunities.”

The Austin Marathon will celebrate its 30th year running in the capital of Texas in 2022. Austin’s flagship running event annually attracts runners from all 50 states and 35+ countries around the world. The start and finish locations are just a few blocks apart and within walking distance of many downtown hotels and restaurants. The finish line is in front of the picturesque Texas State Capitol. The Austin Marathon is the perfect running weekend destination. Registration is currently open. The next price increase is scheduled for Tuesday, November 30th.