I decided I’d give an update on plantar fasciitis recovery. The past couple days, my heel has been a bit temperamental. It has not hurt, of course, since I’ve not run in nearly four weeks, but I expected it to be near 100% by now. LOL, of course that’s the problem with PF. It takes forever. Does anyone really know why? Not sure. For sure, if I’d never gotten the cortisone shot in the first place, I’d already have been back on the roads and who knows what I’d have done to my foot. This experience is frustrating, but I’ve rekindled a love for training I started to lose. I started to say, “Oh, I have kids now. I have a real job now, this extra stuff has to go. I shouldn’t expect to be doing very much, performance-wise, anyways.” Well, I won’t be saying that much now anymore. Time will take care of that very well on it’s own. I’ll let time handle its own business.
I’ve been focusing on increasing the time I can swim for. Last week, I had one 25 minute swim and one 30 minute swim. The rest were all between 15-20 minutes. So the good thing is that I never swim for less than 15 minutes now. The bad thing is that I need to have the short swims up to 25 minutes and the longer ones up to 40 minutes.
Also, even though I feel that weight gain is one of the reasons I may be dealing with heel pain, I cannot convince myself it’s important enough to lose the weight to submit to the discipline required. I won’t complain about this, I’ll just keep trying at it.
I’m starting to miss running, but not so much running per se, but I miss not having any restrictions on my activities. I want to be able to more or less do what I want when I want to do it. Unfortunately, right now, I can’t. I enjoy running probably more than any other activity and I can’t do it. Also, I had been slowly building up heavy squats/deadlifts, and I’ll be more or less starting from scratch when I can add that back in. If you lift weights at all, you know how much fun it is to lift/push/pull heavy stuff. I do a lot of circuit training and the squats/deadlifts are the linchpins of my circuits.
All this notwithstanding, I am still blessed. I can do all of my critical activities without pain whatsoever, and many cannot say that. I can remain physically active at what I think is a high level. I can train 6 days a week. In addition, swimming is becoming an unexpected sanctuary.
One of the things I’ve appreciated about swimming is that there are no speakers in the pool. The only thing you hear when you’re in the water is water. I like the sound that rushing water makes, or the rhythms of others’ arms making strokes while I’m waiting to get into a lane. When I’m in the water, though I know that I’m slower than most others, I don’t have to dwell on it. You don’t see others unless you’re on the side of the pool or right next to them in the lane. This way, my focus can stay where it should be–on my goals, my technique, and my thoughts. Compared to just about everything else in the gym, and even on the jogging paths, this allows an unmatched level of focus on my thoughts and technique. It is a vivid reminder that I am running my “race” and living my life, not anyone else’s. If you need some time just to exercise without your mind being assaulted from all sides, try swimming (or trail running, which I can’t do right now). I’ve enjoyed my time swimming, and will keep it in my routine even after I start running again.
I’ve taken a break from trying to get 20 pullups, but I may work almost exclusively with weighted pullups. I’ve been doing weighted pullups regularly, but I’m trying to be careful not to over-train my shoulders and back since I’m swimming. I can’t imagine having to rely on the stationary bike. That’d just be too much. Other than that, the only other strength exercises I’ve consistently done are calf raises and bridges.
Let me say something about bridges before I close this entry. I started doing bridges regularly as a way to avoid core imbalances while training squats/deadlifts regularly. I already had no idea why folks do crunches/situps/ab machines or any other common ab work, but now I really don’t know what the point is. First off, your core is not just your front, but your sides and back as well. For athletes, the back and sides of your core are probably much more important to performance, yet much weaker than your front. Most ab exercises you see folks doing don’t even begin to touch these areas. Second, you can hit your core using any bridge variation and keep the area under much, much greater time under tension. Third, your core is meant to be stable in order to transfer force from lower to upper body and vice-versa. Thus, you probably get much better core strength gains from doing any of the hip-dominant compound lifts, pullups, sprints, jumps, pulls, or standing pushes than any of the “ab” exercises. Bridges not only provide functional strength to the core, but make an athlete much better at most of the other foundational movement patterns.