Wise Running

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Ask P. Mark: Dealing with Plantar Fasciitis

Question 2 :  How can I recover from plantar fasciitis while training for a race?

I have been running mainly on a treadmill and yesterday after 4 miles my foot started to hurt. I had been sensing PF for a while, and tried icing, switching shoes and so on.   My plan is to take a week off, stretch, foam roll, ice, Advil and so on but is there recovery from something like this? I want to run this race so bad I feel it may be my last so I can focus on getting better since my prognosis has been dwindling.

P. Mark’s Answer:   I understand your pain all too well!  I have short calves, so I am always dealing with Plantar Fasciitis at some level. Every morning I spend the first 10 minutes trying to relax my calves enough to walk normally.  It is 10 minutes of PF pain.  It sounds like you are doing all of the right things with the stretching and icing…

I am not convinced that rest will really do the job. Rather than full rest, I would suggest running less and exercising your calves and feet more.


Most importantly, before you start running, your calves and feet need to be gently warmed up and as flexible as possible.  Start by working through your range of motion at each joint while bearing no weight on those joints!  Then, warm up the muscles through simple movements while bearing no weight on the legs.  Finally, warm up the muscles while bearing weight.

If you take the time to do these things before a run, the damage to your plantar fascia should be greatly reduced and it should begin to heal, even while you are still running.


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One response to “Ask P. Mark: Dealing with Plantar Fasciitis

  1. Kathleen June 21, 2013 at 3:29 am

    Hey there

    Thanks for hte wonderful ost on PF, I thought I might share my experience with it and perhaps offer additional info?

    Last December I trained too hard, too much and too fast. Way too much enthousiasm for a beginner runner! I ended up with painful PF which made me hobble around, and I was off my feet for two weeks (the first week completely off – not even going to the shops, the next week gentle walking). After the 2 weeks of rest I did 3-4 veeeerrrryyyyy slow 5k runs with lots of walking.

    The strange thing is is that I suffer from excessive overpronation in both feet, yet since I have started running I have never had foot problems. I atribute this to well fitting shoes (I use a general stability shoe from new balance) but I do not run with orthotics.

    Ever since I incorporated hill training into myschedule (1x per week) I have seen a drastic improvement in my pace, endurance, sytrength but most of all I have not had any other foot injury since! And when I finish the hills I find the next few days I can feel all the small muscles in my feet and they get so much stronger. My calves and hamstrings also strengthen a lot quicker and help stabilize my ankles and feet.

    So if there is anything I would advise, rest for at least 7 days, and ease back into training softly and slowly. Then incorporate hill training, even if it’s a tiny hill, and once aweek is more than enough.

    Good luck!!!


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