Don’t sweat the occasional setback

Updated Aug 12, 2014

A setback — minor or major, temporary or not — can be disheartening. It is especially disheartening when you are focused on a goal that can no longer be achieved the way you initially intended.

When I began my new workout routine here at the YMCA in Tuscaloosa, Ala., I outlined goals I wanted to achieve and a timeline in which to achieve them. One goal was to improve my 5K running time. Two days after I began training, I started to experience a terrible pain in the arch of my right foot. I have previously dealt with knee pain, but never pain in my feet.

At church a few days later, I asked a friend — a friend who recently trained for and has run a marathon — if she knew what could be wrong. She immediately called a running buddy of hers, a physical therapist, who had some interesting news for me.

I’m flat-footed? Cue disheartening. When a person is flat-footed, her feet tend to roll inward more than they should. This puts excessive pressure on the arches of her feet. Being flat-footed can lead to injuries to the ankles and knees.

Out of the goodness of her heart, the physical therapist gave me a quick session on how to deal with the pain and strengthen my feet. Since then, the pain has been less severe; I have also cut back on my running time and worked in more swimming and cycling.

Though I don’t want to admit it, I think I caused some of the pain by overexerting myself. I like to see immediate results, so I often don’t give my body time to adjust when I begin a workout plan. Our bodies can handle a lot, all things considered, but at a certain point they give warnings to let you know all is not well. Don’t make the same mistake I did — take a careful approach to beginning a workout routine by first seeing a physician. Be patient but persistent, and you will feel results.