Friday, 30 August 2013

Getting going again

Last Saturday I did the park run.  I decided that I should wear trainers, and I carried out a DIY foot taping job just to secure my foot.  I wound tape over the top of my right foot, just behind the toes, over the ball of my foot and towards my ankle.  I hoped that it would give support to the obvious but undiagnosed weakness.

It worked a treat.  I ran the 5k in just over 27 minutes, which I'm happy with, and I had no additional pain in my foot afterwards.

On Wednesday (two days ago) I did a barefoot mile.  I've been re-reading information about barefoot form, and I also posted a message on the the Yahoo! Running Barefoot forum which was set up by Barefoot Ken Bob himself.  I even got a post back from Ken Bob (thank you, Ken), which, in a nutshell, reminded me that I need to concentrate on re-learning my technique so that when I run, it doesn't hurt.  Sounds simple enough, but it's so easy to forget this vital piece of information.

So in my barefoot mile, I concentrated on everything I could:  relax, relax, relax; bend my knees; bend them more; lift my toes - a little mind you - not too tense; let my hips lead me forward; stay up straight; look ahead; lift my feet rather than concentrate on putting them down; shorten my cadence......  it was like trying to drive a car for the first time, so many different elements to think about, and as soon as I concentrated on one I'd forget another.

But there were steps that I took that didn't hurt.   For a few paces at a time I got into a rhythm that seemed comfortable, pain free and pretty easy on every part of my body.  That's what I need to focus on.  I will do the drills in Ken Bob's book, I will do my Asian squats and 100-ups, but when I run, I will just try and run without any discomfort.

That will take time (again), and in the meantime I have races to run where I'm raising money for the hospice that looked after my lovely mum earlier this year, so I will wear the trainers for my training runs, and do barefoot miles here and there for now until after the half marathon in October.  Then I'll start barefooting again in earnest.  It's disappointing, but I want to do it right.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

What to do next??

Where have I been, you may ask.

Well, in the interest of giving a true account of my barefoot experiences, I thought I'd come clean and confess that I've been nursing a recurrence of my foot injury :(

After upping my mileage, and doing some speed work and intervals as part of my half marathon training plan, the top of foot pain that I suffer with on and off following my stress fracture (2nd metatarsal, Nov 2011) flared up again.  Not exactly the same location, but very close by (a little further towards the ankle).  I think a combination of speed, increased mileage, and also a couple of trail runs where I landed on stones precisely underneath the location of the fracture, have triggered the pain again.

I rested for 2 weeks.  Then, when there was no pain in my foot at all, I tried a run in trainers.  I did 4 miles (probably a little too much), but what I noticed after about 2 miles was a pain in my left knee, shortly followed by aching joints in my hips and ankles.  Everything felt hot and prickly.  These are pains that I immediately associated with wearing trainers and training for races, pre my barefoot days.

On the plus site, my foot felt fine.

2 days later I ran a mile barefoot.  No joint pains or trouble with my knee, but I could definitely feel that stress fracture pain again within a few hundred metres of setting off, and the pain lasted for another 3 days.

Yesterday (again, waiting for zero foot pain) I did 3 miles in my Vivobarefoot shoes.  I chose these because they are zero drop, but they came with some padded insoles to aid in the transition to barefooting, so I put these in to give a little support to my soles.  Knees, hips & ankles win, but again, foot adversely affected.

So, considering that I am half marathon training, and have a 10k race in early September, I feel a bit lost as to what to do next.  I think I'm sold on barefoot / minimalist - there are just too much big joint pains associated with trainers for me now, but I really need to sort this foot out, and I think that boils down to form.  Now all I need to work out is what to do about it...