Thursday, 27 December 2012
It's the second time the heel has flaired up and both times it's been within a couple of miles of the start on a long run.
It was time to get some help. As said before, I think I started to believe the hype on barefoot and had refused to accept that I could get injured with minimal running and I must be doing something wrong? Even advice on the various barefoot forums was pointing to the fact that I dared to even look at a pair of normal trainers now, let alone still wear them occasionally.
Who is right? All I know is that I'm injured and what I was doing wasn't helping. I started with some sports massage which really helped and took a few days off running to let the pain calm down. I then started to take some anti-inflammatory pills (which I never really do) and set about getting the foam roller from behind the sofa and actually use it!
I sat down and analysed the training and anything I'd changed. Well the only things I'd changed were I'd started actual barefoot training and I'd increased the mileage with 20 mile plus weekly long runs. Well I think I'd answered my own question right there.
I either need to cut back the distances or the attempt to convert to full barefoot. Well I've got an ultra in Jan so cutting the miles was going to be tricky, I'd decided to ease back on the latter for now, while starting a daily routine of extra stretching and massage. Who would think rolling pins would be so useful in running training.
Well it was the Sunday before Christmas and the few days I'd taken off were starting to hurt as I had itchy feet (not literally). I'd decided to squeeze in a cheeky trail race with Katie near Maldon. It was a short 3.5 mile muddy and wet route around a nature reserve and the best thing about it was the fact it was fancy dress with a festive theme and chocolate at the checkpoints!
I dressed in the only costume I had to hand which was Michael Jackson from Thriller, Katie dressed as a Christmas Elf. It was great running round the woods laughing at giant snowmen running past each other in circles.
Back to the important stuff... I'd decided to christen the NB MT110's and Sealskin socks I'd picked up. I still had a little heel pain but specifically ran on the forefoot and it felt ok. The 110's held up well in the thick mud as the sole design was more aggressive than the Trailgloves with defined lugs and the waterproof socks proved awesome as I actually ran through every patch of water that was at times deeper than the tops of the socks and the feet were dry as I ran fast trying not to stand in it too long.
The day was topped off as we both won a fancy dress prize and actually finished reasonabley high up in the results for the short route.
Over the next couple of days I jogged slowly in my Lunas with our new puppy up to about 3 miles. You need to be slow and take it easy with young dogs so I made sure that she only ever walked and didn't full run and this would only be a couple of times.
The heel was getting better and the massage was starting to work. I just wish the rain would stop for 5 minutes lol. Well Christams day came and went and on Boxing Day I couldn't hold out anymore and drove down to the Witham Boxing Day 5.
I entered on the day and decided to wear the Luna Leadville's. I'd not raced that short distance for a while especially on road but taking the chance to probably be the only person running in sandals was too good to pass up.
The only comments at the start were from my own running club members who asked the same old question "are you really running in those?" I was worried about my foot as there was still a little pain but I'd finish even if I had to walk it. After the start I felt ok. Again I purposely ran on the front of the foot and I could feel it rubbing but it actually felt good!
I knew at the start I wouldn't be fast but I was running with a smile on my face. I looked at the watch and I was sub-8 min miles which I was happy with as I'd only be a few minutes off my usual finishing times. I ran with a couple of people of similar pace when after awhile one guy asked if I'd read Born to Run... Classic! He said I was the first person he'd seen wearing sandals to race in! It's great to be a relative trendsetter.
In fact the only issue I had was the large patches of water what I had to run through. My Leadville's don't have the MGT (Monkey Grip Technologhy) and as a result the sandals would slip and move and the toes would take the strain. Ill try and get another pair soon to test. I know Tracy at Barefoot Britain was looking to get them in.
I really enjoyed the run out and it was a great day with a great crowd, I even saw Mr Potter on the route cheering us on! The only issue was a tiny blister on the front pad of the foot and a slightly sore calf from the change in running style. Not bad at all and a day later I was fine.
Next run could be Sundays 25 mile Stansted Stagger.
Saturday, 22 December 2012
Well after some decent planning I felt confident that this time the planned 25 miles would prove easier than the last time out.
Unfortunitely, as well as confident I also felt I slight pain in my right heel. I'd had this pain before and it didn't end well as I got about a mile into a long run before having to stop and quit.
As I stepped out into the pouring rain wearing Lunas and Injini socks, I felt good. Even when within a few seconds as my footwear were soaked, the feet felt refreshed. For the first few minutes I thought the foot niggle would not be an issue but this was short lived.
As I approached town after about a mile the pain quickly spread and the whole heel area was in pain and I couldn't run anymore. This was exactly like before and I knew I couldn't run it off. I made the quick decision to get back home limped to the nearest bus stop.
When I got back home I put my feet up and could actually see the swelling on the inside of my ankle and it was really sensitive to touch. I always used to suffer from PF and I thought this was the case but he pain was slightly different and the way it came on didn't feel 100% like PF.
By lunch time I managed to walk around town as it had calmed down and I took the opportunity to buy a pair of New Balance MT110 Minimal Trail shoes which were £34 from Sports Direct. I'd thought about buying these for quite a while as the Trailgloves were a little light on grip and these were cheap!
After a couple of days rest I had some light massage on the foot by a physio from my running club Jen Lovelock who works out of Toe Zone Foot Care Chelmsford. I have to admit I'd have sports massage everyday if I could afford it as I think it makes a huge difference when training especially as you get older and the body doesn't recover as quick as it used too.
It was interesting having a chat with Jen about barefoot running and her views on it. She's not a huge supporter of minimal footwear as she feels that it defeats the purpose of proper barefoot running. But admitted that going true barefoot probably was positive.
Its been said that one of the main reasons for converting is the fact that as soon as you ditch the trainers that you never get injured again....
Well that isn't true (for me). As a largish flat footed runner with a poor running style even though I've taken 7 months to get where I am and theres a need to be realistic and take things slow.
Well planning a little jog out tomorrow, ill let you know how a get on.
Wednesday, 19 December 2012
I made the choice to run down to Chelmer Park where we hold the Barefoot Beginners sessions. First I put on my Xero sandals but this time thought I'd test out wearing normal socks with them as it was winter and still chilly. Ok the decision was a little "tongue in cheek" and I have to admit a part of me liked the fact people would comment.
Actually the result wasn't too bad. The socks actually fitted well and this would also serve to stop any chaffing too. My daughter loved the look but I don't think the wife will be volunteering to run with me any time soon.
I hadn't run in the Xero's for a few weeks and they felt hard going at first but as I warmed up I got used to them again. After a mile I'd got to the park and took the sandals and socks off to run the first section which is approx. 2 thirds of a mile of grass. The ground was soft but still really cold and the feet were taking time to adjust. Yes the going was easier on the feet but I still had to be careful of twigs etc. from the many trees and I noticed for the first time that I did actively chose my route "on the run".
I got to the Tarmac path and straight away the feet felt like they were burning when running on it. I think a combination of temperature and pebbled finish made the run hard work. I got to the end of that section and decided to put the Xero's back on and run home. I ran half the way home and got to a piece of path that was smooth and flat. Again I took off the sandals and straight away it felt right. My feet were well warmed and the ground though hard, felt warm? Strange how different hard surfaces can feel.
As I began the last section home I noticed also that I was trying to run light on my feet as if I was running on a hot surface protecting the feet, I do think I need to let go of that habit and get used to the feeling. Anyway I was happy with the short barefoot run out especially as I analysed so much.
So what's next? I'm planning my next long run and I've got a route in mind which is a homage to my youth as I plan to run the old disused railway line between Witham and South Woodham Ferrers via Maldon in Essex where I grew up. That's 15 miles but I also planned to run from home to the start in Witham which is an extra 10 miles. After finishing I aim to get the bus home :)
Well I'm also trying to incorporate the lessons learnt from my last long run. I've brought some cereal and chocolate bars and will fill my flask so will will have lunch as I go, so we'll see how it goes?
Wish me luck!
Monday, 17 December 2012
Tuesday, 11 December 2012
Sunday, 2 December 2012
As I was still feeling a little below par, I decided it was a good idea to postpone this weeks long run as a couple of days rest now will save me maybe weeks if I pushed hard now. There's still sometime until I need to have finished my long runs and I decided to move this weeks long run to mid week to cover this and next week as I'm away next weekend.
Well I thought about how and where to start the session and picked Chelmer Park in Chelmsford Essex. The park is pretty quiet at most times and is a mile around the perimeter. Most of the route is grass which apart from the occasional twig is pretty easy going. It features though a decent section of hard surface path which in my opinion offers new barefoot runners the chance to ease into it. I can eventually see people adding additional laps when they get used to the transition and there's even a couple of slopes!
This obviously presumes anyone will "sign up" to do it lol A few people have expressed interest in my journey so far and I know of many people that have taken the plunge and brought minimal footwear. This combined with the running group I started at work where a few of us run at lunch "san-footwear" so who knows?
Special thanks go to my son Ali who is the Technical guru of Essex Barefoot. He designed the logo and edited the video.
Hopefully see you soon.