The message resonates with me because I am on the verge of throwing up my hands in despair. Every time I reach a solid level of running fitness, I slide right back to Square 1, thanks to my weak tendons. Building speed and mileage beyond a point seem like an impossible dream. I have had no luck at running stores. A month ago, I underwent a video gait analysis followed by the purchase of "stability plus" shoes and insoles. This only caused the tendonitis to be replaced by angry arches and a host of other aches and pains in my foot.
I am now cautiously feeling my way back to running. For a gal who hated the dreadmill with all her heart, I have come a long way...just try pool running for over an hour. At least on the 'mill, you know how far you've run...pool running is the ultimate dead end! And what's worse, you have people staring at you like you've lost your mind. It's a good thing I don't embarrass easily. I take that back...I don't embarrass, period! To preserve my sanity, I stopped short of doing long runs in the pool...now that would guarantee me a spot at an insane asylum.
My strength training sessions now incorporate a good amount of hip and lower leg strength building, whereas previously, they focused mainly on the abs.
On every tentative run, I watch my running posture, foot turnover and footstrike, and try to land on my entire foot, not the heel. It is a gradual process. The "stability plus" and the insoles are going back. I still use my old shoes, and I am slowly exploring running without much support. As with anything else, I understand there is a transition phase. I am NOT looking for a bunch of other injuries and blisters. I don't see myself switching to barefoot running entirely...I rather like the soft soles of my somewhat-manly feet. But I am trying other variations of minimalist running...like running in socks on the treadmill and running in water shoes on grass and tarmac (I don't believe in throwing away $70+ with gay abandon on a pair of VFFs, unless I want to continue with this experiment). Hey, why should going tribal cost so much? One of the things that attracted me to running in the first place is that it is the cheapest sport you can find! I have also started walking around the house barefoot or in socks.
The result so far:
-Tight calves and achilles...this is bound to happen when you change your foot strike, I am told (I use DH's drum sticks on my calves after a run, in lieu of a foam roller (Ouch!!! I really need a foam roller!))
-A sore spot on the top of my left foot
-Slight soreness below my right knee
But the soreness is not aggravated by running and the tendons have been behaving thus far.
On the group run at the towpath on Saturday, I noticed that everyone ahead of me neatly landed either on their whole feet or on the ball of their feet, definitely not on the heel. Am I the last one to receive the memo?
We know heels are not the best shock-absorbers, but this video really brought it home to me.
Minimalist running usually attracts strong, diverse opinions from runners. What are your thoughts/experiences? Have you ever tried it/are you considering trying it? If you have tried it, what's the verdict?