Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Keeping Me On My Toes

My previous post mentioning my foot problems has spurred a media explosion of investigation on the best way to run. Just last week, the Wall Street Journal published an article on the benefits of running barefoot (or in shoes with less cushioning and more flexibility). Apparently, barefoot runners alter their form naturally to hit the ground at higher point in the foot, almost at the ball of their feet, thereby allowing the body to more effectively absorb the impact.

I've been experiencing intense pain on the side and back of my foot, most likely stemming from the way I land when running on uneven ground. The pain subsides after icing, ibuprofen, and rest, but comes right back with each run. Because of this, over the past few weeks I've been stressed out about whether or not I'll overcome this injury and if I'll physically be able to run the marathon.

The trainer suggests a brace, stretching, and sleeping in this thing called the Strassburg Sock. My god! I really don't want to pay $40 to sleep in some sort of medieval torture device, so I've decided to test out this whole barefoot theory out. I couldn't bring myself to go really go barefoot, my little feetsies can't handle the cold pavement, so I tested the waters by running on the ball of my foot in my regular sneakers this morning.

And the initial verdict is - SUCCESS! I just did a short run so it's not definite that this form will work for the long runs, but I think I'm headed down the right path. Not an ounce of pain in my foot and my goodness does it give your calves a workout! The only downside is that I'm pretty sure I look like a fool tiptoeing around... but I usually don't pick my legs up that much and it looks like I'm gliding on an invisible nordic track so I guess this could be an improvement.

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