ING New York City Marathon Tune-Up (18M)/ Due to over working myself and learning to run properly I was not able to run in last weekends (18mile) race. I was running improperly ”heel strike” (see video of treadmill running- comparing heel strike vs. farefoot) and eventually would have led to injury so I made a decision to change my running style, sadly it was 2 weeks away from the 18mile race but it had to be done. As much as it pains me to say, I know that in the long run this was the right decision. I have completed 6 out 9 races, I need 3 more races to qualify for the 2012 NYC Marathon! So I well begin my recover process and once again start over with my running…
In order for you all to avoid injury while transitioning to “POSE”, farefoot or midfoot striking, here are some tips…
First check out the video of a Kenyan runner who did not wear proper running shoes until his late teens. He forefoot strikes when running barefoot, but without any apparent changes in the positioning of the runner’s leg or foot he midfoot strikes when running in shoes. The wedged shape midsole of the shoe affects how the runner’s foot contacts the ground click on link to see video. This is the reasoning behind “POSE”, farefoot or midfoot striking. Overstriding or heel strikes (landing heel first with your foot well ahead of you body’s center of gravity) are common runner mistakes, some runners myself included assume that a long stride will improve their speed or running efficiency but that’s not true. It simple means your wasting energy because you’re braking with each foot strike which eventually leads to injury such as shin splints.
Tips for Transitioning :
Minimal footwear such as vibram requires you to use muscles in your feet (mostly in the arch) that are probably very weak. Running this way also requires much more strength in your calf muscles than heel striking because these muscles must contract eccentrically (while lengthening) to ease the heel onto the ground following the landing. Beginners such as myself typically will experience tired feet, very stiff or sore calf muscles. This is normal and eventually goes away, but you can do several things to make the transition successfully!
- Build up slowly! If you vigorously work out any weak muscles in your body, they will be sore and stiff. Your foot and calf muscles will be no exception. So please, don’t overdo it or you will end up like me :o)
- Start by walking around barefoot frequently.
- First week: no more than a quarter mile to one mile every other day.
- Increase your distance by no more than 10% per week (general guide). If your muscles remain sore, do not increase your training. Take an extra day off or maintain your distance for another week.
- Stop and let your body heal if you experience pain. Sore, tired muscles are normal, but bone, joint, or soft-tissue pain is a signal of injury.
- Be patient and build gradually. It takes months to make the transition. If you are currently running a lot, you can supplement this new style with running the way that you normally ran before beginning the transition. Over the course of several months, gradually increase and reduce the proportion of running in your old style. Use the same 10% per week guideline.
- It is essential to stretch your calves and hamstrings carefully and regularly as you make the transition. Massage your calf muscles and arches frequently to break down scar tissue. This will help your muscles to heal and get stronger.
- Listen to your feet. Stop if your arches are hurting, if the top of your foot is hurting, or if anything else hurts! Sometimes arch and foot pain occurs from landing with your feet too far forward relative to your hips and having to point your toes too much. It can also occur from landing with too rigid a foot and not letting your heel drop gently.
- Once you mastered it, you might find that this will make you run a little faster as many runners pointed out,
- Land gently on your forefoot and gradually let the heel come down
- Transition slowly
- Stretch your calves and Achilles tendon
- Don’t do anything that causes pain- if it hurts stop!
- Listen to your body and run totally barefoot to learn good form
- Buy minimal shoes that lack high heels and stiff soles
* upcoming blog will show you the proper technique for POSE”, farefoot or midfoot striking.