Sunday, February 2, 2014

Big Sur Training Week 8 of 20

I guess I have to change the name of the blog because I bought a pair of non-minimalist running shoes.  I've been in physical therapy the past few weeks because of posterior tibial tendonitis after the week I ran all my miles under 9:00 min/mile.  I had a gait analysis done and to my horror, I was still heel striking- 3 years into barefoot/minimalist running.  I was shocked and upset.  I have some other issues-overpronation, hyperdorsiflexion, asymmetry in several areas.... I'm doing strength training to improve where I'm weak. But the wear on my minimalist shoes show that I'm heel-striking even when it feels to me like I'm landing mid-foot.  I still am pretty sure I don't heel-strike while actually barefoot because I doubt I would have been able to run 14 miles barefoot while heel-striking and not have some sort of insanely bruised heel.  After I got over the inital shock, what concerned me more when viewing my gait videos was the collapsing in of my right ankle.  That's where I've been feeling consistent pain and on my last 12 mile long run I could really feel my form falling apart and being unable to prevent it from collapsing in.  If both ankles were doing it to the same degree I would be less worried about it but my right is doing it significantly more than my left.  So, after much thought I'm trying FOR THE FIRST TIME in my running career, some more "traditional" shoes.  I'm not sure if my body is just not cut out for barefoot/minimalist running or if my goals just don't coincide with it at this point.  I am super nervous to switch over to a different type of shoe- who knows if I will be trading my current injuries for new ones.  Only time will tell.  I definitely think the Bikilas aren't the shoe for me for marathon distances.  I'm only interested in running as many pain-free miles as possible right now.

Anyway,  I got some Saucony Kinvaras and am going to be slowly switching over to them for the marathon.  I tried on several low-heel drop shoes at a local running store and the Kinvaras feel pretty comfortable, though it is odd to run on these pillows of comfort.  I only wore it for my 5 miler Saturday.... no real difference in speed, which is good.  If I was suddenly running 1 minute per mile faster I would be more worried about injury.

Miles this week:

1/28: 4 miles
1/29: 5 mile trail run
1/30: 6 miles
2/1: 5 miles
2/2: 7 miles

Total: 27 miles


  1. Hi Stephanie, Talking about where barefoot and minimalist fits in with your goals is really interesting. I've been using a little barefoot running and walking to try and find some flaws in my running form. Did barefoot ever help you do this? By the way, how are your new shoes going?

  2. Yes! I definitely feel like everyone should run barefoot some of the time- I even did it last week when I was getting a shin cramp. I'm still not sure the Kinvaras are what are going to work for me long-term... they definitely have made other issues pop up but its hard to tell if its the shoes or the increase in mileage (mainly IT band issues) or because I didn't do much transitioning between the Vibrams and the Kinvaras. I think the form issues that barefoot running mainly helps you with is learning how to run lightly and to run with a shorter stride, which I still focus on whenever I'm having "niggles" during runs.

  3. Additionally, I think there are some bad form habits I picked up from barefoot running that I am trying to consciously stop doing after watching myself in a slow motion gait analysis video- mainly pulling my toes up (to avoid stubbing them, which I did several times in some pretty bloody fashion while barefoot running) and using too much of my lower leg muscles as opposed to the larger, stronger muscles of the gluteus and quadriceps. That's more of my personal struggles with form in barefoot running, not a flaw in barefoot running itself- I'm considering doing more barefoot mileage after my marathon.

  4. I'm still forming my own opinions but I guess what I'm saying is that injuries come from form issues or overuse regardless of the shoe you are wearing. You might get slightly less injured from one type of shoe but if its not overuse you're probably doing something form-wise that is not the most efficient or healthy for your body. That being sad, barefoot running is fun and will definitely give you a more instantaneous idea of where you are weak form-wise because you can't rely on the protection of a squishy shoe.

  5. Thanks Stephanie! I really like your emphasis on form, it rings true for me. Not just for injuries but for ease of running. I guess playing around with barefoot might be the way to go for working on my form. It certainly is fun to do. Do shorter steps help with your ITB issues? I used to go through hell with my IT and found the only solution for me is to run with a really high cadence. Some people say I look like the road runner cartoon, but I'm pain-free.

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  7. Yep, high cadence lends itself to shortening your stride. I don't use a metronome but I try to have a high cadence as well. I have also been trying to bend my knees more- almost squatting while running because that engages my larger upper leg muscles as well and because when my IT band starts to feel tight that seems to help. Otherwise, foam rolling the heck out of it and letting my PT dig on it with a Graston tool: