Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What About Walking Form in Minimalist Shoes?

I'm convinced that some of my current foot issues have to do with the walking part of my walk/run/walk strategy.  While the Vibrams are designed for you to NOT run on your heels, it's really impossible to walk without a heel strike, especially when you're doing it quickly.  There is essentially no heel padding in Vibrams.  So, the dreaded heel strike that you're trying to avoid by running on the balls of your feet happens every time you walk!

I'm off the running thing per doctor's orders, but on the walking thing, in padded running shoes.  Not excessive and not every day...4.5 miles on Sat (4 days ago) and 1 mile on Mon - walking with Rex the Wonder Dog and my lovely daughter.  But feel that this is a good compromise for now.
Image Source:  Hive Health Media

In his blog, Barefoot Running University, Jason Robillard mentions walking as part of an extreme distance strategy and acknowledges that a heel to toe stride is part of that.  Not to avoid injury, per se, but more to give your poor legs something different to do over the distance.

Not giving up, but will still share what I learn and let you know when I'm giving minimalist running a second (verrrrryyyyy slow) try.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Doctor's Orders

The appointment is done.  The Good News is no breaks or stress fractures.  The Bad News is no running for a while and there's no way I'll make it to my race.

So here's the long version with visual aids:
Image Source: 

Issue #1 - Foot Pain - I was worried about a possible stress fracture in one of the right side metatarsals.  X-ray says "Nope, try again."  My doctor identified the problem as a bone bruise of the cuboid (outer right side or right foot, over my arch).  Apparently striking on the ball of the foot (with minimal padding) causes this bone to pronate or flex in a new direction. Remember these feet have been heel striking in built up running shoes for many, many years.  But this is essentially a case of TMTS....despite the fact that I am only up to 2 miles after 3 months! Recommended Solution - Rest...and padded running shoes {groan}.  Not even being barefoot in the house {double groan}!
Image Source:

Issue #2 - Tight achilles tendons some mornings.  According to my Doc, this is a result of the extra work my calves have been doing.  Recommended Solution - Better stretching, daily.

Issue #3 - PAIN left of center on my heel after the Burke Lake Run/Walk.  This is a developing bone spur, clearly visible on my x-ray.  How did that happen?  Well according to my friend at WebMD "Bone spurs also form in the feet in response to tight ligaments, to activities such as dancing or running that put stress on the feet...", which is essentially what my Doc said, but I couldn't remember exactly.  Recommended Solution - Better stretching, daily massage at the point of the pain and ice afterwards for 10 mins.

So, if I follow my Doctor's orders of no running for a few weeks and incorporate the stretching and massage, I should be able to walk in my cushioned running or hiking shoes.  However, I will bring that walk tempo back down to a more normal (but brisk) walking pace.

Because I can't do NOTHING at all!  Double negative, but you get what I mean.

My Doc is clearly not a fan of Vibrams, but she said "if you're going to do that" to ease back into it and stretch my calves and achilles tendons.  So I will get rid of the pain.  Then I will try to work even more slowly back into running...still in my Vibrams.

Crazy? Maybe...but I've never been defeated by my body before (pun intended), so going to give it another shot.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Tomorrow's The Day

For my podiatrist appointment, not my race.  I have been walking only for almost 2 weeks now and feel fine.  Some of that walking involved schlepping my son's stuff up and down stairs as I delivered him (for the first time) to VA Tech, and some of it involved marathon shopping for school clothes and supplies, and some of it involved my treadmill.  The treadmill days resulted in the slight tightening of my heels (but no bottom of the foot pain) in the mornings.  One day the really sore spot on the back of my right heel flared up for no apparent reason.  And my foot twinge (outer right foot) is almost non-existent, but makes itself known if I pivot on that foot.  I actually considered running today, just to see what would happen tomorrow...but, probably not the smartest thing...

Wish me luck!

Disclaimer - Not my toes, but crossed for luck anyway!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Appointment? Check!

Well I did it, I made an appointment with a podiatrist.  Unfortunately it's not until next Friday...a week and a day from today.  What am I supposed to do until then?  I felt good today, but the twinge is there.  After Tuesday's walk I did have some mild tightness in my heels Wednesday morning, but no issues this a.m.  I decided to walk again today.  A little longer than Tues, but still in my running shoes.  I think that's a good thing JUST for walking, but only time (and a foot doctor) will tell.
Image Source: Cayuga Foot Care website

Progress Report -
  • Walk 2.5 miles (38'06)
Total mileage - 2.5 miles

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

To Run or Not To Run...

I feel fine, just a slight shadow of the old twinge in my right foot and no heel troubles.  So, my body is telling me to go for it, right?  Maybe...

I decided to walk, and here's the dramatic part - in my running shoes {gasp!}  I really think running would be foolish at this point, so, I decided to walk for a couple miles instead.  But here's the thing, minimalist Vibrams are designed for running and walking is still a heel strike activity.  Maybe part of my issue is that I don't have enough padding for the walking portion of my run/walk/runs.  Sounds logical, but feels like slacking...

Actually the walk was pretty brisk and my feet felt fine, so this may do for another couple of days.  Still have to make that podiatrist appointment.

Progress Report -
  • Walk - 2 miles in 31 mins

Monday, August 13, 2012

Interesting, But Not in a Good Way

Yesterday (Saturday)  my right heel was bad.  Not the bottom, just the back and off center.  It was "make me walk funny" tight, and the spot itself was very tender to the touch.  However, by dinner time I could walk normally without pain and had no pain at all today, not even in the early a.m.  The right foot twinge is there, but barely and not painful.  No other aches in my arches or calves.

Today was a walking around day (shopping with the kiddos) no issues during or after.  Was tempted to run tonight, but held off.  I don't want to admit quite yet, that I may be off running for a bit, so I'm trying to be good...but I am also still holding out hopes for my race in Oct.

I still do my toe exercises when I'm standing in the house or have my feet propped up, it's odd how the small toes are so dependent on each other to move.  If you haven't noticed that, just try to move any of them one at a time...go ahead, try it!
I may just go for an easy walk tomorrow...that can't be too bad, right?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Getting Old(er) Stinks

I ran outside today, which is great!  I suspect I might have a problem in addition to my foot twinge, which is not great.  The backs of my heels hurt in the morning, but it gets better after I walk for a while.  The actual bottom of my heel doesn't hurt on either foot, and it isn't centered on the back of my heel either.  Well beyond my limited diagnostic expertise, so I think I'll have to make an appointment.

I've never experienced this in traditional running shoes, but some of the reading I've been doing indicates that it may be an issue for new barefoot runners because of all the work the arches are doing.

Despite that, I had a decent run today - No calf pain, the weather was nice, and I felt great aerobically. Walk/Run/Walk as usual, and the heel pain went away during the first run...but as I type's back.  No foot twinge during the run, but it's feeling a little tender now. {Big sigh}

Progress Report
  • Walk .25 mile
  • Run .75 mile
  • Walk .25
  • Run .5 mile
  • Walk .25 mile
  • Run .5 mile
  • Walk .25
  • Run .25
  • Walk 1 mile
Total mileage - 4 miles (I lost track of the split times, but the whole circuit took 1 hour 1 min and 7 secs)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Back in the Game, I Hope

My foot felt reasonably good when I got home, so jumped into my Vibrams and hit the treadmill.  I decreased the run and walk time from my Burke Lake work out.  The intent was to get in some run time and strengthen my feet and arches instead of aggravating the twinge in my right foot.  The run felt good, I did notice the tender spot, but after a half mile or so, didn't really feel it. 

The love-hate relationship with my treadmill continues, but I have to admit it has not thrown me off the end or catapulted me through the that's something, right?   I still feel like I'm cheating myself by not being on the road, so that's my goal for Friday.

Image Source:

Progress Report -
  • Walk 10 mins (.5 mile)
  • Run 15 mins (1.5 miles at 10'00 pace)
  • Walk 20 mins (1 mile)
Total Mileage - 3 miles

Several Rest Days Later

I did not run Tuesday as planned.  Part of it was a hectic schedule....early doctor's appointment, work, trip to the vet, grocery shop, cook dinner, and cleaning up my house which had gotten away from me with recent trip packing frenzies.  But the larger part was...the dreaded foot twinge.  I had deliberately rested because of a new twinge.  That one went away, but my old nemesis, the twinge on the the outside (right) of my right foot was back.

The twinge is not as painful as it has been in the past, it was just "there," and not constantly, but definitely on the radar.  So, what do I do today?  Not sure yet, will wait until I get home to see.  I was happy to read a post by Naomi in her The Tao of Me blog that addressed the issue of whether or not to push with an injury (and whether or not the lack of pushing was just being lazy).  Her physical therapist essentially said, no pushing until you are injury free.

I only have two more months until my 10k, but am not going to get there if I'm injured.  I will let my foot decide what to do tonight.  I sure hope it feels like running....

Thursday, August 2, 2012

This is Not Easy!

But very few things that are worthwhile are easy.  Felt great after Monday's run.  On Tues, Wed and today my calves were tight as drums.  Yesterday I actually cringed before stepping off a curb!

I did expect tightness after the short runs I had done for the last few weeks, but did not foot pain.  Still the right foot, but on my left side, not the right where the twinge had been.  So, holding off on any running workouts and will reassess on Tuesday.

Keep your fingers crossed for me!