Focused Running

Second run since returning to “barefoot” running again. It took a week for my calf muscles to recover from the first run and I walked around semi crippled all the time. It’s obviously going to take years for the calves to adapt properly. On the bright side, when I ran on the heels with thick running shoes and threw my feet out in front, the effect of the first few runs was devastating for the whole legs not just the calves. At least with only the calves affected it has no effect on cycling performance – so both activities can cross over easily.

Slow and Focused
Just ran slowly and focused on good form today. I believe that it’s the first time I’ve run on a trail with the Vibram Five Fingers and not once had an uncomfortable “underfoot moment”. The timing for good mechanics is incredibly fine and subtle. There is very small fraction of a second on the outside of the ball of the foot before the rest of the ball makes contact then the foot sinks down towards the heel. It is so easy to get this in the wrong order without realising it – you have to stay focused and re-focused continually. Going downhill is especially tricky because you want to reach out ahead and the moment you do that you land on the outside on the mid-foot instead but won’t even notice it – until one of those nasty “underfoot moments” on a gravel chip or something. It seems that if you make sure that the foot contacts below the body then the foot protects itself naturally.
Downhill Technique
It’s easy to think that going downhill perhaps it would be fine to land on the heel or at least mid-foot because you need to brake somehow. Not so!  Make sure the foot lands below you in exactly the same way – the same order of connection with the ground, but extend the reach of the stride slightly further behind the body prolonging the support. This support just seems to slow down the “free-fall” from gravity – so perhaps this means that the supporting leg progressively absorbs the excess energy in the descent instead of the impact from a foot stretched ahead on a straight leg.

Reebok Ad

Just saw the Reebok TV publicity for their “Zigtech” shoe soles. The screen shows hundreds of animated soles happily bouncing around – each one landing on the heel and pushing off the forefoot. The message is clear that they expect you to run on your heels!

Gait Analysis

It’s a scary thought when you consider that some high tech running shops provide video gait analysis and custom orthotics – backed by medical specialists – yet they get you to run on your heels in your Nikes and they stand there knowledgeably telling you why you need to spend £150 for shoe inserts! What a bunch of highly trained numpties.

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