“Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one”
Let me begin by saying that I am certainly not trying to convert anyone else. This is about what works for me. It should come as no surprise that I am crossing over more and more to the other side. It certainly makes sense to me as I've always been attracted to what seems most natural in the grand scheme of things.
It all started when I bought new shoes and ended up hurting my knee. When I first saw Joseph, my PT, the first thing he did was have me run with no shoes on. You may remember that he was quite thrilled with my natural running form when I took my shoes off. The minute I put my shoes back on, things deteriorated. So, he suggested I get the most minimalist shoe I could find.
Enter my new Saucony Type A4
It took a while to transition to these new shoes and I discovered new muscles I didn't know existed in my calves, but I was loving this new way of running. My knee did improve and I was able to run my complete half-marathon in my new shoes last Sunday. However, I did start to feel some knee pain around the last 5K. I was probably quite tired by then and my form may have suffered. Then, by that evening and all day Monday, my knee was really sore when I bent it. I iced regularly and took it easy and by yesterday morning, all seemed much better again.
Two things happened this weekend that impacted today's run. First, someone mentioned on their blog that when they wear their Vibrams they sometimes go back to heel landing and that made me think that maybe I was more likely to lose form with my shoes, even though they are minimalist. Second, I am reading "Born to run" and you have no idea how often I am like "yeah!" "uhuh" "of course" nod nod nod :) ...SO. This morning I went for a run and after 2K my knee was starting to hurt...sigh. Hmmmm why not, may as well try. Off came the shoes and off I went, running barefoot on the street (well, I stuck to the white line of the bike trail cause the road was too bumpy). No knee pain...really? After only a short time, there was no more white line and so I put my shoes back on and walked home. Drove to the gym, took my shoes off and got on the treadmill. Did 5.2 miles before I felt it was best to give the ball of my foot a break. My knee sometimes felt tight, but mostly it felt fine and I have no lingering pain. Having learned proper technique with Joseph, my cadence is now quite naturally at 180 steps per minute and I couldn't believe how straight my back was and how my arms pumped without my even thinking about it. Another really cool thing that I hadn't noticed before is that I actually could breath with my mouth closed...I was not at all out of breath! I've fallen in love with this new running form and cadence and today I realized how much easier it is to control when I have no shoes on at all.
Obviously, if I don't want to be running on the treadmill all the time (considering winter is almost 10 months long here), I need to maintain my form with my Saucony's on. I figure if I do at least one of my weekly runs in my barefeet, then I hope my body will become better at remembering and maintaining this form when I have my shoes on.