Running without Pain
Tuesday, August 09, 2011
These are my current running shoes, and they're really changing the way I think about footwear. I always get leg pain when I run, which sucks because I love running. It's my favorite way to exercise and de-stress, and not being able to do it makes me depressed and irritable. So far, I'm not having any shin or knee pain, and the initial muscle pain I got when I started using these has passed.
The whole barefoot running premise is an interesting one. The theory goes that we constantly walk in shoes that support our feet too much, and our support muscles atrophy. Barefoot running makes you use your control muscles, and also improves your form. When I'm wearing big, supportive sneakers, I tend to heel-strike. Because of this, I don't actually use the arch of my foot as the natural shock absorber that it is. Instead, the impact travels straight up my leg, injuring my knees and shins. As soon as I put on the barefoot shoes(oxymoron alert!), I immediately transitioned to a mid-foot strike. I also find that I immediately notice if I strike slightly oddly, so I am correcting before the problem leads to pain.
Anyway, I'm loving my freaky toe shoes. If you do pick up a pair of five fingers(or an imitation, no judgement) don't push yourself too far, too fast. I was convinced that I could do a shorter, but still long run for my first go with them, a few weeks back. Such a bad plan! I was basically crippled for a week. My calves hated me, with a burning, fiery passion, and let me know that loud and clear. So, two miles was too far. Of course, after limping around in them for a week, I went out and did a 5k, which resulted in some muscle pain, but not as much. Now I'm running 4 miles pretty happily. So do take it slow, and walk in them a lot.