Returned from a few days away. Slightly scaled-down training week and more lessons learned, as detailed below. Also some comments about probably one of the most common running injuries — Runner’s Knee.
Friday 21 August
Just a short run today up a nice little hill near Middlesbrough called Roseberry Topping.
Unfortunately managed to twist an ankle on the way up. Rather painful at the time, but it didn’t stop me running up or down. In the evening the ankle became very sore and swelled up; enough for me to think running was going to be impossible for a few days at least.
Saturday 22 August — Barefoot run 9
On holiday just north of the Scottish border.
Thought I’d try a short run, although the ankle was still sore.
The ankle was almost too sore to run on so I took the opportunity to run a mile barefoot.
A mile warm-up on the road in Terrocs and then removed shoes and socks for the next mile, leaving a mile to jog back. Just 3 days ago I was thinking that my feet had toughened up noticeably, yet on this little Scottish lane I was forced to think again. The surface didn’t look that dissimilar to the lane back home, but it felt very rough indeed. Not rough in a sharp way, no, the road was covered with quite coarse aggregate so the discomfort was more one of bruising than abrasion. Either way, it was very painful, and I certainly would not have been able to run any quicker than a very slow jog (even with a good ankle); it made me realise that I still had a long way to go. When I put my shoes and socks back on I have to say it was bliss. No lasting damage though, so that was encouraging.
Monday 24th August
Took a break yesterday because the ankle really was too sore to run on. Today, just a brisk, short road run. Still not keen to run in cushioned shoes so wore the Inov8 Terrocs and they seem perfectly ok for me as road shoes.
Tuesday 25th August — Barefoot run 10
Still in the Scottish Borders, ran back to the cottage on small lanes — a distance of 8 miles. I wanted to run a little more barefoot today so took the shoes off after a mile (planning to run 2miles before putting them back on). This road surface was slightly better than the one the other day and I was able to run at the same sort of pace I’d normally run for this type of run (probably about 7.30 per mile. After a mile I was aware of soreness under the 2nd smallest toe on my left foot; it didn’t seem too bad, so I carried on for the planned 2 miles. When I stopped to put my shoes on I checked my feet; the toe was pretty painful now. When I looked I was surprised to see the skin on the offending toe torn, revealing a red-raw patch — oh dear, still 5 miles to run. It was much better once I put the shoes on (Terrocs again), but still very sore. Also, the outer ball of my left foot (just below the little toe) was very sore too. I was glad to finish this run — I was hobbling around the house for the rest of the evening!
Tuesday 25th August
Feet too sore for a run today. I recall I set myself a barefoot limit of 5% of my total weekly mileage, in the last 7 days I’ve run 30 miles, including 3 miles barefoot — over doing it again! My feet don’t look too pretty at the moment (I’ll spare you the picture), the old, deep blisters from my first run are long gone, but the skin is shedding in a wholly unattractive way. On my left foot I’ve got a new blister, right where the old one was below my little toe, and a raw patch on my second smallest toe of the same foot.
My left foot certainly suffers more than my right. This is the foot with the plantar fasciitis and consequently the forefoot works hard to keep the tender heel off the ground. This morning my pf pain was quite bad. I think it’s because my left forefoot (and poorly toe) were so sore whilst running yesterday that the heel was taking quite a lot of impact in a damage-limitation role.
Thursday 27th August
No barefoot run today, the raw patch on the toe needs more recovery. Just a 5.4 mile road run in the Terrocs.
Friday 28th August
Same run as yesterday in Terrocs, I really don’t think the toe would manage any barefooting yet. It is encouraging that I’m still running on the road in shoes that are not ‘road running shoes’. I have a history of Runner’s Knee, and my first aid approach has always been to use orthotics to control pronation. In fact, when I was first diagnosed with Runner’s Knee, I got back running with the use of orthotics and very strong anti-pronation shoes.
When I mention Runner’s Knee, I refer to the common running injury brought about by a miss-tracking patella, not ITB syndrome which is often given that name (erroneously, I believe). Runner’s Knee causes pain underneath (behind), the kneecap. It is a very specific type of pain, sharp and grating, and is usually very painful descending stairs. The reason for this is that the quadriceps are literally pulling the patella tight against the femur (thigh bone). Typical treatment involves the correction of faulty biomechanics together with exercises to develop the vastus medialis which helps pull the patella back into its correct position. However, there is now some controversy with this approach. It is now suggested that the miss-tracking patella is, in fact, caused by weak gluteus maximus allowing the femur to rotate internally.
This is all very interesting, because if Runner’s Knee is caused by muscle imbalance or underdevelopment of the glutes, then why are we being told by podiatrist and the running magazines that we need to be inserting things in our shoes and buying expensive anti-pronation shoes?