Running: Skill or Innate?

Is running a skill, or something that we are born to do?

According to the recent book, The Running Revolution by Nicholas Romanov, running is a skill that needs to be practiced. Romanov claims that running technique needs to be mastered through rigorous practice.

To me, it seems unlikely that mother nature would’ve forgot to hardwire humans with the ability to run properly. Every living creature on the planet learns to move properly without  instruction; so why would we need to be taught to run?

Continue reading Running: Skill or Innate?

Dealing with Bone Injuries

As a runner it can be difficult to admit when we need to take a break. If you follow me on Strava or Garmin Connect, you may have noticed I haven’t been running much lately. I hurt my foot  waterskiing on August 12th and it is still bothering me almost 2 months later!

Immediately after my waterskiing accident, I could barely walk . Rather than simply taking several weeks off, I continued to run for about 2 weeks – big mistake. Continue reading Dealing with Bone Injuries

Maximize the Minimum: train less, reduce injuries, get faster?

In an attempt rid myself of chronic running injuries, I started running less mileage, focusing on the quality of my runs rather than weekly mileage. To my surprise, I started getting faster, closing in on some of my personal best times. After just 6 months of training this way, I set personal bests at 10 miles 57:29 and 5k 16:39.

Continue reading Maximize the Minimum: train less, reduce injuries, get faster?

Cushioned Fivefingers

The only problem with VFFs is that sometimes after 2 hours of running the balls of my feet start to hurt. Here is the solution I used to keep the balls of feet pain free for 20 miles of running last week.

Last Wednesday I decided to head out for a 20 mile run. I have not ran in shoes other than Vibram Fivefingers since October and didn’t want to go back to my other shoes if I could help it.

For this you need the Komodosport version of the Fivefingers. Carefully remove the Komodosport insole. It is glued down near the ball of the shoe, be careful not to rip it out, just slowly work the glue away from the insole. Once you get it out, position the ball of foot cushion just behind the metatarsal heads. You don’t want the cushions to sit directly under the metatarsal heads, but rather just behind them. This actually helps to encourage toe splay.

You can see a video on how to position the metatarsal pads below.

Add cushioning to Vibram Fivefingers

I have been running in the Vibram Fivefinger Bikilas for about 4 months now. I love them. I feel so light and efficient when running! After a several year break from serious running, I have been getting in shape faster than I expected.

The only problem I have had with the shoes is that even though I slowly worked up my mileage (I am still at only about 15 miles per week as I only run 3 days a week) I was experiencing some Top of Foot Pain and especially painful Morton’s Neuroma near my second metatarsal. The Top of Foot Pain went away in my right foot, but was still present in my left along with the Morton’s Neuroma.
This led me to modify my fivefingers by first stretching the big toe pocket to match the space between my first and second toe. I made a small razor cut between the first and second toe pocket and then stretched them apart almost as hard as I could pull. Surprisingly, it actually stayed that way even after I stopped pulling. I did hear some slight tearing sounds as I did this.
This gave me some relief from the Morton’s Neuroma, but it still hurt, especially on the treadmill. I decided to try putting a metatarsal pad in the Fivefinger Bikilas, but this felt funny. Finally, I went to a shoe repair shop and bought Spenco insole material. This material is about 3 mm thick and can be cut to any shape. It cost me about $10.

Amazingly this worked! My Morton’s Neuroma pain is almost totally gone! I ran a 5k this past weekend in 17:48 with no pain.

Now, some may say that adding  cushioning in my fivefingers defeats the purpose of the shoes. I agree that it does take away some of the ground feel, but there are other reasons that I wear Fivefingers, number one is that they actually feel comfortable on my 3-4E feet, and they allow me to run naturally with a midfoot landing.
I would love to see a Fivefingers model with more cushioning. Now I don’t want a huge heel or anything, but I think a few more millimeters would really improve the running experience especially on gravel roads. Until they do, I guess I will just have to keep adding my own. I have thought about taking my Fivefingers to a cobbler and having them add some rubber to the bottom, but I don’t know how well this would work and don’t want to ruin my shoes.
11/30/2011 Update:
The pain under my second metatarsal has mostly subsided  and I can do most of my runs without added cushioning in my Fivefingers. I did a 17 mile run yesterday at 6:20 pace per mile with only a little pain when finished. Every once in awhile however, the pain comes back. My latest solution has been to take the insole from my Fivefinger Komodosport and insert that into the Bikila. It is much easier to insert this than the the neoprene cushioning I got from the shoe repair store. Also, there were a couple of times when the pain was bad after a long run and I taped a small metatarsal pad to the bottom of the Komodosport insole. This worked great and gave me some extra rock protection.

You can see my updated post here