Friday, June 1, 2012

Barefoot running - accepted science?

I mentioned earlier that I've had a bit of an extended layoff.  What I had was posterial tibialis tendonitis in my left ankle.  This is a result of some crazy-hard training in Feb/March (I did set a PR in the 10k, though, so there is that) and an ill-advised three day jog through Asia that included an informal 5k on the Great Wall, a day of hiking in the mountains of Japan, and a makeshift 10k through the cherry blossoms of Tokyo.  This was followed up by a 150 mile bike race the following weekend.  Maybe I overdid it just a touch.

The fact that I broke this particular ankle in an especially horrific manner 12 years ago has a lot to do with it too.

The thing felt like somebody gummed up the works with equal amounts of gelatinous sludge and Geneva-convention defying torture.  Off to the doctor.  Spent two weeks in a walking boot and another out but doing nothing (swimming was allowed, cycling and running were not).

I'm cleared to run and bike now but in limited quantities (10% rule and all of that).  He knows about the race schedule and I've been cleared for that - I just have to take it easy.  His prescription, though, was interesting.  When I asked him how to prevent this from happening again, he didn't even hesitate.  "Barefoot running," he said.  When I suggested there was a debate about it (and, again, I'm already a proponent) he told me he doesn't even think it is a debate anymore.  "It's just common sense," he said.  "You train barefoot, your foot and your tendons get stronger.  Break in gradually but it's a great prophylactic."

I wasn't aware we'd moved past the debate, but I don't need to be told twice.  So one day a week is going to be spent running in the Vibrams.

1 comment:

  1. We spent tons of time running barefoot in college during the pre-season. I still love to feel the grass between by toes and consider walking around the house barefoot just part of my training! :)