Friday, September 10, 2010

Racing Flats

I always see really fast (running) people wearing shoes that look like slippers compared to my big lugs and think "I wish I could wear something that light."  The reason I have big old lugs on my feet is due to nasty ITBS and hamstring-tendon strains that came about in 2008.  Proper footwear, inserts, and stretching/strengthening exercises were the solution.

This past spring I re-developed ITBS.  Even though I've been wearing supportive stability shoes with Lynco orthodics with arch and posted heel, I still got the dang ITBS back.  The solution was again stretching/exercises--this time they said it may be my freakishly tight hamstrings causing the problem--in addition to slacking on my ITB stretches.  I began stretching the bejesus out of my legs, opting out of longer races and runs.  With all the supportiveness and arches, if these problems come back, then what?  Motion Control shoes?  I do not want to go that route.  I decided to go the opposite direction and ordered some Vibram FiveFinger KSO's (early June) and began walking only in them thinking I could strengthen my feet, ankles, legs, etc and hopefully have everything function as intended.  I did a couple tri's in mid-June (Trinona and Rochesterest)  with the old stability shoes, still in the midst of my stretching regimen and the problems seemed to resolve.  The first easy run after Rochesterfest I developed a hip problem.  Not sure how that came about.  Could it be the saddle height on an indoor bike I may have set up a little high (ok, pretty sure I did); maybe it was too much running; maybe overstretching; maybe all of it.  I continued on.  Adding more walking and a little running in the KSO's.   I am now up to 8 miles in the KSO's.  No problems. I am rotating the stability shoes and the KSO's and it seems to be going pretty well.  A couple weeks ago I put the old soles back in the shoes--taking out the Lynco's.  This is my attempt at weaning out of stability shoes and into racing flats.

I raced (see recap below) on Saturday with the stability shoes and got pain during the runs--some nasty swelling on the outer area of my lower left leg (peroneus longus?).  Not sure what from, of course.  The next day I had a 13 mile run to do.  I did the first 6 in the KSO's.  The painful area only mildly hurt during the first half mile or so.  After six miles I switched to the regular stability shoes.  INSTANT PAIN, but not that bad and it calmed down to just an irritating ache.  I did 5 miles.  I was at 11 miles.  Figuring I didn't want the pain to get worse, and to see if it could be the shoes, I switched back to the KSO's.  Pain decreased throughout the last two miles.  Hmmm....  Could the stability shoes be providing too much support?  Are they not allowing my feet and ankle muscles to move as they should?  Not sure.  I did a 4 mile run on Wednesday in the KSO's. Everything seemed ok.  I can't race a du or tri in the KSO's as switching in/out of them will take way too much time in transition.  All my shoes are supportive/stability type.  So, what to do? 
These will arrive later today (fingers crossed):
Saucony Grid Type A4 (click for link)

Can I actually go to a racing flat?  These come highly recommended throughout the barefoot or minimalist (footwear) community.  They allow your foot to function just about the same as it does when barefoot, but with a little cushion, without any real support.  We'll see.  If they fit right and a test run shows no problems I'll test them some more on Sunday in this: CLICK IT. 

1 comment:

Brian said...

Saucony is a good shoe. I know you'll like the flats. You'll even be faster.

Get some 'no socks' workouts in them as well before the weather turns too cold. That way you will know how they feel for your tri's in 2011.