My feet still hurt.

Well, mainly my right heel.

It is very frustrating.

As I have written about before, my plantar fasciitis is pretty easily aggravated these days, and I’ve taken pretty much all the medical approaches that I wish to explore: podiatrist, cortisone shots, shoe inserts, etc. At this point, I’m pretty ready to try to solve the problem from the inside out.

I’ve read that it could be dangerous to try to change your running form all by yourself, because you could screw yourself up worse than whatever the problem is that you’re trying to fix, but it’s not like I have a ton of running coaches to pick from, and I’m also not training hard or really running very often, so I think I’m pretty safe if I try to incorporate some changes slowly.

Here are things I’m working on, based on some tips I’ve been reading online:

– Not over-striding. I think I am pretty good at this anyway. My legs are pretty short (30″ inseam) and my stride is pretty short and I’m cool with that. The only difficulty comes when I am running with only one other person and that person has a longer stride. My favorite running buddy Angela has pretty much an identical stride length to mine and a compatible speed, which is nice.

– Leaning very slightly forward from my head to toes, keeping my feet underneath me, trying to use gravity to my advantage, “flowing” forward – very chi :)

– Ever-so-slowly trying to change from heel striking to midfoot striking. I know that I over-pronate, but I feel like the heel striking has got to be the primary cause of the pain. Case in point: I’ve come to actually look forward to running uphill because it forces me to run more forward on my feet and it feels soooo goooood after running on flat surfaces with my heels hurting. How does one change their foot strike? I don’t know; it’s tough. I don’t want to be too hasty with this. Some techniques I have heard so far are pretending that I’m scraping gum off my shoe at the ball of my foot, and pretending I’m like a tiger walking and sort of clawing dirt away with my paws as I go. I like both of those but I also want to avoid pointing my feet too my or aiming my toes at the ground, so I think it’s good to keep in mind a relaxed stance at the same time.

– Stretching. Duh. I have tight Achilles tendons already and if I am trying to (remember, subtly) change my foot strike, the rest of my legs are going to be doing a lot of work they’re not used to quite yet, so I need to streeeetch.

Like I said, my feet hurt today, mainly my right heel, after my three mile Flying Irish run last night. Oh, well. I did try to focus on a midfoot strike and it went pretty well for the most part. I’d get unfocused from time to time and forget, which is pretty much the case with me and all athletic tips and techniques I’m trying to implement – I’m a slow physical learner. When I was successful in keeping focus on that, my feet felt so much better, but my legs (lower legs, specifically) got much more tired. A trade off! I think as my legs get stronger this will only get easier. Fingers crossed.

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