Since reading "Born to Run" and other happenings in my life, my running mindset is hungry for more, more, more. I want to be great, I want to get it right. I watch form videos on youtube, I try to apply it to my runs. Fore foot strike. I've learned I'm not really a heal striker in the first place. But to land on the balls of my feet with little to no heal-to-ground contact? it's killing my calves and achilles! Is this normal...advice appreciated.
I'm in the same boat, I feel your pain. I've switched from heel to front foot strike. Its been a 2 months, I started slow and worked into it with low miles and progressed up with no complaints or aches. Two weeks ago I went out for a longer run of 7 miles and my left calf just locked up me. I rested it for a week and put two runs in this week and noticed the pain has moved from the calf to the achilles. I guess more rest and recovery is needed.
Leah - be sure you are allowing your heel to hit the ground AFTER your fore foot strike. This is important early on, especially when running slower. And focusing on your cadence will help so you do not over stride. Aim for 22-23 one leg foot strikes per 15 seconds. If you are far from this, you know this is something to really work on.
I am currently going through the same thing. Switching from a heal striker to a fore foot strike. My calves are killing me. Also, I feel like I am in a constant "sprint" mode/form trying to go in slow motion to make sure I use the right technique. I doubt my running form looks very graceful right now. I am going to take your advice as I am not allowing my heel to hit the ground after my fore foot strike. I will also try to focus on the cadence, though I feel my feet are already moving much quicker than they did before. I will do the count.
I really want to get this new technique down so I will be ready to run a 13 mile obstacle race this coming December. Plus, I would like to give my teenage son a run for his money.
also, you just might need to run less right now. Building strength, builds endurance - so think less more often. You can't expect to be doing what you were doing when employing a new technique and using muscles in a different way.
thanks-i just want to run far right now. so running everyday, like im doing now, is probably too much? do strength work outs? what about speed intervals? good or bad right now?
When I changed my running style to the forefoot strike, my calves and achilles got so tight and sore that I thought they might die and fall off. I would get up the next morning and just about not be able to walk. A couple of things really helped me: stretching and adding an extra day off where needed. I found the "downward facing dog" yoga stretch (2mins at a time) to be a huge help. It gets better.
thanks matt, yeah that's exactly how it was! that stretch is a good one. it's gotten better for sure. thanks for the advice everyone!
Oh yes. Your calves will try to explode. They will whimper and cry and pout and do all sorts of terrible things. They will make stairs impossible. Just keep building slowly. That's really the key--if you were a runner before, run a quarter of what you used to run when you're first getting started. If you were only an aspiring runner or a "I didn't know I was a runner" runner, start with very small increments and build up from there. Good luck!
Been there, am there, and hopefully you will continue to improve.. I have worked diligently on building the glute muscles - this helps a lot.. I am now able to run in good form (8:30-9:30 pace) for 9-11 miles (usually off road).
What i have found to make a big difference is
1: single legged balance drill,
2- Bosu ball single leg squat,
3- deep form squat (for me i need a 1/2 inch block under my heals to do it properly), and
4 - believe it or not don't stretch the calf muscle. I don't know why this works, but it does..
5- when i am finished running stretch the hams, IT, quads, and Glutes.. and
6- put on compression socks right after running..
7- rolling using TPTherapy.com aides.
8- The one thing i have not been doing as much, but i think i should do more is Ankle Jumps and running in place.
- I hope this helps..
I will add for discussion.. I am struggling with Soleous muscle soreness after races and fast runs. When i speed up to 7-7:30 pace for Olympic triathlons or 70.3.. When i am 5 miles into it my lower calves (soleous muscle) scream.. My chiropractor says that i need orthotics to stabilize my heal? - I don't get it therefore don't agree.. If I am not using my heal as a striking point ( I land on the outside of my forefoot and role to the inside of my forefoot) .. Any ideas here Eric? Anyone? - Why does speed change things.. and what can i do about it?
Except training, very good thing is comfrey ointment. I higly recommend it. It helps me with recovery after long runs I take without cushion shoe and with forefoot strike.
I think there is a lot of solid advice here. After I sustained my first injury I took a week off and switched to a forefront strike. My aches and pains could easily be solved by watching Eric's instructional video. It's sort of like a light coming on in your car and how mechanics refer to that as the "idiot light." If we wait until it breaks down when the warning signs are there we are...well kind of idiots.
My biggest adjustment has been to actually bend my knees and make sure my heel touches the ground after my forefoot. The snapping of the foot and driving haven't really kicked in. But half way through a run when I didn't think my calf could take it, I adjusted and suddenly without realizing dropped almost a minute in pace. It was light and easy...but sporadic. No Ipod and tons of focus are necessary to do it right! We will see if that rings true again for another 12miler.