Dear Eric Orton,

 I am currently a sophomore at a high school in Massachusetts and running is my passion and God-given gift. Unfortunately my feet don't know that. I've been running for the past 4 years and in the summer of August 2014 I was sidelined with Achilles Tendonitis. I went to see numerous doctors, podiatrists, and physical therapists who all told me the same thing. That I had ran too much and that I needed more supportive shoes with inserts if I was ever going to run pain free again. I met with a physical therapist who was very helpful and helped me to deplete my symptoms but I never fully recovered. Now 9 months later I am still barely able to run one day a week. I recently read the book "Born To Run" and was both intrigued and inspired. What Christopher McDougall said made a lot of sense. Also recently, a friend introduced me to the 100-up drill and I'm have already incorporated it into my recovery regime. I'm wondering if there is anything else I can do to help me get back to what I love to do, while still not being 100% recovered.I have a mid-foot stride and would like to think that I have good form. I am wondering if it would  be a good idea for me to slowly start incorporating some barefoot running as well as the strength training detailed in your book into my training even with still not being fully recovered. I have been through so much this past year in desperately trying to run cross country next year and pain free for the rest of my life so I would highly appreciate if you could help me. Thank you!

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I am no physio but I have been injured a lot.  I would be very wary of introducing barefoot running if you have lingering achilles problems.  There is a big difference in terms of the stress it puts on your body between the style and foot strike technique Eric's book recommends and full on barefoot running.  I found that zero drop shoes (Altra) made a positive difference for me (and then I got a severe IT band injury due to over training...)  

I don't think the foot strengthening exercises will stress your achilles.  You could easily try them and then back off if they make you sore.

Thanks for the insight.

Hi Tim sorry to hear your unable to run. I agree with RT, given you struggle to run 1 day a week I would be very careful running barefoot. It stresses the foot & leg differently & if your already injured it may do more damage. If you hav'nt already try the foot, strengthening exercises in TCI, give them a go, as these target the whole foot, leg & glute. Start slowly and build up & if you encounter pain back off. Be patient and asured Erics philosophies work. I was told never to run again & had orthotics in all my shoes. I believed the medicos & did not run for many years. Then after having orthotics made specially for my runners I did eventually start running again but sparingly. Just over a year later I found Born To Run which lead me to the TCI & now I have no orthotics in my day to day shoes. I do however use small 1/2 orthotics occasionally in my runners when my feet ache. I read TCI 2 years ago now & though I still have a lot to learn, every day I improve & get stronger. Hope I've helped.

Thanks for your input. I will definitely start doing the strength training detailed in the cool impossible. Although I did say that I was running only one a week, it's only because of school and I have been able to run with no problems.



The Cool Impossible by Eric Orton

The Cool Impossible: Run Beyond Limits

“this is by far one of the best training books of the past decade.” - Competitor Magazine

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