Hi Everyone -
Below is an email question I received from Daniel that I thought was important to share my answer with you all.
Eric, I'm reaching out after reading Born to Run about 10 times, and now halfway through The Cool Impossible. I've been running for about 20 years now (40 years old) and have done triathlons, and recently fell in love with Spartan races a few years ago (have completed 6 of them now). However, at some point each year my running turns to pain with what I can best describe as "posterior shin splints". To combat it over the years I've moved to minimalist shoes (currently Altra Superior 3.5) and more of a forefoot strike instead of heel strike, incorporated some barefoot training, ONLY train off road now, and have been very careful to slowly increase distance by about 10% each week. Plenty of warm up, cool down, stretching, etc, but they keep coming back eventually. It only affects the left leg, on the inside right above the ankle (see attached image for approximate location). I finally saw an orthopedic doc to try to ascertain what is really happening functionally (because I really believe we were built to run and that there must be a mechanical imbalance/weak spot I need to fix, in addition to probably run form tweaks that need to be made). He saw that my left arch was collapsing/weak which explains (to me) why it's only happening in the left leg and not both. I wanted to ask if you thought your balance board exercises will be sufficient to strengthen this area and hopefully help me to finally get past this before I invest in the equipment. Would love to come and train with you one day! Let me know your thoughts as you have time.
Good to hear from you and love all that you are doing to work towards great long term healthy running.
The foot/leg strength in The Cool Impossible will absolutely help BIG TIME and what you should be doing. This is exactly what it is aimed for and should help tremendously. It will fix your arch.
So dive in and remember a little bit goes a long way and dont think more is better. Focus on getting better at it than doing more.
With this, be sure that you are getting good leg/hip extension when you run, as you might be also keeping your knee too bent and can further increase the issues on the left leg. So be sure to add in sprints and the workouts to help with this.
You can also see some drills on my youtube channel
that will help with leg extension. And yes, keep me posted if you plan to come out and visit. I have runners come year round now, but best weather is now thru Oct.