Just fishing for free advice on the following issue(s):

I do a great deal of running, usually in minimal drop shoes (approx 4mm). I've struggled with Achilles tendonitis since 2011, and used the slant board exercises for help. I made the transition to the B2R shoes in July/August time frame. This was done in conjunction with training for and participating in 2 x Olympic Distance Triathlons. Since late September I've been dealing with pulled/torn gastrocnemius in both legs. I take time off to rehab: 5 days for first pull, 2 weeks for second pull (same leg), and recently pulled it in the other leg. Pull feels like a kick in the leg followed by a dull pain before turning into a tight feeling in the back of the leg.

Things I've done: do a mix of run/walk to ease back in; deep tissue massage; static stretching of the calves; yoga focused on lengthing/stretching the lower back, legs, and achilles; biking; and paddle boarding. I wear minimalist hiking shoes or flip flops for leisure walking and B2R shoes for more aggressive walking.

Any thoughts on a better approach?

- Jacob

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Hey Jacob - few things here.

  1. First off it might have been too much of a jump to zero drop DURING intense training for your Olympic distance tris.  Did you follow the transition program in The Cool Impossible during this time?
  2. If you were having trouble with calf/achilles leading back to 2011, I wonder if you were doing a lot of focused stretching for this which can weaken the muscle and can cause/make you prone to tears in the fiber?
  3. You also might evaluate if you are still allowing the heel to touch the ground after your forefoot strike?

E

Eric,

1) I followed the 6 week transition program offer on TrainingPeaks that came with the shoes. I only wore the B2R shoes for the events specified. I wore Brooks Pure Cadence (4mm drop) for training runs and would do B2R run drills on my swim and bike days. Regardless, I agree that I'm probably suffering from overuse injuries.

2) I didn't start physical therapy for the achilles issue until 2012. The only stretch I've been doing for a long period is ankle drops (hang heels off end of a stair). Otherwise I've been all over the map trying to resolve the issue: focus on lower back pain to ease leg tightness.

3) I know I still heel strike. My wife's photos of me in the transition area/on the course showed as much. I wonder if this is due to over striding or a slow pace cadence (160-164 a minute). Seems to be an issue I've been unable to resolve.

I have read your book and watched your run form videos, incorporating some aspects of what you discussed into my training regimen. I appreciate you taking the time to respond and if you have any suggestions for a long term fix I'm more than willing to try.

-Jacob

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