Preventable mistakes

I finally got the elusive second weekly run in. I’ve had minimal neuroma pain this week so I went for it.

I made an interesting discovery on Saturday that my foot strike was pretty heavy on my left foot. In the middle of some half hearted balancing poses, inspiration struck and I decided to hop between the poses on either leg. On the right leg, I landed softly and quietly, whereas on the left, my heel slammed into the floor noisily. This also fit in with the fact my left leg’s balance is far less stable. This led me on quite a long journey which ended up with me resolving to improve my balance, my hip strength and general hopping abilities. But also it occurred that the poses I was doing were very similar to the POSE running method.

Anyway, after four days of intensive hip and balance training, my legs feel looser and my left leg’s balance is noticeably improving. In another week there’ll probably be symmetry. I have all the muscle strength already from lifting weights, it just needs a bit of more functional training. But the POSE thing stuck with me and after having watched a few videos and read up a bit, when I was running this evening I was trying to focus on pulling my back foot off the ground with my hamstrings.

It half worked. It was pretty weird actually. I felt like I was going really fast and couldn’t slow down, but Strava later informed me that I was at the slow end of my pacing. I think the reason for this was that by lifting my foot off the ground I was shortening the cycle and hitting a higher cadence than I’m used to, which felt like more effort. This is fine; higher footstep turnover means less time on the ground, less time supporting my weight, less range of motion in supporting my weight, and, in theory, lighter impacts. Some of the time I was hitting a pretty solid mid-foot strike on both feet. I’m not sure I felt light, but I was certainly quiet. Other times, it just wasn’t happening and I couldn’t explain why. I think I was probably kicking my foot out behind me slightly rather than lifting it straight up, i.e. lifting too much by flexing my knee and not enough by flexing my hips. Then I came home, watched another POSE video, spent a few minutes jumping, leaning and running very slowly up and down my living room bare foot and felt like I ‘got’ it a bit more, but whether that will still apply when I’m outside and wearing shoes is another matter.

So, the current state is:

1) I have to wait and see now how well the neuroma coped with two runs per week and whether I can keep it up consistently. It can take a few days for this to become obvious.
2) Landing heavily and asymmetrically is a ‘preventable mistake’ which I want to sort out and assess fairly before I head down the slightly scarier routes.
3) The POSE thing is just an interesting distraction but I quite like it because when I do the exercises I put weight through my forefoot and it doesn’t hurt. That gives me confidence to use my body correctly by hopefully counter-acting any conscious or subconscious issues where my body might be thinking “oh, there’s a neuroma, better protect the forefoot”. It is not really my intention to strictly transition to POSE, but I’ll definitely be giving my form a few nudges.

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