Profeet is a custom insole, gait analysis and specialist footwear shop based in Fulham and as they have a marathon sponsorship package running at the moment I thought I would invest in their top of the range 3D analysis service and bag £20 for the Samaritans.
Profeet foot strike
The shop was bustling and seemed to be set up like a swanky gents barbers with it’s leather armchairs and one on one service.
Steve took me through the routine starting with a few treadmill runs alternating between my existing shoe and short barefoot jogs. Then I ran along a track landing on a pressure pad which displayed a moving hotspot as my foot moved through heel strike to toe off. I was fascinated to see that I had a normal arch – I’ve always felt that I’ve been as flat-footed as they come, but nope, I have normal feet.
Steve’s initial shoe suggestion was for a neutral shoe with some minor cushioning but after trying on ten different pairs of shoes with ever increasing stability elements, we finally arrived back at the shoe I came in with – the Asics Gel Kayano 17, a heavyweight in the stability running shoe arena. It was only then that video gait analysis showed a stable foot without excessive movement through the heel.
Having settled on shoe we moved on to the insole formation, which was quite a pleasant experience involving warm foam and a little sit down with a cup of tea.
An hour and quite a bit of running later, I’m ready to leave the shop with my frighteningly white shoes, chunky insoles and very much lighter wallet. I hope they are good for my feet – I’ve had some considerable success with my plantar fasciitis recovery program but I’ve been keen to play things safely as I gradually ramp up the training runs. I’m up to 5k individual runs now so I’ll soon be ready to knock out some proper distance runs and put the custom insoles to the challenge.
My London Marathon acceptance mag dropped through the front door on Friday. It wasn’t unexpected as I’d had to defer from last years event due to a frustrating struggle with plantar fasciitis but it has come around frighteningly quickly.
I’m still supposedly trying to rest my way out of heel pain but now the mag has arrived I feel it’s time to man up and try regain some of the lost fitness.
I’ve been resting, stretching and overdosing on ibuprofen and although I still have pain, I have been able to cope with two 20 minute trial runs without exacerbating the problem further.
I have my fingers crossed for some injury respite. I don’t think you can defer for a second time and more importantly, 2012 would be such a good year to take part in the London marathon, with it being the Olympic year and the year OGB finally gets accepted in the ballot.
My enforced rest from running was initiated by a trip to a pub.
Me and my good lady gathered around a couple of pints of Wandle, pulled out the Moleskin and jotted down a recovery plan to rid me of plantar fasciitis for good and set me right for my already deferred entry to the VLM.
The Plan allowed for 4 weeks of proper foot rest – icing, gentle stretching. It included core training sessions and a bit of cardio in the form of cycling. I have a feeling it might have mentioned a diet but I can’t remember that bit.
4 weeks came and went and I was still limping so I introduced yoga and ibuprofen.
Some 8 weeks of sitting on well endowed backside has had some effect though, an additional 5lbs of lard have been added somewhere and the feet are somewhat more springy – success and failure in equal measure.
Cue the next phase of The Plan – time for structured re-entry into the running world.
I think The Plan might have specified gentle walk/runs but somewhere between home and the start of the Wandle Trail I made the mistake of programming the Garmin. I felt heroic. I set the interval beeper to 5 mins run with 1 min walk – 20 of them! That is 2 hrs of hardcore running with a teeny bit of walking thrown in.
That 1 minute walk is pure torture no sooner has breathing calmed down sufficiently to swig water than the garmin beeps at you to start up again.
I’d happily have ignored it’s little beeps and followed the beat of my own drum but Lynn was with me and she’s not a quitter. I’m leaving her at home next time. I was shattered at the end.
I got home, slipped into my ice bucket and that was it for the next 36 hours.
Completely crippled again. I was forced to drag my sorry body around the house on my hands and knees and could only handle the upright position with the aid of my long discarded hiking poles.
Square one again.
I’ve been using The Stick ever since I suffered with a painful muscular injury to my hamstrings.
It has a very simple design – a slightly flexible plastic stick around which a set of plastic spindles can independently rotate. It is these spindles that work on your muscles to ease out knots and release tension.
It’s extremely effective and a superb substitute for daily massages for those not lucky enough to have a full time masseuse on hand.
You can use it almost anywhere on the body but I have found it particularly useful for the larger muscle groups such as the calves, quads, hamstrings and buttocks. It can be incredibly painful when you first start using it but you can control the pressure and it’s amazing how quickly the muscles loosen up and stop screaming.
I came across the Posture Pro and Footeez at the The Running School, I was just preparing for a high intensity blast on the treadmill but I was suffering from a niggling cramp in my calf. I was quite concerned that I was going to do myself a mischief so the running instructor had me sitting on the floor with the blue nobbly gadget under my calf. The trick is to roll back and forth using your body weight to apply quite forceful pressure to a defined spot. I found it to have a miraculous effect, clearing the knot within a minute or so. I bought these two the very same day.
I find that The Stick is ideal for routine treatment as a preventative measure while it is worth rolling out the Posture Pro when rapid remedial action is required. The Posture Pro does take a little bit of getting used to and is tricky to use without giving you carpet burns on your buttocks as you roll to and fro.
The Footeez is similar to the Posture Pro, another knobbly hard plastic cyclinder but is specially shaped for foot rolling. I use the two interchangeably to relieve the pain of plantar fasciitis. The podiatrist recommended the use of a golf ball for focused massage of the PF which is a far more economical method but I find it quite irritating. It’s hard to apply sufficient pressure to the heel region without the golf ball shooting out from under your foot and scuttling across the room. I soon get bored of retrieving it.
The enforced running respite has resulted in a very slight improvement to my plantar fasciitis pain so I’m motivated to keep up with the recommendations from my podiatrist.
I’ve stuck to the stretches, swapped the running with cycling and been wearing the temporary insoles in my trainers. The only remedial action left to tick off is pool running or aqua jogging.
I hunted around for aqua jogging classes in the local pools but couldn’t find anything at all. I imagined groups of frustrated (ex)runners bounding up and down the lanes.
A couple of weeks ago I found myself next to an empty exercise pool while on a weekend treat at the Sanctuary. The opportunity was too good to lose so I dropped in, grabbed one of the buoyancy tubes as substitute running belt, and attempted the run motion.
I now know why there was a distinct absence of organised pool running groups – this is definitely a solitary experience. You bob around mostly on the spot and may as well tuck yourself away in the corner of the deep end and try not to raise too much concern as you flap away in a frustrated doggy paddle.
I attempted a few different styles with the body either upright or sloped and felt as though I was either cycling or swimming but not running. I discarded the flotation aid to see the affect of adding some realistic arm action. I bobbed around, just millimeters under my nostrils and managed 20 mins without drowning.
It was by no means as exhausting as running, I was exerting myself but I could hold a conversation whereas I can barely gasp out a greeting when I run on land. You do move a little bit so its not entirely on the spot running. I was circling a pillar in the middle of a pool and it probably took me 4 mins a lap. The scenery didn’t get any better but I suppose treadmill runners are used to that sort of drudgery, a waterproof mp3 player would have helped.
It was moderately satisfying and helped delay the stir crazy impulses but by golly its boring.
My running outlook is looking grim again but I’m not completely despondent. I feel the opportunity for experimentation. The sort of experimentation that probably got me into this mess in the first place but blogging fodder nonetheless.
I’ve just been to see my latest running guru and as expected it has resulted in yet another path opening up to me. Another path for me to hobble along and bemoan the runners curse that is plantar fasciitis.
Why don’t experts ever agree?
Of late I’ve dabbled in normal running and then barefoot running of both the truly barefoot and the partially shod variety. I’ve crosstrained, army trained, occasionally weight trained and swung kettle bells to destruction.
Along the line I’ve taken my dose of injury from ITB, spondylolithesis and plantar fasciitis. It would be tempting to pin each ailment to the latest fad but my records are just not that clear.
Almost everyone else is happy to blame barefoot running for my latest spate of crippling PF and although I know it is not conclusive and despite suffering with PF before I discarded the shoes, I’m tempted to go with the crowd and abandon all hope of truly minimalist, pain free running.
Today’s guru was the podiatrist who told me my calves and backside are too weak for barefoot running and that I need to abandon the running school with its fore foot running focus, until I see some improvements in the pain level.
This all makes me feel a little glum.
She did instruct me to find a functional trainer for lower limb strength building and a pool for a spate of aqua jogging. Now that could be fun. Or highly embarrassing.
Time will tell.