It is always a great relief to complete a marathon and know that all the training was worth the effort. The finish for this marathon was even sweeter knowing that I had missed 6 weeks and still able to run a personal best was amazing and an indication that I am really getting into marathon condition.
Now that the pressure to go the distance is off , I can work on some other things. I am going back to the bare foot running. Now I can actually ease into to it. I am looking forward to seeing some good results in building up the muscles around the ankle and the arch as well. I have been doing more reading, all of which support the idea that I am on the right track. I am hoping that the barefoot running will reduce the Achilles issues that I have had in the past.
In an article that I read about the Tarahumara runners in Mexico known for their long distance running there is much to learn about the forefoot striking tendencies that they use. When you land on your heels, you are in essence putting the brakes on your running! This type of running actually slows down your stride and puts more pressure on the rest of your body – over time it takes its toll. However the forefoot running style of the Tarahumara allows the leg to act more like a piston like shock absorber. When landing on the balls of your feet, the leg is never fully stretched allowing the shock to be absorbed by those muscles that are actively being used, i.e. calves. It is a very good article and encourages me to push through the transition process. To aid in the transition process, I am looking into some other sort of running shoes. I hope to eventually be able to run in Tarahumara sandals!
I have also met some ultra runners who are intrigued with the fact that I have been able to run so long in conventional shoes. I am looking into getting either racing flats or trail shoes to help in the transition to barefoot running. With my technique and leg strength, I am “Well on my way to becoming an ultra runner,” as one ultra runner put it! While I am not sure I want to do ultra running, I can see supporting my son who might get into it in time. I would do ultra running with him – but probably not on my own.
There will be more posts as I continue to transition – but for now, I am excited to become a bare foot runner! It is one of those goals that I have long dreamed about and could now become a reality!