Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Of doctors and speed work

Finally went to see the podiatrist about my feets. Being very familiar with runners, I believe he has seen thousands of people with problems similar to mine. Since I am actually still able to run at all, he immediately ruled out injections. After looking at my feet, shoes and current inserts he recommended that I try a different "over the counter" insert before deciding on custom orthotics which can run around $400. He recommended the Superfeet (green) which are supposed to be pretty good about supporting the heel. Apparently, the ones I was using may be a bit stiff and there are sometimes issues with the ones that mold to your feet like this. I was told that a problem with them is that if you don't properly position your foot when they are cooling and molding, they can actually form in a way that will exasperate the problem rather than help. Also, they will mainly mold to the arch area which isn't always what is needed and be too much for people with medium to low arches. The Superfeet focus more on supporting the heel and area behind the arch rather than adding more arch to what your selected shoe provides. Also, the doctor recommended I try a different trail shoe. I'm going to try the Asics GelTrabucco IX and see how that feels. Brooks has a new trail version of my favorite Adrenaline shoe, but it is pretty difficult to find right now. Shoe fetish aside, the doctor also recommended I try using inserts in my soccer cleats as well. He said that sports like soccer and tennis with their side-to-side motion can be much tougher on the feet than the simple forward motion of running (of course, he hasn't seen me pound down a piece of technical single track trail :-)).

I've tried the new inserts on a couple of runs and they seem pretty good so far. Definitely feel good while running and I don't have that feeling of breaking in brand new shoes that I did with my other inserts. Both runs have been under an hour with the first a little over 6 miles and the second this morning doing a bit over 5. This mornings run was a sort of "simple speed work session" that I have started recently. Once a week, on a morning where I have limited time, I am incorporating around 8-9 pickups of 1 minute into a 5.3 mile run. I try to make the pace somewhat intense to the point that it is difficult to hold it for the last couple.

The basic routine is as follows:
  • 15 minute warmup
  • 2 x 1 min. pickups with 2 min. jogs after
  • 3 x 1 min. pickups with 1.5 min jogs after
  • 3-4 x 1 min. pickups with 1 min. jogs between
  • a little under a mile cool down
Not super scientific, but good enough to give a nice buzz. I never find speedwork "fun" while I'm doing it and, in fact, it is the antitheses of everything I enjoy about my long runs. However, nothing compares to the intensity of the buzz that I get when it's over. Once I start serious training again I am going to try and keep weekly speedwork as a part of the program. Maybe build up to where I can push 10 x 1 min. pickups and then start lengthening the pickups and the overall distance of the sessions. We'll see when the time comes, perhaps in December. Next week is the start of vacation time and if I do get any running in amongst hiking in the Andes, boating through the fjords and exploring lakes and small villages, it will all be about fun.


Charters said...

Ok, Steve. I know you are leaving for S.A. this weekend. Do you plan to run there or just hike? Zane always amazed me. I am prob. the least cardiovascularly (a word?)fit person she knows or has ever known. She wore those damn feather weight Asics and those stupid socks I had to look all over Lexington for (with reinforced toe and heel). All I needed was driving mocs to catch up to her. I hope you have a brilliant time!!!! Pls. come to the Derby!!!

Eudemus said...


My Patagonia trip is mainly site-seeing and hiking. However, I imagine I'll try and sneak a few runs in while I'm there. There is supposedly plenty of free time to do your own thing. As for the Derby, I think it would be cool.