My still-undiagnosed knee injury, along with bilateral iliotibial (IT) band syndrome, has prevented me from participating in two road races that I was registered for; a half marathon on May 31st, and a 5K fun run this last Sunday. I sat out both of these events because I knew I could never convince myself to walk, not run, once the horn sounded. So I played it safe and stayed home to keep from making matters worse.
So what could have caused injuries to hit both legs at once? After much research and going over my training logs very carefully, the only thing that stood out was the new shoes (Brooks PureCadence) as nothing else in my routine had changed. Then, after some research into the shoes, I found out that they were, in fact, stability shoes, an obvious no-no for minimalist runners such as myself.
The fact that the wrong shoe has the ability to sideline a person for months at a time just reaffirms my belief in minimalist running. I trained for (and raced) a half marathon last year almost exclusively in a pair of Vibram FiveFingers (VFFs) without a single incident. And this is how it should be. A true minimalist shoe, better yet, a barefoot shoe such as the VFFs, that allow your feet to flex and move as nature intended, should never be the root cause of any running injury.
On a side note: What irks me is that the owner of the running store that I have trusted implicitly for many years did not alert me as to what I was purchasing, despite the fact that he knew I was a minimalist runner. Lesson learned: Never put all your trust/faith in a running store. Do your research before making any purchase… or suffer the consequences.
You’re probably wondering why on Earth I would “go back” to a pair of conventional shoes if I’m so dedicated to minimalism, aren’t you? Well, I use cushioned – yet minimal – shoes for walking long distances as well as the occasional run, particularly for spring runs, right alongside my trusty VFFs. The Brooks PureCadence were meant to be a replacement for my aging Saucony Kinvaras. Little did I know they were a whole different animal!
As far as treatment goes, I’d like to think I’m attacking it aggressively enough. I’m in weekly physiotherapy sessions, I did a bit of swimming and water jogging (though I should be a LOT more consistent here!) I roll the IT bands with a lacrosse ball and foam roller for about 15 minutes two to three times per day, daily deep tissue massage, and strengthening exercises for the hips and glutes. The best news was having my physiotherapist give me the green light to throw a few short jogging intervals into my walks as well!
My biggest wish at this point is to recover quickly enough to resume half marathon training next month, and, of course, be ready for the actual race on October 18.
That’s it for now, stay tuned for more updates next month :)