It’s in the shoes

I’ve signed up for the full 42km. There is much buzz going on leading to our first inaugural KL Marathon. You could say I’m biased, but this is worth participating in simply because if it’s anything that the company I worked for can do well, it is organizing world-class marathon events.

I don’t plan to do the usual Runner’s World Smart Coach training program. It’s not practical for me considering my schedule and time constraints. Furthermore, the effects of oxidative long runs week after week are not particularly desirable if one is to consider the longevity of being an athlete. My body would break down faster and I’ll look like a 40 year old in no time should I continue with this traditional form of training.

Following the philosophy of Crossfit, I planned to do shorter but more intense workouts. I believe this is the way to go because my aerobic base is already sufficient for a 4-hour moderately-paced run. What is needed therefore is to prepare the body for the pounding that it will have to endure. Conclusion: Make sure I run with good posture and strengthen my legs with puke-inducing varied workouts.

A few of my friends, (notably Y) has been complaining of knee problems and this led to their hesitancy in joining these running events. I have a sneaky suspicion that it is caused by one thing. THE SHOES.

Well, it is more of the running TECHNIQUE caused by the shoes we wear. Generally speaking, if our soles have too much cushioning we tend to unconsciously land on our heels. That strike will indefinitely cause stress on the knees and while the force applied to it seems minor for one step, imagine how would it be like to have your patella endure 1000 repetitions of constant pounding during a 21k?

It is really not easy to know whether you’re landing on the ball of your feet (notice I don’t mean tiptoe) or your heels unless you record a video of yourself in action and play it very slowly to track your movements frame by frame. It is definitely a skill to be mastered and it is one that I have only recently started picking up.

This video explains it well.

If anything, the first step is to get the right shoes. The less cushioning the better. As minimalistic as possible. Your feet may hurt for a while but it is as close to barefoot running as you can get, which has always been the right way to move.

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