Barack Obama, spring mornings and barefoot running…
Although there were some reluctant starts in week 3, the glorious spring weather made it worth my while. I had a couple of days with increased anxiety, and although exercise is not a magic bullet, it definitely makes the feeling more manageable. Overall, my mood is definitely better, not to mention continuing increased focus and productivity. This week I built up to 10 minutes total of running per session, which is still not feeling too much of a stretch, with the added bonus that each time I go out I feel a little more comfortable.
Have you heard of decision fatigue? Barack Obama famously said he only wears blue or grey suits in order to cut down on the number of decisions he has to make in day. (He also exercises for an hour every day, understanding that this helps his productivity). While I am not ex-leader of the free world, I get it. The Couch to 5K app takes the decision making out of exercising. The only thing I have to decide is to put my runners on and go, beyond that the app takes care of it all. Worth the $4.49 price tag? Definitely.
Chatting with Phil – sports podiatrist, runner extraordinaire, and all round good guy
This week I had a consult with Phil, our sports podiatrist and also a fellow runner (I’m probably not quite entitled to that moniker yet but…. indulge me?). He is passionate and knowledgeable (he also came 24th in the recent Sydney half-marathon!) and it was a great education.
Since I am injury free (apart from a calf niggle), we talked mainly about shoe choice and strength. First, Phil did a clinical examination and then filmed me on the treadmill. He checked for control and movement. It turns out my ankle range of motion is a bit limited and calves a little tight and weak.
With no glaring injuries or biomechanical issues, the main factor for me is that I am an absolute beginner, meaning my body is not accustomed to running, and so needs a little protection until I build strength. The main protective factors in a shoe are stiffness and ‘drop’- drop is the amount of incline in the shoe from front to back – as a beginner I need a slightly stiff shoe with about 10mm of drop. Phil has written a thorough blog on this topic, well worth checking out. This higher drop shoe will protect my calf until I develop some good strength!
I was always intrigued by the barefoot running trend, and asked Phil why we need shoes when running? It’s all about strength and protection, and while Phil is a big fan of lighter shoes it can take a long time to build up the required resilience to be able to successfully use these.
Thanks Phil for a most productive chat!