Since I am a little late at getting the recipes I planned on sharing with you this week, I figured I'd update you on how my first two mini-runs have gone.
One of the suggestions ALWAYS given regarding changing one's stride from heel striking to mid or forefoot striking is that the transition should take place VERY SLOWLY. When you change your gait, you also change the muscles you use. Specifically, when you run on your forefoot, you work your calves much more and you put more stress on your Achilles tendons. This may be a good thing since I never developed calve pain or problems with my Achilles in the past. As a matter of fact, as my podiatrist listened to my ongoing and every-changing problems with my feet, he was amazed that I didn't have any problems with my Achilles. He even stressed that "if it gets into there," there wasn't going to be much he could do about it. Glad "it" didn't get there!
Keeping the "slow transition" in mind, I decided to run a .6 mile little loop near my home. I ran it on Monday and Wednesday, and I'll do a last run for the week tomorrow. Honestly, it's a little difficult to run on my forefeet. I definitely have a problem striking midfoot, because I am trying so hard to NOT hit my heels. It takes a lot of concentration and as I get a little tired(I even get tired running .6 miles), I feel myself dropping my heels and plodding along. It also becomes a little difficult because the loop I do is down a hill and up a hill. I planned on walking to the track that is very close to my house, but on Monday, the football team was there. I was NOT going to start my running in front of a high school football team. It took a lot of courage just to put shorts on!
I had a little pain in one of my calves, but it definitely wasn't debilitating. My feet still hurt a bit everyday, but they aren't any worse after I run. And, since I don't hit my heels, they don't get sore.
I plan on continuing with the .6 miles until it becomes more comfortable/natural to stride that way. Maybe I will try a mile by the end of next week. One thing that is sure to help is losing some of that weight that I mentioned before. I will try to work that into my program now - baby steps, well at least for me.