Who is the Running Minimalism Dummy Now?

At some point I knew that this would happen, a minor running related booboo. No it is not serious, yes I will definitely live to run again.

However, it is the first time since I returned to real running last October that anything besides my knee has bothered me. That is why I am being a drama queen about it tonight :-P.

It is my first injury – post injury and it was running related – it seems that I am back to being a real runner ;-). The worst part is that it was self-induced by my own training mistakes.

The Snowmobile Trail Run

Last Friday, we walked almost 4.0 miles on a pretty tough snowmobile trail in the morning and then that afternoon I ran just over 5.0 miles on the same trail. It wasn’t an easy run and on one of the moguls in the beaver bog, I slipped and tweaked my left calf pretty good, but finished the run without a lot of problem.

The next few days it was sore, but I was still able to run through it and even ran a great 8.0 miler on Monday. On Tuesday night I went out and bought new running shoes the MT20s, which I really liked. However, these shoes are fairly minimal and do work your calves a lot more than regular running shoes or my Peregrines did.

Brain dead me did two pretty tough workouts in those new shoes on Wednesday and Thursday. In addition to transitioning over to the new shoes, I did some cadence work – trying keep up a 90 cadence rate per minute, which resulted in some faster times than usual.

A small problem

The only problem I really had after the runs was that little calf strain.  Apparently the calf was not fully healed when I did these two tough back-to-back runs in the MT20s, which meant that my idea of a transition plan to the them was not such a great idea.

My left calf has really been barking at me ever since I sat down and rested for a while after yesterday’s run. Today was a rest day (I was supposed to have it yesterday, but I wanted to run in my new shoes – not too bright sometimes Harold) and I have worked on the calf with heat, self-massage, TheWife generously did some pounding, kneading and beating on my calf and only a total of 3.0 miles of dog walking (very easy day).

The calf still hurts – not enough to not run if I really wanted to. However it does hurt enough that I “know”, I should let it be for another day or two. While the Tommie Copper calf sleeves are really helping a lot, but unfortunately, I just don’t heal as fast as I used to.

I don’t need to transition

Everything I did with the MT20’s totally went against everything that I had read and been warned about when you first get a pair of minimalist shoes. I basically ignored the need to transition slowly to my new minimal shoes, even though I had read a lot beforehand about why you need the slow transition. I of course didn’t listen, overdid it and am now paying for my stupidity

Everyone can go ahead and say I told you so. .

Yes I was stupid

Those of you out there who are transitioning to the minimal shoes, listen to those who have gone down the minimal path before you! I didn’t think I would need much of a transition – guess what I was wrong – even though I had worn 4MM drop Saucony Peregrines and Earth Shoe Lazers, they did not prepare me for the difference running in a much more minimal shoe.

Also if you are having any problems minor strains or pains in your calves or Achilles, you need to either go really slow on your transition to the next phase of minimalism or possibly wait until the issues are resolved before even starting the transition.

20/20 Hindsight

That damn 20/20 hindsight is kicking my butt right now 😦 and no I am not too impressed with myself. I allowed myself to get caught-up in running in a new pair of shoes, not listening to the experience that others have had or what my body was telling – to slow down and be smart.

After all I just wanted to run in the damn things, which is pretty normal for someone with new shoes. I didn’t internalize what I read from other’s first-hand experience with their transition to minimalist running shoes. Now I understand why for such a major move, most of us (me included) need transition time, instead just going for a run and hope that it works well for  you.

The reality is that

I have to figure out if I am smart enough to let the calf heal. Which probably means rest for a couple of days or if I will run tomorrow if it feels pretty good. I do know that if I run tomorrow, it will be in the Peregrines (which I operated on the last night and took out chunks of misplaced foam & fabric that were giving my heal a blister).

We will see tomorrow how smart I really am :-).

BTW – I think that I will start a much slower transition to the MT20s next week – at least I hope I will be a little more intelligent about it. We will see.


How well do you listen to the advice others give about something related to running?

Have you ever gotten a new pair of shoes and done too much in them, which resulted in downtime from running?

Were you smart about your transition to minimalist shoes?

If you were not smart about your transition to minimalist shoes, what did you do to continue your transition?


14 comments on “Who is the Running Minimalism Dummy Now?

  1. As I am a very new runner I have not had to do this yet but I have read your post with interest and have taken on board your warnings 🙂 When my time comes I will take it easy when it comes to changing my shoes. I really do hope your calf gets better soon. As I said, I am an infant runner but I already have that bug and if I can’t run it makes me crazy 🙂
    Take care and rest up 🙂


    • Hi Jules – The problem is that I know better on this, I usually am not so brain-dead, but I made a mistake and have learned from it – well at least I hope I have :-). It is usually better to get a new pair of running shoes a little before the old ones wear out, so you can break in the new ones a little slower. The calf will be fine, it is just a little strain and takes time and rest to heal, something that I don’t want to do, so we will see how dumb I am and how much longer it will be affecting me, when it wouldn’t be if I rested it properly now. Like you I just want to run. have a great one and remember to keep smiling.

  2. Happy healing, friend. I have been plagued with Morton’s neuroma or a tailor’s bunion – which I didn’t know you could get till I started running barefoot. I ran barefoot for months before I bought Vibram Five Fingers. I haven’t been running in them much since I moved to Oregon because I want to get out on the trail and I’m a little nervous. I’ve been a runner for 16 years and what I love about it is being able to zone out and enjoy the way my body feels .. minimal running just forces to you to be aware ALL of the time.. there are clearly benefits to both. My foot pain is a little too much to bear at times. I look forward to finding a chiropractor who can help me figure it out! (I also blog about running).

    • I don’t try to zone out too often anymore, I want to know what is going on with the old body, now I just have to actually listen to it, instead of bulling my way through. I really don’t know if I will go much further down the minimalist ladder than the MT20’s or a similar shoe, we will see, but I don’t see it happening very soon. Thank you and I will check out your blog 🙂

      • I’ve studied barefoot running quite a bit in my time. For a long stretch in my recent running streak (day 119 today!), I was barefoot on an indoor track. When my foot felt like I had developed a stress fracture, I bought the Five Fingers. It wasn’t a stress fracture, and I do believe that barefoot/minimalist running is wonderful for you but (if you read my blog you’ll understand) my life has gone through some big changes over the past couple weeks and I haven’t had time to dedicate to foot fitness. 😦 That should be a priority! For all of us runners!

        • I did read and subscribe to your blog, moving from Vermont to the left coast is a tough move. I am still working on form and this move down the minimal shoe ladder was another step, I just have to a little slower that’s all. These shoes are much closer to those that I was running in the 70’s & early 80’s so just have to get the legs and feet used to the gear again :-). Good luck on your move and job hunting and after you are out there for a while, I think you will really like it and your feet will too 🙂

          • oh I absolutely LOVE It here! The only thing I’m missing is a job. But the job I had back in Vermont was pretty lame. I’m confident it will work out. Do your toe crunches!

  3. Pingback: AVR – Week in Review 2-12-12 « A Veteran Runnah

  4. Pingback: Tommie Copper – Is Working « A Veteran Runnah

  5. Pingback: My Transition Plan for Minimalist Running Shoes « A Veteran Runnah

  6. Pingback: My Transition Plan to Minimalist Running Shoes « A Veteran Runnah

  7. Pingback: Things Are Getting Better – 2-15-12 « A Veteran Runnah

  8. Pingback: Calf is Not Ready for Prime Time Yet 2-13-12 « A Veteran Runnah

  9. Pingback: AVR – February 2012 in Review « A Veteran Runnah

I moderate all comments, if it is inappropriate it will not be published.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s