Monday, January 25, 2010

Trial On The Treadmill

The big attempt to restart running was made last Wednesday afternoon in the midst of several days of rain in the Southern California area. After taking 3 ½ days off from running due to ankle problems, it was time to make use of last summer’s big purchase for days like this. Make like a hamster and try to run on the treadmill.

First, a trial adjustment by swapping my three year old custom orthotics with a pair of Powerstep Inserts over the counter orthotics. I hopped on the treadmill and set it on the slowest pace possible in which I could shuffle my feet for a jog. Some minimal pain was felt, but I was more concerned about how the OTC orthotics felt too high on the arch and my Achilles tendon felt some strain. So I hopped off the treadmill after 15 minutes and switched to another over the counter orthotics called Superfeet. I got back on the treadmill and tried to get a feel for the orthotics. Superfeet has a lower arch compared to the Powerstep and also has a firmer feel which really stops overpronation, but from previous experience using both these OTC orthotics, they start to flex more when they get warmer after several miles of running. However, last Wednesday I managed an additional 20 minutes of a slow jog on the Superfeet for a total of 35 minutes between the two different orthotics. So far so good, at least I managed to run.

Last Thursday morning, another rainy day, I decided to try another treadmill run. I wouldn’t normally run two days in a row nowadays whether I’m in pain or not, but if I didn’t try to run last Thursday, my next run would have been Saturday and that would have been too long between runs. Besides I wanted to further test my ankles with the Superfeet orthotics. So I start running as slowly as possible as usual and every few minutes I would increase the treadmill speed. Believe me, the speed of the treadmill was nothing to boast about so I will leave it unmentioned here. My goal was to run more than the 35 minutes I managed the previous day, so 40 minutes would have been good. When I reached that time, I added 5 minutes more, then another, then another until I reached one hour. All the while I kept thinking “am I overdoing it?”, because I could feel twinges of pain during the duration of the run. Thinking about just running 5 more minutes at a time really helped but even though I felt good, I dismounted the treadmill after an hour. Besides I didn’t want my downstairs neighbor to complain to the homeowner’s association about the noise I was creating with my heavy stride on the treadmill.

Well, I survived those two trial treadmill runs without further debilitating myself and the next step was to try a 12 mile run/walk last Saturday. Tune in while I try to compose my thoughts about what happened during the Saturday run.

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