Part 3: Transitioning to Minimalist Running
Using Medi-Dyne during the transition to minimalist running.
If you’re just tuning in, I am an advocate of stretching and massage for runners. How do I know all of the benefits of stretching and massage now? And why didn’t I incorporate these great Medi-Dyne products into my recovery and maintenance three years ago?
Well besides the fact that hindsight is always 20-20, I was recently able to put my newly-acquired ProStretch Plus and RangeRoller tools to the test while I was transitioning back to minimalist running. You see, the popular “barefoot” trend requires a runner to build up their foot, ankle and knee muscles. You must build up your muscles and expose them to the shock and stresses that a cushioned sneaker may have absorbed in the past. This transition takes time and patience to avoid injury, and is similar in many ways to the muscle development that takes place while trail running.
After moving to San Francisco over a year ago, I transitioned from running on mostly trails to road running. The city’s hills kept my leg muscles strengthened, but I was quickly losing the strong muscular protection I had built up around my knee and ankle joints. In order to maintain the muscular support my joints had worked so hard to establish, I decided that I would slowly transition into a pair of popular “barefoot” style shoes. On my first runs I found that first, I absolutely loved being able to feel the road under the soles of my feet—my toes having to grab for the road. Secondly, by landing on the forefront of my feet, my calves were tightening up as quickly and as painfully as when I initially started trail running.
To promote healthy muscle growth and alleviate the soreness, I would do a concentrated stretching routine with my ProStretch Plus after each run, focusing on not only my calves, but also my Achilles tendons. I found that this newly experienced “tightness” would travel down my Achilles and into the bottom of my feet. By simply adjusting the angle and wedge on my ProStretch Plus, I was able to increase the flexibility of not only my calves and hamstrings, but also my arches and toes.
In short, I believe that injury prevention and muscle growth can be facilitated by the proper stretching of overly-tight muscles and by “combing” out the knots that develop in damaged muscle fibers, promoting renewed blood flow and muscle repair. I have found the ProStretch Plus and RangeRoller to be my two key tools for ongoing maintenance in my trail and minimalist road running interests. This year I look forward to setting a new road marathon PR at the Oakland and San Francisco Marathons! Finish strong!
For more information on the ProStretch Plus or RangeRoller visit www.medi-dyne.com.