Over the last month I keep noticing that I routinely get a bad cramp in left arch. Usually I have to stop and regroup for about 5 seconds before I can resume running. Nothing serious, but it has been annoying/frustrating. I finally figured out that I think my issue and culprit of the cramping in my arch is that I am running too much on my toes on my left foot. I feel like my left heel never touches the ground when I am running. I have been slightly discouraged that I still haven't firmly grasped the concept of forefoot running. I feel like I am almost there, but it hasn't quite settled in.
On Tuesday my 5 mile continuous run was a mini breakthrough for me in terms of having a relative "cramp free" workout. I really focused on where my left foot was hitting the ground. As soon as I would feel a cramp coming on I would slow down, regroup and then would gradually increase my speed. I made note when I did feel a cramp appearing I was running more on my toes. I texted Matt and told him that I felt like I had a "breakthrough" and explained to him the changes I had made when I was running. He seemed to think that it made sense, but would know more after he met with me later in the week.
On Thursday Matt & I met up so that he could film me running and do a quick analysis on my progress. I brought my old running shoes (the ones I trained for Eugene in) so that he could compare the wear marks on them to the shoes that I have been wearing since July. He was very excited to see that the wear pattern on my new shoes reflects a midfoot strike. He showed me the comparison to my old shoes where it was obvious that I was heel striking. He did notice on my new shoes that there is wear around my left toes which is probably the reason for my arch cramping so badly. I didn't have any wear marks around my toes on my right shoe.
He had me run how I had been running previous to Tuesday and then he had me run how I ran on Tuesday. He was able to do a side by side comparison of my stride to confirm that I was running too much on left toes. There was about a 4 degree difference, but enough that it is something that I really need to continue working on. He seems to think that the cramping in my arch is just because I need to have more of a midfoot strike on my left foot. I am fairly confident that I am getting close to resolving that annoyance so that I can run pain free all of the time.
For the first time since I started "running" again at the end of June I feel like I am making huge headway. Things are finally starting to fall into place. Matt even talked about starting to add in some long (er) runs. Right now it is just about banking the miles so that come spring time I can really get down to business.
Pumpkin Pacer 5K Recap is in the works!
Questions for you:
What has been your biggest running breakthrough?
If you have transitioned into forefoot/midfoot running what was your biggest obstacle in learning the new technique?