Calf is Not Ready for Prime Time Yet 2-13-12

Today is day 4 of no running, well actually almost no running. I went out and tried, but less than 100 yards into the run, just shut it down. It wasn’t ready yet and I am not going to push through the pain, just to run a short distance and make things worse. I just have to be patient. It is getting better, but not ready for prime time yet 😦

However, it doesn’t bother me to walk, so I walk. I started my transition plan to my minimalist shoes yesterday and completed day 2 this morning. They only consisted of doing non weight-bearing scrunching of the toes and extending them 10 times. Then going for a 30 minute walk in the MT20s.

I actually felt pretty good during and after the walk. Maybe it was the time of day that I tried to run, I had been in town and doing a lot of standing walking, so maybe that had something to do with it being sore? Will try to run before the day 3 activity and do some taping to help support the calf to give it a chance to heal better.

Just gotta stay positive, smart, patient and this too shall pass :-).

My Transition Plan to Minimalist Running Shoes

I have documented “how not to transition” to minimalist running shoes in my Who is the Running Minimalism Dummy Now? post. Where I plainly say what I did was stupid and looking back, I believe that even more now, than when I wrote it.

The calf strain that I re-aggravated and am suffering through because of running too much, too fast, too soon in my MT20s was totally preventable. I should have listened to the advice given out by other runners who have transitioned to minimalist running shoes, New Balance and other minimalist shoe companies, about the need to transition slowly to this type of running shoe and form.

If I had – I would have run without interruption and not have my calf be re-injured and feel worse than it did in the original injury. As my dad says should’ve, could’ve, would’ve, doesn’t mean rat’s ass when you already have done it.

So I over-did my initial running in my MT20s and am living with the consequences – the question is now that I have learned my lesson, what am I doing about it – since I have had a few forced days off from running to reflect on what happened?

I have been

Doing a lot of research on how I can make the transition to my Minimus Trail 20s a better experience.

I really believe that the running form associated with minimal shoes/running whether it is called Good Form Running, Bareform Running, Merrell Barefoot Running, Natural Running, ChiRunning, Flow Running, Easy Running or any of the other labels that have become associated with running in minimalist running shoes is the direction that I need to go for my personal running style.

New Balance

Since I am running in New Balance shoes, I figured I would go ahead look at the New Balance Site first:

Unfortunately, the New Balance “making the transition” site did not really give me what I was looking for – an actual daily transition plan to break me into to my new Minimus shoes (you notice that it is not the other way around).  So I went looking elsewhere on the Internet to see what I could find for transition plans to minimal shoes.

Several sites had detailed transition plans, but the best site that I found information for transitioning to minimal running shoes was Merrell.com:

Merrell

Part 1

Part 2

iPhone App

The best part for me, was that Merrell has developed a free iPhone App that has a transition plan that you just use to get you transitioned to using more minimal shoes. This is the route I have decided to take.

No Instant Gratification

Like most of the transition plans to the minimal type running shoes, this plan is not going to be done in a week or two, the plan is around 40 days in length and you can repeat workouts if you need a longer transition period.

For someone who is impatient (talking about myself again) and just wants to run in his new shoes, this plan acts as a governor to slow me down. I am not saying that I will follow the plan exactly all the time (no I know me too well), but at least I have a daily idea of where I am supposed to be and I will remember what happens if I start to do too much, too soon – that is the plan any ways.

I Just Want to Run

Unfortunately, for some of us, transitioning to minimal shoes is not that easy and we have to stop and find a transition plan that will work for us. I really, really dislike that I have to go slowly to transition to my new MT20s, but at the same time I want to be able to run in them without re-aggravating my calf injury or causing other unnecessary aches and pains.

That I can’t do this quickly and easily is very frustrating for me, but I also knew when I bought the minimalist shoes that many people were not able to just run in them and had to go through a longer transition period. I honestly thought that I wouldn’t need the transition period.

I was wrong.

To be honest a few years ago, I would not have been willing to go through the transition process, just to wear a pair of damn shoes and would have taken the shoes back and stayed higher on the minimalist shoe ladder and kept running like I always had.

The reality is that

I see many possible positive results coming from this change in shoes and running form, so I want to do it right. I will work through the transition plan, mostly as Merrell’s iPhone App recommends, try very hard not to do more than my body is adapting to and run in my other shoes until I can get the mileage in my MT20s up to the where I can run 20-30 miles a week in them without re-aggravating old injuries or causing new ones due to training errors. Hopefully, my other shoes and my feet hold up to this change – we will see how this works out.

I really do like my New Balance Minimus Trail Shoes, but I don’t like the long transition that it is going to take to be able to wear them as my primary running shoe, but the quick start didn’t work so well. Now I have to show wisdom and patience. Damn – does that mean I have grown up? Nope, just that there are too many good things about minimalist shoes in my opinion, that I am willing to go through the transition process.

My Advice

My advice to anyone who wants to switch to lower on the ladder minimalist shoes like the New Balance Minimus, Vibram 5 fingers, Merrell Trail/Road Glove or any of the many others out there – that you seriously think about getting them a couple of months before you plan to really start needing to run in them full-time. That way you have plenty of time to find out your personal transition needs, if you are like me and one of those unlucky “soles” (sp on purpose), who need a longer transition time, you will have the time you need.

Thank You Merrell

Thank you Merrell for putting together a very good educational series on transitioning to minimalist shoes and the iPhone App that I will be using to keep me a little more honest in my transition to my minimalist running shoes. I don’t think Merrell will mind me using their transition plan to transition to my New Balance shoes – after all it is a free App. Plus using their educational series and App will make me think about looking at their products a little more, the next time I decide that I need a new pair of running shoes. :-).

Here is to hoping that my shoes break me in without further displays of “told you so”. 🙂

Originally written by Harold Shaw published at “A Veteran Runnah” © 2011 – All Rights Reserved. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Harold Shaw and A Veteran Runnah” with appropriate and specific directions or links to the original content.