Tuesday, December 25, 2012

All time favorite shoe - Altra Provisions

Ok, I have only run once in them but I have never had a shoe that seemed to fit me so well and after 90 attempts I have had a few data points. The shoes I have fallen in love with are the Provisions from Altra, they were a Christmas present from my wife.

If you are not familiar with Altra, they are a newer shoe company and only make zero drop shoes. They are not the barebones minimalist which allow all sensations to come through (think Merrell Trail Gloves or Vibram FiveFinger) nor are they super cushioned and thick monstrosities (like Hokas) but they seem like the perfect blend of the two. I wanted the Provisions as they are the stability shoes from Altra and I was hoping that they would help support my sore foot. The way Altra adds stability is a really interesting method that seems to work amazingly well. In all my runs since Surf the Murph, I have had posterior tibilas tendon pain, It has ranged from intense to twinges especially as the pace or elevation increased and it seemed to depend on which shoes I was wearing. I had only recently figured out that some of my shoes caused more pain but on today's run, I had zero pain, not even a twinge. Their stability wedge is indeed just that a removable insert that is thicker on the insole and thiner towards the outsole, here is Altras' description:

Stability Wedge

The Altra stability wedge allows for maximum stability without pressing into the arch and weakening the foot. Unlike traditional stability systems that only provide stability underneath the arch, the full-length 4 mm varus, angled from the outside to the inside of the shoe, runs evenly from heel to toe and accounts for both early and late stage foot collapse. The stability wedge sits underneath the insole of the shoe and can be used in both shoes or a single shoe for those who have collapse on just one foot.

For a good understanind of it watch this youtube video -

What's this mean is when you buy the Provisions you get two removable inserts, the stability wedge and their normal insert which is included on most of their other shoes, here is their description of it:

Support Footbed

Providing some arch support, this 5 mm support footbed gives you the feeling of a more traditional insole. For those new to Zero Drop™ technology, this insole is a good place to start.
So Altra has provided me with a shoe that I can reconfigure either over time or for each run, for now I plan to run with both inserts and have maximum protection and then when I am pain free, I will remove the stability wedge and work to strengthen the foot. I have read that the Provisions without the stability wedge are basically the Altra Intuitions so by getting the Provisions I have gotten some additional flexibility for only $5 more, of course in this particular instance they were a gift. Finally when I really want to work on maximizing the development of my foot strength, I can remove the support footbed insole and simply use the shoe with no inserts whch they refer to as follows:

Strengthen Footbed

Allow your feet to build strength and support with 3 mm of flat insole. For those new to Zero Drop™ technology, this footbed should be broken into slowly. Transition to the strengthen footbed by first wearing it on shorter runs and gradually working up to your regular mileage. For those with stronger feet, transitioning to the strengthen footbed should be easier.

So with that all said, here are the the combinations possible along with the stack height:

Stack Height (total thickness of the shoe):
  • With Stability Wedge and Support Footbed: 25mm (medial heel)/ 25mm (medial forefoot).
  • With Support Footbed: 20mm (heel)/ 20mm (forefoot) 
  • Strengthen Configuration (no footbed): 15mm (heel)/ 15mm (forefoot).
Ok, maybe one run does not provide the definitive data set that would allow me to say these are the best shoes I have ever run in but at least its' a good start.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Interesting lesson

I copied this into a blog post a few months back and thought the perspective was good but of course I never did take the time to post it. Since I think I am starting to figure it out again and it seems appropriate for this time of year, I figured it was time. For those that don't know me, I am Christian and do believe in God, if you are not Christian, don't be offended but think about the concept. Like many concepts in the bible, there is a lot of age old wisdom.  Anyway this devotion came through just at the right time as work, running, life was getting pretty hectic, it's originally from Rick Warren's daily devotion

Buffer Your Schedule

In preparation for a decade of destiny, we've been talking about the need to be physically healthy - that God wants us to take care of our bodies. 
And I want to stress one more time that unrelenting stress harms our bodies. Why do we wait until our health plummets before we decide to create margin in our lives? The Bible teaches that your body needs downtime in order to heal and re-energize.

 Listen to why this is so important: when you're overloaded by activity, you can only think of yourself. You're in survival mode, just trying to make it through another day. And that limits your usefulness in ministry!

 When you have no downtime or margin in your life and God taps you on the shoulder, saying, "I'd like you to do this for me," your first response isn't joy. Your first response is, "Oh, no! Another thing to do! Sorry, God -- I'd like to do that, but I'm just too busy."

 We end up resenting the great opportunities God brings into our lives. But when we deliberately and specifically add downtime into our lives, we become available for God to use us as we head into this decade of destiny.

So when things get hectic, take the time to take care of yourself. You don't have to live on overload. You don't have to live in survival mode. Begin today to build a buffer around your schedule. Then enjoy the benefits of margin -- and see what God does next!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Running injury free, appreciate it

For those that are running injury free, appreciate it. You don't know how lucky you are.

I hope that this winter with some work I will rejoin those that can go for a run without having pain on each step. Whether I like it or not, I am not recovering from the foot injury from Surf the Murph nor the aggravated achilles and calf issues that have appeared as well.

I have re-written this post probably 10 times over the last 3 weeks and keep failing to post it as I really didn't want to face reality and I am just sick and tired of having to discuss running injuries but no matter what I have tried over the last five weeks it just ain't working so I need to do something about it.

The pain is on the inside of the foot, just past the ankle bone above the arch. With that in mind I did my internet diagnosis and am concerned that it may be an injury to my posterior tibial tendon, mainly because there isn't really anything else there. The pain seems at or near the attachment junction to the foot.

I am starting to figure out what aggravates it and what seems to protect it. Running on pavement or uneven surfaces seems to aggravate it although I have found the shoes matter and am starting to document that. As an example my Brooks Pure Grits seem to irritate it, they are nicely cushioned, probably the most cushioned shoes I own. I have found that taping the tendon as I discovered in this link and/or wearing my supportive shoes help, which makes sense based on my diagnosis. The achilles issue is in the other leg and it's different meaning two issues in one. When I run in my Inov-8's they irritate it right at heel cup and at other times it's tender at the calf-achilles junction which goes back to an old injury.

My plan is to document each pair of shoes that I have and see how I respond and maybe I will find the magic pair, and yes this means I might even pull a pair or two out of retirement  The other thing that is irritating and it may be nothing more than the way I run because of the other issues is that both of my calves are tight and seem to tighten up as I ran. The left calf is the one I tore after Superior and the tightness seems vaguely familiar to the way it felt during Superior, so I need to be careful.

Long and short of it, I really should find a Doctor or PT that I am comfortable with but my nature is to do it myself so I will try a few things over the next week and see if I am legitimately making progress and go from there.

One last thing, you should appreciate running pain free, I know I look forward to running that way soon but for the moment (even though I am frustrated about the injuries) I am still having fun too.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Best definition: Jogger vs Runner

This wonderful quote and accompanying image are from Gibson's Daily Running Quotes (http://www.facebook.com/Running.Quotes), which is a super popular place to find great quotes about all aspects of running (oops, and jogging).


Related Posts with Thumbnails