Sunday, June 11, 2006


Who knew? Who knew there was this cabal of runners hobbled with blisters? Well, it's out in the open now, people. So far today I've seen foot p0rn here, here, and here. Coincidence? I think not.

As usual, the RBF comes thru in spades. I have suggestions for bunion blister cures coming outta my ears. And I will try each and every one of them until something takes. Or until I maim my podiatrist-to-the-stars (the stars being the Washington Wizards. On my last visit, Dr. P. told me a long story about how he had to stitch up a gash in the eye of one of the Wizards. I found that oddly reassuring. For when I fall on my face.)

On this morning's six-miler, I tried Dawn's cure of Blister Bandaids. After one day, BB's were a no go. But I'm gonna give 'em a good workout this week, Dawn.

Moving on: Let's talk more about my feet.

Our man Bolder has taken an avid—and I must say most flattering—interest in them, (having had—and overcome—a similar problem—let's just be crystal clear about that) and he sent me a suggestion that had nothing to do with potions, lotions, or footwear. Instead, it's all about stride:
The simple concept behind 'strides' is that a runner's normal cadence is low, and inefficient. When you are running, count your left-foot strikes for a minute. Optimal is around 95... most people stride around 70...trying to turn over more stride will force you to shorten the length of your stride and all kinds of good things will happen with it. For you, you should see less pronation, and less blistering because of reduced foot impact and movement.

So, this morning I counted my right foot strikes for one minute: 85. Not quite optimal, but not crappy either.

But wait! Here's more from Mr. B.: He writes that while "winding down the weekend," reading this excerpt from Runners World (July 2006, p. 44), he thought of me:
Another way to look at how a low cadence manifests itself by having 'too much' bounce in your stride:

Q: My running friends say I have "too much bounce in my stride"... how can I change that?

A: Bounce, or vertical lift, causes your head and body to move up and down too much, wasting precious energy. The longer you're in the air between steps, the more you decelerate. Your quadriceps will fatigue more quickly, too.

To minimize bounce, run lightly—low to the ground with shorter strides, which will increase your cadence (or your steps per minute). Try imagining that you're running below a ceiling that's just inches above your head. Land with each foot-strike as a quick touchdown below your knees. Take more than 90 right-foot steps (180 total steps) per minute, and lean slightly forward so your shoulders are ahead of your hips. Keep your elbows bent at about 90 degrees through the
arm swing, as unhinging the elbows encourages upward motion.

—Bobby McGee, a biomechanist in Boulder, CO has coached beginner and Olympic runners and is the author of Magical Running

So, less bounce, more footsteps, shorter strides, low-to-ground, imaginary ceiling above head: check!

And the sock trials continue.


Mark I. said...

Good advice from Boulder. Excellent advise truth be told. And it is all consistent with the Pose Method which advocates 90 strikes per foot per minute as the beginning point for cadence.

GraceD said...

Feet and socks, the never ending story. I'm lucky that Thorlos work for me. I'm sorry that you've had such an ordeal.

I'll have you know I showed off my feet, as well:

Marathon Mom - post on knee injury with bonus feet porn

I suppose it's inevitable for running blogs.

Bravo to you for this most informative site.

Elle said...

Guess I'm going to have to pay more attention to my cadence. Do you think that'll fix my broken toe?

Bob said...

Stay off those foot fetish websites. I hope the RBF helps you work through this. I can't really help but I am pulling for you.

21st Century Mom said...

But my feets don't have blisters - they have too much party and too few miles on them. Time to put them back to work running! It's nice to know that if I ever do get blisters I can rely on you to help me through it.

Donald said...

So...count your steps, land softly, don't bounce, be light on your feet, picture a ceiling above your head, and decrease your air time. Got it?

Remember when running used to be simple?...

Dori said...

What an educational blog! Who needs school, just head over to the RBF. I thought bounce was related to running bras. :-) Hope your blisters are soon history. Not because I don't enjoy a good foot story, but because I can't imagine running with feet rubbed raw.

a.maria said...

okay, so, monday, when i return, im going running and counting my strides. i'm thinking i lie in the 60-70 range. but honestly, i have no idea!

fun. new games!

Bolder said...

yah, strides -- check.

where's the pics of the wright socks? -- new ones -- not old ones.

Susan said...

I've tried counting - but my attention span is too short.

Running by.... said...

Sounds like great advice. Good luck with this tactic.