|Poppity poppity pop|
Today, then, was my long run. I used the new taping configuration and found it much more comfortable than the previous one, which was so irritating that I stopped in the middle of my 5 mile run on Friday to rip it from my foot. I'm not enthusiastic about decreasing my long-run distance - I have a half-marathon to train for after all - but I did stick at the 8 miles that I've done for the last two long runs and did drop my pace by 60sec/mile. It felt like a really, really slow jog but rather than grumble about this to myself for 8 miles, I used the time to focus on my form.
Chi running is big on body sensing, which involves doing a series of scans for any areas of tension or stress in your body and then relaxing them. Body sensing also helps you to keep track of what your posture is doing and of where your feet are landing. What I discovered was that, as long as I kept my strides short and my turnover high (as a good Chi runner is meant to do), there was no tension in my ankles and feet at all. The first sign of a heel strike made my arch tighten; reverting to midfoot striking made it relax. I also carry a huge amount of tension in my shoulders and neck, and relaxing them also meant that my lower body relaxed too.
So I finished the run - on a beautiful cold, crisp, windless day - with feet that felt relaxed and that certainly weren't hurting. Even now, almost five hours later, my arch feels okay. I'm aware of it being a bit stiff but that's about it. The big test is how it feels in the next 48 hours, but I am cautiously optimistic that I've now turned the corner.
Just to be sure, though, I'll be out walking barefoot along my neighbour's gravel driveway tomorrow.