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Wear and tear

March 17, 2010

When you run, you put pressure on your legs, feet and joints of about the equivalent of twice your body weight. It’s logical therefore that the best distance runners should be skeletal and a little bit gangly, while sprinters and short-distance runners tend to be bulkier and built for power. It also logical that any imperfections in running technique will be highlighted more painfully in long-distance running…

NEW YORK - AUGUST 16:  (L-R) Mamitu Daska, Pau...
Skeletal and gangly. Fact. Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that your stride is a metre. Based on this assumption, you will take just over 42,000 strides to complete a marathon. With each stride, you will be pounding your feet against concrete with the force of twice your body weight. A little wear and tear is to be expected.

I’m coming to the conclusion that there’s something less than perfect about how my right foot lands at the moment. For a start, I’ve got a traditional runner’s blackened toenail, which looks delightful and isn’t anything more than occasionally mildly uncomfortable. However, since the Bath Half Marathon, the ball of my right foot has felt a little tender. Again, nothing serious, but just a little less comfortable than I would like.

My conclusion is that I’m probably landing too much towards the ball of my foot when I run. I’m told you’re meant to have a mid-foot strike when running over distance, while short- to middle-distance runners tend to land on the balls of their feet. It’s exacerbated by the fact that my trainers have cushioning at the heel, but little towards the front of the foot.

So, over the next few weeks, I need to change the way I run. Which is a whole lot easier to write than to actually do.

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