At some point I'll be able to say that I have strong and healthy feet. The pain is leaving but it seems like it's just a slow process. It's actually feeling really good compared to last week, so good that sometimes I forget that it's even there. And the old me would have taken them out for a test run but the new me is going to wait until the pain is completely gone. At least that's what I'm saying today. The sun is out and that always makes it hard to stay inside. Especially when I want to be working on my barefooting. All the progress that I seemed to make last month with my feet is gone. The pool has just destroyed my feet. I hope I won't have to do it much longer.
Back to strong and healthy feet. There are several exercises that I used a lot in the beginning to strengthen my feet. And I think it really helped. But I had gotten over confident and quit doing them regularly. So I'm back to being a good girl and Julia asked if I would share some of the exercises that I do. Keep in mind that these are good for any runner and not just barefoot runners. And go check out Julia's giveaway while you're at it. She's a super strong runner and although she's just recovering from a stress fracture, she is doing amazing! She'll be at the Utah Valley Marathon with me and I can't wait to see her in person again!
My photographer is my 5 year old boy. Be patient with me. These aren't the best!
My chiropractor taught me this exercise years ago when I was dealing with IT band problems. It is deceptively simple yet pretty hard to do. All you do is stand on one foot, like a stork. You will feel all the little muscles in your feet and legs immediately engage and start to work to stabilize your foot and keep you from toppling over.
When you can do that easily for 30 seconds, do the same thing with your eyes closed. It's much harder.
When you can do that for 30 seconds, stand on something unstable like a big fluffy pillow. I use my sand filled medicine ball. Again, once you can do it for 30 seconds, try it with your eyes closed. I like to mess around and try ballet poses or yoga poses while doing it. Just be safe and do it where you won't get hurt when you fall. It's a great thing to do while doing dishes or blow drying your hair. But it can be done anywhere. Like when you're standing in line or watching your kids play soccer. One more tip, it's best done barefoot so that all those muscles can work.
The next one I found in Runner's World a couple of months ago under a preventing injuries article. This one was specific for plantar fasciitis. While putting equal pressure on your toes and heel, lift your arch. Imagine a string pulling it up and hold it for a couple of seconds, release, and then repeat.
Lift only your big toe and push the other toes to the ground.
Do the opposite and push your big toe to the ground while lifting all the other toes.
Spread your toes out as far apart from each other as you can get.
I'm not super good at this one. But interestingly, my 2nd toe on my left (gimpy) side was frozen and wouldn't move until I physically moved it with my fingers. I discovered this 3 weeks ago. I think that's it's been part of my problem. I can now move it without extra help.
Try tapping your toes individually on the ground like you were playing the piano. I still can't do this one with all of my toes.
The last one is really fun. Try picking up objects and moving them with your toes. Like marbles or sticks or your kid's toys. Anything that causes your toes to grasp things will help with strength.
If your feet are strong, it will translate upwards to the rest of your legs. Your feet are what stabilizes your whole body! Make them strong!
When you are done, stretching the toes and feet feels really good. I have a wooden foot roller that I roll the bottoms of my foot with, although like many of you suggested a tennis ball or golf ball would work well too! I have also heard of a frozen water bottle.
I have also loved my mailman as of late. He brought me a couple of new barefooting shirts from Krista. I love them because I don't feel nearly so self conscious in my bare feet running through town as long as I have on one of her shirts "telling" them that I didn't forget my shoes, I'm just a barefoot runner.
He brought me my shirt from EMZ. Go check her out and donate if you can, to her cause. She'll be running for 24 hours on a treadmill for her charity. She is a machine. She is awesome.
I also won some blister care stuff from Candice's blog and I can't wait to use it. And Lauren sent me a USB with a ton of great new music that's kind of like the traveling pants and is headed to Boston next. And just yesterday I won some music and a circuit timer and jump rope from Megan. I'm so excited! I can't say how much I love the running blogging community. I've met such great supportive people. People who get me and my insanity. Friends that I love. O.k. I'm done being all mushy but I am a girl after all!
Monday: full body weights, 45 minutes pool running
Tuesday: 60 minute spin class
Wednesday: full body weights, 60 minutes pool running
Friday: full body weights
Saturday: 120 minutes of pool running