I had given up running back in May of 2010 because of a sore tensor fasciae latae muscle. I started cycling instead.
My sore TFL was a mixed blessing. You see, I don’t really enjoy running, but I know it’s the best way to keep my weight down and improve my cardiovascular health. It’s also a sport that requires very little equipment.
Quieted Tensor Fasciae Latae
Since my tensor faciae latae muscle seems to be in a good mood after the extended rest, I decided to give running another go. This time around, I’m using the information I found after much research to avoid aching knees and a mad TFL. I’m running using the barefoot method. I’m not truly barefoot, but pretty close. I’m actually running in water shoes.
From everything I’ve read about barefoot running, you must start out slow. Even the fittest marathoner should severely reduce her running distance when transitioning to barefoot running. I addressed this issue earlier on this blog.
Knee/Tensor Fasciae Latae/Calf Muscle Check
My running mileage is laughable at this stage of the game. I went to the local quarter-mile high school running track with my water shoes and ran ¼ mile then walked ¼. I repeated this a couple of times and then called it a day. It wasn’t that I was unable to run a mile; it’s that I didn’t want to run a barefoot mile and not be able to walk the next day.
When I got home, I didn’t have to engage in my post-running ritual of sitting on the sofa with ice on my knees. Additionally, my tensor fasciae latae muscles were quiet. Getting out of bed the next morning, however, was a bit of a chore. My lower calf muscles weren’t used to the barefoot running action and they let me know it (I was trying to avoid such discomfort).
Getting Back on Track
Because I’m not the spring chicken of my youth, I took a day off and then repeated the same running routine a day later. This time my calf muscles were a little less angry the following day. By my third run, my calf muscles seemed to have gotten used to the routine so I guess it’s time for me to slowly modify my run to remove the ¼ mile walk between laps.
I attribute the fact that I’m not suffering from knee or TFL pain to the barefoot running gait. When I run, I’m not coming down hard on my heels; I’m hitting the pad of my foot which seems to be a natural shock absorber. Rather than explain the barefoot running gait, check out this post where much more articulate and educated people explain it better.