Jack Heggie Was Right When He Recommended Soft Feet For Endurance Running


FitOldDog's youngest son winning his first 50k trail run

This is the guy who got me into triathlons in the first place, and here he is winning his first 50k trail run at age 39. What better inspiration does one need than an athlete son?

Hi folks,

Megan weighing quarters and dimes in response to FitOldDog's suggestion

I was watching Megan and Duncan counting coins (boring) at our great little business, Johnny’s, in Carrboro, NC, USA, and I suggested that they weigh them instead, which Meghan did without hesitation. To our surprise, $1 worth of dimes weighs the same as $1 worth of quarters – always try to find a quicker, easier way to do things if you can as life is too brief to spend your valuable time counting coins.

My feet are sore as hell, my quads are tight, as are my calves, and I need to sleep, but no blisters on my feet, which isn’t bad for a 69-year old guy who just ran 20 miles on asphalt. Damn that hurt, especially the last few miles, but it had to be done to prepare me for the New York City Marathon. Ten days ago I had an 18-mile run scheduled, but I had to pull out after 15 miles due to sore feet with multiple blisters. What was the difference? I thought about it, considering the possible causes of foot blisters. Remember, your best weapon against sports injuries is your mind.

It occurred to me that sometimes I have blisters on my feet after long runs and sometimes I don’t. This is an interesting, and potentially insightful, observation.

Running with the Whole Body book by Jack Heggie

A great little Feldenkrais-based book on running by Jack Heggie, which shows the power of the mind over body function.

A great runner, Jack Heggie, wrote a wonderful little book on running, based on his study of the Feldenkrais method, “Running with the Whole Body, A 30-Day Program To Running Faster With Less Effort.”  One of the exercises in this book, each of which I have worked through systematically, encourages the development of ‘soft feet,’ which made me think about Hobbits from the Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein. As I cogitated on how to avoid the development of foot blisters, I remembered one of the sayings of ‘The Buddha:’

Fear naturally creates resistance. When we become afraid we close off, we shut down. And when we close off to life we inevitably create pain for ourselves. A tight muscle will sprain, a relaxed one will not.”  Then I thought, “Maybe my feet are uncomfortable because they are tensing up against the pain of running,” so why not try to get them to relax. As I think that most (if not all) workouts should have a goal or point of focusfor this 20-mile run I focused on soft feet. When my feet became sore, I backed off and walked for 20 to 200 feet, focusing all the while on the idea of soft feet. I noticed that my feet actually did soften, which I attribute to relaxation of muscles in my feet and calves. It appears to have worked, as this run went well, with no sign of the blisters that crippled my attempted 18-mile run, 10 days previously.

So, the battle to qualify for Kona continues. It feels so good to not be running right now, while I continue to develop my program of safe exercise for better health as a very proud dad.

-k @FitOldDog


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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.