Engaging Gluteus maximus & Bare Foot Running- Pain Free Running in just 3 months, a
personal Success Story
Month 1: Training for a half marathon on hills. Incorporate 10 to 15 minutes per week of barefeet running.
There are custom orthotic inserts in my running shoes. My running speeds are 10% slower than my personal bests,
and training miles much less than previous years.
(not surprising when you see the tabulated list (shown below) of "structural" ailments!) But I'm
enjoying the running immensely. I'm not suffering from the crippling Piriformis Syndrome of
two years previously (see Gluteus maximus cure for Piriformis Syndrome).
Month 2: After a two week taper, I go out to run my race. The pre-race hour is
spent using the mirrors in the gym to observe and confirm the following faulty
The actual half marathon is performed on hill country (ski trails in summer), and I run using a
heart rate monitor. It's very sociable.
To correct the above faulty movement patterns, I run like a bandy legged cowboy
with his pelvis looking to the right - at least that's what it feels like. The
foot arches are being strongly formed, and I'm engaging Gluteus maximus at foot fall. I pace
myself with a heart rate monitor, and chat with the other "competitors". I have the
energy to do a sprint finish in a time of 1:55, just 10 minutes slower than my personal best.
The only post race muscle strain is in the right piriformis, and it is mild!
As you can imagine, I'm thrilled!
- Hip medial rotation (both knees are collapsing inward at the moment of foot fall).
- The spine and hip joint muscles are out of balance such that the
pelvis "looks to the left". (See: Left Looking Pelvis for further description).
Month 3: Once weekly 4 Km fun runs are the focus for this month.
My barefoot training sessions
are "teaching by pain" that I need to land on my mid-foot. The most recent 4 km race is run barefoot.
A friendly none-competitor shouts "get that guy a pair of running shoes"! I incorporate running
technique and warm up drills as recommended by Michael Yessis (17). My time is 30 seconds
faster than my previous season's best, without
taxing the heart and lungs!!! - Though admittedly the soles of the feet feel pretty beaten up!
After this month, I throw away my custom orthotic shoe inserts:
I can now run faster and more
comfortably without them. My calf muscles are struggling to take on the extra loading,
so actual running training is kept to a minimum. I have found, amongst other things a clear and
effective plantar fasciitis treatment.
A table of the minor ailments is shown below. The degree of improvement
of each condition is recorded there too.
Improvements in "Structural" Leg Pains noted over a 3 month Period
by Correction of Posture and Movement, and Improving the Function of the Foot Arch and
|"Structural" Leg or Foot Pain in Left Leg:
||Percentage of Improvement Achieved by reforming the Flat Foot Arches,
engaging Gluteus maximus, and
correcting Faulty Movement Patterns.
|Mild Plantar fasciitis
||90% (No pain in sole of foot unless I consciously collapse my knee inward at the moment of toe off while running).
|Mild Posterior tibial tendinosis
||90% (No pain noted upon getting out of bed in the morning).
|Anterior compartment syndrome of tibia when power walking.
||Not yet assessed.
|Slow healing ankle sprain.
||30% (Some things take time!)
|Pes Anserinum bursitis (medial knee pain) associated with tight
medial hamstring muscles and hip adductor muscles.
||95% (I no longer need to do stretches to minimize the limp associated with this niggling pain!!!)
|"Structural" Leg or Foot Pain in Right Leg:
||Percentage of Improvement Achieved by forming the Foot Arches, engaging Gluteus maximus, and
correcting Faulty Movement Patterns.
|Tenderness alternating between posterior gluteus medius and piriformis muscle.
||90% (Only very slight Piriformis pain noted after prolonged sitting at computer!!!)
|Tenderness around the right sacro-iliac joint.
||50% (I assess this by rubbing along the margin between the sacrum and the right hip bone).
|Feeling of tightness under the tail bone (coccygeus).
||75% (responded to chiropractic manipulation).
The following free pilates exercises were instrumental in "fixing" my lower back pain, and flat feet/plantar fasciitis.
As I have already stated, I have thrown away my custom orthotics, and you may be able to do the same - subject to the
advice of your health care professional.
I encourage you to print the following exercises off and put them into your daily routine!
The Monkey (Gluteus maximus workout).
The Runners Squat (Gluteus maximus workout).
Arching the Foot (flat feet arch exercise)
Pointing and Flexing the Foot (flat feet/arch exercise)
Up and Down with a Tennis Ball(Composite exercise).
Have I helped you achieve your goal of freedom from "structural" leg pain?
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© Bruce Thomson, EasyVigour Project