Filed under: blister care, Books, Foot Care, Foot Care Products, Footwear, Health, Sports
A few weeks ago I was interviewed by Scott Warr and Don Freeman from Trail Runner Nation. I was honored they asked me and we had fun doing the interview. The subject? What else but feet!
You can listen to the interview on their website, download the MP3 file, or better yet, subscribe to their podcast series through iTunes. Here’s the link to their webpage: FEET – Injury Prevention and Treatment with John Vonhof.
Here’s what they wrote on their website:
One of your most important tools as a runner is your feet. You need to take care of them or your training/race may be foiled. John Vonhof literally wrote the book on how to take care of your feet: Fixing Your Feet. This book is now in the FIFTH edition! John joins The Nation to discuss the basic principles of foot care:
- How you can have healthy & happy feet
- Blister prevention and treatment
- What to keep in a foot care kit
- Taping your feet
The interview is 62 minutes in length, but my interview starts about five minutes in. Enjoy the interview and then subscribe to Trail Runner Nation’s podcast.
Thanks Scott and Don for giving me the opportunity to share a bit of my passion for feet on your podcast.
Filed under: blister care, Books, Foot Care, Foot Care Products, Footwear, Footwear Products, Health, Sports
I love reading the unsolicited email and testimonials from athletes who have discovered Fixing Your Feet. They help motivate me to keep going. Here are two. The first is a simple sentence. The second is a personal story I received last week. Thanks everyone who has passed along their story.
I’m pretty sure Fixing Your Feet has saved most of us at one point. ~ an email from Deb Bosilevac.
Then Billy Pearce (husband, father of 3 boys, nurse and ultrarunner) shared his story:
My many years of ultrarunning with a three shoe size difference in feet caused by a traumatic injury as a child has always been a challenge with shoes and blisters. So I choose ultrarunning as my passion! I have had two DNF’s in the Australian classic Coast to Kosci 240km beach to Australia’s highest peak. So this year my attempt to get a finish was one of real attention to where things had gone wrong before.
This year I had my podiatrist and friend on my crew, (Brad White, from Footcare Woden, Canberra ACT Australia). I attend his clinic monthly as routine and we have planned all year for this race. Brad is also a gifted runner.
Best footcare ever. In over 42 hours 26 minutes of running I needed two stops to attend to feet – totaling less than 15 minutes for both stops! I gave him a copy of Fixing Your Feet and I think we have created a new passion for him.
I found your work after a 48 hour race when my feet become so bad I was reduced to painful shuffle for last 24 hours then weeks of healing. I am now able to race 24 hours on a track without a scratch and as we say, “If you do not have a plan for your feet, you do not have a race plan.” Thanks heaps for the help and advice you give so freely.
Do you have the 5th edition of Fixing Your Feet? Last summer while working on feet at the Michigan Bluff aid station of Western States, a runner’s crew member came up to ask me if I’d sign his copy of Fixing Your Feet. While I signed it, I told him he had a very outdated book the 2nd edition! Every edition has gotten better and larger with a lot of new and updated information. Maybe I am biased, but the 5th edition is the best ever.
If you have older editions, you owe it to yourself to invest in the 5th edition. You can purchase it through my website, Zombierunner, and most online bookstores. At Amazon, it’s available in either print or Kindle formats.
Those of you who are fans of Fixing Your Feet will probably agree that the 5th edition released in the Spring of 2011 is the best one yet. Of course I am biased, but I have seen each edition become better that the previous ones.
Yes, I think the 5th edition is the best one.
My publisher, Wilderness Press, released it as a trade paper version. So imagine my surprise when I received word that it would be released in a special edition hardcover edition for Rodale Press and Runner’s World. Several months ago, in a deal with my publisher, they did a test, offereing Fixing Your Feet to their subscribers. Because the test was successful and the interest was good, they decided to go with a hardcover edition.
If you are interested in Fixing Your Feet in hardcover, click on the link. As you can see from the ad below, they did a great job with the marketing.
Feet are a big part of my life. For the past 15 years, Fixing Your Feet has introduced me to great people. I have enjoyed helping runners at events like Western States; Badwater in Death Valley; Primal Quest in Colorado, California and Washington; Raid the North Extreme in BC Canada; the TransRockies in Colorado; Racing the Planet Atacama in Chile; the Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica; the Avon Walk; the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Breast Cancer Walk; and others. In all these events, I have worked on thousands of feet. In addition, I have responded to an uncounted number of emails from folks asking for foot care advice.
The best part has been the people I have met. Runners, hikers, adventure racers, walkers, and their crews. Athletes walking a fine line between making a cutoff in a race, front runners, back of the pack runners, short and long distance hikers, solo and in groups – all ages. Athletes with a simple blister and others with blisters all over. Athletes in pain, and those wanting to quit.
I can recall many of these people. I remember their stories. Some of you are in my stories. I have learned a lot from each person whose feet I have patched. I don’t pretend to know everything about feet. Together we have learned a lot. I thank each of you for what you have contributed to the Fixing Your Feet story.
I wish all my readers a fun, bright, delicious, warm and cozy, and loving Merry Christmas. I hope you can spend time with family and friends.
I first wrote Fixing Your Feet back in 1996, self-publishing it in 1997. Then came the 2nd edition in 2000, a 3rd in 2004, 4th in 2006, and finally the 5th edition earlier this year. That alone makes it a very successful book.
Do you have a copy?
I have talked to some athletes who have an old edition. As much as I love every edition, I am especially proud of the 5th edition. It is the best of them all. Each edition has built on previous editions.
After all these years, the book remains popular. I was surprised when I saw the sales number for the first six months of the 5th edition. It sold more copies than any previous six months after the release of past editions. Also surprising was that close to 300 copies were sold of the Kindle version of the 5th edition.
This morning I received an email from Runner’s World. The email had been sent to their subscribers. It gave information about a book with “583 secrets for foot-savvy athletes – like you.” It went on to say, “In the pages of Fixing Your Feet, you get secrets…” I wondered if someone had published a book with the same title as mine. I scrolled down in the email and saw the picture of the cover – and it was for my Fixing Your Feet! My publisher and Runner’s World, with Rodale Books, had worked the deal to offer Fixing Your Feet to their readers. The link to their three page website for the book is below.
I am honored.
This 5th edition has received accolades from lots of folks. This promotion by my publisher through Runner’s World and Rodale Books, is an honor. It shows how respected the book is. I hope you have a copy. If you don’t have a copy of the 5th edition of Fixing Your Feet, here is where you can get it:
ZombieRunner – click through to the website and then Books & Magazines
While you’re there, please consider a copy for a friend. Drop me an email and give me your feedback. I value your comments.
You, the athletes, are the ones who keep me going. I wrote Fixing Your Feet for you. Enjoy it.
Filed under: Books, Foot Care, Foot Care Products, Footwear, Footwear Products, Health, Sports
Many athletes use ZombieRunner for their running and adventure racing needs. Don and Gillian have built ZombieRunner into a great website with everything needed for training and racing. Their help and support is fantastic.
They are now running their Black Friday Sale – through Monday, November 28. Their ad is below. Check them out and do your Christmas shopping. Here’s the link to ZombieRunner.
Disclosure: The above links take you to my affiliate page at ZombieRunner. If you make a purchase, I received a bit of compensation. That said, I have the highest regard for Don and Gillian, and ZombieRunner.
Earlier this year, Byron Powell’s new book, Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons was released.
At 229 pages, this book is labor of love for Byron as he seeks to increase awareness about ultramarathons and how to run them successfully. Interspersed amongst his advice are short pieces by 17 well-known ultra runners. This adds value to the books because you received the time-tested and proven advice from Byron and those who have expertise in specific areas.
Everything about running ultras is covered in this book. The why’s of running an ultra, the building blocks of training, training plans, training for 50k, 50-miles, 100k and 10 mile races, trail and road running basics, hydration and electrolytes, nutrition, injuries and other setbacks, gear, choosing your ultras, environmental conditions, the ultrarunning community, going beyond ultras, and barefoot running and ultras.
Having run my first ultra in the early 80s, and knowing now what I didn’t know then, I can truthfully say, “It’s all in this book.” Back them, there was little thought given to nutrition and hydration, things like shoe fit, training for your first 100, and how to run and ultra well.
Byron has done his homework and is well qualified to write Relentless Forward Progress. Than add in advice from the likes of Krissy Moehl, Goeff Roes, Ian Torrence, Adam Chase, Michael Wardian, Dave Mackey, Dr. David Horton, Dakota Jones, Karl King, Scotty Mills, Eric Grossman, Dr. William Henderson, Jamie Donaldson, Megan M. Hicks, Michaal Sandler, Jessica Lee, and yours truly, and you have wisdom hard to match.
I encourage you to check out Relentless Forward Progress at Amazon and get a copy for yourself and another for a friend for Christmas.
Dr. Lewis G. Maharam is the Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon Series Medical Director and the author of the new book, Running Doc’s Guide to Healthy Running: How to Fix Injuries, Stay Active, and Run Pain-Free. The foreword is by marathoner Frank Shorter.
Dr. Maharam breaks the book into five parts: Running for Health, Marathons and Half-Marathons, Running Doc’s Repair Shop, Injury Manual 101, and Sudden Death and Running.
Part I, Running for Health, covers topics like why run or walk, preparation for you race and a race day plan, equipment, and cold and warm weather tips.
Part II, Marathons and Half-Marathons, is a short chapter that talks about marathon history, physiology, and tips on running a marathon.
Part III, Running Doc’s Repair Shop, cover things like aches and pains, colds, flu and sniffles, common maladies, chronic problems and cures, and women’s health.
Part IV, Injury Manual 101, is the most comprehensive. Sections are devoted to feet and ankles, legs and knees, groin and hip, back, and head. The section on feet and ankles is quite good and covers most common ailments. With each topic, Maraham gives a Quick Guide with symptoms, how it occurred, what the doctor may do, and likely treatment. After the Quick Guide, he expands on the subject. Some are covered in depth while others are given a short description. I appreciate how it addresses injuries from the feet up through the knees, legs and hips, the back, and even the head (concussion). These are all important to runners and the relationship to each other is good to understand.
Surprisingly, Dr. Maraham takes only 2 ½ pages to cover blisters, under Aches and Pains. It would have been better to put it in the Injury Manual 101 chapter with a more in-depth description. His blister care advice is very basic and while it will work for some people, it leaves a lot to be desired. He recommends Vaseline for blisters, which I never recommend. Of course, this is my perspective based on my experience. It will help the beginning marathon runner get through her race and treat blisters afterward, but will not educate them on blister prevention and different methods of treatment.
Here is an example of part of a page from the book to show how it is laid out.
In his discussion on plantar fasciitis, Maraham only gives 2/3 of a page to this common injury. He promotes stretching and labels as a magic cure rolling a golf ball under the foot’s arch for ½ hour a day. Do this he says, and by week two your pain will be gone! I am sure many of my readers and the thousands of runners fighting PF would argue otherwise. This injury would have benefited from a more thorough treatment plan.
Even though I do not always go along with his treatment advice for foot injuries, I recommend this book as a supplement to your library because it is always good to be prepared – and the book’s wide range of topics is valuable. It will educate you to the common maladies runners’ experience, and give you basic solutions. Dr. Maraham has the credentials to back up his writing. Check it out at your local running or book store or Amazon.
Disclaimer: I have an Associates Account at Amazon.
Danny Abshire is well versed on the in and outs of running, especially what has become know as “natural” running. Hence the title of his book, Natural Running: The Simple Path to Stronger, Healthier Running. The book’s coauthor is Brian Metzler, the senior editor of Running Times.
Abshire is the cofounder of Newton Running, the maker of the line of Newton running shoes. He has worked with thousands of runners, from beginners to the Olympic elite, helping them improve their form and technique. Metzler has written about endurance sports for Running Times and other well-known magazines. Both are well versed on running.
The book, starts with a look at the evolution to a running revolution, describes ‘natural running,’ takes the reader through the evolution of our running shoes. From there we go to the lab, where the authors examine running form, the science of motion and gait, the biomechanics of the foot, and the whole-body kinematics of running. Then we look at common running injuries, and what they term ‘natural running in an unnatural world. Then Natural Running gives techniques, drills, and an 8-week transition plan for “… faster, better, healthier running.”
In his Introduction, Abshire says his goal of “Natural Running is about teaching people how to run better, more efficiently, and with fewer injuries. Natural running, for him means running the way your body was meant to run.
I found the book to be informative from cover to cover. I loved the chapter on the evolution of running shoes and how their design over time included more support and cushioning, and how studies on impact forces changed shoes. Abshire tracks the evolution of the shoes from the highly supportive and cushioned shoes to the newer shoes aimed at midfoot or natural running gaits.
The Into the Lab chapter gives a self-analysis check that athletes can use to check for alignment problems, and talks about form flaws.
The Science of Motion chapter describes in-depth the three gaits, walking, running, and sprinting, and how understanding this will help in our transition to natural running.
In Foot Biomechanics, we are given valuable information on the foot, its forefoot, midfoot, and rear foot regions. This then helps us understand the different foot types and imbalances, which in turn helps us understand overuse injuries.
In the Physics of Running, the authors explain the whole-body movement connection. Included is what happens when the foot is level, or the heel or toes are elevated, and how this affects our running as we brake, push off, and bounce through the running process. The chapter ends with a look at how footwear affects form-an important point many have not understood.
The chapter, A New Way to Look at Running Injuries, takes us through six simple steps for injury prevention. This is followed by a discussion of impact, rotational and propulsive forces as we move through the body’s forward motion. Common overuse injuries are described in relation to which of the three aforementioned forces are part of their cause.
Natural Running, Unnatural World takes us through an explanation of our form and awkward deficiencies, and how to correct these faults. Then the last two chapters give us Dynamic Strength and Form Drills and a Natural Running 8-week transition plan.
This is one of the best books on natural running I have seen. Many books have been released on barefoot running and similar topics, but Natural Running is my favorite. I’d start here and read this if you are unsure whether barefoot, forefoot, or midfoot or minimalist running is for you. You will come away with the information you need to make a safe and educated transition to a form of running that can return the fun to running.
Over my years, I have run marathons and ultramarathons. All have been run in the common heavily cushioned shoes that as a 200-pound runner, I believed I needed. Six years ago, I stopped running due to a health condition. I am now able to get back into running and I want to. When I do, I will use this book to run more natural. It makes sense.
I encourage you to pick up a copy of Natural Running at your local running store of book store or Amazon.
As a disclaimer, Abshire is the founder of Newton Running and I own a pair of Newton shoes. When I get back into running, these are the shoes I will use. You’ll be the first to know how I do. The link to Amazon contains my link and if you buy the book there, I earn a few pennies.
By now, many of you have ordered and are reading the 5th edition of Fixing Your Feet. One new chapter I added to this edition is, “Getting the Most out of Fixing Your Feet.” Because some people turn to specific chapters, and skip the front material, I have decided to print this new chapter here. Nathan’s story is an important lesson in how to get the best out of the book.
In the 14 years since Fixing Your feet first came out, I have answered many questions about foot care. I have patched thousands of feet at ultramarathons, multi-day stage races, adventure races, marathons, and walking events. If there is one thing I have learned, it is this, the majority of athletes wait until they have problems to learn how to care for their feet.
When problems develop, everything becomes reactive-working to solve an existing problem. Preventing foot problems is being proactive-working to solve problems before they develop. Being proactive takes time up front. Being reactive takes time and resources often when they are not available or when using them may jeopardize the outcome of the event. I prefer proactive.
So here you are, holding this book in your hands. Maybe it’s the first time seeing it or may you have had one of the earlier editions. The question is, how can you get the most value out of it?
I would start by skimming the table of contents, the Foreword and the Introduction. That will give you a feel for the depth of information inside. Then, of course, read the chapters that catch your attention – maybe because you are dealing with those particular issues.
If you are new to learning about foot care, set aside some time to read through the Part One: Foot Basics and Part Two: Footwear Basics. They are the starting point for everything else in the book. Then skim through Part Three: Prevention and highlight the material that catches your attention. When you have time, go back and read the chapters that apply to your situation. Pay close attention to the chapter on Taping.
Part Four: Treatments, is important to cover when you can take in all the information. If you are experiencing specific problems with your feet, read those chapters first. Then skim the others. Be sure to read and study the chapter on Blisters.
Anytime you see products that sound interesting, check them out on the listed websites. Not all of the products are right for you, but I guarantee that many are.
Nathan’s story, below, is a perfect example of how to get the most out of Fixing Your Feet.
As I was finishing the material for this 5th edition, I received an email from Nathan Wilson, who lives in the Kimberley region of northwest Australia. The week before, he had finished the seven-day, 250km, stage race, Racing the Planet – Australia. Nathan had finished some marathons and ultramarathons-the longest being 100km races. Of the 185 starting competitors only 118 completed the race, and most competitors had a lot of problems with blisters from the first day.
Three months before the race, he bought Fixing Your Feet. He read it and learned a great deal about what he needed to do in preparation for this grueling event. Importantly, he learned how to deal with the problems he had had in other races. He learned how to pretape his feet and had the right tapes. In fact he taped his feet three times during the race. He carried seven pairs of Injinji socks and Teko merino wool blend to wear over the toe socks. He used Hydropel at the start of each day. He used Sorbothane insoles for added shock absorbation. For river crossings, he took off his shoes and socks, and once on the other side, cleaned his feet and reapplied Hydropel. Each evening he cleaned his shoes and insoles. When he got into camp each day, he dried his feet and coated them with iodine, and in one instance, benzoin, to dry them further. He watched his electrolytes, to avoid swelling of his feet and hands. For him, the race was an enjoyable experience.
Nathan was proactive from the get-go. Contrast that to others, who did not have adequate protection for the wet conditions, did not know how to use the contents of their “required” foot care kit, did not pretape, used the wrong tape, had not conditioned their feet and bodies for the weight of their packs, and who were reactive to problems.
Nathan wrote, “I realized that the part of the book that focused on working on your feet prior to a large event really had an impact on me. After reading people’s stories of soaking their feet, removing calluses and filing their toe nails, I was motivated to do the same on a near daily basis. It also motivated me to work on my ankle strength and my calves to help my feet. I suppose if I had not done this prep work, all of the taping/hydropel/toe socks etc, would have helped some but it may not have made such a difference. A lot of people have asked about the race and the blisters ‘I must have had.’ I just laugh and tell them that I didnt get a single one.
Nathan thanked me for getting him through Racing the Planet – Australia, a very tough event. I commend Nathan for doing things right.
I hold Nathan up as an example of how to use the material in this book. I could not have found a better example of being proactive.
I challenge you to do likewise.