The Case for Flip-Flops!

August 15, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Footwear, Health 

Last week I worked the Gold Rush Adventure Race. We had 11 teams working their way through paddle, trek, bike, trek, bike, trek, ropes, raft, and finally a last trek. The full course was 285 miles, although some of the teams were short-coursed because of time.

I started at TA2 (transition) where racers went from trek to bike, then TA3 – from bike to trek, TA4 – from trek to bike, and lastly, TA5 – from bike to trek. I saw the same teams, TA after TA.

I did not count the number of racers on whose feet I worked. I didn’t matter. My goal, as always, is to get the racer back in the race. I worked on some of the racers feet multiple times.

I quickly noticed a problem.

Racers would come into the TA and remove their shoes. They needed to change footwear – from bike shoes to shoes for trekking and visa versa – and change clothes too. TAs also meant dismantling and packing their bikes, or unpacking and assembling them. This was often done in the sun – and it was hot.

We had tarps set up for the teams to change on. It kept some of the dirt off their feet – but not all the dirt. The tarps were dirty and there was small twigs, bits of leaves, pinecone pods and seeds, and small stones. A lot of stuff to be walked on and stick to socks.

I usually patched blisters and applied tape as a preventive measure. I advised them to keep the tape as clean as possible and not get it wet.

Then I watched as they worked on their bikes, walked around, and sometimes went down into the river. They walked as gingerly as possible over the rocks and sticks. I don’t fault them; they did what needed to be done. I would have done the same.

The problem I noticed was that racers were compromising their feet, and any patch or tape job, by walking around without anything on their feet.

They had bike boxes for their expensive bikes and large gearboxes for their footwear, clothes, food, and whatever gear they wanted to pack. Of all the racers, I remember only a few who had the foresight to pack flip-flops. An inexpensive set of flip-flops might cost $5 – that can easily help your feet.

Flip flops can save your feet

Flip flops can save your feet

So here’s my recommendation. If you are involved in a multi-day race, any race with transitions, or even a one day event where you will have rest times, invest in a pair of flip-flops to protect your feet and any patch job or tape on them.

The same goes for hikers and backpackers. Lightweight flip-flops weigh next to nothing. Another option is to wear Crocs. They provide protection of one’s toes and tops of the feet, which flips-flops do not offer.

There is something to be said for taking your shoes and socks off when resting during a race, multi-day run, or long hike. Your feet like to be aired and if there is macerated because of water, airing them will help dry out the skin. But do yourself a favor and pack a pair of flip-flops or Crocs.

 

Technique: Monkey See, Monkey Do

October 1, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Health, Sports 

This post is from Edward Bugarin, a Pose Certified Running Coach, level 3. Edward sent me this a while back and I saved it. I think it is worth sharing.

I read the article “An Analogy – Weight Training And Foot Care“, and the issue to all the problems mentioned seem to come to the same conclusion, lack of good technique. [ The article was posted in my newsletter editorial December 28, 2008.]

Those of us who strive to improve in what ever we do such as running always look at those who seem to be fast. We attempt to copy what they are doing.

We mimic or imitate those motions hopefully improving our performance. What we fail to understand is that there are many underlying factors occurring that we cannot see. For example, one of the obvious things you see when someone is running is their knee movement. Most of us think that the knee is being lifted. But is it? Lifting or raising your knee will require you to lift 18% or so of your body weight, against the pull of gravity. Repeat this with each step and the pounds begin to quickly add up. On the other hand this almost same movement can be accomplished by contracting your hamstring with the intent of trying to keep your foot close to under your hip. This action only requires you to pull 2% of your body weight upward against gravity. Which action would you rather perform to get the same result?

In weight lifting the movements can also be subtle. At age 58 after lifting weights since 1972 I learned a different way to move the weights. This difference in movement is very subtle compared to what I was doing, but it made a significant difference in effort. Now I no longer worry about joint stress/injuries when weight training. I can go on and on with more examples but the point is that though we train together doesn’t mean we’re going to get the same results. It’s all a matter of our individual technique.

I live on Oahu (Honolulu) and ran the Heleakala “Run to the Sun” a 36.2 mile race from sea level to 10,023 feet in March on the island of Maui. Due to winds in excess of 40 mph during the race and with temperatures of 35° near the summit, not to mention rain and very poor visibility at the higher elevations, and the closing of the road near the summit due to safety, the race course was shortened by 2 miles. This of course did not break my heart.

For long races such as this most runners apply some kind of lubrication to certain parts of their anatomy to help prevent rubbing from their running clothing against their skin. This was my practice as well until I invested the money and time to learn good running technique. It’s been a few years since I started learning good running technique and last year in preparation for the 2009 HURT 100 miler, I’ve run distances up to 40 miles without lubing up. I usually run on trails so this would be a good test to see if running this 34.2 miles on road without lube would be successful. I did carry some with me just in case. I was depending on good technique as my lubrication for my vital areas from getting rubbed raw.

So what happened? As always, a stinging sensation during my post race shower has always been a good indicator where I got a rash from my running shorts rubbing against my skin. During the shower I felt no stinging sensations.

My running shoe for this race as for all my road races is a pair of Crocs (the Beach model). Crocs are like a sandal, but much lighter and it doesn’t absorb water when wet. In the past four years I’ve done this race three times, missing 2007 because of contract work in Iraq. In the previous three times, I’ve run this race in Crocs. I don’t normally wear socks when running in my Crocs but because of the cold, I wore a thin pair of socks.

So what foot problems did I have from the “Run to the Sun” from wearing Crocs? The only problem was cold toes due to the wind and temperatures. The Beach Model of Crocs has holes in front allowing the wind to blow directly onto my toes. The bright side was that once I crossed the finish line I had a pair of dry Crocs to wear at the beach during the post race party and no wet shoes to deal with. Oh yeah, I did not bring any other footwear when I flew from Oahu to Maui to do the race. The only footwear I had was my Crocs.

What I’ve learned after my 50 plus years of running is that using good technique cures almost all your foot problems. So do not blame your equipment and think that replacing it with better stuff will fix your problem. Prevention is better than the cure and in the case of running the prevention is good technique.

What’s the first step to learning good technique? It’s good to know how you run so you can identify your errors. Begin by having a video running analysis done by someone who is knowledgeable in running technique. The video analysis will show all your mistakes. You’ll be surprised on all the errors you have when running. Then take a running techniques clinic. Why? Do you go out and look for a place that you’ve never been to before without some kind of instructions or a map? Then what makes you think just running the way you’ve been doing without good instructions will make you a better runner? As self-taught runners this is very hard to swallow especially if you’ve had some success like placing in your age group. Even the best runners work on improving technique. That’s why they are good. You may not have the engine to be an Olympic caliber runner but that doesn’t mean you can’t improve your technique so you can discover your potential.

Aloha,

Edward Bugarin
Pose Certified Running Coach, level 3
Pose Certified Triathlon Techniques Coach, level 1
PoseAthlete.com

 

Get Your Crocs on Sale

September 3, 2009 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Footwear 

Last week I received an email newsletter from Crocs. They are having a 2 for 1 sale – with free ground shipping. It can’t get much better.

Crocs 2 for 1 Sale

Crocs 2 for 1 Sale

Last Christmas I received a pair of Crocs clogs and have worn them ever since. This summer, while doing foot care at Death Valley for the Badwater Ultramarathon, I wore them for five straight days. Airy, comfortable, easy to clean – I love them. So when I saw the 2 for 1 sale, my wife and I ordered a pair of their golf clogs. Then my wife went back and ordered a few extra clogs.

If you have not tried Crocs, here’s your chance. If you wear Crocs, here’s an opportunity to pick up a few extra pair. Not all styles are included in the 2 for 1 sale, but many are. And that goes for men, women, girl’s and boy’s styles. Just click on this Crocs link and then select  Men’s, Women’s, Girl’s, or Boy’s and look for the 2 for 1 link.

Don’t wait too long or you’ll lose out! Have fun.

Comfy Crocs for Your Feet

March 8, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Footwear, Footwear Products, Health 

This past Christmas, I received a pair of Crocs as a gift. Years ago I had a pair of Holey Soles but they were too small and I tended to wear sandals instead. They are tucked away in the back of my closet. Then I got Crocs.

For those who have never worn Crocs, they are extremely light, with lots of room in the forefoot and toe area. It’s like not wearing anything on your feet. They started in 2002 as footwear for boating, with nonslip tread and waterproof design and materials. Now days, however, you see Crocs worn everywhere.

WebMD  has an article on Crocs: Healthy Shoes or Just Comfy?  They were designed to eliminate plantar pain and achy feet. Those with injured feet, bunions, toe problems, and diabetes are helped by the inner support, heel cups, massaging nubs under the feet, and arch support. They also breathe well and are odor resistant and anti-microbial. An advantage of Crocs over sandals is the protection given the foot, especially the toes. They are also stable with little side-to-side twist.

Crocs Rx

Crocs Rx

The Crocs Rx series offers additional features to relieve heel pain, plantar pain and metatarsalgia; and can accommodate custom orthotics and moldable inserts.

I have worn mine for several months and I love them. They are light and comfortable. I have been wearing them with a lightweight pair of socks during he winter months. As the weather warms, I anticipate wearing them outdoors when gardening. If you look at the images, you’ll notice the air holes in the front and side of the Crocs. These vents provide a lot of air circulation.

Crocs are great instead of flip-flops and may be more comfortable than many sandals. After a run, around the house, after a workout, after whatever your sport is, Crocs are worth trying. I know of a few runners who have worn them running. On my next backpack, I’ll consider clipping them to my pack for use around camp.

Rick Cheever is a Crocs wearing ultrarunner. He relates, “I tell you what, if I had a dollar for every time someone commented on my Crocs, I would have enough to cover next years entry fee! I did end up running most of the race (about 85%) in Crocs. After the first 12 hours, my feet had taken a beating, the muscles were all cramped up and I had received some very painful deep inner blisters on the balls of both feet. Every step was a cramped stinging feeling. This had to stop so I tried on my Crocs I had brought for before and after the race. Boy was I surprised. They felt so light and cushiony – the freedom was wonderful. All the cramping went away and the deep inner blisters did not hurt as much. Of course I wore Drymax Trail Running socks the entire time, changing pairs ever morning. Drymax socks are wonderful and prevented my feet from getting any friction blisters due to moisture build up. I would say a combination between Drymax Trail Running socks, and Crocs saved my feet. They would have been pretty gnarly without the combination.

Regular Crocs' Clogs

Regular Crocs' Clogs

     Further more, I was able to run effortlessly with the Crocs, perfect for running on a flat surface. I must have run over 100 miles with my Crocs. Toward the end of the race I saw a couple of other people wearing them too.

     I think we might be on to something here folks. Anytime I got a pebble in the Crocs, I would move the pebble around and it would fall out the holes in the front, so debris was not an issue, making gators obsolete. My deep inner blisters never got worse and my feet felt so cozy in the crocs. I will wear them again at my next multi-day race!”

So check out Crocs. There are Crocs for sport, casual, work, boots, sandals, fleece lined – even ones with laces. These are great to relax your feet and keep them happy and healthy.

There’s a Croc for You

January 27, 2008 by · 5 Comments
Filed under: Footcare, Footwear, Health, Sports, Travel 

Recently I was doing some Web browsing and came across crocs.com. I would guess that many of you Crocs231372_99415_lg_2have seen these or at least heard of them. They may seem boxy in the toe, but these shoes have become one of the most popular and comfortable, shoe lines ever. Several companies offer a similar shoe.
     In the past few years their product line has grown. Crocs are now offered in styles for work, play, leisure, sports, So popular have they become that they can be bought in your favorite teams color and logo for football, baseball, and hockey; your favorite racing car personality; and college, volleyball tour, PGA 1336657golf, and winter models. Plus, there are models for specific industries like medical, food service – even for the business workplace. Designs and sizes are made for young kids to adults. There’s even fleece-lined model and sandals. Colors range from mild to eye-catching. Models for outdoor wear even come with a more rugged sole.
     The Crocs RX Relief model has a shock absorbing sole to relieve stress on feet, knees, hips and lower back; a roomy fore foot provides comfortable fit with no pressure points, relieving plantar fasciitis and heel pain, metatarsalgia, generally achy feet as well as bunions and other foot irregularities. It has an anatomically designed sole and side air portals to keep feet cool and dry.
     Can you run in them? Here’s a testimonial from Jason, “Just completed marathon number three in the same pair of trusty blue Crocs. They’re well traveled now with marathons 671762in Melbourne, Australia, Las Vegas, Nevada and now Portland, Oregon. Felt somewhat weird running a marathon through the HQ’s of Nike and Adidas in my Crocs but hey, whatever works! Injury free and ready for Tucson come December 10. With 5 marathons completed, I have now run more of them in my Crocs than in regular shoes! Thanks as always.” There are a host of testimonals at crocs.com – in a variety of subjects. I found it fascinating to read through a few to see how people value their Crocs.
     Are Crocs for you? I think you’d be surprised at how comfortable they are. With the huge variety of design, color and purpose, I know you can find a pair for your feet.
     I have a feeling that if we could take a survey, we’d find more people wearing Crocs than any other shoe. They must be helping people to have happy feet.

Clunky Footwear is Trendy

April 4, 2006 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Footcare, Footwear, Health, Travel 

Yesterday’s newspaper had an article on Crocs. On what? Maybe you have seen them. They are the lightweight, colorful footwear that looks like clogs. These unique comfortable closed cell foam Holey structure shoes have a soft pliable feel, provide cushioning to your heels for all day wear, all the while massaging the bottoms of your feet with their textured footbed to promote circulation. They’re lightweight, warm in winter and cool in summer, with a vented design and anti-bacterial material to reduce foot odors.

     These clunky shoes have been talked about on Oprah, and many celebrities wear them. The article calls them the new flip-flops. Made by companies with names like Crocs, Holey Soles (shown to the left), Waldies, and Quark, these shoes are fun – and highly functional.

    I wrote about these back in October and said they were worth a look. The article reinforces my recommendation. I’ll admit that some of you may look at the shape and say, “Hey, they’re Waldies clogs and they look funny.” You know what? Their benefits outweigh their look! I’d toss these on my pack for use as camp shoes without a second thought. Typical weight is 8-10 ounces – per pair! And since they are made from one piece of closed cell foam, they won’t come apart or break down. Choose from an open back shoe or one with a heel strap. The colors are as wild or sedate as you want. All this for around $20-$50.00, depending on the company.

     These great shoes offer foot support with a molded foot-bed for arch, toe and heel support. Their tread is designed to grip and reduce slipping. The inside clings to your feet without toe curl. Quark In the summer they breathe because of their creative ventilation. In the winter, wear contrasting socks.

     The foot-bed has been designed for toe, arch and heel support while at the same time gently massaging your foot-pad. This massaging action helps promote blood circulation and reduces foot swelling.

     Wear them in camp when backpacking, walking at the beach, boating, at the pool, gardening, out shopping. Wear them around the house, while picnicking, or walking to get the mail—you name it.  At the end of the day, hose them down or wear them right into the shower.

     These clunky shoes have become very popular. They’ve been tested on cement and trail and proven extremely durable.

      For those who want to check further, see them at Crocs, Holeys, Waldies, or see several brands at LiteShoes.