For nearly a year, I had foot and ankle problems while running. The trouble began after a series of winter snow storms kept me off the road for some months. when I tried to resume my regular mileage too quickly, a nasty case of plantar fasciitis — an irritation of the tendon connecting heal to toes — was the result. This forced me to switch to bicycling for regular exercise.
As the foot pain lessened, I resumed jogging about 3 miles once a week. Whenever I tried to run longer distances or two days in a row, pain returned.
I started jogging on a dirt track a couple of weeks ago. As if by magic, all foot troubles have disappeared. I’ve done over 6 miles on consecutive days without any soreness at all — while running or the next day.
Regular running on the concrete and asphalt of the city streets just seems to have been too unforgiving for the injury to heal. The dirt track has just enough “give” to cushion the pounding that the feet get on the road. It’s to be expected that the softer surface will also aid in the prevention and rehabilitation of ankle injury, shin splints, and knee pain.
According to the heart rate monitor, as a workout, running on the track is equal or better than the streets.
There is a problem with running on the dirt track: going around in circles is boring! The solution is an iPhone packed with MP3s of the Brian Jonestown Massacre!