Since I have embraced the minimalistic running philosophy I have suffered calf strain/ache. A number of months ago it was a constant issue. The last couple of months it has not been a problem very much at all. Just recently I did a 16 mile run in the AZ desert. I made the mistake of wearing my New Balance Minimus shoes that are virtually cushion free. They are the closest to true barefoot that I get right now. They are not a zero drop show but they are very close at 3mm.
The last five days since my 16 mile run in AZ the calf ache is back. I decided to look at a cut away drawing of the calf and try to figure out exactly where the pain is. Have a look at this drawing.
After look at the above image I am confident that the strain that I develop is in the Tibialis Posterior. It is not in the larger meaty muscles of the Gastrocmemius. The pain is right down the back center and deep in the calf. It could also be the Achilles but I don’t think it is tendon related. It is muscular.
I don’t have weaks calfs by any means. They are some of the most cut and meaty parts of my body. The calf is probably my most lean muscle on my body. I have alway been a good jumper the calfs have pretty much always been very strong.
The question I have is what causes the ache that I get. I think my friend Sheldon on Daily Mile might also get the same ache or strain and he is trying to master the minimal running style as well. Other that us two I don’t think I read or heard anyone else having this issue.
Is this issue a common problem with barefoot running? I’d say my forefoot play is pretty decent at this point. I tend to think that maybe I am overloading the calf with my forefoot plant possibly. I am not sure really. Right now it only happens on my longer runs (15+ miles) in certain shoes. It never seems to happen any more in my Nike Free 2’s but it did when I started running in them.
So what do you think? Will it work its way out as I get in even more miles in some of my more minimalistic shoes?