Can’t…feel…my…toes

The puzzle of the month is this: why is the big toe on each of my feet going numb after just about 5 miles every time I go out on the bike?  This used to happen when I was training for the 1/2 IMs in both Providence and Florida, but I blew it off as a side-effect of knowing nothing about what I was doing, and having shoddy equipment.  I was riding MTB 2-bolt clip-ins for a while, and the surface area was so small that I wasn’t surprised when my toes went numb – it actually kind of made sense.  Now I ride Shimano Ultegra pedals with carbon-bottom Specialized shoes – read: a broader-base pedal and a strong-soled shoe that both spread the pressure on each crank revolution a LOT more than I used to have.

STILL though, the numbness remains.  I’ve been reading some other blogs that talk about this as well as a Beginner Triathlete forum that specifically references this problem, and the consensus seems to implicate the cleat position.  Posters want the bulk of pressure to be transferred to the ball of the foot – this makes a lot of sense, but it’s hard with only about .75 cm of horizontal give in cleat placement to get it right where it needs to go.

I just went on a little 20 mile ride with some hills and varying speeds to test a cleat adjustment (see image: I put the cleats all the way forward) – and I got numb EARLIER.  They came from all the way back, so I really don’t know what to do from here.

Other thoughts are that it’s related to arch height, but that means insoles.  Maybe this is related to the fact that my knees are a bit further out than they should be on the bike, who knows – both, it seems, are related to my foot position, so maybe I just need to get to the bike store and spend an hour on the trainer with them to check out some insoles.  I saw a suggestion on Beginner Triathlete for the Superfeet insoles, but I’ve never tried them – I’ll have to check it out.

Conclusion: nothing conclusive.  But I see there are a few things to be done: (1) refit leg position on my bike and (2) test out a few insoles to see if it makes a difference.  More coming following tests…

Ditching the Garmin Pace Machine

So one of my strategies through marathon training has been to ditch the supercomputer that is the Garmin Forerunner 305 – heart rate monitor, pace machine, and bother extraordinaire…

Un-wired running has been the biggest boon to hitting the pavement – without being held constantly accountable to an artificially-established pace, I am more encouraged to get out and do whatever I can. And I really don’t lose anything – my body and stride have taken to natural pacing, and I can still get all of the data I need (distance, time, and average pace) by starting a stop-watch before I leave and using http://www.mapmyrun.com to piece it all together when I get back. AND ABOVE ALL, I find myself regularly improving with each passing week – I’m actually getting faster WITHOUT a Garmin…who knew that people could ever improve without a supercomputer strapped to their wrist?!?!

Lately the problem has been consistency of training – I’ve just moved back from Guatemala, to New York, so finding time within this new frenetic pace of life is a bit challenging.

Oh well, marathon’s a month out and I feel pretty good about it – did a half on Monday and ran 8:37 miles. I screwed up nutrition (didn’t bring enough), but I imagine I would have been at 8:30 without a problem had I not. 10 days ’til the NYC 18-mile warm-up in Central Park – that should be a good indicator, but my sub-4 hour goal is looking not too difficult.

%d bloggers like this: