After researching every aspect of my ITBS injury, I determined that my shoes are the problem. The Asics Fuji Racer 3, though comfy, did not work with the way I strike and caused me to heel strike more than I wanted. I was wobbly, using the wrong muscles to stabilize myself.

After my coworker Stratton mentioned his barefoot running switch, I decided to look into that further. I discovered that running shoes are generally NOT good for natural running form. In fact, they cause you to put more pressure on areas - like the hips & IT Band - that just cannot handle it long-term.

I hadn't run more than 4 miles without intense pain and weakness in my knee and leg. So I stopped. Pool running and the elliptical became my source of exercise.

Until the other morning. I decided to test the barefoot running. I drove myself to a park nearby with a big soccer field and ran it's perimeter until the pain came back. But it didn't come back. I ran 3 miles, fast, barefoot in grass... without pain! I was striking the ground on the ball of my foot, letting my heel land only a split moment afterward, and my toes splayed out to stabilize my forward thrust.

The pain came later in the calves. Clearly I haven't been using them in shoes.

I ran another test a few days later at a larger soccer field. This time, I ran 5 miles with some sprints mixed in. The ITBS pain flickered towards the end, so I stopped. However, it stopped hurting completely. Typically, after a run or workout, the band would hurt or feel awkward/weak for hours or days after.

Not with barefoot running.

After some more suggestions from Stratton, a seasoned runner who swears by barefoot running now, I purchased minimalist barefoot shoes called the Merrell Trail Glove 3. I ran 5 miles, then 6 a day later. Flying up hills, though some ITBS pain on the downhills... these shoes are the beginning of a new (or ancient, as Christopher McDougall suggests) running form.

I'm thankful to be running again, but my injury hasn't fully healed.

All things with time & patience.

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