To Hell and Back

To Hell and Back

A journey from despair and across a continent. At Rocktape, we’re used to working with elite athletes and are familiar with the extreme rigors through which they put themselves.  Whether it’s the punishing cross-training regime of premiership rugby players, or the suffering endured by those gluttons for punishment, Ironmen, we now generally accept their efforts with admiration, but rarely awe.  Well, that was until we got an email from Tom Fitzsimons. 20 years ago, Tom descended into alcoholism, a condition and addiction from which very few people ever emerge remotely intact.  6 years ago, Tom managed to resolve to get himself well and has now been completely sober for 5 years.  Part of Tom’s rehabilitation was running, to such a degree that he completed the gruelling Marathon Des Sables (6 days, 6 marathons across the sands of the Sahara).  If the story were to end here, it would represent a miraculous recovery and an achievement requiring a level of determination on par with any in world sport – but it doesn’t. Tom is currently running across America.  Yes, America.  3,100 miles in 100 days.  When we read this, there was a moment of stunned silence, followed by the air turning slightly blue as the maths sunk in.  31 miles per day for 100 days, across several mountain ranges, through temperatures in the mid-40s – the man must be bonkers – but doing it he is.  From San Francisco to Coney Island, New York, aiming to arrive on the 27<sup>th</sup> August. To say we’re proud to be helping Tom is a colossal understatement and we wish him the very best...
Rocktape for barefoot running styles

Rocktape for barefoot running styles

Calf Muscles Most people who go from conventional running shoes to barefoot or minimalist footwear, will at some point, feel their calves; and some will feel them rather a lot. A couple of factors cause this: • Increased heel drop: Conventional shoes normally raise your heel 15-22mm relative to the ball of the foot. This lets you get away with (and possibly even encourages) stiff ankle joints and tight calf muscles. • Impact: Moving away from heel-strike towards a fore/mid foot landing results in relatively more work from your calf (rather than shin and knee) So now your calves are required to lengthen more and work harder than they ever have.  A little tape often helps whilst the muscles get used to their new role. Calf Muscle Tapes Our aim here is produce a ‘lift’ to the interface between the two calf muscles.  All the follow tape applications should be applied with the calf area on a stretch (feet and toes pulled up). Option 1: Cut tape into a Y-shape, apply uncut base just above where the Achilles becomes a cord.  While stretching the Achilles, lay each tail of tape with paper-off stretch over the border of gastroc (main calf muscle) and soleus (deep calf muscle)  As shown in below. Option 2: For a more supportive feeling, apply two full thickness pieces of tape in the same pattern. Achilles Tendon Tape Option 1:  Take a strip and start it under the foot, on the heel pad.  Stretch the calf by pulling toes and foot up towards knee.  Stick tape straight up over Achilles tendon with 30-60% stretch.  Apply the...
Free To Run

Free To Run

There is something ‘afoot’ with the running world.  A movement that has existed on the fringes of running for many years is gaining momentum and becoming significantly more main stream.  Its exponents claim it will make you faster, happier and healthier than any other form of exercise and, despite myself, I can only agree.  Two blindingly obvious facts should be considered at this point: •    Not a single reader of this was born with shoes on their feet. •    We (Homo- Sapiens) are weak and slow, virtually weapon-less and senseless when compared to the rest of the natural world.  In the race for survival our ancestors were outgunned on most fronts.  Physically we are only good at one thing; Endurance running. You, I and everyone was born to run.  Our body is littered with evidence to support this fact.  Comparing the anatomy of us with that of our closest living relative, the chimpanzee, our bodies have: •    A strong Nuchal ligament at the back of the head – perfect for keeping the head still when moving quickly – and no other primate has one.  What does? Other specialist endurance runners like dogs and horses. •    Enormous Gluteus Maximus (butt) muscles – almost devoid of activity at walking speed, but a fundamental motor of running gait (grab your butt when walking and then speed up to a jog if you don’t believe me). •    Moving down the legs we find long tendons on hamstring and calf muscles that are ideal for storing and returning energy in running gait. •    Short toes, which appear to make little difference to walking, but, ...
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