Nicholas Gill is the All Blacks Strength & Conditioning Coach; Associate Professor at the University of Waikato; and a top 10 Age Group IMNZ finisher. So it's a bit of an honour when someone with this much expertise discovers HOKA for themselves, and wants to jump on board the HOKA team. Here's how Nic, or 'Gilly' as he is know amongst the ABs, found HOKA. It's the first in a series of blogs where Gilly will let us in on some the top S & C advice for runners, and even some of the best exercises and techniques he uses with the ABs.
"Have you ever had moments in time when running hasn’t been as enjoyable as it use to be. I loved running when I was a little fella and I was quite handy running in barefeet at the school cross country! I am now 46 years old, and like most people I have run in a few different brands and models of shoes. When I was younger, the type of shoe I ran in was often a decision based on how they looked and how much they cost rather than what I needed.
I have certainly learnt some tough lessons over the past 10 years. My journey towards HOKA started when I was 36. I was trying to squeeze in a “tempo” run before some friends came over for a BBQ. I ran fast and obviously had some poor mechanics. I ended up straining my posterior tibialis tendon in my left foot. Once the diagnosis was confirmed with ultrasounds and MRIs, it was suggested I get some orthotics to address my pronation (deemed the cause).
Once I had recovered from this “niggle” and I had got my mileage back up, I decided to have a crack at Ironman. Obviously, I needed to up my volume from 30-40mins to some longer run. Immediately it became clear that and the shoe / orthotic combo that had allowed me to run for 30-40mins, was insufficient for anything longer than this. Every time my run got longer than 40mins I would get terrible pain in my metatarsals (ball of the foot!). It was a terrible sharp pain like I had a knife stabbing my foot with every foot contact. I visited GPs and podiatrists and tried different shoes and different ways of running. Nothing worked!!!!! This continued for nearly 2 years…………..
I was so frustrated and like most people nowadays when faced with a problem or something that cannot be fixed I asked “Doctor Google”. Often when I have asked Google for some help the answers are so broad and generalised I am often left more confused and with less clarity. Not this time!!!!
I asked Google “how do I fix bilateral metatarsal pain?" HOKA Meta-metarocker technology popped up! I was desperate, so I ordered some immediately as I had nothing to lose. Running with sharp pain in your feet is not fun!
When the shoes arrived I thought I would try them out straight away. I had spent 18 months running with sharp pain for anything over 40mins. It would be so sore I would have to walk for a couple of minutes, run for a couple of minutes. I put my HOKA Arahi on and went for a run. I got to 40mins when the pain would normally start and nothing! I got to 50mins thinking anytime now……nothing. I ran for 2 hours with no pain! I could not remember running for two hours without pain. That was 7 years ago. I have not had foot pain again!!!!!!!!
So having been through a period of pain and frustration, I can now say running is enjoyable again. The freedom to run as short or as long as I want without pain is amazing! Thanks HOKA!