Sim Racing Ergonomics

I love sim racing but it’s been aggravating some sore points on my body and causing me to miss out on what I love doing. So, I put together my thoughts so far about sim racing comfort to help me, hopefully others, keep on enjoying the sim racing we love.

Sim Racing Ergonomics

I love sim racing but it’s been aggravating some sore points on my body and causing me to miss out on what I love doing. So, I put together my thoughts so far about sim racing comfort to help me, hopefully others, keep on enjoying the sim racing we love.

Achille’s Tendonitis

As I noted in previous post reviewing the GTEYE Progressive Brake Spring for the Logitech G27, I suffer from Achille’s tendonitis from barefoot running. This has actually kept me from sim racing for months at a time.

At one point, I realized I had to stop sim racing to let my heel recuperate. After having stopped running and treadmill walking for a month, and being away from sim racing for a week, I’d come back to sim racing and realized I had to give up my stiffer GTEYE progressive brake spring. Even without running or walking the brake pedal aggravated my Achille’s heel. Don’t get my wrong. That brake spring is excellent but not for those who are recovering from strained tendons in their feet.

Some time after I wrote theergo3 above, I switched to left-foot braking. In the long run, it reduced the strain being put only on the right foot and helped me get back to sim racing.

Yes, it did take a lot of seat time to get up to speed with left-foot braking but less time than you may think. I might have been crashing quite a bit my first day, but within a day or two I was safe on the track, if a little slow, and a week or two later my times were very nearly what they were before. Months later and it’s not even an issue, I’m faster than ever.

For proper rehab of Achilles tendonitis, google for it and you’ll find a number of things to do. Key points are to ice while there’s pain, rest until there’s no more pain, avoid strenuous use of the heel, begin stretching begin working out the heel. It appears eccentric exercises on the heel work well for Achilles Tendonitis. If the condition persists, visit your doctor.

Shoes

One of the most important things I’ve learned recently is that shoes are going to be critical if you’re logging many hours of seat time per week or if you have a heel problem like I do.

ftssimshoesAfter spending over a year sim racing in sock feet, and then feeling the discomfort and pain of Achille’s tendonitis as I tried to work the pedals, I tried our some basic around-the-house shoes. They have a good, sturdy sole but are meant to slip on rather than tie up.

Amazingly, it immediately felt better and I was able to put in 30minutes of lapping without feeling any discomfort. I’d feel usually feel sore after 20-30minutes and stop, without shoes.

I’m not exactly sure what the improvement is but I have a few guesses. First would be the position of your heel, lifting it off the ground due to the built-up sole of the shoe. Next is the position of the contact part of your feet with the pedal. With socks it’s probably the ball of your foot. With a shoe it’s distributed by the sole so the forces get spread out more. It’s also possible that the shoes are keeping my feet in place more whereas without shoes I’d be constantly adjusting my foot and that would translate into micro-movements in the heel causing more wear and tear than needed.

At any rate, I don’t think I’d go back to sock feet now even if my heels were 100%. Check out sim racing shoes, they’re a thing and they look really comfortable. One day I’ll have to get some.

Seating

ergo4The other bit of ergonomics I’ve been through is seating support and seating position. After a desk job all day and an hour or two of sim racing in the evening your back can really start hurt. After six months of iRacing my back is sore to sleep on.

I use a standard, hard-back, wheeled office chair and one thing I started a few months ago was to put a pillow behind me. This felt really comfortable…for the first little while! But, that’s when I started feeling very sore trying to sleep on my back.

It occurred to me that the pillow was pushing me away from the back of the chair and causing me to slouch. That’s not good for racing and, of course, it’s not good for your back because nothing is really supporting your back – it’s all muscle tensed up for the whole racing session. So I’ve removed that pillow and now I’m sitting fully back in the chair against the hard back. I can feel it supporting my lower lumbar area and helping more than the pillow.

Racing Seat

ubuttoAfter a year of sim racing, when I knew I wanted to stick with it, I purchased an Obutto R3volution which comes with a faux racing bucket seat.

The Obutto seat further supported my back with lumbar support, provides more comfortable padding and material to sit against, provides better support for your shoulders, can be tilt-adjusted to suit your most comfortable position, and, perhaps most importantly, sits you at a height and position that creates a better angle for your legs and feet to meet the pedals.

Sim Racing Ergonomics

As I mentioned, I love sim racing and I hope I can keep doing it for a long time to come. Doing anything for long stretches of time, and repeatedly, can cause problems for your body. Always take care of your body and you’ll be able to enjoy your sim racing for a long time to come!

Enjoy running barefoot? Become a facebook fan!

There’s just something about running barefoot that pleases the soul and invigorates the spirit! Join the Facebook group The Joy of Running Barefoot and show the world how to run like nature intended us.

There’s just something about running barefoot that pleases the soul and invigorates the spirit!

Join the Facebook group The Joy of Running Barefoot and show the world how to run like nature intended us.

The Joy of Running Barefoot

Barefoot running is a new sub-culture rising up out of the mainstream running culture. It is exactly what it sounds like: Running without shoes. Once you try it, you’ll immediately realize with astonishment that you’ve been taught the wrong way to run all your life.

Barefoot running is a new sub-culture rising up out of the mainstream running culture. It is exactly what it sounds like: Running without shoes. Once you try it, you’ll immediately realize with astonishment that you’ve been taught the wrong way to run all your life.

Running barefoot sounds crazy because we’ve grown up with the idea all of our lives. Just think for a moment why that is. Yes, there are pragmatic uses for shoes, but the real reason is money. The more reasons companies can give us to wear shoes the more money they make. And I’m not against that. I still pay top dollar for shoes for other uses but, if I had it my way, I’d never pay another cent on running shoes. Once you go barefoot, you’ll never want to go back.

Before I knew “barefoot running” was an actual “thing,” I was already doing it out of necessity because I jogged indoors, on carpet. I never really learned to like running out doors, nor in gyms. It’s just a personal thing, but when I want to run I want to do it right now, with little overhead to start and little overhead to stop. I knew I was doing something out of the ordinary even if I didn’t know anything special about barefoot running.

When you barefoot run, you instantly recognize you run differently. You never strike the heel of your foot at any time. You can, but it’s not natural and you can tell its not good for your knees. What is natural is landing and pushing off with the ball of your foot. It’s very different than anything we’ve been taught in the mainstream but instantly you know it’s right.

The other advantage of barefoot running is it really works out your calve muscles. Never before have I felt that kind of workout. It took a long time to feel as if I was going to be okay with working out those muscles but now it just feels natural.

I’m no fitness fanatic. I started out jogging on the spot for one minute…and I was winded. I’ve worked myself up to an embarrassing current 1.3miles over 15min doing 6mph over the second half. I say embarrassing but I really don’t care as 90% of people don’t even do that. The benefits I see, however, are tremendous. Stamina is a great win and you’ll know it when you feel it in other activities besides running. Now, running does tend to get harder and harder, I think, as you tack on extra time but the runner’s high always brings you back.

I would be remiss if I didn’t comment on wearing garments during barefoot running. Barefoot running outside is just not going to work. I wear tight socks on the treadmill. Others wear “foot gloves,” minimalist coverings for feet that attempt not to inhibit your natural running while still providing some protection. Anything that isn’t your typical shoe or “siginifcant” garment on your foot can be brought under the barefoot running umbrella. There’s no need to worry about particulars. The key is that you begin to run naturally, as you were born to run.

Give barefoot running a try and I’m positive you’ll wonder why it took so long for us to realize the right way to run.