Barefoot Runners

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How not to use minimalist shoes (Read 875 times)

    I will preface my post with the fact that I am just a beginner at BF and my opinions are just that.

     

    I am mostly on board with Ed's initial post of this thread.  I believe that the easiest and most sure way of developing the correct BF/minimalist running style is to start out completely barefoot.  The feedback is immediate and pronounced.

     

    I fully understand the desire of most people to have at least a little protection.  My long term goal is to do most of my mileage in a minimal shoe.  I have no desire to do any kind of significant mileage completely barefoot, but I think if you skip the barefoot phase there is really no way of knowing if you have the form correct.

     

    The one part of Ed's post that I disagree with is that normal running shoes impede progress.  I am in the initial phases of the process and I am experiencing this first hand.  There is no doubt that I run completely different with or without shoes, but it's not like I have to relearn the BF form each time I do it and my minimalist form is slowly creeping in to my shod running form.

     

    This brings me to the point I am trying to make.  I think you can learn the correct form with very limited true barefooting.  I have worked my way up to 3 miles of BF in about 6 months.  I am not ready for rocks, snow, hot, cold, sticks, or to throw away my shoes any time soon, my feet just aren't that tough.  But I think that if I can run 3 miles completely BF with not even a warm spot on my feet then my form is good enough to move to minimal shoes.

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      Okay, maybe I got lucky. I started walking in VFF every other day and built up to 45 minutes, then I walk/jogged in them, then I started running in them and after 4 months I can run at least 11 miles in them because I have.

       

       

      What’s important to me is that I’m having fun. I don’t think that I’ll take racing seriously this year; I’m going to try new things. I may break down and get some Huaraches to see if I can handle that. I’m still scared to death to run barefoot, but at some point and time I think that I’ll try to sneak on a golf course or some soccer fields where I’m least likely to suffer a puncture wound and go naked, it sounds like fun.

      Ed4


      Barefoot and happy

        I certainly don't want to imply there's only one right way.  I do like to be a bit provocative, because this whole barefoot thing is so surrounded by preconceptions and misunderstandings.

         


        I’m still scared to death to run barefoot...

         

        That's why I continue to push people just a little.  Doing things you're scared to do is some of the best training. 

        Curious about running barefoot? Visit the new barefoot running group.
        Ed4


        Barefoot and happy

           

          I'm pretty happy running in VFFs and really have no desire to devote the time and effort that would be required to get comfortable with totally BF running--I'd rather be getting quality miles in VFFs or lightweight trainers.

           

           

          Yeah, different goals, that's fine. But you're still not understanding what I'm saying.

           

          As long as you're out running anyway in your VFFs, it doesn't take any extra time or effort, yet it yields major benefits, both for your shod and unshod running.  It takes only a couple seconds to pop off the VFFs wherever the surface is sufficiently comfortable for you, and then pop them back on whenever you want to stop.

           

          That's really all it takes.  Tiny investment with major gains. 

           

          I'm just trying to encourage folks to give that a try, because most of us need a little extra encouragement, because it seems scary at first -- and then once you try it you realize how silly it was that you were scared.

          Curious about running barefoot? Visit the new barefoot running group.
            Okay. I'm a newbie and I have a few quick questions. I've been running for a little over 1.5 years. This past year I've been having problems with my right ankle. I've rolled it several times and it's just weak now. I just got a pair of VFF sprints and hope to start using them to build up some of the unused muscles in my foot/legs. During the winter I do all of my running on a treadmill. I've read that I should start BF just to get the form down. Is this out of the question since I use a treadmill at a gym?

            I used my sprints for the first time today. I read that I  should start with really low mileage to begin with and then work up slowly. After doing my regular 3.1 miles in my Brooks I switched to the Sprints and walked .5 mile then jogged .5 mile. It felt pretty interesting.


            Imminent Catastrophe

               

               

              Yeah, different goals, that's fine. But you're still not understanding what I'm saying.

               

               And you're not understanding what I'm saying either. I'll sum it up with the internet acronym:

              YMMV

              "Able to function despite imminent catastrophe"

               "To obtain the air that angels breathe you must come to Tahoe"--Mark Twain

              "The most common question from potential entrants is 'I do not know if I can do this' to which I usually answer, 'that's the whole point'.--Paul Charteris, Tarawera Ultramarathon RD.

               

              √ Tahoe Rim Trail 100M 20/21 July 2013

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              Tahoe Rim Trail 100M 19/20 July 2014

              mokaman


                Okay. I'm a newbie and I have a few quick questions. I've been running for a little over 1.5 years. This past year I've been having problems with my right ankle. I've rolled it several times and it's just weak now. I just got a pair of VFF sprints and hope to start using them to build up some of the unused muscles in my foot/legs. During the winter I do all of my running on a treadmill. I've read that I should start BF just to get the form down. Is this out of the question since I use a treadmill at a gym?

                I used my sprints for the first time today. I read that I  should start with really low mileage to begin with and then work up slowly. After doing my regular 3.1 miles in my Brooks I switched to the Sprints and walked .5 mile then jogged .5 mile. It felt pretty interesting.

                 

                Hi damarisAge,

                Your going need be more careful than the average person due to the ankle problem. I had to spent  a lot of time getting my ankle strength up to speed to run barefoot as I had past history of many ankle sprains. The Vibrams are doable on the treadmill if they are allowed by the gym. Some gyms don't allow barefoot also either way you have the same things to watch out for as far as your ankle goes. 

                Any weakness in your  peroneal tendons and surrounding muscles in the bad ankle area will show up quickly and it will be easy to over do it.  You will need to watch that area extra carefully for swelling and tendonitis, icing and massaging this area would be good if you start to have trouble.  You can do some exercises to help the bad ankle here http://www.med.umich.edu/1libr/sma/sma_peronank_rex.htm 


                I would very gradually add just an 1/8 mile barefoot or VFF at a time and see how your bad ankle reacts, you will have to go slow but eventually your ankles will become very strong from barefoot/VFF running. When it warms up go outside and live a little and try some barefoot to see how you like it.  


                When your feet are lower to the ground there is less chance of spraining your ankle, its one of the bigger reasons I run barefoot or in the flat thin soled footwear. 

                  mokaman: Thanks a bunch for the advice and especially for the link. 
                  Ed4


                  Barefoot and happy

                    I used to have ankle problems too.  I sprained them both multiple times over many years, sometimes bad enough to send me to physical therapy.

                     

                    I never did anything specific to make them stronger, it just happened over time once I ditched normal shoes.  I actually don't think you need to be especially worried about spraining them while barefoot because being lower to the ground makes it much harder to do.

                    Curious about running barefoot? Visit the new barefoot running group.
                      Okay. So I wore my Sprints a second time last week - did a mile in them and felt good, except for a blister I got on the seam on the outside of my big toe. The next day I decided to do a short run in just my socks to avoid aggravating the blister (the manager wasn't at the gym, so I'm not sure if this is allowed or not. I guess I'll find out sooner or later). I did .25 and felt fine. Today I did .70 in just socks. I don't have any weird muscle soreness - which is exciting. I'm a little sore at the bottom of my big toes (right at the joint). Other than that, things are good!
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