Barefoot Runners

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BF runners over 40? (Read 592 times)

RunrGreg


@RunrGreg

    Just curious.  Are there any barefoot runners here who will admit to being over 40? 

     

     I'm over 40, but I have yet to determine whether I can really be a full-time barefoot runner.  (Though I would like to be.)

      Sure.  I never ran in school and didn't even start running till I was 58.  Right now I'm doing a little over half my running completely barefoot (16-18 mpw) and will turn 64 in Sept.  am over 40 - See, that helps explain why I'm slow!   I doubt that I'll ever do ALL my running BF, but I'd like to do most of it that way, maybe up to 80-90% - we'll see.  And I want to get back in the 40's (mpw) in a few months.

      "I can do 440 in 220"    Half Fanatic #846    "90% of running is half mental"    If I collapse, please pause my Garmin

       

      RunrGreg


      @RunrGreg

        The reason I ask is that my transition is taking forever.

         

        I started doing short (a few hundred meters) BF runs before or after my shod runs back in February.  Gradually added in some longer (1-1.5 miles) BF treadmill runs starting in March-April.  Moved those treadmill runs outside in May-June.  Went exclusively BF in mid-June with low mileage runs outdoors.

         

        As of now, I'm only up to 2.5 miles, 3-4 times a week, and my feet are STILL constantly sore.  I also have what may be an overuse injury in one of my ankles.  (I'm not aware of a single event that produced the injury.)

         

        Is this a case of too much too soon?  If so, I don't think I can wait another 20 years to reach marathon distance barefoot.  Smile

         

        Am I simply doing it wrong?  If so, it's not for a lack of information.  I've bought every book available on barefoot running (all two of them), faithfully done the drills, followed the advice.  I read the blogs of all the barefoot runners.

         

        Which leads me to wonder if it's a function age.  Perhaps I could have made the transition in my 20s or 30s when my bones and ligaments were more malleable.

         

        Our ancient ancestors may have run barefoot, but, really, how many of them lived to be 40?

          There isn't much info on how and why different people have such different experiences learning how to run barefoot. Age might be a factor, but certainly not the only one.

           

          If you've read Jason's book (the only one I've read), you should understand the basics. That doesn't mean you're doing what you think you're doing; I know it sounds like a cop-out answer, but if you're feeling pain and you haven't been doing that much, assume you're doing something wrong.

           

          I had an easy transition, but I think that was because of my history (I'm 35, by the way). Maybe your history is an obstacle. Changing the way you move requires accurate physical awareness. Growing up I took a lot of acting classes, which gave me practice trying to look like a character based on a description in a script. In dance classes, I jumped around a lot either barefoot or in "minimalist" shoes. I also saw heavy people be graceful and light on their feet. As an adult, I rode a bicycle to get around. In NYC, I rode a fixed gear, which requires a very fast cadence down hills. I was a boxing gym rat, lots of jumping rope in "minimalist" shoes, and running away from my opponent in the ring. At home, shoes were left at the door.

           

          What you have to figure out is if your struggle is physical or mental. That is, is your body slow to adjust, or are you misunderstanding one or some of the fundamentals? Having a barefoot know-it-all look at you might help, but your "physical awareness" history might give you better clues. If you've been running a long time in cushy shoes, and the thought of taking a dance class freaks you out, it might take a while. That doesn't mean all improvements will be in tiny increments, though. You could have a eureka moment and have a growth spurt.

           

          Ken Bob said that in his experience, some of the demographic targeted by AARP ads have a tough time without footwear after a life of being in shoes, that their feet always felt very sensitive. But he was talking about the 65 year old age range.

           

          So basically, keep trying to run in a way that causes no pain, and expect it to feel awkward.

            Re ancestors living to 40, a bunch of them. Lifespans fluctuated. Also, we still have a few barefooty cultures on this pale blue dot, where the elder folk get around just fine. What our ancestors didn't do, however, was learn to run barefoot after spending 40 years in cushy shoes. That might be a limiting factor.

              The reason I ask is that my transition is taking forever.

               

              I started doing short (a few hundred meters) BF runs before or after my shod runs back in February.  Gradually added in some longer (1-1.5 miles) BF treadmill runs starting in March-April.  Moved those treadmill runs outside in May-June.  Went exclusively BF in mid-June with low mileage runs outdoors.

               

              - It does take patience, and you've only been at it a few months.  You are most likely still strengthening your feet - do you wear minimalist shoes most of the time when you're not barefoot (even at work or school)?  I wore min. shoes at work for more than a year to help me deal with PF even before I decided to try BF, & I continue to do it.  I had also spent a few months doing foot/leg strengthening exercises to beat the PF.  Then I got serious about BF only 10 months ago.  So I spent a long time conditioning my feet.

               

              As of now, I'm only up to 2.5 miles, 3-4 times a week, and my feet are STILL constantly sore.  I also have what may be an overuse injury in one of my ankles.  (I'm not aware of a single event that produced the injury.)

               

              - Consider varying your distances, ie; a 2.5 mile "long run" once a week, then maybe two 1.5 milers.  Not on back-to-back days, unless they are shorter distances.  Or more runs, but not as long.

              - There are several reasons for getting sore feet.  Running too fast, too many uphills/downhills, doing strides, not resting your feet if they get bruised, and form - not being "light on the feet" -  in my experience.  I still think my form isn't very good, so I try to focus more on what I've read is good form.  I think one thing that helps me is walking barefoot  several times a week (usually on off days and when my feet are not sore) for 10-25 minutes.  I ran almost 7 miles a few weeks ago, but it was too much too soon and I had to take a few days rest due to my bruised and sore feet.  You may need to rest those feet a little more.

               

              Is this a case of too much too soon?  If so, I don't think I can wait another 20 years to reach marathon distance barefoot.  Smile

               

              - I think if you back off just a little, get the feet feelin' a little better, then maybe try some of the things here that may appeal to you, you might start showing the progress you want to see - think of how much better it will be at the end of the year - not next week or next month.  Personally, I look at it as building a barefoot base, just like a brand new runner builds a base from scratch.

               

              Am I simply doing it wrong?  If so, it's not for a lack of information.  I've bought every book available on barefoot running (all two of them), faithfully done the drills, followed the advice.  I read the blogs of all the barefoot runners.

               

              - Find a BF running clinic and go if you think that would help - I think Barefoot Ted (?) gives clinics in CA.  I went to one recently in FL that was worthwhile by Michael Sandler, but there was not much "hands on" stuff like BFT's.  BTW, if your feet are sore from running on short patches of rough pavement or a few feet of pebbles, try Sandler's "Ape Walk":  bend your knees, slow way down, and crouch like an ape as you go thru the rough bothersome stuff.  Crouch only as much as needed to continue - amazingly it works, but anyone watching will think you are a nut for sure!

               

              Which leads me to wonder if it's a function age.  Perhaps I could have made the transition in my 20s or 30s when my bones and ligaments were more malleable.

               

              - IMHO, It's not a function of age - it's a function of time, which translates to patience.

               

              Feel free to disregard any or all of this stuff.  Hopefully there's something here that will help - YMMV

              - Good Luck!  (sorry about the format...)

               

               

              "I can do 440 in 220"    Half Fanatic #846    "90% of running is half mental"    If I collapse, please pause my Garmin

               

              RunrGreg


              @RunrGreg

                Thanks so much for your thoughtful reply, Josh.

                 

                I think you've put your finger on at least one of the issues for me.  I've been a runner for 30+ years, starting with track and cross country in high school.  I don't know what my form was like except that I was a heel striker (what else was that big cushion for?).  And it never bothered me because I loved running and won races all the time.

                 

                Until I was 37, I never had a serious injury.  Since then, it's been one injury after another.  I didn't expect barefoot running to be a panacea, but from a theoretical standpoint, it seemed to offer possibility.  And maybe it still does.

                 

                I'm willing to concede that, despite all the reading (I read Jason's book and Michael Sandler's) I may still be doing something wrong.  My BF runs aren't bad, they're just short and slow, and I can't seem to pick up the mileage without causing myself more pain and soreness.

                 

                Maybe when KenBob returns to LA I can ask for his advice.

                 

                What I do know is that I'm really tired of thinking about running.  I miss just running.

                RunrGreg


                @RunrGreg

                  Havanarnr,

                   

                  Thanks for the advice.  It helps to know someone older than me has been able to run 7 miles barefoot.

                   

                  I am still inclined to think that, whether age has an impact on the ability to transition, it almost certainly has an impact on how quickly one can transition.  Given my long history of running in cushy shoes, I guess I shouldn't be surprised that my feet are protesting.

                   

                  I have been going barefoot at home for the past six months or so that I've been running barefoot.  (I work at home.)  I also have a pair of VFFs that I wear when I go to a place requiring shoes.  I have run in those a few times as well, but find they give me blisters if I don't tape up my feet before putting them on.  (Surprisingly, wearing Injinji toe socks with them causes even more blisters!)

                   

                  Thanks again!  I do appreciate everyone's support here.

                   

                    I'm 57 and in transition.  I've been working at BF for two years, the first of which was just BF walking.  Now I'm up to 3+ miles on my BF runs, and am looking forward to my first 5K BF race this Saturday.  I have found that my feet still need a day off (or a day with shoes) after a good BF run.  I'm enjoying BF so much now, though, I expect to keep pursuing it even though my runs still have to be slower and shorter.

                    Well at least someone here is making relevance to the subject.

                    RunrGreg


                    @RunrGreg

                      Thanks, LedLincoln.  Good luck in your 5K.  I look forward to hearing how it went.

                       

                      You're also giving me another data point indicating that my expectations were too high.

                       

                      I'm thinking that, if I am to run any significant mileage at all in the next few years, I should probably go back to a transition between shod and bare.  If I can't run very far barefoot, then I don't feel much like a runner.

                       

                      In the end, it's really not about barefoot running.  It's about running.

                       

                       


                      1983

                        I am 43...I became interested in BF about the same time as you and for the same reasons.  I have a similar running past also.

                         

                        I am trying use BF to change my running form, which I could do either BF or with something minimal like racing flats.  It is easier to force the change being barefoot, but at some point, to get more miles, if I could run more miles and keep my BF form with shoes on, then I would be good with that.  I am up to 2.5miles BF, mostly on grass.  I don't really consider it a workout.  I usually go at night once it gets dark and quiet (thats when I have free time).  I wear VFFs because I can't see anything.  I have noticed that even though I have plateaued at the distance of 2.5, that I am getting faster and more comfortable.  My ankles have had some aches and pains along the way.   I run other times with shoes and I bike a bunch also to improve/maintain my fitness.  Good luck with it. 

                        Favorite quote: Stop your crying you little girl! 2011: Mt Washington, Washington Trails, Peaks Island, Pikes Peak.
                          The downside of alternating between shod and bare is that the shoe runs seem progressively less fun, comparatively speaking.  Oh well.  The converse is that the BF runs are progressively more fun, right?

                          Well at least someone here is making relevance to the subject.

                            43 here!  Not a barefoot runner, but in VFF's 100% of the time. 

                             

                             

                             

                              52 and counting.

                              Before I injured my achilles (not because of barefoot running, actually I got injured in shoes) I felt comfortable running 9mi in VFF and 3mi barefoot. It did not take me long to transition to these distances but before that I had been running in Nike Free shoes and that probably helped to ease the pain.

                              Now that my achilles is better I am starting beginning the journey all over again.

                              I would rather wear out than rust out. - Helen Klein You create your own universe as you go along. - Winston Churchill


                              Petco Run/Walk/Wag 5k

                                Soon to be 64. Was partially BF in Fort Worth, but move to Austin has setback pure BF running because of all the construction in this new neighborhood. To many hazards at oh dark thirty when I run. DW bought me VFF's before the move and have been migrating to those and my "altered" crocs - a pair of crocs I cut a slit in to make more room for toes. It turns out they give me the fewest foot issues of any of my other shoes and while not huraches are fairly minimal. Has me thinking to try running in my Tom's shoes which are even thinner and lighter than the crocs, and cheaper too...

                                bob e v
                                2014 goals: keep on running! Is there anything more than that?

                                Complete the last 3 races in the Austin Distance Challenge, Rogue 30k, 3M Half, Austin Full

                                Break the 1000 mi barrier!

                                History: blessed heart attack 3/15/2008; c25k july 2008 first 5k 10/26/2008 on 62nd birthday.

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