Barefoot Runners

1

Running in regular shoes and integrating barefoot running... and injuries (Read 779 times)

aes


    Hi all, so my title is a bit wordy but here is the background before the question. Since the birth of my daughter three years ago, I have had a difficult time getting more than 15 MPW in without injuring myself. I've had enough and decided that I was going to slowly integrate in barefoot running and hopefully, eventually get myself some VFF. I developed plantar fasciitis last summer (July 2010) and it seemed to subside when I rolled my foot over a tennis ball but somehow it's come back again and the ball isn't helping anymore. My doctor had me get some orthotics and I also got some new Mizuno's (all last December). Nothing helps. Then, to top it off, I started having pain on the right inside calf...  about 8 inches above my ankle bone. I took off 2.5 weeks from running and cross trained and I was so put out. I'm tired of being injured. So I thought, geez, I have all the padding, cushioning and whatnot that is "recommended" so I basically said, forget it and I took up barefoot running three days ago (well, barefoot jogging... for a couple blocks) and my pain is lessening and since running barefoot I haven't had any calf pain. It's exciting and terrifying. All I want is to be able to run healthy, something that hasn't happened in 3+ years.

     

    So my question is, should I now start running again, in my regular Mizuno's with the orthotics and do barefoot drills for a few blocks while slowly building up barefoot mileage?

     

    Or should I only run barefoot and continue cross training while I build up barefoot mileage?

       I have all the padding, cushioning and whatnot that is "recommended" so I basically said, forget it and I took up barefoot running three days ago (well, barefoot jogging... for a couple blocks) and my pain is lessening and since running barefoot I haven't had any calf pain. 

       

      So my question is, should I now start running again, in my regular Mizuno's with the orthotics and do barefoot drills for a few blocks while slowly building up barefoot mileage?

       

      Or should I only run barefoot and continue cross training while I build up barefoot mileage?

       

      I also became injured too much and after trying all the "normal" remedies, I turned to barefoot running almost 18 months ago and it worked very well for me.  I started like you (just a couple of blocks at a time) then built gradually from there - I've done several 13 milers BF this year without any problems. I really think that for some people like me, shoes with cushioning, padding, orthotics, blah blah blah may contribute to injury - BF is just what works for me - YMMV.  I began by supplementing my shod running with BF, and now I supplement my BF running with a shod run periodically.  I also bought some minimal shoes (suitable for work) with "zero heel lift" that helped me develop my barefoot muscles when I started - still wear 'em at work and some others for casual "about town stuff".

       

      To answer your questions, you can go either way - transition gradually to BF, or run only BF.  The barefoot community seems to be divided on this; it probably depends on what your goals are.  In either case, you will probably experience some degree of sore/tight foot & calf muscles as a result of exercising muscles that have basically been unused. Remember that some soreness is okay, but pain means to stop. I got very comfortable running BF after only a few months.  Oh, I lmost forgot - I think if you do some BF walking several times a week it will definitely help the soles of your feet become accustomed to barefooting more quickly. I still continue to do this.

       

      Good luck, and keep us posted on your progress!        

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

       

      aes


        Thanks for sharing your experience. I guess I'll just take it slowly and see what works best for me... I tried running today with my shoes on and immediately started feeling some tightness in my calves. Once I removed my shoes, the tightness went away. It was unreal. I am still feeling the plantar fasciitis in the morning though. And it's weird, but walking around barefoot in my home is somewhat uncomfortable... In that I feel the plantar fasciitis more walking around barefoot than anything else. Oh well, patience right?

          I agree with Havana.  I continued to run in shoes during my transition, just because I couldn't stand to drop my mileage as much as required otherwise.  Kept increasing BF as I decreased use of shoes.  I also did a lot of BF walking during the transition.  I've always worn flipflops a lot as well.

           

          Yeah, be patient.  It was definitely worth it for me.

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


          Petco Run/Walk/Wag 5k

            +2 on what H said.

             

            I was going to add the suggestion to go BF around the house and where ever else you can and to wear zero heel drop shows when not BF. When I first started experimenting with BF over 18 months ago I bought a pair of Tom's shoes, thin soled, zero heel drop, canvas upper because DW liked the look and they give a shoe to a needy child for each one they sold. Well my feet hurt like heck when I first wore them all day. I almost returned them but realized what was happening was that they were minimal to beat all heck and I was using BF type muscles when I wore them. So I wore them as much as I could and after a couple of weeks the aches stopped. If you have flip flops with a hard sole and even thickness (zero heel drop) you might try wearing them as much as possible as well to strengthen the feet and get them read for longer BF runs.

             

            Last comment - form. As I have been learning at a local Austin BF Meetup, try running in place to get foot strike feel, also use high knees so that you don't push off the ball of your foot. I had to learn not to heel strike (hey after 64 years in shoes.... it takes some relearning), and now not to push off ball of foot. Both of which lead to blistering. Had blood blister on right heel, don't get that anymore, and am now practicing more high knee to eliminate blisters/hot spots on ball of rt foot. I have left calf injury from 1986 and still compensate by favoring rt foot, which strikes harder etc and is most likely the underlying cause of previous rt side running injuries. 

             

            Good luck, relax, patience, and enjoy! And keep us up to date on your progress!

            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.