Barefoot Runners


Losing form (Read 271 times)

    Do you feel like you lose your form when you are tired (even if you dont feel tired but know you have put in a lot of miles recently).


    I ran 4 miles last night, then did a 7 mile trail run (both of these were shod) this morning.  At lunch today I went out and did 2 miles BF.  My feet felt especially tender after the run at lunch.  I got one new blister but the one I had didnt really seem too irritated by the run.  It just felt wrong though. 


    When I first started running BF I did a two miler and the whole thing felt great - now my feet feel tender when I get about a mile in and it feels like I am getting blisters ( alot of times there is no blister there when I am done, but it is still tender).  I have been trying to increase my mileage going up only about .1-.2 per run from where I am, but maybe my feet need more conditioning and I should tone back to just a mile or so and start rebuilding from there.  I dont mind doing that if I think it will help, but looking for some guidance.


    Any suggestions would be appreciated.




    Barefoot and happy

      Being tired can definitely hurt form.  That goes for anyone, whether you're trying to be barefoot or not. 


      After looking at your log, I do have a suggestion.  If you're going to keep doing so much running in shoes, do a little bit of barefooting near the beginning of every shod run.  Use that time to try to get yourself locked into a good form, and strive to maintain that form even with your shoes on.


      If you're doing your shod runs with the same form you've always used, you're just practicing how not to run barefoot.  And since you spend far more time doing that, you're unlikely to make much progress.

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

        Hi Ed,


        Thanks for the advice.  You seem to be the local expert here (and pretty local to me as well since you live in MA).


        If you dont mind, can I ask a few more questions of you?


        How much should I start with if I am going to run a bit every day?  How much and how often should I build up?  My BF runs right now are at about 2 miles but the last couple my feet have hurt on the bottom so I am thinking that maybe I will take your advice and do a bit each day but maybe start back at 1/4 mile a day and then build up kind of slowly every 3-4 days or so.  It might take time to get mileage up there but I am pretty patient and my marathon training doesnt start till1/1/10.


        I noticed you said the most important part of the run is making sure your feet land underneath your body - but how can I tell that is what is happening?  I think it is when I run BF?


        Do you have any drills that might help improve my BF running form (or my form in general)?


        There seem to be so many aspects of correct BF form (landing flat footed, landing with feet underneath you, slight forward lean, legs bent, etc...)  Did you learn these individually or did you pretty much just go out and run?


        Just trying to get an idea of how to really get started the right way (even though the right way may be different for everyone).








        Barefoot and happy

          Mostly you should just get out and do it, and the form will come, as long as you listen to your body and don't overdo it.  People vary wildly on how much they can do when they first get started, so I can't really offer guidelines on how much is too much.

          But there are a couple exercises that might help you get the right feeling from the start.  First, make sure you know how to lean from your ankles, keeping the rest of your body straight.  Practice this by standing a couple feet from a wall and then letting yourself fall forward like a tree, catching yourself with your arms.  It's super simple, but it helps you feel exactly what your weight should be doing while you run. 

          Second, begin running in place.  I think everyone has a nice forefoot landing when they're running in place, because there's no other way to do it.  While running in place, begin to tip slightly forward from the ankles, just like in the wall exercise.  You will "automatically" start running forward, slowly.  The more you tip, the faster you go.  Try to keep the same feeling you have while running in place, even as you start to drift forward.

          All of this can help get you into the right ballpark.  Then the fine-tuning comes with practice.
          Curious about running barefoot? Visit the new barefoot running group.
            Great, thanks.  After I get this down and build up my miles maybe we can meet for a BF run somewhere.