Barefoot Runners


Thankyou barefoot runners (Read 498 times)


    I am overweight and in my late 50's. I used to run in my late teens during my army days and early twenties as a young police officer. During training for a charity marathon around 1979 I developed severe achilles problems. I sought advice from the medical profession and have since spent a small fortune trying to get running again. As with most police officers I also developed flat feet and was prescribed authotics. I've tried almost everything since then to get running a new trainer came out and I bought it. Always I started ok but after a few week achilles tendon flared up again. I heard about barefoot running but by podiatrist said it was hocum and I put it to the back of my mind. But thank god it niggled at me and I eventually bought a treadmill and some Vibram 5 fingers shoes.


    I think I can say sucess, I've taken it very slowly and I  am only running for 5 mins 4 times a week, but I can feel it's working and it's great I have lost 20 lbs weight. Give it 12 months


    Thankyou any other runners in same spot please give me some tips to help me progress


    Well after reading your suggestions I have taken them onboard and I have gone back to the beginning before I get too far and have started again only this time total barefoot or shod as you say. I am doing 5 mins walk, 5 mins run and ending with a five min walk 4-5 times a week . Taking it easy as still 230 lbs another 15 lbs and I'll be back to the weight I was before I gave up the evil cigarettes.

    Petco Run/Walk/Wag 5k

      G - sounds like you are off to a good start. Have you tried full BF in addition to Vibrams? Some suggest going full BF first then picking it up with Vibrams so that good form is learned. Vibrams can still allow one to heel strike - been there... Slow progress is best way to avoid injury, BF/Minimal does stress Achilles and calves more than shod, so the slower the pace and increase in time on feet the better. Taking a year sounds long but in your case might be best because of previous Achilles issues. Have heard many anecdotals of flat feet developing arches after BFing awhile. Hope it works for you 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.

      Half Fanatic #846

        Slow progress is best way to avoid injury, BF/Minimal does stress Achilles and calves more than shod, so the slower the pace and increase in time on feet the better. Taking a year sounds long but in your case might be best because of previous Achilles issues.


        That's pretty good advice!


        I had very tight achilles tendons, but stretching them every day and running barefoot has kept me injury-free so far.


        If you want to try BF:

            1. Practice walking several times a week outside

                a. lift your knees just a tiny bit

                b. take short steps

                c. walk naturally on midfoot to forefoot (heels may land lightly)

                d. bend knees (crouch slightly) for rough places

            2. Run outside if you can

                a. start with very short distances like 1/8 or 1/4 mile

                b. if it hurts, stop.

                c. run and/or walk at least every 2-3 days

                d. increase distance gradually


        You're off to a good start - Have fun! (and let us know how you're doing in a few weeks or months).


        "I don't always roll a joint, but when I do, it's usually my ankle" - unk.                          Run like the winded

         I ran half my last race on my left foot!                   "Frankly autocorrect, I'm getting a bit tired of your shirt"


          Going barefoot naround the house as it is snowing here. I have ordered some Huaraches and I want to slowly adjust from a heal to barefoot say over a year as I have been wearing boots at work for some 30 years and did wear othotics I thought slowly does it. A little worried about going totally barefoot as live in the inner city, a couple of parks I could run around but worried for glass and needle sticks

            I've done ~300 skin-on-pavement miles are so in the last 1.5 years, in Seattle. All within the city limits. I've run downtown a few times, I run through the University district weekly, where college students break more glass than winos. I have several injuries and body asymmetries that have caused massive neck and back pain, and running is what keeps me living a mostly pain free life. 


            brerfootbill's advice about walking barefoot is good. It will help thicken the skin a little, and probably work some muscles that have atrophied over years of arch support. I started out with VFFs, then switched to huraches. However, whenever I put anything on my feet, I notice that my form goes to shit. My achilles sometimes hurts when I wear something on my feet, but almost never when I'm completely barefoot. My assumption is that 3mm of rubber is enough sensory dampening on my feet that my form gets sloppy. 

            If there is snow, and you have the free time, go to a parking garage and walk a mile barefoot. You might try the treadmill completely barefoot too -- I haven't done it. However, I endorse the common have to go barefoot. Kenbob's axiom is correct--you don't learn to sing with earplugs in your ears; don't learn to run with shoes on your feet. Get some barefoot time in, at least. 

            Covert Idea for barefoot in the winter:

            Get a pair of Chucks (Converse tennis shoes). Cut the bottom out. Put them on your feet. spend some time getting all the material off the inner sides, so you don't get blisters from some nubby bit. Now, go to a mall and walk around for an hour. No one will be paying attention to some 50'something dude's feet. The temperature will probably be 55' ... which is what I ran in today. Do that 2 times a week; make sure to not heel strike. By your significant other something nice while you're at it.

            Good luck.


              Went barefoot for a 5 min walk after run yesterday and today. Feels great.

              Like the tennis shoe idea.  By the way is -10 here



                Another observation:


                I don't stretch my achilles anymore. I don't need to--it gets stretched automatically.  There are two things that factor into this.


                (1)  The first was covered, I believe, by Dr. Lieberman of Harvard in some recent youtube video, but I don't have a link. It concerns tissue in general and the achilles in general. 


                If you land on your forefoot, while your calf and Achilles are contracting (and the ball of the foot is flexed down), you are simultaneously causing tissue to contract AND forcing it to lengthen from the force of the landing. This does damage to the tissue, and it is bad form. You need to walk & run with relaxed calves.


                Barefoot Kenbob talks about bending the knees A LOT. You can do it while walking too.  While walking, you may feel silly, but ignore it. Experiment with bending your knees, because in order to walk with relaxed calves, your knees are going to bend, and your hips are going to lower an inch or two. You can practice walking in place, or walking around your house. Walking with bent knees will stretch the calves and achilles naturally.


                (2) When I run, if my calves or achilles feel tight, I know I need to bend my knees more. If I come home from a run, and my calves are tight, I know I didn't bend enough. Running with this change in form should both protect your Achilles and make it impossible to hit with your heel. It should feel better too (even if it feels silly--ignore that). 


                So, when you run, don't worry about touching with the ball, or the edge, or whatever...just make sure your calves are relaxed and your knees are bent.


                  Thankyou for this imput. I will put this into practice during my walks and hopefully my runs