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Barefoot running tips for a newbie

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  • Barefoot running tips for a newbie

    I have started the couch to 5 k and I'm doing it in minimal, or no shoes Before anyone yells at me for going too fast I want to say I jogged on a rebounder in bare feet 45 minutes a day for three weeks, then started walking around in beach (water) shoes for over a month, at the same time doing a small amount of running on the weekends in the beach shoes. Plus I've walked barefoot in the house my whole life. I've watched many videos and have the idea of the basics of how to run correctly. So I'm going slow

    I'm also thrilled that I have no knee pain. As far back as my 20's when I tried to run my knee would start giving me problems. Now I'm 20 years older and weigh a lot more than I did back then but now that I'm running bare or minimal - no knee pain. Freaking amazing.

    I also credit the way I'm eating with the energy I have to do this now. I've been grain free for a year but this month I am doing the Whole30 and apparently dairy was the last puzzle piece for me. I feel fantastic

    Anyway, I would appreciate any tips or videos or book recommendations anyone has for an out of shape, middle aged woman trying to take up running. Anything. Videos on form, how to reduce soreness, how to improve my breathing - whatever. I'm sure there's stuff out there I haven't seen.

    I really want to run. I've always liked the idea but thought I couldn't because of my knees. I'm tickled pink to find that wasn't the case, so I want to make this work.

    Thanks in advance for any advice or encouragement

  • #2
    Start off slow and easy. Don't Start running barefoot.

    Go out and jog as slow as you can without walking. Try for a mile. If your breathing gets out of control, walk until it settles. But complete the full mile.

    After you can run a full mile without walking, start taking your shoes off for the last 1/8 mile or so. After two weeks, do no shoes for a 1/4 mile and so on.

    When running barefoot, you want to land on the ball of your foot, not the heel. After landing on a rock with your heel, learn really quick no to! :-)


    • #3
      I'm in the same boat - couch to 5k, just started today - training for a 5k next June in support of ovarian cancer. I've also been curious about barefoot running. Though from what I've read, I think I may be already doing it right.

      The key is running on your toes, right?

      Maybe because I don't like running (or at least, haven't in my life so far) so I never was taught poor form and still run now like I did when I was a kid. I remember when I was in 5th grade I went to volleyball camp and my mom saw us running laps and said that I ran like a fat girl (ignore the fact that that is just a horrible thing to say to an 11 year old girl) - but my mom ran track in high school, so she was well-trained in "traditional" shoe laced running . . . I was not - so maybe I was already running the barefoot way because I hadn't had my natural gate trained out of me . . .

      I don't know. But I jogged for 3 minutes today while barefoot (day 1) and didn't have any problem staying on my toes and balls of my feet instead of my heels - and I was very consciously paying attention to that.
      Healthy Bucket List:
      • Summit all of Colorado's 14-ers
      • Hike the Appalachian Trail
      • Do a real pull-up
      • Run a 5k
      • Be "Hot For Training Camp"

      Check out my journey at Outdoor Amy's Blog.


      • #4
        outdooramy, I'm finding it's more than that. I was doing it on the balls of my feet and after my first C25K session (I've only done one day, lol!), my calves really hurt. I googled and I'm doing it wrong, lol!

        I found this post How to deal with a few days of sore calves after every run?: Barefoot Running: Runner's World Forums That made me realize that I was doing it wrong. IMO, it's really hard to tell on the videos but you're supposed to strike the forefoot and midfoot and then ease onto the heel.

        This also helped me a lot How Running Barefoot Especially reading down to the "lift feet" part.

        bobthephotoguy, thanks! But I can't run with shoes without knee pain so it's bare/minimal or it's no running for me. I do think I'm doing too much too fast. After the reading of the past few days I think I am putting the C25K on the back burner. I'll get back to it. But for now I'll just do little bits and work on technique since apparently I'm doing it all wrong, lol!
        Last edited by ShannonCC; 08-25-2012, 04:07 PM.


        • #5
          Shannon, you might want to just go out and jog as slow as you can for as long as you can barefoot. Keep your mind on how your foot feels. Be cautious of tenderness. It is really easy to get blisters until the calluses form.

          If you have Vibrams you will most likely run properly. You just don't have to worry about the blisters.

          I was running regularly when I switched to Vibrams to fix my form. My first run was 4 miles and my calves hurt for 2 weeks!! Using different muscles will make them sore! Just give yourself some recoup time and go back at it.

          Here is a decent vid talking and showing proper form.

          Correcting Running Technique: Forefoot or Pose Running.m4v - YouTube



          • #6
            I've been an athlete all my life and a seasoned runner... I didn't know how poor my foot form was until I transitioned to minimal sneakers.

            First few times it was brutal, but someone here posted a great video about heel striking and it's effect. Ever since then, I've been able to alter my running form completely. Just be careful w the initial change