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Barefoot running, calves hurting, bad technique?

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  • Barefoot running, calves hurting, bad technique?

    Hey, been BF running for a lil while,

    thought I had the technique down, but on extended runs i get some soreness in my calves?

    Any suggestions? Cheers.
    www.beatingorthorexia.co.uk

    No more diets. No more stress. Health made easy. Living made incredible.

  • #2
    I used to get the same thing. You have never run for this long on the midfoot so your calves are going to get a heck of a workout. Your technique is probably just fine but your body is still adapting.
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    • #3
      Agree with MightyAl. Your calves are going to be sore for a while - they are just getting used to being used properly again. Just take it easy, have a day or two of recovery, and go back at it. Eventually they will adapt.
      - If it was cute and cuddly at some point, eat it. Ignore everything else. -

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      • #4
        I agree that it's an adjustment thing. I ran a 5-K in VFF this weekend, and though I've run substantially longer distances in them with no problems, I hadn't run that much distance at that level of intensity. My calves were feeling it Sunday and even yesterday. As long as it's just typical muscle soreness (and not sharp pain from strain or tearing) you should be fine.

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        • #5
          Anyone have more detailed advice on how to gradually make the switch. I started out with wearing my VFF around the house, then did 20 min. on the treadmill, then 12 min. outside on pavement. Thought that I'd gradually increase by an additional 6 - 10 min. each time. Is this overly cautious? Im tempted to just go out and do a regular run in them, but I've heard that I may pay for that approach. So far no blisters. Also, calves have been ok. The only area where I've noticed some discomfort is my left lateral ankle which I sprained over this past winter.

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          • #6
            I say just get out there and run. It takes months of consistent barefoot running before your calves completely adapt. In the meantime you'll have soreness, it's inevitable. It's a good burn anyway.

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            • #7
              Total adjustment takes some time. People don't understand how their shoes, and foot strike, affect you all the way up to your neck. Just keep the good form up and you'll be fine.
              sigpic
              In Pursuit of Healthiness, Only to Achieve Happiness!: www.livingnotsurviving.com

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              • #8
                Barefoot or VFF running is seriously calf-intensive. Your calves become shock absorbers for your entire body, as they were meant to be. Trouble is, most of our calves are atrophied from walking around in foot-coffins all the time. My calves were on fire the first few weeks of my barefoot transition, but now the limiting factor is how far I can run on concrete and asphalt without blisters.

                If you were running with shoes, your calves would be spared, but the shock would go into your ankles, knees and hips instead. I'll take burning calves over shattered joints any day.

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                • #9
                  Wow fairly clear advice advice cheers guys, Im gonna stick with it, glad to have people who have been thru the same things on hand!
                  www.beatingorthorexia.co.uk

                  No more diets. No more stress. Health made easy. Living made incredible.

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                  • #10
                    Even after wearing VFF for the last 2 years (I actually wore out my first pair this week and now working on my second pair) for all my running and workouts (Crossfit) if I go for a longer run over 10 km, my calves are sore. If you plan on going a long distance runs, work up to it like you would for the run itself. My years of shoe wearing and running in them still has an impact on me even after switching to VFF for workouts. Just keep at it and take the time off when you need it so as not to get hurt.

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                    • #11
                      OK seriously, my calves hurt more than my chest after a lifting session!! So doing a fairly vigorous run to raise my pulse when I work out (nothing chronic) and the next day my calves are so sore. I swear my technique is ok!

                      any suggestions at all?!

                      cheers
                      www.beatingorthorexia.co.uk

                      No more diets. No more stress. Health made easy. Living made incredible.

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                      • #12
                        I remember my first run after switching to ball of the foot running. Calves were on fire for a few days. Eventually, it'll just be old hat and you calves wont burn anymore.
                        I grok, therefore I am.

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                        • #13
                          I rarely run, and before yesterday I hadn't run for more than a month. I've had my VFF's for a few months, but I've probably only worn them a dozen times or so. The first time I ran in my VFF's, I took it easy and jogged for about 15 minutes. I had mild to moderate calf burn for about two days afterward.

                          Yesterday I went for a walk (asphalt) in my VFF's while pushing a baby stroller, and I decided to do some impromptu "sprints". I wasn't running all-out...maybe more like 75%, where I would typically run at < 50%. I did 10-15 seconds of running, and rested until I was fully recovered. I repeated this about 10 times. I was very conscious of landing on the balls of my feet, to the point where I was slightly worried that I would strain my foot somehow. However, the feeling of heel strike when wearing VFF's or going barefoot on asphalt is so unpleasant that my body basically forced me to run on the balls.

                          Today I have almost no calf soreness. Just the tiniest bit, and it's definitely a "good sore" versus "ouch sore". Bottom line is that you should push a baby stroller when you run in your VFF's. Either that or cut back on your distance/time until the soreness subsides, then slowly build up from there.

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                          • #14
                            Just be careful not to injure your foot. I started wearing my VFFs out on regular runs too soon and injured my foot, evidently. My calves weren't really sore after those runs, but I hurt my foot pretty badly. I've been limping for almost two weeks now...

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                            • #15
                              Could be that when you get tired, you're pushing off the balls of your feet more, leading to calf soreness. Do you do any kind of exercises to check your form (like ChiRunning and such)? I found that focusing on relaxing my legs helps, especially if I'm trying to relax so that I don't feel calf involvement. I'm super-new to BF running, but my first time out I ran a mile and my calves hurt so badly that I could barely walk for a day or two. A couple weeks later, I don't have any calf soreness when I run BF, so I guess I'm just strengthening and adjusting everything...

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