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Running Barefoot- Technique and Advice

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  • Running Barefoot- Technique and Advice

    Hi everybody! I'm a couple months into living PB, and I'm doing well. PB only slightly conflicts with my goal of running a marathon by the time I'm 30 (April of '12) and so I've begun training with the intention of running a marathon in fall of '11.

    I've had limited running experience before, so in some ways it's good because I don't have bad technique or form to correct. But I need to CREATE technique.

    I bought a pair of VFF's (LOVE THEM!) and I've been reading online for advice, but although I've found videos I haven't found a lot of specific advice. I went for a short run yesterday, focuses on staying on the balls of my feet, in order to not heel strike, and lifting my feet. During the run I was worried about my Achilles heel's, and today my calves are quite sore.

    So I look to the experts here, help? advice? resources?

  • #2
    Yep, your calves will really feel it the first few times, until they get used to your new running style.
    I'd say don't try to run on the ball of your foot, but land more on the mid-sole (just behind your ball, so your foot lands a little flatter but without the heel hitting the floor). Sounds odd I know and took me a while to get used to as I've always been a really heavy heel striker.

    Try running up hill and you'll find that you do it pretty naturally, doesn't have to be too steep either, then you just need to remember how your foot is landing when you're on the the flat.

    Before I got my VFF's I learnt this by reading up on Chi running and Prose running styles, plus watching a couple of good demos on youtube.
    Both styles are pretty detailed, but you can get the basics quickly enough to make a big difference. I hadn't really run for over 5 years as my knees and ankles would hurt afterwards (I used to run 80+ miles/week in my late teens / 20's) due to old injuries and the stress of heel striking. But I started running on the mid-sole and literally overnight could run 3 to 5 miles without issue, apart from my calves punishing me for several days afterwards but in a good way
    If you're interested in my (very) occasional updates on how I'm working out and what I'm eating click here.

    Originally posted by tfarny
    If you are new to the PB - please ignore ALL of this stuff, until you've read the book, or at least http://www.marksdailyapple.com/primal-blueprint-101/

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    • #3
      first, VFFs come with instructions, so read them.

      second, take your time learning to run in them. i think the instructions tell you how.

      third, yes--regarding the calves--totally normal. new stride, different muscles used, soreness. totally normal.

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      • #4
        first couple runs I did in VFF I took a week off (essentially waited till my calves were no longer sore) between runs, it's like weight lifting (or skiing), the first couple times you're going to be more sore just because you haven't used those muscles to that degree before.
        I didn't like the rules you gave me, so I made some of my own.

        Strong people are harder to kill than weak people, and more useful in general. - Mark Rippetoe

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        • #5
          Originally posted by zoebird View Post
          second, take your time learning to run in them. i think the instructions tell you how.
          Absolutely. Unless you're already used to walking/running around barefoot then take some time to build up to running in them, start with short walks and then work your way up building up to longer/more weeks each week and then onto running.

          I walked for 30 mins to an hour a day for over a month before I first ran in mine.
          If you're interested in my (very) occasional updates on how I'm working out and what I'm eating click here.

          Originally posted by tfarny
          If you are new to the PB - please ignore ALL of this stuff, until you've read the book, or at least http://www.marksdailyapple.com/primal-blueprint-101/

          Comment


          • #6
            This is the kind of foot strike you aiming for:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3j9Jt...eature=related
            If you're interested in my (very) occasional updates on how I'm working out and what I'm eating click here.

            Originally posted by tfarny
            If you are new to the PB - please ignore ALL of this stuff, until you've read the book, or at least http://www.marksdailyapple.com/primal-blueprint-101/

            Comment


            • #7
              I blogged about barefoot running technique recently. Hope this helps!
              "In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they couldn't be more different."

              "You can have anything you want, but you can't have everything you want."

              My blog: http://www.AlKavadlo.com

              sigpic

              Comment


              • #8
                First you should know that VFFs are not barefoot. They are shoes and still block an incredible amount of information from reaching your nervous system. Be very careful, it's easy to do to much, and it's easy to run badly in them. The best way to do it is to run barefoot until you get it, and then you can wear the VFFs safely for running. Resources:

                http://therunningbarefoot.com/ Look in the "beginning" section.

                http://groups.google.com/group/huaraches

                Good luck, Gordo

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by gordo View Post
                  First you should know that VFFs are not barefoot. They are shoes and still block an incredible amount of information from reaching your nervous system. Be very careful, it's easy to do to much, and it's easy to run badly in them.
                  +1
                  "In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they couldn't be more different."

                  "You can have anything you want, but you can't have everything you want."

                  My blog: http://www.AlKavadlo.com

                  sigpic

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    +1 to everything about taking it very slow and easy. I started by running barefoot strides on grass. I've always walked barefoot my whole life, so that gave me an advantage when it came to running. When I got the VFFs, I started out with very low mileage. With people I'm coaching, I have them do no more than 100 - 400 yards their first time barefoot or in VFFs. A LOT of people are getting injured doing too much too soon with barefoot or VFF running.

                    I highly recommend the Chi Running book and DVD.

                    Here's a couple of things I wrote about easing into it:

                    Do Toe Shoes Make Your Feet Stronger?l
                    Barefoot Running: Easy Does It

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      You know, I thought I had my barefoot running down, until I recently attended a MovNat workshop with Erwan De Corre. He had with him a chap called Naeem - www.runningengineer.com. Naeem, a POSE coach, made some very pertinent remarks regarding my running style which I would not have noted amongst any amount of DVD's or books on the topic. Basically I was landing to heavy on the ball of my foot - kind of slapping it down onto the ground using excessive plantar flexion of the ankle. As a result of this revelation(!) I am re-educating myself on barefoot running and will hopefully be doing a workshop with a master trainer in Chi Running in the new year.

                      I think having personal instruction in running is not a bad idea at all, the idea that we can all run without any training in technique is difficult for me to believe now.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Yes, the first thing people do when they think "forefoot landing" is to force their foot down forefoot first instead of just relaxing. It's a great way to get a stress fracture.

                        Gordo

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                        • #13
                          Live near a beach? I built up my barefoot ability doing runs at the beach I live a few hours from. After building up my legs and feet I then started wearing the VFFs and had little issue.

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