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The Ballad of a Barefoot Heel Striker

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  • #46
    Originally posted by gordo View Post
    You're doing it wrong. Sorry. Running barefoot well requires a forefoot landing. Your foot and ankle should be very relaxed so that the entire foot flattens out upon landing. The only time your heel doesn't touch the ground is when sprinting. My feet are not particularly callused, and 5 miles of chip seal are no problem.

    Gordo
    She's talking about just walking barefoot, and I think her concerns aren't about mechanics but just skin sensitivity.

    @whataboutjason : congrats on your first run, but I think a mile was too much. Remember barefoot running has nothing to do with how much distance you can already cover. Go on half mile runs at most for a bit until everything adjusts. You can still do the vibram runs but I would probably keep them separate. I for instance am going to start doing short barefoot runs in the mornings, under a mile every other day until I start gaining more confidence as my soles adjust as well.

    @MamaGrok: It's not always comfortable and it depends on the roughness of the pavement. I can walk on sidewalks with more ease than on roads which around here are much rougher. I stand up at work but don't go barefoot, I stay in socks. I can't say for sure if this is strengthening my feet, it's been only about 3 weeks and sometimes I sit for the second half of the day, but most of the time I'm standing all day at work. I also take walks outside daily, and I do so in these sneakers (Amazon.com: Feiyue Martial Arts Shoes, Black, 31: Sports & Outdoors) which have very little cushioning.

    I'm with you on the difference though when shod and unshod when it comes to walking. I experience that myself for sure. I mean, that's really the whole argument though: anything you wear on your feet will change your mechanics. The reason why 95% of runners heel strike is due to the cushioning. I seem to recall from "Born to Run" that humans also naturally try to find hard ground like you said, and that another reason why we literally pound the pavement is because our bodies are subconsciously trying to find that hard surface past our cushioned foot-wear. So the thicker the shoe, the harder we'll hit trying to find that hard ground. Correct me if I'm wrong but I think it was a stability issue or something.

    Our feet provide an enormous amount of feedback and we essentially muffle it when we wear anything on our feet. I even walk "harder" when I'm wearing socks around the office than when I'm barefoot at home. I can definitely tell there's a difference.

    I was talking to some buddies at my muay thai gym about barefoot running, as running is a big part of their training (I say their and not our because I'm not as constant at the gym as they are, and don't typically run with them) some of them had usual concerns about knee problems, hardness of the ground, etc. I posed the question: "would you punch the heavy bag as hard if you were not wearing gloves or wraps?" "when we spar without equipment (known as "len chen") do you hit me as hard as you would when we wear protective gear?" then went on to say that's what happens when you wear sneakers, it provides a theoretical safe haven so that you end up beating the crap out of your feet and joints. Back when I was a regular at the gym I used to run in swim shoes (which is a cheap alternative to VFF, and also a good way to transition to fully barefoot) and they all used to make fun of me and ask why, now some of them have gotten a pair themselves. The funny thing is, I think most actually did it because they noticed my calves. Muay thai training alone will tax your calves a lot, but barefoot running = nice big calves at least in my experience. They did however report they had to change how they run and have since been injury free, though some abandoned it because they had to run slower and since some are training to fight they have to run faster. They did say they might take it up again post-fight training.
    I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.

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    • #47
      Originally posted by iniQuity View Post
      She's talking about just walking barefoot, and I think her concerns aren't about mechanics but just skin sensitivity.
      Gotcha. It wasn't clear to me. The biggest thing I notice is that you need to relax. If you tense your feet, any irregularity underfoot will hurt. A relaxed foot molds itself over all the pointy bits and nothing hurts. Like laying on a bed of nails. The other big thing is to stop reaching out with your lead foot. That's trouble, no matter what else you're doing. You extend your stride by reaching back, not forward.

      Gordo

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      • #48
        Originally posted by gordo View Post
        Gotcha. It wasn't clear to me. The biggest thing I notice is that you need to relax. If you tense your feet, any irregularity underfoot will hurt. A relaxed foot molds itself over all the pointy bits and nothing hurts. Like laying on a bed of nails. The other big thing is to stop reaching out with your lead foot. That's trouble, no matter what else you're doing. You extend your stride by reaching back, not forward.

        Gordo
        +1 all around. Hard to relax at first, all your senses are saying "danger! rough surfaces! sharp angles!" but once you step over a few your body will realize there's nothing to fear.

        "We didn't invent rough surfaces, we invented smooth ones." - Barefoot Ted, paraphrasing from Born to Run

        Also, anybody interested in barefootin' should read Born to Run, just ignore the vegetarian angle which is pretty damn strong.
        I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.

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        • #49
          I've read Born to Run and enjoyed it, but my feet still hurt on pavement, lol.

          My 9 year old son took it as his personal challenge to make the 5 mile hike down the mountain from the hike-accessible-only Hike Inn barefoot. He made it easy. Big feet, little body, hillbilly family.
          5'4" 39yo mother to five sweeties & married to their AMAZING DaddyGrok
          Current Weight: 175lb__________________________________Goal: 135lb
          Deadlift: 240lb________________________________________Back Squat: 165lb
          Bench: 130lb__________________________________________Pre ss: 85lb
          ***Winning a 20-year war against binge eating disorder***

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          • #50
            Originally posted by MamaGrok View Post
            I've read Born to Run and enjoyed it, but my feet still hurt on pavement, lol.
            Hilarious. Born to run was an awesome book!

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            • #51
              i just walked outside in our parking area (concrete). This is probably the first time i've purposely walked around barefoot outside in Idon'tknowhowlong, other than at the beach. I hate getting dirty feet!

              But i noticed that yes even when walking barefoot, i kinda hit the balls of my feet before heels. A little bit. jogging in bikilas, definitely balls of the feet first. I thought this was just because i've always "run like a girl" and for some reason i've always tended to walk around "on my toes" til my husband pointed it out in jest.

              maybe one day i'll try barefoot running but for now, i still like to stick to the bikilas.

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