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The Ballad of a Barefoot Heel Striker

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  • The Ballad of a Barefoot Heel Striker

    I have been running in Vibram Five FIngers for about 7 months now. It seems as though i am still a chronic heel striker.
    I wrote a short post over on my blog about it....I would love some advice form some fellow barefoot runners!

    The Ballad of a Barefoot Heel Striker

  • #2
    I have some advice: stop heel-striking.

    Throw out your VFFs, do some actual barefoot runs, your mechanics can't be that awful (or you can't be so hard-headed) as to heel-strike when barefoot. Mostly because it hurts and your body will adopt.

    Bend your knees, think about having your hips over your knees as you land, head forward, torso up, etc. It shouldn't feel like you're uncomfortably trying to hold this position though, it really should be natural.

    Nothing was more natural to me than mid-foot striking when barefoot.
    I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.

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    • #3
      You might also consider looking up Pose running. I have always naturally ran on my forefoot, but didn't know I was doing it "right." When I started really running, I looked up Pose running to perfect my technique.

      Best of luck!

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      • #4
        Originally posted by iniQuity View Post
        I have some advice: stop heel-striking.

        Throw out your VFFs, do some actual barefoot runs, your mechanics can't be that awful (or you can't be so hard-headed) as to heel-strike when barefoot. Mostly because it hurts and your body will adopt.

        Bend your knees, think about having your hips over your knees as you land, head forward, torso up, etc. It shouldn't feel like you're uncomfortably trying to hold this position though, it really should be natural.

        Nothing was more natural to me than mid-foot striking when barefoot.
        100% agree.

        it's summer. get out there barefoot and before long your heels will only be brushing the ground...then you can put the vibrams back on. if it helps, try to realize that you're not just changing your running style...you're correcting it. the heel strike that people develop in conventional running shoes isn't the natural landing. in the words of yoda, "you must unlearn what you have learned."
        http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread60178.html

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        • #5
          Perhaps i have cheated myself wearing the Vffs from a true barefoot experience. However where i live there is nothing but miles a concrete that are full of things i shouldn't be stepping in. The closest parks aren't very big and don't really have a nice grassy trail to run..but hey i'll try anything once.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by WhatAboutJason View Post
            Perhaps i have cheated myself wearing the Vffs from a true barefoot experience. However where i live there is nothing but miles a concrete that are full of things i shouldn't be stepping in. The closest parks aren't very big and don't really have a nice grassy trail to run..but hey i'll try anything once.
            We've all shared these concerns, but have found it's really not that bad. Look at the ground in front of you and just avoid the hypodermic needles, those are the only real causes for concern.

            Start off easy too. I don't do a lot of running in general, but when I go at it barefoot I've yet to clock a full mile.

            You're already running more often and longer distances than I do (or care to do, no offense, running is just not my favorite) so you may be inclined to do too much too soon. Resist that natural inclination, and realize that VFF's are NOT your bare feet so ease into it.

            Lastly, read this great article by board member Patrick: My Barefoot Running Experience (or how to do everything wrong) The Primal Mind
            I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.

            Comment


            • #7
              Ouch!

              I run barefoot on concrete. It's not as great as dirt, but it's fine. I did ChiRunning, but Pose gives a similar result. Stand erect, bend your knees, rotate your pelvis in. Try jumping off stuff. This video has some EXCELLENT drills: Learning the Skill of Barefoot Running on Vimeo

              Good luck!
              Woman, Artist, Wife, Visionary, Mother, Gardener, Daughter, Tea-drinker, Friend, Believer.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by iniQuity View Post
                I have some advice: stop heel-striking.

                Throw out your VFFs, do some actual barefoot runs, your mechanics can't be that awful (or you can't be so hard-headed) as to heel-strike when barefoot. Mostly because it hurts and your body will adopt.

                ...it really should be natural.
                This is what I'd say too.

                If you really want to run with perfect form just go completely barefoot on a hard surface (blacktop, concrete, etc). Your body will not allow you to heel strike. You will instinctively place each foot in such a way that in minimizes the force of impact. The beauty of this method is that it takes your analytical mind out of the process. There's nothing to figure out, your body will do it for you.

                Once you get into a rhythm pay close attention to exactly how it feels. Try to replicate that while wearing your VFFs (or whatever other shoes you decide to run in).

                Comment


                • #9
                  Take the shoes off!
                  if you are worried about stepping on things. Like say there is actually a decent amount of large pieces of glass (realistically I have yet to find a place where this is actually a concern, and I've run in some pretty crappy neighborhoods). Or you are running on a place where people stray large rocks on the concrete (again I have never actually found this. All i ever find are small rocks that cause a small amount of pain when you are first starting out) Remember what you think is bad right now isn't probably that bad (most people believe that the concrete is full of dangerous things when realistically thats completely false). So if the place you have to run is actually in really bad shape, don't sell your feet short here, then you can build into running by doing barefoot walking. Don't shy away from gravelly parts or paths. Its going to hurt a bit, but no damage is likely being done. What I find is that I needed, and still need, to condition my brain to interpret the pain signals differently from my feet. So focus on the sharp pains that the rocks are causing in your feet when you are barefoot, and realize that there isn't actually any damage being done (assuming of course that no damage is being done, be sure to check to show yourself that your feet are much tougher than you think). In no time you will have strong feet that can withstand any type of terrain, even glass. For example, last night I walked across a parking lot littered with small pieces of glass and not a single time did I even notice that anything sharper than what felt like a pointy rock was digging into my feet. We humans probably evolved running, walking, and sprinting at times on some really crappy, rocky, hard terrain. I don't doubt that with a little bit of conditioning your feet can handle the smooth concrete with intermittent pointy rocks or small pieces of glass. Best of luck

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                  • #10
                    Thanks for all of the tips. You guys have pointed me in the direction of some really great material. Looks like it's simply time to take the Vibrams off and go Full Gorilla! I'll let you know how the first official run goes. Thanks for your support on my blog too!

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                    • #11
                      i don't see how in the world you can heel strike in vibrams. good luck.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Catherine View Post
                        i don't see how in the world you can heel strike in vibrams. good luck.
                        I can see how. I wear VFF sprints a fair amount and I still heel-strike when walking. I find running sprints I'm okay but I'm still bad when walking and jogging.
                        There are two wolves fighting within a man's heart, one is Love, the other is Hate. The one that wins is the one you feed.

                        My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we'll change the world. - Jack Layton

                        The Primal Adventures of Griffin - Huzzah!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Catherine View Post
                          i don't see how in the world you can heel strike in vibrams. good luck.
                          It's easy. They've got a lot of cushion. Go barefoot for six months and then put them back on. You'll be amazed. Mine feel like hiking boots now.

                          If I had a dollar for every person I've seen running badly in Vibrams, I'd be rich. They just block too much feedback from your feet.

                          Gordo

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                          • #14
                            no chance i'll be going barefoot running anytime! VFFs feel like zero cushion to me. I've never had any heel strike issues b/c i've always kinda run on my forefoot/balls of my feet. At the fleet feet store, they said i had "neutral" gait. I think i heel strike when walking, isn't that normal?

                            i saw a girl out on our jogging path once, wearing bikilas, and heel striking like a mofo. It was absolutely painful to watch. I couldn't see how she was actually doing that to herself, it looked so painful.

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                            • #15
                              Practice by standing still. Lift one leg up, then the other ... do this with increasing rapidity on the spot.
                              Push into some forward motion. Now you're running forwards and not heel striking ... and looking like a total berk!

                              Refine form while retaining the principle.
                              Paul
                              http://www.pjgh.co.uk
                              http://www.livingintheiceage.co.uk

                              "... needs more fish!"

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