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Barefoot/minimalist running beginner tips

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  • #16
    Originally posted by RedRuth View Post
    I wonder if anyone can help - I recently injured a calf muscle and it is now pretty much healed and I have the go-ahead to start running again. I have some Vivobarefoots which I was just getting used to before the injury happened. Do you think I should start out in these or stick to conventional trainers until I have built up a bit of strength?

    Any advice gratefully received!
    I think it would be okay to use them, but stick to walking for a couple of months, gradually building up your distance.
    --Trish (Bork)


    • #17
      Thanks Trish. I will give it a go with a gentle walk this morning. Slow and steady winning the race, I suppose.


      • #18
        Originally posted by smilingjustalittlebit View Post
        I've just moved to a house surrounded by 2500 acres of fields and forest. I've been thinking of barefoot running also but I guess the amount of deer shit and branches etc would make it a bad idea to go barefoot?
        Our feet are specially designed to handle deer shit and branches.


        • #19
          I wore my vibrams out really quickly in a year's time. Since they have gained numerous holes I have gone on 5 mile hikes down the sides of highways, through woods, and even parkouring barefooted. You'll adapt fairly quickly for normal movement kind of things but dont push your body. When your feet tell you to stop, and they will, just stop. Good luck


          • #20
            It would be nice if there were a simple "Do this... then do that" set of instructions for transitioning to barefoot, but there's not. And the reason is simple: individual differences.

            I've now worked with thousands of people making the switch to barefoot (or to Invisible Shoes), and for every person who says "It took me a few months," there's another who said, "I went out barefoot and never looked back."

            FWIW, in my experience, barefoot walking is no preparation for barefoot running. The way you use your muscles, ligaments and tendons when you run is so different that no amount of walking will eliminate the need to, well, start running, and start SLOWLY.

            And even here, "slowly" mean different things to different people. First, it doesn't mean you have to run slowly or, rather, MOVE slowly. You'll want a nice, high cadence (165-180 steps per minute), even if you're not covering a lot of distance. In this case, "slowly" means, "go out for a few hundred yards, STOP, then see how you feel the next day." If you're sore, see if it's "I did too much" soreness, or "I did something wrong" soreness. Either way, wait until you can handle a few hundred yards comfortably... and then add another 100 on your next run. Repeat.

            It's also funny that we say "don't overdo it" when the only way to know what "too much" is, is by doing too much. We've all been there and, hopefully, learned from it. I know that for me, the hardest lesson was learning to actually STOP when my body said I should stop but my brain said, "Ah... just a LITTLE bit more."

            Also, keep in mind that almost all minimalist footwear is different enough from barefoot that it may slow your transition down, because you're not getting enough sensory feedback.

            I know that could sound self-serving, since I sell Invisible Shoes, but if you check the comments on our FB page, for example, you'll see that I'm merely reporting my own experience and that of our customers.


            • #21
              Just wanted to mention that the latest issue of Running Times magazine has an article on preparing to go minimal. It shows 4 tests to assess the level of strength/flexibility that a person should have before going real minimal (so as not to get injured) and gives info on how to strengthen/stretch if your assessment shows you may not be ready yet. One of the most useful articles I've seen yet--they bypass the propaganda and focus on function. Might be worth checking out for anyone headed this direction.

              Edited to add: Just got an email from the Runblogger site that you may also find interesting.
              Last edited by honeypig; 03-09-2012, 03:46 AM.


              • #22
                Hello All,

                Sorry for jumping in as I usually just read the threads and don't comment much. I have some knowledge so I hope it helps
                I have over a year of experience running in minimalist shoes, including a marathon.

                If you are serious about going minimalist or barefoot I highly recommend visiting this website: Two Rivers Treads. It has many topics and will give you a true understanding of the mechanics behind barefoot or minimalist running.

                I have met Dr Mark C. many times and he is one of the most down to earth guys I know. He taught me how to slowly transition to minimal running without causing injury. The most important thing to remember is transition slowy!! Most people dont and jump right into running 3+ miles in shoes they aren't used to, only to get injured within a few weeks and wonder why. Most people, like myself, are heal strikers so when making the swicth to minimalist or barefoot running you will have to reprogram your running gait to prevent injury.

                hope this helps!


                • #23
                  Originally posted by BarefootPuffin View Post
                  Morning fellow grokstars,

                  I thought I'd share a post that I've recently written over at my blog about beginning barefoot running. With spring right around the corner, depending on your geographic location, and the advocation by mark to wear/use minimalist shoes and run barefoot, I thought I'd provide my opinion on the matter.

                  I've been running barefoot and occasionally minimalist for over a year now and I've learned a few things in regards to the transition. Let me know what you guys think.

                  Thanks for the time,
                  Great post. Thanks for writing it. I live on a gravel road and have been wondering about running barefoot on it... and if it were something I could 'learn' how to do.

                  I just found your post after trying to walk on gravel yesterday. Man did that hurt! I was doing the toe walking thing, of course, only an idiot would drop a heel first on gravel. But at the end, I looked like an idiot trying to fly with my arms doing a kind of flapping in the air every time I took a step, as though parts of my body being at a higher elevation might make me lighter. lol

                  I'll keep trying but really wonder if this is ever going to happen for me. I will go flap some more today. ;D

                  Also, has anyone seen anything about arch recovery occurring? I'd be interested.

                  Kind regards,


                  • #24
                    A few weeks in. Running 2k solid with minimal calf discomfort at the end and NO knee pain anymore from running. That's very nice. I only do it 2 or 3 times per week so it's not like I run a whole lot... but definitely know that my calves were/are still.... no where near as strong as they should be if used appropriately on a daily basis, rather than being tied into 'foot corsets'. ;D

                    Here's my story for anyone else interested in just getting started:
                    The Sensitive Canadian: Barefoot: Can Fallen Arches Be Rehabilitated?


                    • #25
                      I was actually a wear tester for the original Nike Free WAY BACK in the day. I remember that the shoe was first promoted as something to wear outside of running, and wearing trainers during running. Gradually, we started wearing it for grass workouts or track sprints, and eventually for longer and longer runs, on the roads, etc. This evolution of the minimal shoe, I think, parallels a good way to make the switch from trainers to minimalist shoes. Start of wearing it outside of running, then on a forgiving surface or for short intervals, and gradually work it into your training. Going straight to minimal from a supportive trainer has the potential tobe problematic if for no reason other than you are drastically changing the amount of support your foot is getting.

                      I'm still a free loyalist, by the way, but I've got a pair of vibrams that I'm learning to wear. I do like them a lot. KSO's.
                      Check out my new webpage: The Carnivore Runner
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                      For customized training / nutritional plans for runners from a former athlete who has personal experience in dealing with severe food allergies, please email me at foxATtinybikeDOTnet. I am ISA certified as a personal trainer and have coached many runners at the recreational or young-competitor level to towards their goals! Most of all, I'd love to help you with yours.


                      • #26
                        I've been running barefoot and occasionally minimalist for over a year now and I've learned a few things in regards to the transition.