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Thread: My Barefoot Running Experience (so far) page

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    Patrick's Avatar
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    My Barefoot Running Experience (so far)

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    If anyone's interested, here's a blog post about the barefoot running experiences of a newbie (me). If there are people out there considering doing it (and I highly recommend it) and are looking at VFFs as a stepping stone for barefoot running, think again.

    My Barefoot Running Experience (or how to do everything wrong) The Primal Mind
    August 2010: 207 lb, 37" waist, 25+% BF | Currently: 177 lb, 33" waist, ~15% BF

    I have a new site up and will soon be blogging at The Wayward Mind. (My journal is semi-retired at this point)

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    I need to use the word "fuck" more often in my blog.

    Good stuff. Thanks for the tips. I'm warming up to the idea of minimalist shoes but have some hesitation about effing up - er, I mean, FUCKING up - my feet and legs more than they already are.

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    Heya, Erin. "Fuck" is such a universal word. It's great for emphasis, I find.

    (In what I write below, I hope I've understood what you meant when you said you worry about fucking up your feet and legs more than they already are. If I've misunderstood, please correct me!)

    My overall advice is: Do not use minimalist shoes if you're looking to learn to run barefoot. Number 1 thing I would and do tell everyone. Barefoot Ken Bob, who's been running barefoot for decades, says it's a mistake to consider VFFs and other minimalist shoes as a transitory step (har har) to barefoot running, and my experiences certainly prove it, anecdotally anyway. Barefoot, then "barefoot."

    Like anything else out there, it's worthwhile doing a bit of research before trying it. Barefoot running is not like running shod at all (which kinda surprised me), and I don't just mean how your foot lands. That's actually the least of it. There are a lot of factors -- easily learned, mind you! -- involved in properly running barefoot. I did a 3 - 3.5k run today and it was awesome. Like gliding. The tactile sensations of bare feet on pavement and gravel is fucking incredible (screw grass, to start). It's like stepping onto a warm beach for the first time and digging your toes into the warm sand.

    Thanks for reading!
    August 2010: 207 lb, 37" waist, 25+% BF | Currently: 177 lb, 33" waist, ~15% BF

    I have a new site up and will soon be blogging at The Wayward Mind. (My journal is semi-retired at this point)

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    Quote Originally Posted by ErinC View Post

    Good stuff. Thanks for the tips. I'm warming up to the idea of minimalist shoes but have some hesitation about effing up - er, I mean, FUCKING up - my feet and legs more than they already are.
    I've been very gradually working my way up to "barefooting." I don't live in an area where going truly barefoot is an option - too much nasty shit (both figurative and literal shit - the Canada Geese have taken over lately!) on the sidewalks/paths that I would run on (so I guess my goal really isn't barefoot running, but to be as minimalist as practically possible). But I'm definitely wearing shoes as little as possible - never wear them at home (and I work at home most days, so I'm able to spend a lot of time shoeless).

    One of the exercise classes I do is at a gym where no shoes are allowed - everything's on mats (tumbling, jumping, gymnastics, full-body workout type stuff). Just doing that class regularly has really strengthened my feet and ankles.

    I have had VFFs for a couple months but so far all I do in them is walk, but I try to wear them any time I'm walking around the neighborhood doing errands. The first couple times I really "felt it" but now it's very comfortable and easy to walk in them.

    I'm not a runner, but I set a goal for myself to be able to do a 5K and run for casual fitness, so I'm building up my running miles very slowly (doing the Couch-to-5K plan) and instead of going straight to running in VFFs, I compromised and got a pair of New Balance Minimus shoes and have run with those for the last 4 runs, and have also worn them for my boot camp class a couple times (which involves some running/sprinting, though usually not more than a couple minutes at a time). They feel great when I'm running and though I've noticed that I feel the muscles in my legs a bit more after a run in those, but not to the point of pain. I also noticed for the first few days I was more prone to charley horses, but that seems to have gone away, which is good, because those are a sonofabitch.

    So, though I didn't have a book I feel like the transition (so far) is going well. I'll continue listening to what my body says and hopefully will continue to enjoy the barefoot/minimalist experience.
    Last edited by ennasirk; 06-14-2011 at 04:20 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick View Post
    My overall advice is: Do not use minimalist shoes if you're looking to learn to run barefoot.
    Truer words were never written. But that mistake is so common as to be laughable. Human nature, I guess. I did it. LOL

    Gordo

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    Patrick,
    How long did it take you to be able to run a 3k?

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    Thanks again for the tips, Patrick. I really did read your blog post and got the gist of your "dont use VFFs to transition to barefoot" advice. I don't know that I'll ever go full barefoot. I was thinking of going minimalist and then... stopping there.

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    Patrick's Avatar
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    @ennasirk: Hope the 5k goes well! C25K is a great program!

    Quote Originally Posted by gordo View Post
    Truer words were never written. But that mistake is so common as to be laughable. Human nature, I guess. I did it. LOL
    It's gotten to the point where some stores have had to post warnings about VFFs and injuries, which sucks. It's not the fault of the shoes that people like you and I are idiots. ;.)

    Quote Originally Posted by ErinC View Post
    Thanks again for the tips, Patrick. I really did read your blog post and got the gist of your "dont use VFFs to transition to barefoot" advice. I don't know that I'll ever go full barefoot. I was thinking of going minimalist and then... stopping there.
    I hope it works out for you and you have fun with it!

    Quote Originally Posted by kitoi View Post
    Patrick,
    How long did it take you to be able to run a 3k?
    Based on Ken Bob's advice about running time, I started with 6 - 8 min last Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday (with a Tabata Protocol sprint halfway through my Sat run). That's about 1.5 - 2k per day. Today was my first run of the week, so... I guess it took me a week to get up to 3k. That has nothing to do with endurance, though; it's about ensuring you give your calves and feet time to adjust and for the different rarely-used muscles to strengthen. Endurance-wise, I felt completely at ease, and had only just started to break a sweat as I was winding down the run.

    Start with 5 minutes every other day, regardless of how fine you feel, and work up from there. I'm doing ~10 - 13 min a day now. Next week likely the same amount. Then I'll start boosting it and simply go by what I'm comfortable with, regardless of distance. It's 7.5k from my doorstep to work, so I might run from work back home every Tues and Thurs. If my feet adjust more quickly, I'll push it a bit more. Ottawa's a decent city for running in terms of paths and trails.

    Oh, that's all on asphalt/pavement/gravel, by the way. Grass running makes it easier, which is why it's not the best surface to learn on. You gotta train yourself to become sensitive to how your feet respond and get used to not trying to push away from grit and harsh things you step down on. Rather, you sink into them to disperse your body's weight and minimize the issue. I run no problem over gravel surfaces, broken twigs and branches on the road, cracks in the asphalt, etc.
    August 2010: 207 lb, 37" waist, 25+% BF | Currently: 177 lb, 33" waist, ~15% BF

    I have a new site up and will soon be blogging at The Wayward Mind. (My journal is semi-retired at this point)

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    "We didn't invent hard surfaces, we invented soft ones" - Forgot who, from "Born to Run" (maybe Barefoot Ted?)

    You're right about not using minimalist shoes to "barefoot" run, definitely a different beast. You've inspired me to give BFR a real shot (again) I always used swim shoes and later minimalist sneakers to feel the ground more. Just like you don't dismiss VFFs, I don't dismiss my minimalist sneakers (which I wear all the time) and will most likely continue to use them for sprints. That's another thing, is there video of barefoot sprinting? like bawls to the walls sprinting? on gravel? uphill? I really almost never do any jogging or running, I only sprint. I do want to start BFR and maybe that'll eventually make me want to work up to more mileage..

    Have you seen the video of a kid doing barefoot parkour? it's cool stuff... he's on trees and shit, cool little bastard. I will look into that book too.

    You know what's a pretty terrible idea? running in your socks, even the thinnest socks produce a burning sensation that doesn't go away. I was trying to be a tough guy (oh yeah... don't think that running barefoot makes you look tough) at my muaythai gym and was running "barefoot" in my socks and I suffered through that training session and almost couldn't walk the next day, the bottom of my feet were so damn sore, raw almost.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iniQuity View Post
    is there video of barefoot sprinting? like bawls to the walls sprinting? on gravel? uphill? I really almost never do any jogging or running, I only sprint. I do want to start BFR and maybe that'll eventually make me want to work up to more mileage.
    I haven't seen a video, no, and the sprints I do are on a grass field behind a school. I'm not at the point where I trust myself well enough to go balls-to-the-wall all-out on gravel. Running on gravel? No problem -- I almost prefer it. Feels awesome, but sprints are a different beast entirely. The posture and technique are different. You land harder because you don't need economy of movement; you don't need to last for a long haul because the very purpose is speed over a short distance. Anyhoo, let me know if you spot a video of it!

    Quote Originally Posted by iniQuity View Post
    I was running "barefoot" in my socks and I suffered through that training session and almost couldn't walk the next day, the bottom of my feet were so damn sore, raw almost.
    Yeah, even minor (but constant) friction can do some serious damage. The book I read mentioned that one of Barefoot Ken Bob's buddies (might have been the co-author, actually) sometimes uses socks that he's painted the soles of with some kind of liquid sealant, effectively making his own VFFs. He said they work great because he can just pull them out from his pocket if he does anything to his feet during a marathon (like landing on glass or something) and pause and slip 'em on. It was a particular kind of sealant/polypropylene something or other. I'd have to check through the book again to find out what it was called. Sounded like an awesome DIY way to get the results you want.
    August 2010: 207 lb, 37" waist, 25+% BF | Currently: 177 lb, 33" waist, ~15% BF

    I have a new site up and will soon be blogging at The Wayward Mind. (My journal is semi-retired at this point)

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