Anybody doing Barefoot Speed Training

Discussion in 'Barefoot & Minimalist Running' started by I-Did-It (Steve), Jun 9, 2014.

  1. I-Did-It (Steve)

    I-Did-It (Steve) Barefooters

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    I'm upping the ante on my training...I've been running for about 6 weeks now after about a 20 year layoff.

    I'm losing weight (down to 246 from 261 pounds) and getting my endurance up, I did two long runs in that time period, both between 2:45 and just under 3 hours for a half marathon distance. One was a treadmill run, and the other a very flat circuit course.

    I'm very week on hills so I am doing trail 5.1 mile trail runs several times a week with around 1600 feet of elevation and descent, and will soon work my way up to a regular sunday long run of 10.2 mile with 3200 in elevation and descent, then after a month or so I'll bump that up to 3 laps of the same trail circuit (15.3 miles and 4800 ft of elevation).

    I'm okay with the long run stuff cause its very slow, around 13:30 - 14:00 minutes per mile.

    But despite the build up in distance, I can't sustain a pace faster than 10:00 per mile for any distance at all, I'm just not strong enough yet, and that aspect of my running is not improving.

    So I am adding in some speed training.

    I did 10 x 120 meter 'sprints' on the grass infield over the weekend and felt great.

    I'll work that up to doing 16 of those sprints one day a week.

    I also want to do a track workout of high intensity 400 meters with one minute rest in between, probably 8 x 400...and then after a month or six weeks step those up to 8 x 800 meter at high intensity.

    I am carrying around an extra 70 pounds or so of dead weight, but assume I will get faster as the pounds wear off.


    My goal weight is about 175 pounds (I'm 6'2").


    I want to run a barefoot marathon under 4 hours this fall, and under 3 hours next spring....with the ultimate goal of running 100 mile plus Ultras and being competitive in my age group.


    Is anyone here doing any 'speed' training barefoot?


    If so, what are your workouts and surfaces?
     
  2. DNEchris

    DNEchris Barefooters
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    Don't rush the search for speed Steve - enjoy the journey!

    Long, slow runs will help you lose the excess quicker while giving you a chance to perfect your technique.
     
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  3. mokaman

    mokaman Chapter Presidents
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    If it was me i would back off the distance by a large margin and forget about any speed training for a while... you only started 6 weeks ago...patience is needed at this time. You have no hurry...if you get injured you will be set back far more than you realize...many runners here have over did it in the beginning.

    My speed training is doing a tempo run every now and then maybe a few extra leading up to a race... sometimes 2 or 3 months with no speed training.
     
  4. I-Did-It (Steve)

    I-Did-It (Steve) Barefooters

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    Hi Chris,

    I get the advice, and where its coming from, and thank you.




    There are a lot of studies lately that indicate that higher intensity training burns fat faster than long slow cardio, and that VERY long slow cardio with no intensity training mixed can actually cause you to store fat.
     
  5. DNEchris

    DNEchris Barefooters
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    Whatever floats your boat.

    I run a load of 8+ minute miles with occasional 5:30 miles added for fun - and to p!ss off folk 1/3 my age who don't want to get passed by the barefoot guy!

    I took pace very easy for a couple of years after I went barefoot.
     
  6. I-Did-It (Steve)

    I-Did-It (Steve) Barefooters

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    I stopped doing the half marathon run distance after my second one, because it was breaking my body down too much, and taking too long to recover throughout the week...10.2 miles seems about right for a once a week long run though, at a nice slow pace....I didn't really start suffering badly on the half marathon distance until around 11 miles.

    I'm very sensitive about whats going on with my body, and stopping and or making adjustments if the wrong kind of pain shows up.
     
  7. DNEchris

    DNEchris Barefooters
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    That's what I was trying to say!
     
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  8. kozz

    kozz Barefooters
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    The volume of speed work you're describing is way excessive after only 6 weeks. Err heavily on the side of caution.

    I put down a 57-second 400m on the local track last year, then they put a new pointy, knobbly surface on it so I had to start using spikes.

    The main problem with speedwork is friction. At my weight (175-180) friction is so severe at faster than 70 pace that it tears off my skin, and can peel off entire callouses leaving a bloody hole where my skin was. I have a method of dealing with this but it involves a fair amount of taping and crafting of devices.
     
  9. I-Did-It (Steve)

    I-Did-It (Steve) Barefooters

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    Ouch!!!


    Kinda makes ya wonder what humans did for the last 250,000 years, before shoes became common 3000 of 4000 years ago?


    Also, 'speed' work for me, at 43, will probably not include 57 sec laps, or even 70 sec laps any time soon lol

    Tomorrow is my scheduled track day, I'll let you guys know how it goes...I only want to do about 90 second 400 meters though, cause I want to graduate to very slow 800 meter repeats of about 3 minutes 45 seconds, to train the pain threshold for a 4 hour marathon... Down the road.

    I'm VERY slow right now, so 'speed' work is not that speedy lol
     
  10. dutchie53

    dutchie53 Barefooters
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    I agree with Kozz, about 20 years ago I tore off my calluses running a 5 minute mile barefoot on a running track. Just last year I ran some speed work at the end of one of my runs and wound up with a blister. If I was to do serious speedwork now, I would probably be running in track shoes as well. Slow introduction is needed as well for speed. It is very easy to get hurt by running too fast too soon even if it is short speed workouts, and if you feel you must do them just make sure you are warmed up and limber before you start. Running fast cold means injury.
     
  11. Bare Lee

    Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    I like speed work, although I haven't done any since last fall.

    Like you I run on grass, on the inside field of a somewhat abrasive sandy gravel track, which I like for 440 and one-mile 'tempo' work. My 'sprint' work consists of running the length of the 100-120 meter field, walking the width, then running back the other side, just inside the track. Like you pointed out, speed work helps you burn fat, and will also improve your form. When you go fast, you're forced to run efficiently. In theory at least, that learned running economy can then be applied to slower-paced runs. You also recruit more muscle fiber when doing high-intensity stuff, and, so the theory goes, your body will then learn how to use that greater amount of muscle fiber on slower runs, improving overall endurance. An ultra runner BRS member completed a 100-miler after training a lot of speed work.

    For abrasive surfaces, I think it's mostly a matter of working up to it, unless you run as fast as Kozz.

    But I agree with everyone that you seem to be progressing really quickly after just six weeks. It might be advisable to go a little more slowly, but if you have good somatic awareness, you could be OK. Everyone is different. Keeping yourself loose and limber with stretching and massaging is a good preventative.

    Also, are you doing any strength training? Squats, deadlifts, and box jumps are great for runners and will help prevent injury. Upper body pulls and presses will help you maintain a good, relaxed posture.

    For fat loss, also, eating protein at every meal helps.
     
  12. happysongbird

    happysongbird Chapter Presidents
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    After running barefoot for a few months, I could handle sprinting form-wise, but my toes were not up to it. After backing down and now 4 years later, I can throw in fartleks, end of run sprints, and some tempos runs without having to worry about sole abrasion on most medium asphalt. Always harder the rougher the surface, but I am seeing progress there as long as I am patient. The fast will come much more easily and safely when the base is built.
     
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  13. rickwhitelaw

    rickwhitelaw Barefooters
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    Hi Steve, I hope I don't sound too harsh here, I mean well and by no means want to be a downer on your goals. From this posts and your others, I am enjoying your enthusiasm with barefoot running and your goals are great, but they need to be within the scope of reality. Exceptions exist though.

    Weight goal is great, but it will take time. 10 years to drop my excess 50 pounds.

    Marathon this fall? Could be done, but don't set the speed goal of 4 hours. 3 hour next spring, not likely, it's so difficult to drop the pace by a minute, let alone several. Enjoy your first marathon and don't be in a hurry.

    100 mile Ultra. Great goal, but again, it's going to take some time. I have only been running Ultra distances for a year, but from my observation, being competitive in them shouldn't even be a concern until you have completed several.

    If I could offer any advice on your goals, set them in this order. Weight loss, Form, Distance, then Speed (the last 3 are the Chi Pyramid, it really works.)

    Opening post question: No, I don't do any speed work barefoot and rarely shod. I do like variety though, so every now and then after a complete warm up and 100 percent feeling good, I will do a few sprints and have been doing some tempo runs and runs that include some faster intervals. After over 3 years of barefoot running and my share of injuries I am just now feeling comfortable adding in some speed.
     
  14. I-Did-It (Steve)

    I-Did-It (Steve) Barefooters

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    Thank you Barefoot Lee!


    Regarding Somatic Awareness, Meditation is a lifestyle for me, so I am generally ALERT and AWARE, which is crucial for success in any endeavor, I always stay acutely aware of whats going on with my body during training, and ease into everything while keeping alert for any trouble developing. If there is any issue at all, then I will stop, identify the exact nature of the issue, spend a few minutes correcting and exploring it, then easing back up the intensity.

    If I'm doing a long run, I pay close attention to every foot fall and how the skin is feeling, if ANY abrasion is felt in any stride, I know my form is off, so I will stop and run in place, get 'reset', then fall forward again, sometimes repeatedly until the issue is corrected...haha, I think I might look pretty funny on the street or trail sometimes to outsiders, cause I will randomly stop and run in place then lean forward and run a few steps, then stop again and run in place and lean again over and over to return to good form...must look funny especially cause I'll talk to myself sometimes to work through a difficult to identify form problem lol

    Regarding sprints and speed work...for the 16 x 120 meter sprints I do it on grass and I ease up to speed very carefully, while concentrating on good form in every step...and even then I don't exceed about 95% in order to stay in control but still fluid and fast.

    I think my body is progressing quickly because of the effects of atrophy, anyone who has muscle and cardiovascular atrophy from lack of activity for long periods will usually progress very quickly in the beginning, but then level off.


    Plus, because of the meditation, and general alertness while training, I can identify what pain is bad, and stop to correct it, while shutting out pain thats good for harder longer training than might otherwise be available.

    One thing I learned decades ago when I was a competitive runner, running is a mind game, the mind has to 'get in shape' just like the body does, because usually the mind can handle MUCH LESS than the body can handle with regard to fatigue.

    Part of the fun of all this for me, is to explore how much more the body can do than the mind tells you that you can :)
     
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  15. I-Did-It (Steve)

    I-Did-It (Steve) Barefooters

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    Oh, and I'm not doing any weight training, but I am jumping rope barefoot once a week to strengthen the feet, running in place barefoot FREQUENTLY throughout the day to train the nuero-muscular response to a good midfoot Barefoot Ken Bob style foot landing, and I do feet strengthen excersizes throughout the day everyday...I also stay barefoot or in a minimal shoe nearly 100 % of the time now, and have changed my walking gait considerably to support my running form footfall.

    I also do one legged squats and a core strengthening routine a couple times a week.

    As far as diet goes, I'm taking amino acid supplements, along with a good vitamin and anti-oxident supplement mix, all to balance about a 20-50% calorie deficit a day.

    I generally have a couple of protein shakes with soymilk a day, and eat a lot of fruit for the rest of the day, with some eggs, yogurt, and cottage cheese thrown in...meat maybe once a week in small quantities...like a few bites of turkey bacon, or a turkey sandwich or something.

    I'll add in some high rep low weight circuit training once a week.
     
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  16. Sid

    Sid Barefooters

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    Ambitious! :D Good luck!
     
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  17. I-Did-It (Steve)

    I-Did-It (Steve) Barefooters

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    So today was my first 'track' speed training day...I do most of my runs above 12 minute mile pace, but occasionally spend a few minutes at around 10 minute mile pace...so the goal today was to get the body use to a higher speed, while going into lactic acid anaerobic phase...in order to increase my speed threshold.

    The plan was to run 8 four hundred meter runs getting into lactic acid producing oxygen debt on each of the 8 intervals.



    Haha, best laid plans of mice and men.


    Was MUCH harder than anticipated...and I was much slower than I thought.

    Man, I forgot how hard running past the aerobic threshold was lol, and how painful a hard 400 meter can be!

    I briefly considered that death was a remote possibility hehehe.

    I could only manage 5 of the planned 8 intervals before calling it quits, but that was partially because I was getting tired enough to lose some form and did not want to injure myself.

    I did get some time in beyond my aerobic threshold though, so thats a positive I guess.
     
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  18. Bare Lee

    Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    Don't be too hard on yourself, sounds like you're doing great after just six weeks. As I always tell myself, in all facets of life, trust the process. You know you will meet your goals, because lots of people have already done this, it's just a matter of time. It's great you knew when to pull back. That's key. Also, like you, I think keeping things at around 90-95% of your true max effort on high intensity stuff like sprints or deadlifts is a good guideline. Always leave something in the tank as they say, never push to fatigue or exhaustion unless you're trying to win a fancy ribbon or something. Live to fight another day!
     
  19. Scratch

    Scratch Barefooters
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    I'm going to weigh in on the side of those who are advising caution. Running is a beautiful thing and that's why it pays to be cautious about not doing too much too soon and getting injured. Being injured sucks.

    Frankly, considering the paces you're running now and other factors, I'd say don't even think that a sub 4 hour marathon is achievable by the fall. That's too much mountain to climb and not enough time to do it, and it's probably better to look at a marathon as a long term project. That's how I'm thinking of it should I ever choose to do one. I began running barefoot last August and will likely do a half this fall. I could probably do a marathon if I really felt it was necessary somehow this fall, but I suspect that if I were to wait until 2015 or 2016, I'd probably have a much more enjoyable go at the training.

    Of course, my mindset isn't to everyone's taste and maybe isn't to yours, but I'd urge you to consider a more patiently-oriented approach.

    Here's another thing to realize: the slow and easy miles do a lot of good things. You need to run a lot slow and easy to make the heart grow, because strangely enough, running at high intensities doesn't do that. Also those slow easy runs help to stimulate the body's cells to grow more mitochondria, and again, high intensity running doesn't do that. Then also those slow easy miles do help to build some strength into the muscles, bones, ligaments and tendons. And be careful with those ligaments and tendons, they are the slowest to adapt and grow stronger. Give them time, let them get strong because you are able to run and you aren't injured.
     
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  20. I-Did-It (Steve)

    I-Did-It (Steve) Barefooters

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    Hello Scratch,

    That all makes sense, but without some higher intensity training mixed in to the long slow easy stuff, its very hard to raise the VO2 max and to be able to run at a faster pace per mile for sustained periods.

    When I only do long slow and easy, the body has a VERY difficult time increasing the average pace from say 13 mm to 12 mm, but with some high intensity stuff mixed in, at say 7 to 8 mm pace, I am able to sustain the 12 mm pace on longer runs more easily...partially because higher intensity lactic acid producing runs make you mentally tougher, but they also help improve form, increase the VO2 max, and generally make one stronger faster...plus, I gotta get some weight off...and some intensity interval training accelerates that alot.



    Regarding a 4 hour marathon this fall...I did a half marathon length run a week or so ago in about 2:45:00, a 13 minute improvement over a half marathon length run I did about 12 days before that.

    My ace up the sleeve is that I was carrying around and extra 80 pounds in the first 13.1 mile run, and only lost 10 pounds or so before the second one.

    I will be at around 200 pounds this fall, down from 261 pounds...put a 61 pound pack on and go for a run, and see what that extra weight does to your times lol

    Its a stretch, but there is a good outside chance of achieving that 4 hour marathon goal.

    6 weeks ago, at 261 pounds, I was running 15 mm pace and done after 3 miles...now, at 246 pounds, I can do 13.1 miles at about a 12:36 mm pace, and a 10k at around 11:45mm pace, I can do a 5k at around a 10:45 pace but really suffer to do so.

    I think I'll get there...I think 60 pounds lighter, and another 16 weeks to train, and I can manage a 9:10 pace for a good bit...we'll see.

    If I can get my aerobic threshold speed up to a solid 7:30 pace without going into anaerobic lactic acid production, then I'm pretty good with the 'keep putting one foot in front of the other part' of endurance running.

    And there is no way that I know of to increase the aerobic threshold other than running beyond the aerobic threshold every week.
     
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