Cold Feet??

Discussion in 'Barefoot & Minimalist Running' started by Zetti, Mar 30, 2012.

  1. Zetti

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    So I’ll start this out by saying that my feet aren’t exactly used to the cold. I chickened out of winter running this year, but plan to work on it this coming winter.
    Last night however, I go all inspired and decided to brave the cold bf. After about 10 minutes every little thing I stepped on (even small twigs) felt like little needles. I ran the exact rout that is usually a cake walk when it’s warmer out (last week it was in the 70s and 80s =) . Needless to say I had to cut my run short and only ended up going 3.
    Is this “normal” for people whose feet aren’t conditioned to the cold? It was upper 30s F (around 2-3 C).
     
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  2. Bare Lee

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    I think it's partly individual metabolism, and partly adaptation. I've always had 'hot' feet, which is why I've been a barefooter by preference for most of my adult life. I can't stand socks in particular. I think a lot of people who come to barefoot running as barefooters are that way. But if you're coming to barefoot running as a runner first, you may need time to adapt to the cold, or you may just be one of those people who have a hard time tolerating cold. Everyone is different. My wife has a hard time with cold temps, but my kids are like me. The best thing would be to wait for next fall and gradually lower your temps to find out what your tolerances are. That's what I did before my first full winter of BFR. I found I felt comfortable down to about 20f, and decided to make that the shoe/sandal threshold, in order to make sure I wasn't taking any unnecessary risks. And you're right, the colder it gets, the harder it is to tolerate uneven surfaces or pebbles and twigs. I have a hard time on chip-n-seal if it gets much below freezing.
     
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  3. Zetti

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    Yah, I plan on trying the transition when fall comes around. My feet are...odd in terms of temperature.
    They are constantly sweatting (cold or hot), freezing in the winter and burning up in the summer.
    I think my internal foot thermostat is broken =(
     
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  4. BarefootGburg

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    Well, your feet could be freezing in the winter because they are sweating then, too, so it might not be as weird as you think.

    Anyway, I can run outside barefoot down to about 35 degrees, unless it's wet. Then, anything below 65 degrees feels cold.
     
  5. moominmamma

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    I'm someone who always thought of myself as having cold feet. If I'm at all cold, the first thing my body does is shut down circulation to my extremities. I play viola and I need an ambient temperature of at least 72 degrees to keep my fingers limber enough for fast technical work. I always assumed I'd struggle with winter barefoot running.

    Having said that, I spent the three months systematically conditioning my feet to winter barefoot running and have done very well. I can run 10-20 km in sub-freezing temperatures and feel quite comfortable. When I first started I would run 1 mile in shoes and socks first, until I started to break a bit of a sweat. Then I would shed my footwear and continue on for as long as seemed appropriate for my level of conditioning. Dressing warmly and getting the circulation to my skin and extremities going first seemed to be the trick. The only time my feet got really uncomfortable (besides in deep snow or running through salty slush) was when I under-dressed the rest of my body, say if it was really windy and I'd worn my lighter-weight jacket and hat.

    After a month or so of using that 1-mile shod warm-up I was able to dispense with it. My feet seemed able to warm up quite quickly even if they started out cold. At first it was a big help though.

    Miranda
     
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  6. Barefoot TJ

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    I found, as I was acclimating to running in the cold, that when I ran barefoot in the cold at first, it felt basically the same way you described, but then the very next time, it got just a bit easier, then easier the next time, and the next, and the next... I think it's partly conditioning of the feet and then partly conditioning of the mind. You adapt. You get through it.

    Next time, carry a pair of socks. Why make yourself miserable on the trek back? Go as far as you can barefoot, then when you can't take it any longer, put on the socks. It's not so bad.

    You won't have many more opportunities to run in the cold for a while, but keep this in mind for when you do.
     
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  7. Bare Lee

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    Yah, whenever conditions are borderline, I take Moc3s along for back-up. They weigh next to nothing, so it's no hassle carrying them or putting them in pockets. More often than not I don't need them, but once in a while if you find your feet going numb it's great to be able to whip those guys on quickly. Sometimes you can take them off again after a mile or two. I have a kind of early warning system on the tip of my right index toe. As soon as that starts to feel a little painful, I know it's time for shoes. I know a lot of people report as moominmamma has that overdressing your core helps, but I haven't found that to make a difference in my case. I've also found that if your feet don't feel comfortable after a mile or a mile and a half, they probably aren't going to get there for the rest of the run, and so you mis' well put on the shoes.
     
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  8. Barefoot Gentile

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    There isn't some kind of magical formula, the answer is simple and that is just start exposing yourself to the cold, and you will see improvements. Once summer winds down, and fall hits, don't resort to footwear but continue to run barefoot as the temperatures drop. It's a bad idea to jump right into 30 degrees without any experience with that temperature.

    Keep your core warm, especially the head and hands the heat will head down to your feet.
     
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  9. Barefoot YOW

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    Absolutely normal. In fact, this is the guideline I use for my winter running. Sometimes the discomfort can abate once your feet warm and relax. I stop the run or throw on minimalist footwear, if I feel continued discomfort from the terrain that I would normally float across. My feet are telling me not today, and you best listen. Dress to keep your head, core and hands warm. You'll be surprised how well you adapt to colder weather. Best of luck .... at least the freezing/near freezing days will soon be gone until the Fall.
     
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  10. Barefoot TJ

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    Yes, definitely, acclimate to the cold AS the temps drop. This way you will get there without too much discomfort.
     
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  11. jldeleon

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    About 2 months ago one of my running buddies explained to me that my "capillaries in my feet would expand eventually and that would make my feet warmer when I ran" -I had been running all winter and most of my foot was still going, and staying, almost entirely numb on the runs. Then, about 2 months ago I started to notice that my feet were definitely getting warm farther down my foot to the point that now only my toes themselves get numb, but the rest of my foot felt pretty good! So it basically took 8 months of running 6-10 miles a week to get my feet to that point.
     

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  12. Zetti

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    This weekend I went on a run when temps were around 42 F (granted a bit warmer), so I did the shoes on for the first 2mi and off for the last 2
    Worked like a charm.

    I did however notice that the next day my feet (especially the balls of my feet were quite sore). I think I may have pushed it more than I normally do while wearing my vivos.
    In any case, I do not plan on wearing footwear unless completely necessary as the fall and winter comes around this year.

    Thanks for all your input!
     
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  13. M H Crouthamel

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    what about the whole "wet" vs "dry". Are all these low temps that you folks run in dry? becasue i feel like wet pavement just sucks the heat right out of my feet. infact during one run with temps in the upper 40's, my feet would be freezing on the wet portions of the path, then when I got onto the sunny and dry portions, they'd warm back up, but as soon as i went into the shaded/wet pavement, they immediately went cold.
     
  14. BarefootGburg

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    Heartily agree. I can run on dry pavement into the high 20s, but anything below 50 on wet pavement is painful.
     
  15. mokaman

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    The cold temp running varies widely on the runner, I can only run a mile or two barefoot in the 30's before my feet are numb and if its wet and rainy only into the lower 40's. I've ran a half marathon around upper 30's to lo 40's and my feet were numb the whole way. I've tried adapting little by little...that's great for finding your limits but I'm not sold on that as a way to adapt to colder temps ... didn't work for me. It is worth a try though just to find your limits....make sure you have a way to warm up if it doesn't work out.
     
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  16. JosephTree

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    I'll second the recommendation that you carry something - socks or min shoes - as insurance that you get back without misery. Sometimes I just carry my Bikilas for the weight in my hands and to give me choices about where I can swing my run. You'l be golden with this much advice in your head come next fall's cool down. Maybe it's not worth the conditioning discomfort now, unless you've hit the perfect combination with the "start out with shoes on" strategy.
    Have a great spring and summer of running!
     
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  17. Barefoot TJ

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    Yes, MHC, like GBurg, I can run in the high 20s as long as the ground is dry. If it's wet, I prefer above 50. It takes a little doing, but it is something you can do if you try a little bit at a time. And do carry footwear just in case.
     
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  18. M H Crouthamel

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    OK, that makes me feel a little better that most people need 50F + for wet weather. Being in Seattle, that doesn't happen much at all during the winter. I pretty much gave up running this winter and am waiting for the warmer weather to get back into it!
     
  19. Barefoot TJ

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    We'll talk more as this next winter approaches, but don't give up on barefoot completely because of the weather. Where there's a will, there's a way. And it can be done right.
     
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  20. migangelo

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    Seattle isn't that far nor is the weather that different from Portland. you get colder there, it's wetter here. i can run in rain but when it's cold and wet out, forget about it. heat transfers to cold quickly and if water has been sitting out over night it's going to get cold. when your warm feet hits that water the heat gets sucked right out and the cold replaces it.

    everyone can tolerate different things so only worry about what you can do and just see those others as somewhere you can get to.
     

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