Fell running

Discussion in 'Barefoot & Minimalist Running' started by gilmo789, Oct 8, 2018.

  1. gilmo789

    gilmo789
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    Hi all,
    I'm not really a runner and have very little interest running on tarmac, I do however enjoy the hills and take great pleasure from running down steep, rugged, boggy or stony ground as quickly as I can. I've no problem hiking up hills unshod but i can't imagine charging down mountains with the same carefree abandon as I currently enjoy in boots or shoes.
    I can find plenty of info on people who run and people who hike sans shoes but very little about people who actually go mountain running. Anybody get there feet conditioned to this? I'm talking about fully barefoot here, no footwear at all.
    And as a side note how do people deal with steep, wet grass; it's very slippery.


    Cheers.
    C
     
  2. HannahW

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    I think it would be difficult to get feet conditioned enough to be able to fling yourself down hills like shod fell runners do. I have some favorite routes that I happily walk barefoot, but wear sandals if I'm running them because my brain can't make decisions quickly enough about where to put my feet if I'm having to watch out for every little rock. But I'm mostly a road runner, so maybe it's just a question of practice.

    As for hiking... I love hiking UP hills in bare feet, but coming down steep slopes is very difficult because there isn't enough grip, particularly if they are wet and grassy. I usually put my sandals on when I stop at the top to eat lunch, but I struggle even in them if it's wet because my foot slides off the sole. I have yet to find a good solution. Someone suggested I could use hiking poles to steady myself, but I haven't tried it yet.
     
  3. gilmo789

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    Yeah, that's what I often do: bare feet up, shoes down. I was out at the weekend though and walked the whole way down a hill in Scotland (~800m). I was surprised how good it felt. I got the feeling it would be possible to get pretty good at it. There's a lot of eccentric thigh contractions going on!
    I was, surprisingly, faster than a lot of booted walkers. Just wondered if anyone does it regularly...
     
  4. Tristan

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    Welcome to the forums gilmo. There are some who can do what you speak of, I think it's just a matter of being really tough. That being said I have several thousand miles running barefoot over the last ~7 years, and many barefoot hiking trips, but I too cannot really run barefoot on technical trails. I love hiking barefoot, but at a slow enough speed I can more carefully pick good footing (up or down doesn't really matter). Of course it depends how rugged the trail is, most of my hiking is on pretty rugged trail (see my recent 5-day posted in the hiking section). If we're talking about just grassy hills as opposed to rugged mountains, then no problem running that, but care must be taken going down to control speed down slow enough to not slip on grass, sometimes if its wet and grassy enough you just have to walk as our heels don't have much breaking tread on them like shoes do (sometimes even with good shoes going down steep slippery slopes is a problem too, shoes are tools to help this but the same thing can happen even with shoes of course). That being said over the years a few have passed through here able to run mountains, not sure if any of our current members do or not? I remember a video posted here many years ago of a fella running a gravel trail, even sliding to a stop with the feet plowing in the gravel. Anyone remember that? Some gravel is smoother than other, but I haven't found any on a running trail that I could do a slide in lol.
     
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  5. gilmo789

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    Cheers Tristan,
    That's the dream! partly because I can't really get fell shoes that fit comfortably...(Aside: are fell running and trail running the same thing? My interpretation is that fell running is generally much muddier, Scotland is a wet place!)
    Anyway the downhill process seems to me to be mostly about softness, and (as I said above) about developing the eccentric contracting ability of the muscle that are normally used for going up (thighs). I guess it's a process analogous to a tennis player taking the ball out of the air with the racquet (like this). I'll try and see how good I can get, but its getting cold here!
     
  6. gilmo789

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  7. Barefoot TJ

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    I was going to suggest you talk to @paraganek. You can message him through the site too, or check out his posts about fell running on the site. Welcome! :barefoot:
     
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