Hello from Belgium!

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by Pawmaline, Oct 23, 2019.

  1. Pawmaline

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    1. Belgiüm-Vlaa...

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    Yesterday I discovered that unlike in summer, where I had to avoid gravel because it just hurt too much, now gravel is my favorite terrain to walk on. All I had to do was bend my knees and relax my feet, and the gravel immediately started feeling literally like a pleasant massage, that was pretty amazing to discover for me.

    I haven't tried running on it yet though, taking things one little step at a time, especially with these frosty temperatures I don't want to risk any injury, because the short times I can run in them are too precious for me.
     
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  2. Pawmaline

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    1. Belgiüm-Vlaa...

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    Today I properly ran on gravel, and it was wonderful. :happy:
     
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  3. Pawmaline

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    1. Belgiüm-Vlaa...

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    Woke up at 3am, felt miserable.

    But sitting and reading just made me feel more miserable by the minute, so I took off my slippers and socks and went outside. Started running, it was so dark I couldn't see where my foot landed until it did, it was raining with a temperature was 50°F. I ran almost a mile over various wet surfaces: asphalt, concrete, dirt road, puddles, gravel, cobblers, stone side walks and grass. On the way I picked up more and more speed and confidence, eventually going faster than I ever went before on bare feet.

    I don't feel miserable anymore now. :)
     
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  4. mido

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    Hi @Pawmaline, glad to see you are having so much fun running barefoot and are improving your BR skills so fast!
     
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  5. Pawmaline

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    1. Belgiüm-Vlaa...

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  6. Random

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    This has been a very encouraging thread to read. Thank you for that.

    I recently bought the book Barefoot Ken Bob wrote, too. I intend to begin reading and implementing it soon. (I love that it is signed not only by hand, but by foot! I thought that was awesome. :barefoot:)
     
    #46 Random, Dec 23, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2020
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  7. Pawmaline

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    1. Belgiüm-Vlaa...

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    I've hit some roadblocks this winter (unrelated to running), working through past issues, but I've started hiking and running again now.

    Let me know how you find the book Random! And I'm looking forward to hearing about your experiences. :D
     
    #47 Pawmaline, Feb 11, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2020
  8. Random

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    I'm finding it quite interesting. I put into practice what he said about bending your knees when you run and found I could not do that and make myself walk. (disclaimer: I've never been much of a runner; and am still working on that)

    I'm slowly making my way through the book. I like that it has a lot of practical advice.
     
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  9. Pawmaline

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    1. Belgiüm-Vlaa...

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    I've been living 100% barefoot since april 4 now, no more socks and minimalist sandals, finally! Done lots of long walks and more and more running too lately once my soles got thicker.

    The furthest I've ran so far was 5 miles, and I notice that endurance or fitness isn't much of an issue when it comes to distance, it's more that my ankle joints and the nerves in my soles need a gradual building up. The soles are getting thick fast and don't get damaged anymore, but sometimes the nerves get overstimulated and then they need a rest day and some pampering.

    Some useful, at least for me, things I learned:

    - Sprinting at full power on a concrete or asphalt road, and just giving it all I have multiple times, I find is a great way to improve my overall technique, since all the flaws get magnified right away then.

    - Running with a backpack full of groceries is a good way to work on eliminating excess bounce from my gait, since the backpack tells me right away when my movement isn't smooth enough.

    - When people ask me why I'm barefoot and I respond: "for my immune system", it gets immediate approval these days, from anyone. I wonder why! :p:doctor:

    One of my goals is the marathon, since I would love to run with lots of other people, but more than any goals just the feeling that I can head out of the house on my bare feet and hike or run or sprint on any surface and in any place, is such an empowering feeling, it is just dreamy.
     
    #49 Pawmaline, Apr 30, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2020
  10. trevize1138

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    Nice work! It's so freeing to see how possible it is to just head out the door in bare feet and go for a run.

    Do keep in mind that 5 miles is about where I stalled out a few years ago myself. I was challenging myself to run an unshod 1/2 marathon and started out being able to go 3-4 miles before the skin underfoot was too tender to keep going and I had to take a day or two off. I "built up" my skin to be able to handle 5 but was stuck there. I kept getting blisters and bruises and even with shoes on I was struggling to go more than 6 miles.

    Feet will never get super tough and your nerve endings will never be desensitized. Once I accepted that and followed the advice of others to run more gently and with finesse rather than force I was able to run ushod a whole lot longer than just 5 miles. In fact, I've completed two full marathons on city streets unshod since then.

    The real surprise to me was that my overall running was phenomenally better, too. Like I said: I was struggling to run more than 6 miles even in shoes. Once I figured out how to run unshod without hurting my feet my overall miles jumped way up. I now have to do at least 7-8 miles just to feel like I got in a decent workout and doing the occasional 1/2 marathon by myself on weekends is a great luxury. I've also completed a 50 mile trail run. It was like I had found the cheat codes to running.

    Something to keep in mind: don't trust overly much in "tough feet" or nerve endings not getting over-stimulated. We evolved to have tender, sensitive feet for very good reasons as they instruct our movement to not just be safer but more efficient and faster.

    Great point about sprinting! I've been doing that a bit myself because previously when I tried sprint workouts in my Trail Gloves I was getting muscle injuries. I also got bad blisters on my feet racing my first 1/2 marathon in 7 years last fall because I'd figured out how to do very long distances unshod but 13.1 miles at just under 8 min/mile was faster and longer than I'd ever done and the blisters were clear evidence that I don't have enough practice at faster speeds.

    Your backpack of groceries trick reminds me of how I put my smartphone in the pocket of my running shorts. If I've got too much vertical oscilation going on the phone likes to jump up-and-down too much in the pocket. :)
     
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  11. Pawmaline

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    1. Belgiüm-Vlaa...

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    I really appreciate the advice. <3

    Pushing myself too hard has often been an issue for me. I have to make sure to keep reminding myself that pain is not something to push through, but instead something to listen to. The wish to learn gentle and soft running without impact is what drew me to Saxton's running manual, so I will definitely keep working on that.

    Since april 4 I've built up gradually and haven't gotten any blisters, cuts or bruises so far, but sometimes I have to take a rest day to let the sensitive nerves settle down again. For example two days ago I was on the road for 10 miles, sprinting and running and walking, and while my soles were fine my nerves felt a bit frazzled in the evening. I will take that as a sign that it was a bit too much and that I have to keep working on gentleness.
     
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  12. Barefoot TJ

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    I know just how you feel.
     
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  13. Pawmaline

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    1. Belgiüm-Vlaa...

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    I had an interesting experience,

    I dreamed that I was sprinting, but with a different technique, my heels weren't touching the ground. So this morning I tried to sprint like that, and it was amazing, I could sprint so much faster and more enjoyably that way, felt very natural.
     
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  14. trevize1138

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    Check this video out:



    There's so much great stuff going on here watching 6'5" Bolt being the fastest human. Yes, his heels never touch down but that's just one of a host of things to take from it. His "contact patch" is also pretty short: right under his hips. He touches down only very, very slightly ahead and then that foot lifts back off the ground very shortly after that. His feet are in the air a good 90+% of the time. At regular speed he looks to have "long strides" but it's almost an optical illusion created by the recoil from his kick sending his feet flying through the air behind and in front of him. From his POV his feet are going tap tap tap at 260 steps/minute. His average-height competitors are spinning their feet at closer to 290.

    That's the whole picture of cadence, too. For walking cadence is about 110-120. For all long-distance running paces it's about 50% quicker cadence and for sprinting another 50% on top of that. That's where you get averages like 180 and 270 for running and sprinting respectively.

    Now, take a look at this point of Tony Riddle's awesome video starting at 6:40:

    He takes the whole "footstrike" thing further pointing to how being up on your forefoot should only be reserved for sprinting. For running (I'll say "running" to mean long-distance/not sprinting) you start out on the midfoot then lift off on forefoot. For walking you start on the heel, roll to midfoot, lift off on forefoot.

    That helps make more sense of why the 120/180/270 numbers keep recurring as you see him number the foot positions as heel (1), midfoot (2) and forefoot (3). So for walking you count:

    1-2-3
    1-2-3
    1-2-3
    1-2-3

    For running:

    2-3
    2-3
    2-3
    2-3

    Sprinting:

    3
    3
    3
    3

    No trying to match your stride with a metronome just recognizing that for each of the three main modes of foot transport the time your foot is on the ground changes dramatically.
     
  15. Pawmaline

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    1. Belgiüm-Vlaa...

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    Thank you so much for that! That is some fantastic and inspiring and extremely helpful information!

    It inspired me to try and run my first ever 10K, from which I have just arrived home now. I made it in 1h12 and entirely barefoot. :D

    I don't even know how I'm feeling right now haha, as if I'm floating along on a cloud in fairyland or something. If on some subconscious level I wasn't completely head-over-heels in love yet with being barefoot and running before, then I certainly am now. :happy:
     
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  16. BareFootBC

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    Absolutely
     
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