How did it all become so complicated?

Discussion in 'Barefoot & Minimalist Running' started by Barefoot Gentile, Mar 31, 2012.

  1. Barefoot Gentile

    Barefoot Gentile Barefooters
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    Yes I am talking about barefoot running. I hear many say it’s not just about taking off your shoes, well it is! That’s what I did, in fact when I took my first barefoot run on Sept. 15th 2009 around the block, the following day I gathered up all my running shoes and donated them to Goodwill, I didn’t have Vibrams or any other minimal shoe for a backup. That might be extreme to some, but to me I thought this was a great idea, why the hell not! I ran around that block barefoot without reading a single thing on barefoot running, had no clue about the benefits of barefoot running, did no homework on the correct way to run barefoot, I just took off my shoes and just ran. People ask me how long did it take you to transition into barefoot, my answer is one day, when I ran around the block, it was that simple. Take shoes off, run barefoot, that is a transition. But the conditioning was a different story. I had extreme calf soreness, aches and pains, tendon issues, ankle tweaks here and there, but this was all part of the normal process. I mean it’s common sense really, you run in shoes for 18 years like I did then you go run bare what I was going to expect?!

    I guess what I am getting at it, and noticing, is the new crop of barefoot runners that are now emerging seem to be really struggling with barefoot running, this is just my personal view from reading barefoot running forums. The number one road block is minimal footwear, this just confuses the transition to barefoot running. I have no problems with minimal running (I run in minimal footwear), but if your goal is to become a barefoot runner and become successful at it you can’t flip flop from minimal shoes to barefoot, it’s a band aid and a hinder in progressing. Down the road, once you feel comfortable running barefoot, then you can start wearing minimal footwear. The reason I got rid of all of my running shoes was so I had no other alternatives but to run bare. So if this meant I was sore the next day after my run, or if I had a blister(s), or if something just wasn’t feeling right, it would make me not resort to footwear, but instead force myself to rest for a day or so, think about what’s going on, and head back out again and work on some issues. This worked for me 100%

    Another thing I find is that people get into a comfort zone and stay there way to long. I ran my first 5 mile barefoot run 3 weeks after I took my first barefoot run around the block. Around that time I joined my first barefoot running forum (Running World’s barefoot running forum), and had people tell me that is overboard, I am sure it was but at the time I didn’t know it, my calf’s were still hating me, but I didn’t injury myself and felt comfortable with running 5 miles barefoot at that point. I am not bragging about that, it’s just at that time I didn’t have someone telling me to take it slow, or reading someone’s personal rules about transition, or having a book telling me how to progress. My body, and more importantly my feet told me if I was going overboard, and they did! I have helped others out getting past their comfort zone via the internet and forums, by telling them I was running 5 miles barefoot in 3 weeks. After a few days I would see a response saying thank you for the extra push, I ran that extra mile, or I just ran 5 miles after being stuck on 2 miles for weeks, a month, or two months! Most of responses were I was just scarred of the unknown, would I get blisters? step on glass? how would my body respond?, etc. Every individual is different, you will never know what you can achieve until you try, and push yourself.
    I love to see barefoot running gain popularity. But I wonder if there is too much information on barefoot running, and can it hinder performance and goals? Sometimes not knowing and finding things out for yourself can be a good thing.
     
  2. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    I fell into BFR the same way, Gent. I had no choice but to take my shoes off and leave them off during a tortuous run. I also was running 10 miles barefoot in a matter of a few short weeks. And I totally agree with the "let your body be your guide" thinking and leaving the footwear for much later, once a good, solid form is in place and then only used when needed; you all know how I feel.

    BUT, I will continue to advise people to take it easy, avoid the pitfalls of TMTS, and to not push it. I think "most" of us would be prone to TMTS for the many reasons we state on a regular basis and those of us who are successful at "pushing the limits" are very few. I think that responsibility comes with the territory, for me.
     
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  3. Andy Tomlin

    Andy Tomlin Barefooters
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    I mentioned this in the other thread, but it seems to have a place here too.

    I'm not arrogant enough to think I know everything, or even that I could work it all out, given long enough. The human race has progressed to this point by each generation sharing their experiences and accumulated knowledge with the following generation. Why do you think that barefoot running is the only subject in history where we cannot benefit by learning from others?
     
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  4. Bare Lee

    Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    Totally agree about not overthinking it. I ran barefoot 20 years ago for several years as part of my karate training in Japan. No problem. Then when I got back Stateside in 2010 after another stint abroad, my brother emailed me the Lieberman YouTube video. Intrigued, I Googled 'barefoot running', and read somewhere that the forefoot strike is key. After a month I got up to three miles (I was pretty out of shape when I started) and started to feel top of the foot pain. After taking some time off to rest, I stopped thinking about my strike and just did what my body felt like doing, which is more of a mid-foot strike. I would imagine that's how I ran 20 years ago too. But part of it was probably TMTS too, because six months later when I tried to jump from five miles to 10 miles, I got a tiny stress fracture in one of my metatarsals. Not very painful, but I did scale back again.
     
  5. Neil_D

    Neil_D Chapter Presidents
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    Hi Gentile,
    I last wore my runners at exactly the same point, Sept 2009. It took me a year to get the feel of what was correct, now it is just natural. I did a short 7.5km run today and one stretch was some beautiful flat cement pavement an I just kept going faster and faster, feet hardly making a sound. This is the reward for the hours of perseverance and patience that you need. It gets me mad when I hear it described as a fad and new craze. I did it from necessity not to follow a trend. Running in shoes almost buggered my knees and almost every other joint up, I'm doing the best running now than I have in 20+ years.
    Neil
     
  6. Rusinque

    Rusinque Barefooters
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    How to get started with barefoot running

    Step 1: Take off shoes and socks.
    Step 2: Go outside
    Step 3: Run
    Step 4: Keep running.

    There are no secrets.
     
  7. talonraid

    talonraid Barefooters
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    You're doomed to fail without learning to run at 180 steps per minute, and not giving up red meat. Just sayin'.
     

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  8. pilotrunner

    pilotrunner Barefooters
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    BG, I agree with what you've said, but I'll throw a caveat that if I had ran as far as you did so soon, I absolutely would have injured myself to some degree. I'll also say I was 35 years into the whole running in shoes thing (since I was 11) so it took me longer to get "comfortable" with having my feet move underneath me.

    All that being said, I have ran in shoes (VFFs) a whole 4 times in a year and a half and I can't stand anything on my feet whatsoever while I run.

    Another thing I have found is that as I gain comfort and capability with barefoot running I don't seek advice or frequent the forums as much as I once did. The support crutch of struggling with others within a common meeting place is needed less and less. More so with the other place than here, I must say, as this community seems more focused on the art of pure barefoot running rather than "what barefoot shoes should I buy" kind of crap.
     

  9. barefootandagile

    barefootandagile Barefooters

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    BG,

    Is it just me or do you ask this question every few months? I think in general as people when we don't do certain things or don't have a clue about something we like to analyze everything possilble about it before we except or participate in it. Things only become simple as we understand them and take routine part in them. I personally don't think people are intentionally making it more complicated. They are just trying to understand it and others are doing there best to explain it with the detail that others are wanting. I don't really get why this is so surprising to you.
     
  10. rbondi

    rbondi Barefooters
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    It has always been and still remains very simple. If you need information or support, it is there. If you don't, ignore it.
     
  11. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    That's kinda what we had in mind with the support system we have in place here, that you would need us less and less as you become more confident and capable; BUT for those who maybe no longer need the support themselves, I would hope you all would stay around to help support those who are just getting into this. You may not need us any longer, but we still need you. :barefoot:
     
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  12. pilotrunner

    pilotrunner Barefooters
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    You 'aint getting rid of me that easily...
     

  13. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    Good.
     
  14. Hawkbilly

    Hawkbilly Barefooters

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    I'm not so sure people struggle with the process of pulling their shoes off and running around the block. Speaking for myself, I struggle with doing that comfortably and without injury. I think the support folks need isn't with the process of getting their shoes off, it's finding the correct form, and dealing with any physical inadequacies or weaknesses they are either born with, or have developed over the years through abuse or misuse. Given that we all have different bodies, and different histories.....I think that's where the many challenges come from.
     
  15. rickwhitelaw

    rickwhitelaw Barefooters
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    Good post Gentile. Your second paragraph is spot on. I have made more progress in the last 2 months being mostly barefoot than all of last year being a min-shoe flip flopper. Why wait so long? Too many conflicting goals. Mainly trying to run longer distances. Now I am happy (for a while) running shorter distances, barefoot, and pain free.
     
  16. Barefoot Gentile

    Barefoot Gentile Barefooters
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    Thanks, I appreciate the positive feedback! It's just a random thought I had, I know it's vague and many individuals can't actually jump right into barefoot running. It's just supposed to be a fun, motivational post.
     
  17. mokaman

    mokaman Chapter Presidents
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    You can't fake barefoot running no matter how much "barefoot shoe" running you do...its a lesson many have learned and many many more will learn.
     
  18. saypay45

    saypay45 Chapter Presidents
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    I actually made barefoot running complicated. My bad. Sorry Adam.
     
  19. scedastic

    scedastic Barefooters
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    I KNEW it all along!
     
  20. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    Blame SP! It's ALL his fault.
     

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