I wear shoes...

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by taterman, Apr 1, 2011.

  1. taterman

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    I wear shoes...but I want to get rid of them.

    By nature I am a bit of a skeptic about all things. So I naturally have a bit of a skeptical view about barefoot running to some extent. However, after doing a bit of reading about it I think that there might be something to it and would like to try.

    I went out and bought a pair of VFF's and ran 1/4 mile on a treadmill in them. My lower legs have been sore but it seems to be muscle soreness as it has improved over the past few days while I continue to run in shoes to maintain my mileage.

    I would love for someone to point me in the right direction as to how to go about starting barefoot running. Do I have to completely stop running in shoes in order to start barefoot? (To be completely honest, that may be a deal breaker right now.)

    Thanks,

    Nate
     
  2. Abide

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    Well the most important part

    Well the most important part is to take off you shoes and go running :)

    Just try it out on a hard surface that is smooth and relatively free of debris. A concrete path around a park is a good place. Also don't go too fast or too far initially.
     

  3. Abide

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    As for your other question,

    As for your other question, I'll let some of the others reply. I didn't go through switching during my transition.
     

  4. Barefoot TJ

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    Yes, it is best to ditch the

    Yes, it is best to ditch the shoes completely and relearn how to run barefoot, since the best way to learn how to run barefoot is by running...barefoot. There are safety reasons for doing it this way. We know it is the safest way to approach BOTH barefoot AND minimalist running, that is starting over from scratch. We have learned that people who go from traditional footwear to minimalist shoes tend to get injured more frequently than those who go from traditional shoes to barefoot. One of the reasons why we believe this happens is that our plantar skin limits us from going too far, too fast. We find that we can easily rebuild our miles as we condition our skin, and lots of people have found that they can run much faster as well. It is also known that your connective tissues from your calves, to your Achilles, to your plantar fascia have shrunk by about 1-1/2" from wearing traditional running shoes, so when you go from elevated heels to flat to the ground (minimal or barefoot) it is important that you do so in short increments, so as to restretch that tissue back out slowly and safely. We also believe that relearning how to run naturally is best learned by the most natural running state...barefoot. Later, when you may need to or want to add some footwear in now and again, it's this natural running state/form that will save you from heel striking and becoming injured.

    With that said, I didn't go about it that way, the right way. I did the old carry my shoes bit for awhile while I ran, swapping to and from shoes to barefoot, barefoot to shoes, depending on the situation. It is possibly the reason why I still heel strike when running in something as minimal as a pair of socks or huaraches. My bad. I can run perfectly fine barefoot though, no problems.

    So, it is possible to run both barefoot and shod and alternate the two, but you won't be receiving the entire gammet of benefits that come from running truly barefoot and only barefoot (or at least most of the time barefoot), and you will risk injury by doing so.

    Of course, adding in any amount of barefoot will help strengthen your feet, as long as you do it in short amounts, but I thought you said you wanted to get rid of your shoes?

    Your choice.

    We're here to help walk you through this either way.
     
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  5. Barefoot TJ

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    Are you a lineman?

    Are you a lineman?
     
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  6. Barefoot TJ

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  7. taterman

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    Thank you both for your

    Thank you both for your encouragement. I do hope to get rid of the shoes, but as I'm sure you can relate to, it's hard for a runner to think of backing off the mileage while traning to run long events. I was/am hoping that I could do a bit of a switch over by gradually reducing the miles in shoes while increasing the miles barefoot. Unlike some, I don't find myself being forced to switch to barefoot due to injury so it makes it more difficult to simply cut the mileage and start from scratch.

    After listening to people I believe I will leave the VFF's for later in the journey (or for just plain walking around when it wouldn't be appropriate to be barefoot).



    @BarefootTJ: Not a lineman, a firefigter. That photo is from a "free fall" thrill ride outside of Dallas. Most fun thing I've done in a while.
     
  8. Barefoot TJ

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    Ah, I see.  I thought it was

    Ah, I see. I thought it was a picture of you on the job.

    I'm not saying your approach can't be done because it can. I'm just saying it's not the safest way to go about becoming a barefoot runner, i.e., getting rid of the shoes.

    Good luck with whatever you decide.
     
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  9. dmcchesney

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    Check out these books:Born

    Check out these books:

    Born to run- http://www.amazon.com/Born-Run-Superathletes-Greatest-Vintage/dp/0307279189/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1301710197&sr=8-1

    The Barefoot Running Book 2nd Edition- http://www.amazon.com/Barefoot-Running-Book-Second-Minimalist/dp/0615376886/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1301710221&sr=1-1

    (Free e-book download right now, TODAY ONLY!)- http://www.mediafire.com/?tnftflgoczsbsep



    I have read both and higly recomend them. Born to Run kicked off our BF movement and Jason's book tells you how and why to do it!

    Your questions of who, what, where, why, when, how etc. will all be answered in those books!

    Goodluck and Welcome!
     
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  10. Barfuß Chelsea

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    It is very frustrating to cut

    It is very frustrating to cut back mileage when you know you're in great shape! I switched to barefooting in November, the day after I hit a PR marathon time. Grrr. I was hoping the transition would happen fast enough that I'd be able doing an 18k mud run (in VFFs) here in two weeks, but I finally gave up on that dream about a month ago (and am now out a hundred bucks...double grrr) because I was doing TMTS. After five months, I'm looking forward to my first 10k+ bf run next week, and then building up my mileage all summer for a slow but bf marathon this fall.

    I say all this to say that I completely understand your hesitation in starting all over from scratch. BUT: At this point I can say that for me, at least, it's been worth it!!
     
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  11. dmcchesney

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    Oh taterman here is some

    Oh taterman here is some common acronyms:

    TOFP- Top Of Foot Pain

    TMTS- Too much Too Soon

    BF- Barefoot

    those should help you understand :)
     
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  12. stomper

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    Taterman, there's a ton of

    Taterman, there's a ton of info and links to several starting guides in the BRS Library. Look in the main menu above.
     
  13. migangelo

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    I read Michael Sandler's book

    I read Michael Sandler's book on BF running. He recommends to everyone to start bf by going 100 yds and stopping. Wait a day and go 200 yds. Wait a day go 300 yds and so on. A little bf then rest to allow the skin to heal. Let your skin be your guide since you'll be in shape and have the stamina and hmmm, will power or desire, to run much further and likely faster than you should. Now what he also recommends is if your a runner carry your shoes and put them on after that short run and keep on going. He is a running coach and has transitioned many people. Just don't fret the day when shoes become painful!!



    Take it easy and relax. Relaxing is the biggest thing to remember. It allows the foot to fall naturally and allows it to handle gravel better. Remember, no matter how much fun your having and how great it feels your at a big disadvantage in being a runner. Stop before you feel any pain and just start off with it gradually. Don't do it at the end of your run when your feet are all sweaty and likely to get torn up easier. Start on pavement because being hard it will be the easiest to learn on.



    Good luck,



    Mike
     

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  14. Phil Hart

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    Welcome, Tater.  You've

    Welcome, Tater. You've already gotten lots of good advice. I switched from running 30 miles a week of hard-heel-striking, long-striding, fast-moving shod running to BFR after 25 years of that process left me without any cartilege in my right hip.

    I didn't listen to these expertly experienced folks, so I did TMTS and bought myself a stress fracture in the ball of my left foot about 6 weeks into the BFR process. Now I know you will probably do like I did and think, "I'm a strong runner - I'm different - this won't apply to me." Unfortunately it will, and I hope you catch it soon enough to keep from injuring yourself.

    Start purely barefoot, go slowly, and I would recommend starting on concrete. It seems to be the best surface to begin conditioning the soles of your feet healthily without pain or injury. And going BF on a hard, slightly abrasive surface will ensure that you learn your form correctly, as it hurts to get any part of it wrong, whether that is scuffing your feet, heel striking, pushing off with your toes, or anything other than relaxedly lifting your feet and setting them down. When they touch the ground, they'll probably touch first on the outside edge of the ball of your feet; just relax and let your natural suspension set them down gently, including setting your heel all the way down gently. When I started I was running almost as if sprinting - staying on my toes and the balls of my feet. This produces calves that are as tight as banjo strings - not good, and certainly not comfortable. Relax your lower legs, lean forward slightly from your hips and let gravity pull you along gently, lift and gently place your feet on the ground using a short, quick stride (about 200 steps per minute), and enjoy!

    No more than 1/2 mile a day, 3 days a week, with a day off in between each run. You can add perhaps as much as 1/4 mile per week to your BF distance, but listen closely to the feedback your feet and lower legs give you. Back off if something hurts.

    Here's the controversial part. If I could do this again, I would keep running shod (which shouldn't be a problem for you, as you are not injured) on my between-barefoot days, so I could keep getting in at least 3 good runs a week and still have one complete rest day. I hurt myself by transitioning into VFFs (Vibram Five Fingers KSOs) which let me run faster and further than my bare feet would have more wisely done. VFFs are great tools, but I misused them because they allowed me to go faster and further. Unfortunately the price for that extra distance and speed, for which my feet and lower legs were not yet ready, was the stress fracture.

    Some folks will tell you that you have totally go cold turkey. As you are uninjured and now forewarned about trying to switch to a midfoot strike too quickly, whether that's via VFFs or using a treadmill to reduce impact, or even trying to learn a midfoot strike in traditional cushiony running shoes, I think you can pull this off. Just do all of your midfoot strike running BF until you can build up some more mileage. Then you can start to alter the rest of the program.

    Once you've gotten a couple months of BFR under your belt, the process should be solidly committed to muscle memory, which should allow you to run on softer surfaces or in shoes (minimal or traditional) without losing good form. It should also have built up your lower leg and foot musculature and connecting tissues to the point where they are strong enough to handle a full-time adoption of mid-foot strike, even in Nikes or New Balances if you decide to keep running in them. Just don't get complacent or you'll find yourself reverting to bad form and possibly injuring yourself.

    Best of luck with this life change.

    Phil
     
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  15. taterman

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    Thanks all for the input, it

    Thanks all for the input, it is much valued.



    I've gotten some books and started doing some learning. As of right now I plan to keep running in shoes while gradually adding barefoot running to the mix. I've started very slow and so far am running less than 1/4 mile every other day. I hope to slowly increase that so that I don't over do it too soon. I've also taken to being barefoot when possible outside of running.



    I appreciate all the replies and will keep returning to the site to learn from others.



    Thanks,



    Nate
     
  16. taterman

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    Just an update here... I'm

    Just an update here...



    I'm up to running a mile a day barefoot. I'm taking it real slow because I don't want any injuries. I still run about 5 a day in shoes and think I made the right decision about doing both shod and barefoot at the same time because I fear that if I were completely barefoot I would be pushing to get the mileage up too quickly.

    My soles are getting toughter, no more sores or blisters after a run. I'm hoping to be up to 5K distance by the end of the summer.



    Nate
     
  17. nature runner

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    taterman, I would suggest

    taterman,



    I would suggest going barefoot as much as possible to build up your soles of the feet. The hotter the surface the better the build up. Walk on hard surfaces, streets, sidewalks, etc. Do that along with your barefoot training, it will pay off big! Become a barefooter lke me :). It really will help alot!
     
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  18. Smelph

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    Just to add a little more: I

    Just to add a little more: I did what you're doing by splitting barefoot and shod running while training for a marathon. It can totally be done, and I'm proof of that, but I don't think I would recommend it for others.

    A couple problems I ran into:
    1. There came a point where running in normal shoes was extremely uncomfortable, and the back halves of my long runs felt like torture with 2 pounds of EVA on my feet, not to mention that I suddenly (in the middle of a run) found myself unable to move my feet (inside the shoes) and they would get super hot and sweaty in there. Plus the feeling of an arc support really hurt after a while. The short version is shoes will eventually get really uncomfortable to run in.

    And because of 1, number 2: I eventually started doing entire long runs minshod or barefoot way before I was really ready. I fortunately avoided injury, but I could tell I was walking a fine line.

    So I guess my take is that it can be done but you need to understand that at some point either the miles will need to back off a little or you will risk injury (I chose the latter and got real lucky).
     
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  19. AABarefoot

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    dmcchesney wrote:Check out


    i agree with him about reading "Born to Run" - its important, i think, to read this book because it makes you WANT to run better. better being a barefoot stride. nobody i know that has read that book hasnt wanting to go out and run free after they finished. once you have that want, which you already kind of have, then read "Barefoot Running" by Michael Sandler. I have read both "barefoot Running" and "The Barefoot Running Book" and i think that "barefoot running" has better information in it.

    going to shoes like the Saucony Kinvara allows you to keep a proper stride while running shod. while you slowly transition to barefoot.

    good luck!! welcome!
     
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  20. barefoot kean

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    The best advice I ever got

    The best advice I ever got was to simply walk outside barefoot whenever possible. It has a myriad of obvious benefits and will help you increase your BF mileage when you do run BF due to the toughened soles of your feet.
     

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