Long races elude me

Discussion in 'Ask the Docs' started by jjb, Jun 16, 2018.

  1. jjb

    jjb Barefooters
    1. California...

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    And by long I mean anything a half-marathon and above. Every time I get up to about the ten mile mark with my running I get injured. (My latest is a 5th metatarsal stress fracture.)

    What exactly am I doing wrong?

    I'm dying to do a barefoot half or full marathon but I feel like it's a distant, if not impossible, dream.
     
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  2. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    It's fine to have this posted here, but would you like for me to move it to the Health forum, or I can mirror it if you want it in both places? You might get more replies there.

    I can also copy it the Ask the Docs forum if that will help.

    Good luck to you. Heal well.
     
  3. jjb

    jjb Barefooters
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    Fine by me, TJ. I didn't know where to put it!
     
  4. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    Better yet, I'll mirror it, but can you create one in the Ask the Docs forum? Dr. Mark said he would stop by to answer some questions. Thanks!
     
  5. Dr. Mark

    Dr. Mark Barefooters
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    Gosh thats a tough if not impossible one to answer wo seeing you. so many issues could be involved from general fitness to strength to something structural in feet. Some are just born to run shorter distances :) its ok. Good news is that you do NOT need to run long distance races to get the benefits of running. build up gradually and enjoy it....do not hurt yourself . hope this helps Dr Mark
     
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  6. trevize1138

    trevize1138 Barefooters
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    Assuming you get solid medical advice first and make sure everything's OK after your toe heals ...

    For me longer distances were a huge struggle for a long time and I didn't really break through until I finally figured out efficiency. Just running barefoot doesn't mean you automatically have great running form. I ran my first two years of barefoot still with harsh, inefficient form including over-striding and pushing off too much before finally figuring it out.

    The evidence of my flawed form was my beat-up feet. I wanted to do an unshod 1/2 marathon just like you so I was gradually working up my miles. I was really struggling to get past 5-6 miles unshod because my feet hurt so bad. They were getting blistered and bruised and even if that didn't happen they'd be so tender after 4-5 miles I was limping along to push it to 6. To get in longer runs I was putting on sandals or shoes and I could get up to 7 or 8 without feet hurting but it was a real challenge to put in those long miles.

    The thing that clicked for me was the line in Born to Run about barefoot runners looking "like they're on hot coals." I'd also kept hearing recommendations about just lifting your feet off the ground lightly and not pushing back. I resisted all of that thinking it sounded like just ways to run super slow but finally tried it.

    The result was amazing. I went from struggling to put in 25-30 mpw to 45 miles the very week after starting the "on hot coals" thing. I didn't magically get better endurance overnight. I finally started truly keeping my steps light and letting my elastic tendons take over to do most of the work. And I could put on long miles totally unshod. Part of that 45 mile week was a fast 7 mile run unshod that was 3 minutes faster than my previous fastest 7 mile time. I couldn't belive how easy it was to run like that, too! And instead of an unshod 1/2 marathon I completed an unshod full marathon.

    So, heal up, get medical advice and take a very serious look at your form. Even though you're running barefoot keep in mind that we humans are tough, resiliant and stubborn. I somehow thought I had to "toughen" my feet by pounding them into submission. Maybe you're tougher and more stubborn than me because I wussed out at tender, stinging foot skin and you're pushing through that until you're breaking toes?
     
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  7. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
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  8. jjb

    jjb Barefooters
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    Thank you so much for this thoughtful and considered reply! I deeply appreciate it.

    I haven't experienced the foot pain you did, as I feel like I sussed the short stride thing pretty early on. If anything, my feet tend to feel better the longer I run.

    However, I think my stride may still be too extended. Once I heal up I'm going to try increasing my metronomic pace and see if this shortens things for me even further. But I certainly hadn't tried the 'hot coals' thing, even though I do think I run near-ish to that form.

    The more I've been thinking about it, the more I think I pushed the mileage up too fast this time. I went from a three mile base run, to a fiver on the weekends. Then quickly to a five base and a seven on the weekends. Then to a 7-9. Too much, too soon, I'm thinking...

    Thankfully, the foot seems to be getting better, for which I'm thankful. I'm also feeling vindicated, as I told the ortho I wouldn't be able to wear the stiff boot she recommended because I don't own any "regular" shoes to balance it out. She replied that it would be okay, as long as I don't jump up and down. Two weeks on and my foot has no pain. So much for a Jones fracture... o_O

    But again, thank you. You've given me hope that I can do this after all. I was feeling pretty discouraged the other day as I was being gently admonished by some friends for running barefoot -- hearing them say I did this because I don't wear shoes really hit my self-doubt right in the target area.
     
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  9. jjb

    jjb Barefooters
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    Indeed and thank you, Dr.! I do think I added too many miles and too soon (again!)

    I get bored with the same mileage and find myself pushing it. I must be more patient!
     
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  10. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    Self-awareness is the first step.
     

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