Need guidance/form help!

Discussion in 'Barefoot & Minimalist Running' started by Pleg, Apr 18, 2016.

  1. Pleg

    Pleg Barefooters

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    Hi,

    Ive been barefoot running for about 5 months after reading Born to Run then Ken Bob’s book. (Previously ran in shoes for about 2 months but wasn’t enjoying it despite always feeling like running – that’s what got me onto the barefoot movement – googling running technique tips).

    Ive been trying to go once every 2 days for a short run but ive had breaks. Ive taken the last week off as im feeling a little frustrated.

    I feel like im doing lots of things right but its just not clicking.

    I usually run about a mile but ive recently been branching out into trying up to 2.5 miles but its not pleasurable.

    I run on a fairly rough surface. And my soles are tender after the run but I wouldn’t say painful. Have stopped getting blisters which is nice.

    I am VERY slow, like 17ish minutes for one single mile. Speed is not my focus but after 5 months…I could walk faster easily shod! I wouldn’t mind being this slow if everything else was perfect but its not. i.e. If I could run for longer/enjoyably/easily etc.


    Can you please take a look at this quick video and tell me how to improve. I feel like I have read everything there is to read online/watched all media on correct BF form.




    What I FEEL I am doing right (please verify with video):

    - Facing forward (head, torso stable, upright and forwards)

    - Trying to run lightly

    - Knees comfortably bent (if I bend them any more my thighs are too exerted)

    - My head is not bobbing up and down

    - I allow my heel to touch the ground after the front of my foot.

    - Consciously trying to lift the whole foot.

    - Trying to have relaxed arm/shoulder movement

    - Think my hips are relaxed and trying to run in a line.


    I feel like I have experimented SO much, especially in regards to slight ankle lean Versus Ken Bob’s favored moving the hips forward (I feel this difference is the biggest contention in the literature – to lean from the ankle a little or not). Nothing feels great. If I move my hips forward any more than in the video it just feels like so much weight over my feet.

    My cadence is slower than it should be I think but if I try to quicken it I get exhausted, if I try to go faster I get exhausted. If I try to lift my feet up more…I get exhausted (and im not really out of shape! I ride a bike for fitness). Getting exhausted is not my aim as a learner (as Ken Bob says you should feel better after a run not horrible!)


    I feel my “feetback” isn’t teaching me like it should. I feel like im in a rut, not improving, feeling (justifiably after 5 months) frustrated. But I don’t want to give up as I do have this deep desire to be able to enjoy running and run for a long time! Will I improve if I keep on keeping on like I am in the video (1 slow mile every 2 days?) or is it possible to improve if I make changes to form? I have done the research so why do I feel lost? I thought that if I educated myself and made sure I was doing the key things right I would be rewarded with linear improvement.


    Please tell me there is hope! Am I a long way off improvement or could a few small changes get me on the right track?

    Any thoughts would be GREATLY appreciated. Thank you for reading this long post!


    p.s. I havnt had any running related injuries. My shins do feel tired sometimes when I run, like there is weight on them, like a tugging sensation. Should I worry about that?

    p.p.s. I am completely barefoot when I run and want to remain so.
     
  2. Einar

    Einar Barefooters

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    Are You using HRM? If so, what a heart rate You has running slow pace and when You feels exhausted?
     
  3. rb2001

    rb2001 Barefooters
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    Hi Pleg, I have downloaded the vid and am playing with some zooms and time lapse to produce a better view. It will tak some time (hours not days). I will get it done as soon as I can. Maybe this will give some insight.
     
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  4. Christian Lemburg

    Christian Lemburg Barefooters
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    I think the road surface is too difficult for you. You look afraid to step and bring weight on the feet. I would recommend a smoother surface until you adjust to your desired level. It is hard to learn new things when your body is afraid. Don't despair, go easier on your feet until you develop more skill, strength, and sole adaptation. Good luck!
     
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  5. Pleg

    Pleg Barefooters

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    Sorry, I don’t have and am not familiar with HRM!


    I don’t want to disagree with you too much since I am obviously not good. But from what ive read I understood that you weren’t meant to bring all your weight down – quick light steps. I also read that rough surfaces were best to learn on as they teach you to run light!

    Im not consciously afraid – I don’t feel my soles are what are holding me back (although they are tender at night after a run!)
     
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  6. rb2001

    rb2001 Barefooters
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    FYI: HRM = Heart Rate Monitor. Basically check your heart rate and compare to your resting heart rate. In the world of FitBit and similar products this is pretty easy find.
     
  7. KTR

    KTR Barefooters
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    Hello @Pleg !

    First of all, welcome to the community!
    And second, by reading your posts it sounds to me like you are trying too hard. It's like you are trying to apply all the theory at the same time not allowing any room for you to learn from mistakes. Of course there are some rules of thumb but every person is different so don't worry about whether you are doing as the books say but rather try to find your pose, something that feels comfortable and pleasant, even if it's against the rule.
    Don't overdo and listen to your body. After 2 or 3 session you should be able to come to some conclusions you'll start noticing that maybe you need to sacrifice a bit of comfort to find a more effective technique; that will lead to changes in the way you run, what will translate in some sore muscles. It's normal. Just keep trying to toughen up those muscles you were not using.

    My conclusion is: don't pay too much attention now to what books say. Find your way and make mistakes. Then review the books and realize what you actually need to change.

    Good luck!
     
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  8. rb2001

    rb2001 Barefooters
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    Pleg,

    Below is same footage zoomed to focus on your leg position.

     
  9. rb2001

    rb2001 Barefooters
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    Pleg,
    here is the same footage slowed down and focused on your foot landing.

     
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  10. Einar

    Einar Barefooters

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    You not finding happiness in running. As we know, we can get it from endorphins. Our bodies producing them after stimulation of stress. In running we can get them from running long (more then 30mins),running fast or both. If You dont be exhausted, You never will get endorphines.
    Add to your workout couple 200m all out sprints and you will find endorphines and happiness :)
    For theses sprints can pretend 2 scenarios:
    - you at tropical island and chasing pretty naked girl. If you will cach her, will get sex;
    - (this one for faster pace) you running away from ugly, brutal man. If he will cach you, he will rape you.
    Dont be too technical with your running form. Just have fun.
     
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  11. ClintonVoris

    ClintonVoris Barefooters
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    Howdy Pleg! Welcome to the Society! You have some beautiful countryside to run thru. Congrats on going BF. :) Here is my two cents worth, based soley on the videos (very punny!!) Haha, I make myself laugh!

    1) That road surface looks rough even by my standards. After five months on that you should have some pretty good soles. For the foot strike itself (thank you rb2001, for the slo-mo zooms) it looks like a very cautious and well made mid-foot landing, with a slight roll from the outside to the inside. Not too bad! Kinda impressed.

    2) Try using socks to run. They will (very slightly) lessen the sharpness. They will also provide just the tiniest bit of slide or glide between your hide and pavement. I use duct tape. I would burn thru too many socks. :)

    3) increase your stride length just a tiny bit. Here what that will do... From what I saw you have a very upright posture, but that appears to be putting some stress on the knees. Transfer that stress to your gastrocnemeus muscle and achilles tendon. How do I do that? Glad you asked! Increase your speed just a tiny bit. How? Increase your stride length just a tiny bit. Lean forward just a tiny bit more. This will put on the ball of your foot, just behind the big toe. Now you will be transitioning from a mid-foot strike (which is not bad) to a fore-foot strike. That landing position will now take stress off your knees and transfer it in the form of a springier stride, to your calf muscles.

    That natural spring of the heel mechanism is much better suited to slow - mid speed trotting than firing the quads with each stride (using the knees). You can't run without bending your knees, but you can pitch forward and get on to your fore foot more. That will give you more spring, which will increase your speed.

    I am not a lawyer, your mileage may vary. :) Congrats on going BF, and please keep at it!
     
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  12. rb2001

    rb2001 Barefooters
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    So I read the post and thought about your form in the vids before I took my morning run. I think I gained more insight into my run than anything. Thank you for this post. It helped me. I hope my comments are equal in their benefit to you. Bear in mind that like you, I am pretty new to this. But I have found a love for it and hopefully this will be conveyed herein.

    This is a very awkward transition. Even after 5 months, your body, not just your feet, are making adjustments. You have taken a pretty rough surface as your starting point. This isn't bad, but it probably takes a bit longer. Allow yourself the freedom to put something on your after your max BF distance and see if you can go a little more and see how it feels. We all aspire to be like @Barefoot Ken Bob. Most of us find ourselves mixing some foot cover with BF at the start.

    I for one will say that it's most important that you keep running. If you find this a burden or a trial or a torture, I fear you may not continue. So give yourself some leeway to ease up. If your run is not pleasurable, pull back a bit. Either add a walk or take a foot cover that can go with you. I do this. I have aqua shoes/socks and I removed the insoles from them. They fold in half and I tuck them in my waistband and go. I currently run only 4.5 miles, after three miles (sometimes less), I put on my socks and run the rest. I actually love doing this because I can easily feel the difference in the runs. I have been running BF about 5 months as well ( I began running at my current age, 52 and just picked up BF running 5 months ago). Here are the feet covers I wear.


    So am I, about the same time BF. Don't worry about speed at all. Don't worry about perfect. This isn't about reaching a goal it's about adapting a lifelong process. Learn to love the process. The goal will come soon enough.

    I have reviewed your vids and agree. I wasn't sure about the foot landing at first, and others may consider this. I had to get a slow down to 5% to really see it. But you do land front first. Your stride is so low that it is hard to see. I think that is a good thing. You are running very smooth. Smooth is usually the last thing that we gain. You landing matches the smooth your stride you have.

    Clearly you approach your run as a very technical pursuit. I don't run that smooth after 5 months. This is very good, but I think @KTR is correct. You need to ease off of the technical assessments and start just enjoying the run. Running lite as we like to say isn't about the stepping. It's about the experience all around you.

    I was in Virginia last week on business and ran places where I had no idea where I was. I am directionally challenged so that's easy. The discovery of places and trails etc. was wonderful. I try not to run the same road or pattern all the time just because I like to experience something different. To me, the devil should replace the pitchfork with a treadmill. It's far more terrifying.

    The point is, you are outside running in your naughty shoes. Regardless, of all else, you are a trailblazer, a risk taker, a full-on injury free runner taking huges leaps of faith in tiny little steps. You are seeing your world in ways 90% of the rest will not. Own it.

    We all experiment to this day. Especially if we spend a lifetime in shoes. You have the basics, your feet will direct your paths for good.

    I ran today with this in mind. It was great to spend the time thinking about my legs and muscles. I am happy to say your experience is about what I would expect. Maybe that is not happy for you, but understanding the reason may help. With your new running you are using muscles in new ways. It is why you have sore shins as well. The stance when you run is near textbook, knees, hips, ankle all open and ready to move as needed. This means the shock is now being handled by muscles. It is much less than before but it still exists and the muscles respond. There is a science about fast twitch muscles that react to resistance. These have awakened and are still getting conditioned.

    Your quads that once were used for pushing off the ground during each stride now hold a steady position waiting for changes. Have you ever looked at a plank exercise and thought that must be easy then tried it. A muscle in a stationary, but contracted postition gets fatigued quickly at first. It's new to the muscle. When you pick up the cadence, it has to figure out how to respond and use tissue that is not as available.

    Your glutes are more engaged as well, they now bear the burden of the front and back motion of the legs. Your hip form prevents the body's swaying inertia from swinging the torso over the leg, a common effect in heel striking. The hip dropping common in heel striking is more likely the reason for ITBS and not the pronation of the foot. I read an article about a study of that. I need to find it and share it.

    The bent knees and open ankles engage muscles around the ankle. The calf muscle (Soleus) get a workout, but so do the fibularis muscle that run along the leg to the ankle. I noticed this when my shins felt tight, but not a the front. I felt it on the sides.

    Your pulling of the foot from the ground is similar. The Hamsting muscles usually don't get asked to do that. Now they are pulling repeatedly.

    The point is you are engaging more muscles to do more things than they have done before. The good news is it's all muscle and not the joints that are now bearing the burden. They were meant to be worked and your conditioning will come along. When you pick up the pace, you are engaging more muscles to act more reactively. You are going to get tired sooner, at first. It will improve.

    I recommend a mix. Do some nice runs just for the sake of the run. Maybe once a week do part of your run for speed. You will get exhausted. Once there, ease up and go nice and slow, when rested try again. This actually helps with both aerobic and anerobic muscle conditioning, a fairly new subject that I am just learning and is way to extensive to cover here.

    It's teaching you well. Worry less about all the technical stuff now. Learn to love the run.

    There is hope packed inside of hope packed with hope. It's like a hope turducken.

    Thank you for reading this excessive reply. Assuming you did so.

    Really? Five months, no injuries, and you think you're doing it wrong? Before BF running, I had ITBS in 3 months. I'd put an injury free 5 months in the win column. In fact, I did.

    I felt that in my shins; still do, in fact. Are you adding joint felxibility to your routines? I do stretches for my ankles, toes, arches, heels, knees and hips. I highly recommend it after the run and/or on recovery days.

    If you succeed, and I would bet money that you will, others will be asking you how to do it soon enough.

    Finally, I posted my own real BF experience here.
     
    #12 rb2001, Apr 19, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2016
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  13. rb2001

    rb2001 Barefooters
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    Oh, and welcome. Feel free to introduce yourself in the new members forum and sign up for your location chapter. Run free.
     
  14. Pleg

    Pleg Barefooters

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    @rb2001 I cant thank you enough. The videos are really illuminating, especially the second one - i particularly liked seeing the raised toes before landing, something i was aware was correct but i didn't realize i was doing (so that's why i stopped getting blisters there!)

    Your analysis has really inspired me and im looking forward to my next run. I think my initial post was perhaps a bit negative, (i do love the feel of wet concrete!) but sometimes negativity builds up with skills that take time to learn (especially when you hear of the rapid progress of others/you arent getting feedback from an external source - like there isn't a guitar tutor, for example, seeing me each week telling me what im doing right/wrong). When i first started BF i thought if i researched and took things slowly i would be running marathons with ease in no time, something that is still a goal for the distant future - ill just focus on enjoying the journey.

    You've made me feel great about my progress so far, my progress to come, and just in general. - and i learned what a turducken is, over here we are content eating one bird at a time!



    @ClintonVoris Thanks for your thoughts. Im excited to put your number 3 recommendations into practice, especially since i felt my right knee twinging last time i was out. Would you mind clarifying: "This will put on the ball of your foot, just behind the big toe." This will put my weight on the ball of my foot? My landing on the ball?
     
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  15. rb2001

    rb2001 Barefooters
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    Always a pleasure. I do want to make one serious point. While I stand by my writing, I am not a doctor. If anything you're experiencing suggests an injury, consult a doctor. There is forum here called Ask the Docs it's a good place to get some medical assessment for your run.
     
  16. Einar

    Einar Barefooters

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    .... Transfer that stress to your gastrocnemeus muscle and achilles tendon. How do I do that? Glad you asked! Increase your speed just a tiny bit. How? Increase your stride length just a tiny bit. Lean forward just a tiny bit more. This will put on the ball of your foot, just behind the big toe. Now you will be transitioning from a mid-foot strike (which is not bad) to a fore-foot strike....


    Imo Plegs form is very good for his pace. What i citated from ClintonVaris post, heppens with me only if i running with pace faster then 6.5 min/mile (4 min/km). I think Pleg is very far from such pace. You can see many "forefoot" barefoot strikers on youtube landing on frontfoot with very slow pace and they form looks ugly and not efficent. One example
     
    #16 Einar, Apr 19, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2016
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  17. rb2001

    rb2001 Barefooters
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    Pleg,

    This was posted on another thread. It's @Barefoot Ken Bob on a treadmill showing impact forces. If you wanted the example of form this would be it. Yours is nearly identical. The only real difference I see is that your pull from the ground lags behind the landing. I don't know if that is even a problem. Just FYI.

     
    #17 rb2001, Apr 20, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2016
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  18. ClintonVoris

    ClintonVoris Barefooters
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    Howdy Pleg! Here are some screen shots to illustrate my comments. When you increase your stride length and increase your forward lean, you've set yourself up to increase speed. Any running is a series of controlled, bounding falls. consider this; strolling or walking is easily done with a heel strike method. slightly faster trotting will get you into the realm of needing a flat foot strike. Sprinting will get you on to your toes (actually the ball of your foot.) The two shots below are 'the ball of your foot.' I've run through the snow and the gone back to look at my foot prints. my heel strike is noticeable less dramatic than my forefoot strike. Hope this helps! Keep up the good work. Oh, and just relax, and enjoy your run. Mechanically, you have 200,000 years of evolution supporting you in this endeavour, so you are already built to run like this. :)
     

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  19. flammee

    flammee Barefooters

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    Just a few points, like others have said, surface might be bit too rough. In martial arts there is bit same stupid misconception (been there..), that you get better when you spar with more skilled opponents. That's not true, you just get beaten and don't learn anything. You gotta be able to have succesful moments to improve, with opponents whose skill level is lower, that's possible.. You don't get better by constantly failing on everything you try and getting hit every now and then. It's not really conscious things, you can't force yourself to be strong and take it, your subconscious takes control and you tense up. Being relaxed is the most important thing and you can't force it, you need situation where you can relax. It's actually quite universal thing, when you try to learn any new skill, you start from beginner stuff, not from advanced stuff.

    Find smoother road or even easier surfaces to find relaxment and joy of running. Road running isn't actually mandatory thing, I run something like 95% on trails. When you concentrate on tehcnique things, concentrate on single points at one time and not all the time of running, just run mostly. Even technique training is not all that necessary thing, there's plenty of people who run fine without any training.
     

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