Need your advice on my starting plan

Discussion in 'Barefoot & Minimalist Running' started by jbbur, Nov 24, 2015.

  1. jbbur

    jbbur
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    Hello fellow barefooters,

    New runner here, I have started running in September in VFF and has been transitioning to barefoot. I have completed the C25K program and have run the 5K in VFF.

    Currently, as a way to perfect my form, I have been keeping my runs only to 3KM (2 miles) and have been fixing some issues with my sore calf (only the left one) and some blisters in my fingers . I am also taking at least one day of rest before doing a run.

    My questions are:

    - Should I increase the distance while still checking at the form?
    - Have you ever had issues with one calf only? If so, any tips on how to fix it?

    Thanks.
     
  2. JosephTree

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    Welcome, Jbbur!

    I don't doubt that you will receive a lot of great advice here. ...and then there's mine...

    My first off thought is that you are going pretty quick for BF development, and having a sore calf might be a sign to take it back a little and ease off. It can take a year or even more to build the muscle supports and bone structure you want to have to enjoy BFR safely and for the long haul. Some people go faster, but I hear many more stories of TOO MUCH TOO SOON.

    Also, I am a big advocate of muscle rolling sticks, and using them before, after, and between runs to help mitigate those sore muscles.
     
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  3. Tedlet

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    Hi JB -welcome.

    For what it's worth I think JT's words are very sensible!
    Personally (by way of simply sharing my own journey, rather than advising), I would go easier to start with. Give yourself maybe a little longer between barefoot runs, trim the distance a bit, and when you do run keep the pace steady.

    I had issues with one calf -then soldiered on (as is human nature!), probably compensated for it in my running form so that I could still run & then ended up with issues in the other calf (surprise surprise!)... I fixed it (I think) by taking a break & making sure the injury was properly healed & rehabilitated, etc... then returning to the beginning and forcing myself to run slower with only modest increases in distance each time.

    My preference is also to run barefoot rather than in minimal shoes/fingers/etc... I just think the feedback you get from feeling the ground properly beneath your feet is invaluable...

    Enjoy & good luck...
     
  4. Gordon

    Gordon
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    +100 If I had a dime for every runner I've seen(and heard!) running in VFFs and slamming their feet into the ground, I'd be rich ...
     
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  5. Christian Lemburg

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    My 2 cent:
    - Walk a lot barefoot. This will help you to adjust to difficult terrain and low temperatures, and to scout possible routes for running. It will also help to build up your soles. Alternating walking and running is a great way to build up distance, and to reset your form when fatigued.
    - Run slowly until it works. If you still get blisters and abrasion, run slower. Speed will come back when you can apply more force to the ground without injury or abrasion.
    - Running barefoot is a skill. You have to learn it. Don't force yourself too much, don't push through any pain, find out what is wrong, and fix it. It is more of a learning process than "toughening up".
    - Run on terrain that you can traverse without fear. If you fear the next step, you will tense up, and learning will be slower. Find suitable routes, and progress from there.
    - Care for your feet. Clean them after each run. If needed, apply some form of fat to prevent cracks in the skin.
    - Treat your calves with massage, either by rolling on a hard foam roll or dowel or baseball or similar, or by using the knee of the other side leg when sitting. Spend some time on those hard lumps that feel like rubber cables, with deep strokes in one direction, or even just pressing on them until they relax and become less painful. Calf raises on stairs can help to build missing flexibility and strength.
    Since you started only in September, calf soreness is to be expected with increasing distances. From my experience, it will take half a year to a year until your calves will be strong enough to run longer distances without getting sore. Incorporate rest days with walking instead of running when your calves give you too much trouble. Going from nothing to long-distance barefoot running is a task that will take time. Your focus should be on sustainable improvement over fast results.

    Good luck!
    Christian
     
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  6. jbbur

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    Thanks for all the answers, guys! It is really appreciated.

    I am sorry about not posting before but I had a business trip and just came back home.

    During the trip I have run two miles and had no calf pain :). However, I do have some pain on my left feet :(.

    Anyway I will start walking more and reduce the volume until I get stronger and have no pain.

    Cheers,
    Marlon
     
  7. Scottie

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    Just my own experience getting into this in my late 40s...
    Gravel is your friend for learning form.
    Any kind of minimalist thing between your feet and the ground hinders feedback and will help you keep bad habits, possibly promoting injury.
    I probably would not have listened to this when I first started though. I had to try the "barefoot friendly surfaces" and, as my first winter started, I had to try the minimalist footwear. Big setbacks ensued, but this barefoot thing had its hold on me because it is just so fun! Now I make sure there is a good amount of sharp gravel on my little route to remind me not to overstride or push off or pound. (I do need a lot of reminding, maybe you won't)

    Have fun!
    Scott
     
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  8. jbbur

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    Thanks Scottie! This is something I have been trying to do.
     
  9. Scottie

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    Another thing that has been helpful is Feldenkrais stuff. Just another way of working with how your body works. The Gravel, though is my ultimate test. I've had days where I have no trouble with gravel and then days where it just hurts with every step. Once, after holding a slouched pose for quite a long time it wasn't until I hit the gravel that I figured out what I had done and how it messed me up.
    Right now I'm reading a book called "The Oxygen Advantage" by Patrick McKeown that is really helping me with breathing and how to be able to do more without getting out of breath. This stuff is fascinating!

    All the best,
    Scott
     
  10. jbbur

    jbbur
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    I have googled about this book and it seems interesting. Are you making progress with their techniques?
     
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  11. dutchie53

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    I agree, a book report on this would be nice.
     
  12. Scottie

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    Should I do a book report here, or on another thread? I'm still new to this format, so I'm not sure the best way to proceed...
    Just as a teaser though, the author studied the Buteyko breathing method for asthma and it is also being used more and more for performance in sports. The main premise is you need a certain amount of Carbon Dioxide in your lungs and blood in order for the transfer of Oxygen to be efficient from your red blood cells to your muscles. Hyperventilation messes up the balance and tends to lock the oxygen in your blood, not allowing the transfer to your muscles. The book has breathing exercises to retrain your body to a higher carbon dioxide tollerance, plus a simple way of testing your progress. In the little bit that I have done it seems easier to get myself into a calm state with long drawn out breaths and even a pause before my next breath while running at a pace that used to make me breathe a lot harder. I've been practicing nose breathing while running for over a year now and trying to find more information on it. This book seems to have everything I have found elsewhere, plus more I didn't know.
    All the best,
    Scott
     
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  13. Christian Lemburg

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    Based on this thread, I bought the book. I am using nose breathing for easy running for quite some time now, with good results (better form, more fun, more relaxed). I am a little bit skeptical about this Buteyko stuff, but hey, let's find out. Maybe it really works. The book is quite OK, the author is obviously a proponent of the method, the scientific discussion on the method itself is still open, but there is some support for effectiveness, even if the suggested mechanisms might not be the full story. The proposed exercises in the book are easy to implement, no special devices needed, that's good. Let's see the effects after giving it some time ...
     
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  14. jbbur

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    I also bought the book and started reading yesterday at night. I have always had dificulties with breathlessness and I seemed worth trying. I will report back with my results.
     
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  15. jjb

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    I'm a relatively new barefooter and I started by just being barefoot everywhere possible. I switched all my footwear to minimalist for when I have to wear shoes.

    I walked for two months before even starting to run and when I did start, it was sidewalks only and I added a quarter-mile per week. I also sometimes ran on asphalt. Jason Robillard's Barefoot Running Book has a lot of good tips.

    I started living barefoot in mid-April of 2015; I'm now barefoot running about eighteen miles a week; and I'm in training for a half-marathon in March.

    Good luck!
     
  16. Sid

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    My right leg and calf can sometimes be a bit more sore, as my left side has been weaker due to a bunion. I've worked hard at strengthening the left side and straightening the bunion, and both sides are close to even now. Good luck!
     
  17. migangelo

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    i posted a video on here somewhere on how to teach yourself diaphragmatic breathing using a balloon. look for it. it will increase your oxygen uptake and engaging your core while running will increase the power you put into your legs. it's a big reason i love learning DNS. even Pavel Tsatsouline teaches the exact same principles of diaphragmatic breathing. i recommend any of his books.

    good luck your journey.
     

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