New to this concept with questions

Discussion in 'Barefoot & Minimalist Running' started by Charlie Bourbeau, Sep 25, 2017.

  1. Charlie Bourbeau

    Charlie Bourbeau
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    Hello all, I am new to the concept of minimalist running but am very interested in learning more about this. I have a few questions.

    1) is a zero drop shoe equivalent to BF running mechanically? I don't think I would ever go completely BF?
    2) I currently run 35-40 mpw in regular Nike running shoes. If/when I switch to zero drop shoes how far back do I have to dial back my mpw?
    3) what is the best resource for learning the stride/foot landing/etc for the transition? This forum?
    4) I am primarily a 5k guy but also do long runs once per week and run the occasional marathon. Is this style good for all of the above?

    I am sure that I will have more questions to follow.

    Thank you, Charlie
     
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  2. Makamaespm

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    Welcome! if you search the forums for transitioning you will find many threads on the topic. That's where I got my start. I also recommend reading Barefoot Running Step by Step by Ken Bob.

    1. running in zero drop shoes will give your feet a false sense of security with the protection of the sole. during my first transition with zero drop and I ended up with hip issues because my form didn't really change and I was still heel striking. BF is daunting but the immediate feedback you get from your feet hitting the ground is something you cannot replicate with zero drop. but if shoes are a must, pay attention to the drop height and gradually work your way down to zero. I'm in the military and shoes are a must, so in my off time i'm completely barefoot, but I still rotate between brooks gylcerins or pureflows during pt.
    2. I don't run nearly as much as you (kudos BTW!) so I can't really speak about mileage. I would really ease into it. There are a few training plans you can find on here but ultimately you need to listen to your body, your calves and feet will let you know if you've done too much too soon. you could probably work in a plan that substitutes a mile or so in the beginning or end barefoot. for me it was my speed that took a hit.
    3. this forum. you can post a video and the community will/can give you some feedback. also the book mentioned up top. there are a few other books you can easily find via google.
    4. yes. just gotta toughen up the soles. took me 5 months to work up to a 5k completely barefoot.

    side note, i'm not a professional runner or doc in anyway, shape, or form. this is just what worked for me and what I've learned over the past year an a half. most of what I've learned about barefoot running is from BRS, my own research, and trial and error. best of luck and welcome.
     
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  3. Kyrrinstoch

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    I'll second this.

    Like Makamaespm, I found that it wasn't so much the drop as it was the thickness/padding in the sole that caused me more issues than anything else. When I moved to a pair of Vibram Five Fingers, it made a WORLD of difference in my running (and even walking) form; because of the lack of padding, I had to adjust to actually beign able to feel the solid ground through the shoes - gone was the heel-striking and even my pronation problems started to correct themselves. When I ditched the FF's, it was another huge jump - I landed lighter, was able to handle rougher terrain, and I stopped pushing off with my toes (which I still did in the FF's).

    So, as was said above - everyone's experience is different.
     
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  4. trevize1138

    trevize1138
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    I run about 40-50mpw and 1/2 of that is unshod on concrete/pavement and the other 1/2 in 6mm Xero sandals on rough gravel. If you're at all worried about running long miles I can attest that, at least for me, going minimalist and barefoot is what's finally allowed me to run long miles for numerous reasons. Yes, in the short term you should reduce mileage as you focus exclusively on form but the payoff on the other end can be quite well worth it.

    I got into minimalist running for much the same reason as many others: I was getting injured all the time and desperate. I've been injury free these last 5 years of minimalist and barefoot so that goal was certainly achieved.

    What I fully didn't expect was how much my running has improved because of this. Running in a way that minimizes impact on your body isn't just safer it's more efficient. I'm a tad uncoordinated and running in padded shoes always made me run with big, inefficient over-striding bounds. Even if I never got injured I was limiting myself with horrible running economy. Getting rid of the padding helped and getting rid of the shoes really turbo-charged my improvements.

    Your bare feet can transmit all sorts of valuable information to you on your running style that even the thinnest, flimsiest minimalist shoes can corrupt. Add padding to that and you get almost no feedback at all. Again: even if you're never getting injured you could be missing out on your true potential if padded shoes aren't giving you the information you need about your form.

    Running totally unshod can be uncomfortable sometimes and that's why I do it. You're forced to lift your feet off the ground quickly which is the movement I've found that's key to efficiency. All harsh impact and friction from pushing off is wasted effort and when you're barefoot that also hurts your feet so there's wisdom there.

    As for how to do it all I finally put it into a single post on reddit for what's worked not just for me but others I've helped either on-line or in-person at my small town running club:

    https://www.reddit.com/r/BarefootRunning/comments/71thej/how_to_run/?st=j81scwve&sh=4beae09c

    I don't think of my running now as minimalist or barefoot, just running and I couldn't run the distances I do or the speeds I do if I hadn't gotten rid of the padding and let my feet truly teach me how to be fast and efficient.
     
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  5. Barefoot TJ

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    Welcome, Charlie! Glad you're here. The others will have good info for you. :barefoot:
     
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