Running on sharp or rough surfaces?

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by John Hillage, Jul 11, 2019 at 11:49 AM.

  1. John Hillage

    John Hillage
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    Done about 6 barefoot runs now.

    Mostly grass, pavement, beach.

    I read in the book about trying to run on rough surfaces as much as possible to start with to get correct form/posture when running (in Barefoot Bob's book).

    Problem is . . . it bloody hurts!

    I can do about 5 minutes stumbling on pebbles or gravel slowly, or run pretty well and pain free (and really enjoy) for 30 mins plus on the other smoother surfaces.

    Any thoughts on the necessity of 'rough running' as to be frank I don't enjoy it and it really puts me off. Muhc rather run on the other surfaces.

    Cheers,

    John
     
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  2. Tedlet

    Tedlet
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    Welcome John..
    Rough surfaces -there’s a subject that could run and run (excuse the pun).
    My two penneth based purely on my own journey would be focus firstly on what you enjoy.
    Rough surface running most definitely forces you to concentrate on form. So if you can fit in the odd 5 minutes here and there then go for it!
    For me I think how it really helped was it slowed me down -that’s the best way to tackle it.
    When I started out I was doing all tarmac and it was bliss! The problem with that was I then got carried away with how great it felt and how easily I seemed to be coping with it that I did the ‘too much too soon’ thing and ended up over pulling calf muscles etc...
    If you are more disciplined than me and can force yourself to progress/transition really slowly and steadily then you’ll no doubt do fine anyway. Throw in the odd bit of gravel/rough stuff as your confidence builds and you’ll probably suddenly notice that actually it does help with form. But certainly don’t stress about it to start with -enjoyment is always the bottom line for me...:)
    Hopefully some others will chime in with more technical input..
    If not -there’s plenty of information and personal comments etc scattered around the site to read...
    Have fun...:barefoot:
     
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  3. John Hillage

    John Hillage
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    Thanks. That sort of confirms what I was thinking. It needs to be fun. And already I feel I get good form at times during a run
    I have to think about it when running but hope over time it will become more natural.
     
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  4. flammee

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    Try to find something that is it's bit rough but runnable and it will become enjoyably rough and later just enjoyable. Maybe woodchip trails or trails with lots of small sticks, cones and such..
     
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  5. Gordon

    Gordon
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    If it's too rough, you can't relax, and that's a bad thing when it comes to improving your form. If it hurts, you're pushing too hard. Back off and work up to the challenge. It will come
     
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  6. Barefoot TJ

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    I think you should still try to incorporate a few minutes on asphalt or concrete (even gravel later) into each of your runs. You'll find that the 5 minutes will turn into 6, then 7, then 8... Pretty soon, you won't even be counting the minutes but enjoying running on those surfaces and running with better form because of it.
     
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  7. BFGD

    BFGD
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    The feet do take some time to adjust. In the past, when barefoot weather appears, my conditioning starts with dog walks (20 minutes per walk, twice a day) on pavement and rough surfaces. I would do that for about 1 month before feeling strong.

    This year I got through 10 months without shoes on my dog walks.

    In my experience, what you might be feeling isn't necessarily "pain", per se. People (like me) who were brainwashed since childhood to wear shoes, have been prevented from adapting. I remember when I started barefoot, just *walking* on rough surfaces caused tremendous pain, to the point that after a few minutes I would think I would NOT be able to walk the next day because my feet were in so much pain, and I felt like the skin of my feet was being sliced off by the pavement.

    As it turns out, not only could my feet walk just an hour later, but they would feel FINE. In reality, my feet were simply feeling SENSATIONS, but because I had spent so many decades in shoes, my body could only interpret those sensations as pain. So, you aren't really feeling pain, you are feeling sensations in a place that has been starved of sensation and your brain doesn't know what to do with the input. Remember, the only parts of your body with more nerve endings are your lips and your hands, so your feet are CHOCK FULL of nerves that are just dying to feel something!!!!

    I first discovered this "sensation" thing when I was 30 years old and grew out my right hand fingernails for guitar (Classical guitar, dofrenzy on soundcloud). Having NEVER had long fingernails in my lifetime (nail biter) I committed to biting the nails ONLY of my left hand. One morning in the shower, my right hand suddenly had a JOLT of pain that went up my arm and made me pull my hand back from the shower water as if it were being burned.

    The nails on my right-hand had grown long enough to catch water on their underside, and for the first time in my life, the force of the shower water tapped the underside of my fingernails hard and my brain could only interpret the new sensation as pain (or shock? It was definitely weird).
     
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  8. BareFootHeath

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    Hey John,

    Yup, initially it’s slower and feels less coordinated. With some persistence you’ll adapt and it’ll get easier. I was the same way just a couple of months ago- the mile walk to work down a gravel road was uncomfortable as I tenderfooted myself along. It’s no issue now and I find it stimulating to do it before/after work (usually walk to work then go for a longer run after). I’m up to a ten mile hike (mountain terrain) before I contemplate my FiveFingers (it’s not necessarily pain, it’s a feeling of overstimulation).

    Having said all that, I do look forward to long grassy or leaf covered stretches as well, they’re pretty soothing. Following a cold mountain stream for awhile is a delight as well.
     
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  9. BareFootHeath

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    Completely agree.
     
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  10. flammee

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    I have noticed at barefoot trail running that once I get first painful hit to the sole of foot, then usually there's more painful hits coming.. I would say it's not so much about having bad luck of stepping on something, but the ability of sole to conform to different stuff underfoot.

    It might have something to do with tightness of calf and plantaris muscles, perhaps when they are tighter sole of foot loses it's ability to conform and becomes more tender and stepping on sticks and stones hurt more.

    I have increased my ankle mobility with rest squat at winter-spring and barefoot running has worked better this summer than ever before. I would guess that it might be a causation, but that's quite uncertain theory... :p
     

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