toughening the feet

Discussion in 'Barefoot & Minimalist Running' started by wswhiting, May 26, 2011.

  1. wswhiting

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    Ok, probably a dumb question, but just how long does it take to toughen the feet before you are at the point where a half marathon or marathon is possible? Two months? Six months?
     
  2. Warren Dickey

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    It obviously depends on how

    It obviously depends on how much you go barefoot and what surface you'll be racing on. You also trade speed for distance when running completely barefoot. The faster you go the less distance you'll be able to cover before your feet wear out due to friction. I had been a runner for 24 years but I began barefoot running in January of 2010. I began very slow, completely barefoot, and exactly one year later ran the Disney Half-marathon barefoot then the Full marathon the next morning in hurache sandals. I ran the half in a little over two hours and the full in a little over four hours.
    To train for these I did about 50% of my running barefoot on a mix of concrete and pavement. The other %50 was in huarache sandals.

    Hope this helps.

    Warren
     
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  3. Matt

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    Another factor to consider is

    Another factor to consider is your form. The better your form, the less important foot toughness becomes.

    Doing speed work, especially sprinting is good for foot toughness.
     
  4. wswhiting

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    Thanks for your comments. 

    Thanks for your comments. I'm doing about 10 miles a week barefoot now - about 25% of my weekly total.
     
  5. sloutre

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    Matt wrote:Another factor to

    +1 With good form you don't need very though feet.
     

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  6. stomper

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    I'm not sure your feet really

    I'm not sure your feet really get "tougher," in some ways they get softer. While I haven't done a marathon, here is my experience in getting ready for longer races:
    • I felt I was getting mywhole body, not just my feet, accustomed to the activity.
    • going on a variety of surfaces, including some considerably MORE uncomfortable than normal, built up my tolerance. In particular I noticed that while practicing on nasty gravel and chip seal increased my tolerance of surfaces, practicing on hard smooth concrete encouraged me to increase my cadence, which in turn allowed me to increase my distance.
    All in all I'd guess going for a barefoot marathon might be a project you might want to put a year into?
     
  7. Matt

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    stomper wrote:I'm not sure

    My experience was that my feet were their "toughest" about 3 or 4 months into barefoot running. That was back in 2007.

    I've also found that higher cadences are much, much easier on my feet. Much less irritation.
     
  8. wswhiting

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    The cadence issue does not

    The cadence issue does not seem to affect me. I have checked my cadence regularly shod and unshod and I am consistently in the 90-100 range. Maybe I'm just thinking about it and adjust my cadence, but I have tried not to change what I have been running to get an accurate count. Something to keep in mind though and thanks for reminding me of this important form issue.

    I'm glad to hear 3-4 months or a year before attempting a marathon. Sounds like good advice. Thanks!
     
  9. startingupagain

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    For those who've run longer

    For those who've run longer distances: How much speed did you give up by going barefoot (as opposed to say, VFF's)?
     
  10. Barefooting Bob

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    startingupagain wrote:For

    I am actually faster barefoot then utilizing my VFF's. I find I have a smoother and more fluid stride and the freedom just makes me go faster, I am also much lighter in the foot bare.

    When I run in my VFF's, I have to concentrate more on my form, which in turn slows me down.
     
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  11. Barefoot TJ

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    Same here for me, Bob.  With

    Same here for me, Bob. With huaraches, I find I feel heavier. Take 'em off, and I'm flying, well for a turtle. I took 15 minutes off my half marathon time over 10 months time after shedding the shoes.
     
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  12. jackie hayes

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    On the tough feet subject --

    On the tough feet subject -- How much does frequency matter?



    I'm just starting out -- I began on a treadmill, then started running outdoors, only 1/2 a mile at first, lately I've been going 1.5-2 miles. I ran twice last week, only one day in between (rest). Both times, 1.5-2 miles, some hot spots, but not too bad.



    But today (after 3 non-bf days), I went out expecting to do the same distance, and I could feel the blisters forming after only 1 mile or so. So, I walked the rest, but now I'm wondering how much time I should leave in between runs. Can your feet 'lose' the conditioning if you wait too long between runs? Any advice is appreciated -- my feet felt great to start the day, so it was frustrating to see things fall apart so fast while running.
     
  13. Barefoot TJ

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    Yes, your feet can lose

    Yes, your feet can lose conditioning if you don't do it "often enough." If you don't use it, you will lose it. For you, being so new to this, I can see getting blisters after three non-BFR days as feeling like a set-back, but honestly, it's not. You are adapting, and your skin in changing. I believe most of us go through some sort of blistering phase as we figure out how to do this right (a sort of learning curve) and as we condition our skin. Perhaps try to run 1.5 to 2 miles every other day or every two days, and don't stress about it. You'll get there. :)
     
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  14. Barefoot Brown

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    I have to agree with TJ here.

    I have to agree with TJ here. I went through the blisters/corn stage :(, and didn't think I was going to get through it. I pushed through and I believe it really made me pay attention to my form. It's mostly in form and listening to your feet. Keep working and you will get there!
     
  15. Matt

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    jackie hayes wrote: But today

    I suspect it's more about your form changing after 3 days off, rather than the toughness of your feet. There were stretches this Spring where I was running just once a week, and the actual condition of my soles wasn't an issue.
     
  16. jackie hayes

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    Could be.  If anything, I was

    Could be. If anything, I was focusing more on form, but that might work against me.



    It's strange, but for all the focus on tempo and footstrike, personally, I've run better when I've thought mostly about running upright.



    Anyway, thanks to everyone who responded, Matt, TJ, and...Brownie? Heck of a job! ;)
     
  17. kentox

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    Jackie i find if I keep my

    Jackie i find if I keep my head straight everything else falls into place and I'm just gliding along. Still getting used to not scanning the ground directly in front of me but it takes time and I'm getting there just like you will. Don't push it and let your body tell you when it's right and you will be just fine:)
     

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  18. megabarefoot

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    I've not yet been naked

    I've not yet been naked footing it for 6 months but once I got into the habit of running roughly 20-25k per week, I find I am adapting quickly. The connective tissue and muscles will always exceed the endurance of the skin on your foot. You'll find that on sidewalks, espeacially the white ones, that you're gonna want to go faster and you should certainly try to do so without getting sloppy. I'm still slow, I think, even on sidewalk but it's getting better; I think I can average a consistent 0530 per klick pace. Gravel and that damned chip seal s**t is still a mental and physical endurance test. Perhaps that is just the nature of the surface. Not even a rough trail is as difficult as that stuff...damn.



    Has any one else that has been running for at least 6 months or so find that chip seal and gravel get easier? I find I can endure gravel much easier and longer than before so long as I keep a quick cadance (I try for 200 at least) and light footing. Chip seal, doesn't seem to matter how I do it; I can expect it to suck. I think I'm just gonna move to grass or slap on some foot wear for the chip seal section, not worth it, IMO.
     
  19. sloutre

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    Megabarefoot,I used to carry

    Megabarefoot,

    I used to carry some very thin sandals (just a piece of leather with straps in fact) for the chip seal sections of my runs. It was not worth to pain of running them barefoot. That was about 6 month ago, when I was 6 month into barefoot running.

    Now those sections are not a problem at all. I don't carry emergency footwear anymore. I'm not fast but I can run almost anywhere. The advice that helped me a lot was to start lifting the foot before it touches the ground.

    It makes me shorten my stride, increase my cadence and raises my heart rate, so I go even slower but it is not painful on my feet at all.

    A pair of old sock would work well at taking the edge off for the challenging sections until your form gets where it needs to be to tackle the surface barefoot.
     

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  20. megabarefoot

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    sloutre

    Ah, good that makes me feel better. I was estimating to take about a year for the feet to full adapt to such conditions. I'll stop being a sissy now. Quick, one of you drive past me in the morning and scream "THAT'S HARDCORE S**T!!" out your window to give me some encourgement :)
     

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