Transition?

Discussion in 'Barefoot & Minimalist Running' started by Cbiscuit, Oct 24, 2020.

  1. Cbiscuit

    Cbiscuit Barefooters

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    Hello. I am new here and new to barefootedness (I have a question in the gear forum too). I went for a run in my traditional shoes the other day and it got me thinking about transitioning and proper form.

    I see a lot posts regarding transition, which I assume ask about mileage, footwear transition, etc. What I have NOT been able to find are answers about transitioning my form. I am at a point in my training where I can focus on form and switch it if needed. What are good resources for proper (barefoot) running form?
     
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  2. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    From the guru himself, Barefoot Ken Bob Saxton:

    Barefoot Running Step by Step : Barefoot 682a2b7115bae63a05804ecd2e3e5d116acafc72.jpg
     
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  3. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    The first thing Ken Bob would tell you is to not transition; instead, just ditch your shoes and go only barefoot, slowly acclimating. I second this belief because I learned the hard way that shoes during transitioning can cause permanent damage to your feet. After all, if your intent is to run barefoot, then the best way to do that is to run barefoot.

    Other "form" advice... I suggest lifting your feet instead of pushing off (to avoid blistering and bruising), running with a fast cadence (180 will teach you how to lift your feet as well), and running on the hardest terrain (gravel will teach you how to run lightly),

    Take your time with it, don't rush the process, and you will have a much better, more successful experience.
     
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  4. OneBiteAtATime

    OneBiteAtATime Moderator
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    So I’ll second the 180 beats per minute thing. I suggest downloading a metronome app and setting it to 180 for your runs - at least for a while.

    I’d also suggest try running in place at 180 and sort of leaning forward.

    What I found so great about barefoot running is it took care of the form pretty much without spending too much time thinking about it - just listening to my feet. You can’t (at least not for very long) overstride and crash onto your heel barefoot on asphalt.

    I guess I had the advantage of “learning how to run” again after several years of not running. It has brought me to a place where I can run some pretty ridiculous distances without chronic injuries like I had as a high school and college runner.

    I suspect it would be difficult for me to have transitioned when I was in great shape as an athlete in college who was constantly injured without a down time that I was no longer a runner.

    I also am curious why you are looking to transition to barefoot. If I had a friend who was putting in miles and miles uninjured but ran in Nikes, but started asking me about barefoot I’d probably suggest it would be dangerous.

    So, what is your why? Why are you wanting to go bare?
     
  5. Janne

    Janne Barefooters

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    Go running bare feet, no minimalist, sandals or socks. Reasoning behind is that your feet will provide you with valuable information for you to fix things causing pain. So listen to your feet and adjust.

    Start with short distances and slow pace to allow your tendons and connective tissue to adjust. Most common complain for new barefoot runners is pain on the base of the foot or the heel. It can be caused by running too much too soon or putting too much strain on the wrong places. For me the nicest surface to run is smooth concrete and asphalt. Use your eyes to avoid anything that may cause pain and increase your cadence to easily change direction or stride length - 180 is a good start point, but it may feel awkward at first.

    Try being barefoot as much as you can. Minimalist shoes are available for more formal occasions :p You can also try some exercises for rehabilitating intrinsic muscles on your feet.

    Good form works with or without shoes, just barefoot runners have the possibility to listen to what their feet have to say. Maybe the best online resource is Dr. Marc Cucuzzella video [1] Dissect all its parts and you will get a lot of info. He is really fast but the same principles apply to all, even slow runners. If you are into form, I'd consider looking at Kipchoge's, he is just amazing, even with shoes! Carlos Lopes, Zola Budd (BF) and Bikila (BF) are others, surely the list may go on, and on.

    Also consider why you are getting into barefoot. Is it an injury? you may need to work with that separately.

    Best of luck!

    [1]
     
  6. Cbiscuit

    Cbiscuit Barefooters

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    Maybe I made a semantic mistake. When I said barefoot, I didn’t mean actually barefoot. I meant more...barefoot shoes.

    Also, the reason is that I began running in something closer (Altras) but my ankles and feet started to hurt. Listening to some podcasts, they sang the praises of switching to a more “natural” way of running and mentioned decreased injuries, pain, etc. I’m in.

    I noticed that when I run in the Altras, my foot kinda slaps the ground, which makes me think I am striking toward the rear of my foot and then the rest of the size 15 is slapping down, which doesn’t seem correct.
     
  7. OneBiteAtATime

    OneBiteAtATime Moderator
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    More than semantics.

    Barefoot shoes don’t have thousands of tiny little nerves sending feedback to your brain. Feet do.

    Yeah, so everything I said is incorrect. If you’re transitioning to “barefoot shoes” rather than barefoot you need to concentrate more than ever on form. I believe there is great risk in runners going from more traditional shoes to “barefoot shoes”. Seen people get hurt.

    Maybe there is a natural running coach or chi-running program near you. It’s hard to teach yourself to run differently. It’s not popular (anywhere but here) - but I would highly suggest trying actual skin to ground bare.

     
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  8. Gordon

    Gordon Barefooters

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    Running well in barefoot shoes is impossible unless you can run well without any shoes. It's actually harder to run well in barefoot shoes. But if you can run well without any shoes, you really don't need barefoot shoes unless conditions are really extreme or unless your fashion sense requires it. Catch-22. The best way to transition to barefoot shoes is to transition to actual barefoot first and then transition from there to barefoot shoes. That makes each transition easier.
     
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