Transitioning advice.

Discussion in 'Barefoot & Minimalist Running' started by WildBrian, Feb 7, 2017.

  1. WildBrian

    WildBrian
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    Hi all.

    I've recently bought some vivobarefoot minimalist shoes and attended a talk on transitioning to minimalist footwear. I began my foot and toe exercises but I am also looking for advice on a transition program if anyone can help. I've looked at this and began (only few runs so far ) this one in this article https://breakingmuscle.com/learn/a-12-step-plan-for-transitioning-to-minimalist-running-shoes
    Can anyone advise if they think it's good or bad and/or point me in the direction of a better one.
    Basically I run 3 times a week. very low distance (10 km usually my max) over the past year n a bit after a a bad dose of Achilles tendonitis. It has left me terrified to push myself and am prepared to take the slow safe transition route to minimalist running in the hope I can run injury free or at least reduce the risks of injury.

    Thanks and hopefully I will chat to most of u over the future.
     
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  2. Einar

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    12 step plan looks ok. Alot runners here prefer barefoot on hard surface aprouch for transition and only after then start to use minimal shoes with perfect barefoot form.
     
  3. Lorena

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    I started wearing minimalistic shoes first. Big mistake at least on my 10 months experience. I should have started going barefoot. It takes a lot of time make our soles strong enough to run. hard surfaces helped me to realize how bad was my form and corrected. The best thing of all is that by running barefoot we feel right away what's going on so we can stop on time or most of it. So far we cannot prevent injuries but we can minimized them. The feeling is certainly amazing. I started on grass too before to have learned that yes, concrete was the way to go. I could have saved lots of time if I had known before. Hope this helps a little :)
     
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  4. WildBrian

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    Great stuff lads appreciate the feedback
     
  5. Barefoot TJ

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    What about ditching the shoes altogether? That barefoot running form will come much easier to you when you are actually barefoot. Welcome! :barefoot:
     
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  6. WildBrian

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    I used to finish my runs with some barefoot laps of the track on the grass. Think the fear of going totally barefoot us the problem haha. May just give it a bash. Dreading it though as its still cold. I know I'm too soft haha
     
  7. Christian Lemburg

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    I did about 10 years of running in minimal shoes before finally switching to barefoot running. When I transitioned to minimal shoes and forefoot running, I used a combination of Gordon Pirie's method (his book is out there for free, and very good) and POSE. It took me about 6 months to 1 year to run freely again.

    The program you linked to is much too fast. It will most likely end in injury for an ambitious recreational runner. Maybe you can do it, but you will need to be healthy and lucky. You had Achilles tendonitis, so you are most probably not healthy, have inefficient biomechanics, and a strong will and desire to run. Sounds like a recipe for disaster to me.

    There is a lot of adaptation needed in your lower limbs to make the transition, in the fascia and tendons as well as in the bones. This adaptation takes much longer than the adaptation of your muscular system. Your muscles can "outdevelop" your fascia, tendons, ligaments, and bones, meaning, there is a phase from about some months to 1 year after the transition in which you have more power and endurance (due to enhanced muscular development) than your structural components (fascia, tendons, ligaments, bones) can really support. Climbers know a similar phenomenon with their finger tendons, and power athletes with their biceps tendons, which are prone to inflammation or even rupture after intense muscular buildup.

    Transition to running in minimal shoes or barefoot is measured in months, not weeks. It is a learning process rather than a "toughening it out" process. Systems that re-train your biomechanics will really help. Good coaching will really help. Being smart and not overdoing it is a must. Do your research. There are very good books out there on barefoot running - Ken Bob Saxton, Jason Robillard, Michael Sandler. They all have a lot of advice about transitioning. For transitioning to minimal shoes, Gordon Pirie and POSE worked well for me.

    Whether to go for barefoot or minimal shoes - the consensus on this board is that barefoot is safer.

    When running barefoot, your hurting soles will protect you from overdoing it, naturally. The blisters and little red spots on your feet will force you to admit you are not running correctly. During running, you will get instant biomechanical feedback on your interaction with the ground. You can choose to ignore some of this feedback by using shoes, that will allow yourself to abuse yourself harder. Some feats may only be possible in shoes, like winning a race, getting that time, or running across this terrain or that distance. Shoes are useful tools, and increase performance, that's why nearly all athletes use them in competition. But during transitioning, shoes are an obstacle, because they impede feedback, which is necessary for learning, and enable abusing yourself up to a point where the structural components of your lower limbs may be damaged.

    And of course, shoes just ain't no fun! No mud puddles! No water splashing around your feet!

    My advice would be: start learning to enjoy being barefoot, walk a lot barefoot, hike barefoot, and when that is too boring, or you want to go faster, start running barefoot. That will get you to your goal safely, with a lot of fun, many useful learnings along the way, and healthy. It will take its time, though.

    Maybe Fred Rohe's old book "The Zen of Running" (now available as free PDF ebook) will inspire you?

    Just my 2 cents,

    Christian
     
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  8. WildBrian

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    Thanks Christian. Appreciate ur point of view and advice based on ecpierence. I'll look into some of them books!
    I may try barefoot a bit. As for rushing back that's not goin to be an issue. Although I certainly see and understand your points. After such a long injury period I'm happy to be just out running and am forcing myself to take rest days and not do too much too soon even if I don't feel I need the rest.
    Thanks again
     
  9. Barefoot TJ

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    Don't be afraid, but if it's too cold and you can't find an indoor track, wait until the spring. We will still be here to help you through.
     
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  10. Tedlet

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    Welcome Wild-B.
    Feedback above all looks good to me!
    Only points I really picked up on were:-

    -You have mentioned that you suffered a bad dose of Achilles tendonitis. For me I think it is important to recognise that the calf and Achilles areas are generally the ones that feel the brunt of the new forces/dynamics the most. A lot of us, I believe, will probably have experienced aches and pains in that area as our legs get used to the different loads being placed on them. This improves over time (at least it did for me) as the muscles, etc... develop. As you already have a history of injury there I guess I'm just thinking 'go really easy as you progress', perhaps even more so than usual.

    -As has already been mentioned, and in my own view, you will get a much better feel for what is going on with your feet when you run if you lose the shoes completely. Then once you've found your form you can use the vivo's if you prefer.

    -The first point of the 12 point plan suggests only running barefoot on the beach or grass. Personally my suggestion would be to look for a harder surface initially where you can clearly see the ground ahead of you (grass just hides stuff!). You'll get the hang of it and relax (which is key) much quicker.

    -Generally whilst having a structured plan can have it's merits, ultimately you should transition at the rate your body is comfortable with. So if you feel like you've overdone it or have muscle issues, etc... then rest up and recover before you go again (your last point relating to forcing yourself to take rest days is hence spot on!).

    Above all though -enjoy!:)...
     
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  11. WildBrian

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    Great stuff again. Thanks everyone. Looks like Sat run will be tried shoeless and we see how we go from there. :nailbiting:
     
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  12. Barefoot Gentile

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    I went from traditional running shoes straight to barefoot running, I bypassed the whole minimal thing, which I suggest you do as well. Minimal footwear is still shoes. Barefoot is the best instructor, your feet will tell you when to rest, when it's time to increase mileage, etc. And more importantly going barefoot first will force you to work on your form. Getting your form down is first priority.
     
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  13. WildBrian

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    Ok so today's run was attempted barefoot and abondoned. Ran on the track in my minimalist runners and took them off to do the second half of my run barefoot. Was very cold here and after a lap on the grass on the inside of the track(the track itself is pebbles n my walk break proved too sore for any period over 20 sec.) My feet were beyond cold. So after 2 laps it was aborted.
     
  14. Barefoot TJ

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    Don't expect to make a lot of progress too quickly. If you do, you won't progress properly or at all. Take your time with it. Feel what you are doing.
     
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  15. Tedlet

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    What TJ said....
    Plus -sorry, I forgot to mention that when it's cold the grass will always be even colder. That's just because it's wet and the moisture will always conduct the warmth away from your feet quicker than any dry surface, but I guess you worked that out already now!...:coldfeet:
    Hope it's warmer next time...:)
     
  16. WildBrian

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    Thanks boys. Baby steps in the right direction
     
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  17. happysongbird

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  18. Makamaespm

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    In addition to all the tips above, I found this .pdf when I was google-ing the hell out of barefoot transitioning. I followed stage 1and 2 and used stage 0 as a warm up. I had any pain or blisters I would either repeat a day or take it back a day or two. i also started my transition in spring when the weather was perfect for evening barefoot walks or even just playing in the driveway with my toddler. When the pavement was too hot I'd throw on some socks and finish out the walk/run. for cool down and recovery, which i think is crucial but often not thought about, is proper stretching and some myofascial release (foam rolling, and lacross ball or theracane for pinpoint).

    you can also do a search on here a there are a lot of good tips and other resources that may have already been posted or asked. I always come here now before i go to google.

    best of luck!
     

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  19. WildBrian

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    Thanks I'll flick tru the pdf. Thanks again. most helpful
     
  20. Blemons

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    Great article. Thanks for posting. I'm just now 3 months into this barefoot running thing. I'm thoroughly enjoying it other than being a little frustrated with the slow rate of mileage increase. Right now I'm running a fairly consistent 3 miles per outing. I've tried to go farther a couple of times and the tendon over my left ankle flares up and swells a little afterwards. I'm know I'm just being impatient. Looks like some of the exercises in the article will be beneficial which I'll try. Thanks again.
     
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