Went to the school of gravel yesterday

Discussion in 'Barefoot & Minimalist Running' started by trevize1138, Jul 6, 2017.

  1. trevize1138

    trevize1138
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    Not sure what the policy is here on linking to Reddit but I posted about my 1.5 mile barefoot run on gravel there at the barefootrunning sub. I posted it initially lamenting that I was slow and had to bail after 1.5 miles, wondering HTF do people do this? One of the best replies pointed out how gravel is a great teacher of form. You don't have the luxury of just plopping your foot down haphazardly or pushing off the ground however you want. You have to be really careful, slow and run with absolute flawless form. I was doing 14:00/mile, felt like I looked like someone's grandpa but when I was back on blacktop my body took all the lessons from gravel and applied them beautifully.

    I was also glad to hear from others that running on gravel is always hard and uncomfortable but that's why you do it. I got into minimalist and barefoot running to avoid the injuries I used to suffer through in shoes and I achieved that easily enough. Now I plan on working in more gravel runs to keep honest about my form as that's seriously unlocked the long miles for me. I'm not just forefoot striking I'm running tall and elastically and can tell I'm now benefiting from all those springy tendons just bouncing me along down the road.

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  2. Bill B

    Bill B
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    1.5 miles is pretty good. I used to have a gravel section of my run, did it for 5 years. It never got easy or fun! Embrace the suck, it will make you a better runner and your feet very tough. It's great that you're doing it!!
     
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  3. bare_ftazn

    bare_ftazn
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    I saw you on the sub Reddit! Many of those posts relate to minimalist running. While minimalist running is also discussed here, most of the discussion is barefoot oriented.

    As to running on gravel, it's still a challenge I have yet to overcome. It sounds like I need to look for short stretches of gravel and just work on it over time. Chip and seal pavement is my biggest hurdle at the moment.
     
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  4. BroadArrow

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    chip-n-seal and gravel are where it's at. real gravel will totally slow you down: your 14 minute pace is pretty impressive. last year, i realized that my foot strength was what was holding me back more than my endurance, so i made it a point to go running on chip-n-seal as much as possible and just swallow my pride. when you give yourself permission to go slow, good things start to happen. pretty soon you feel wimpy and boring when running on smooth pavement and you go weaving all over the road looking for something to step on. :) also, you suddenly feel fast on the smooth stuff. in any case, the question is "why are you doing this?" if you really want to go fast, you can buy a car or a plane ticket, if you want to have fun and do difficult things, then gravel becomes your friend.
     
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  5. Gordon

    Gordon
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    Gravel comes in different flavors. There's the smooth pea gravel out of old river beds, the comfy stuff. There are the natural gravels, which tend toward roundish, with only a modest number of sharp edges. Not too bad. Then there are the crushed rock industrial gravels, all sharp edges and points. Not fun for me and I have to slow down. Lastly, there's scoria, crushed volcanic bubble rock, which is just awful. I'd rather go to the dentist than run on it. Thankfully, it's rare.
     
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  6. trevize1138

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    I had to look that up as I wasn't familiar with the name. That's totally what most of the roads are in my town! I've started getting a lot more comfortable with that surface this year, too, and lately I can tell that 1.5 mile gravel run really helped with the chip-n-seal, too.
     
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  7. trevize1138

    trevize1138
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    I took this to heart during my lunch run today. There's lot of chip-n-seal roads and I embraced them more. There are also a few places to run on that harsh, industrial gravel and I made it a point to run on them. My 1.5 mile stretch on that stuff last week might have been more proving to myself that it's harsh and uncomfortable but not actually damaging. Now I'm more brave about just seeking out the discomfort and realizing the benefit I get from that. It's even more freeing knowing I can run barefoot pretty much *anywhere* it's just a matter of varying speed.
     
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  8. Bill B

    Bill B
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    Seal coat is the evil bastard child of gravel! It doesn't move under your feet. I ran about 500 meters of it the other night after work ( my feet were locked in a pair of leather work boots for 13 hours, making them nice and soft) it was ****ing hell!
     
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