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Barefoot running
#1
Ok so I was asked to give an update so here it is.

After my first 'barefoot' run (in minimal/barefoot shoes), which was around 2.5 miles, I have to admit to having very sore calves the following few days, which meant that I didnt use the shoes for a while again.

There is no question that minimal or 'barefoot' shoes certainly make you run differently, and use muscles you probably havent exercised properly for a long long time.

It would seem that the calf problems are common with newbie 'barefooters', and are usually due to doing too much too soon. So I did a few runs in my trail shoes once my calves started to feel a bit better, and tried to emulate as best I could the barefoot style. This proved to be extremely difficult as the design of the shoe, in particular the built up heel, as well as all that cushioning promotes a heel strike as well as a much more heavy footed landing.

So Ive done a few more runs in the shoes now and things are starting to come together, and speed is slowly coming on. Which brings me to the first thing you notice when switching to barefoot, which is that you run much slower than you otherwise would, but like with anything new speed comes with practice. Ive also noticed that i now run much smoother and more relaxed, and with a lot less effort than I used to. So I dont doubt that before long I will be running both faster and longer than I did in regular running shoes.

The minimal shoes are designed to emulate actual barefoot running, but in all honesty the barefoot shoes are to actual barefoot running what road biking is to mountainbiking. In so much as you pedal a bike for both activities but they are in practice different animals. This was brought home today when after doing a short 4.5K around blean in the shoes I ditched them, and did a further 1.8k actual barefoot. What I had thought was a smooth and soft running style in the barefoot shoes (and compared to regular running shoes was) turned out to be nothing of the sort actually barefoot, which meant a further adjustment of technique, which was basically a more extreme version of that which I have developed running in the barefoot shoes.

I had mentioned to a couple of people I was considering trying proper barefoot, and the response was always the same, you will cut your feet up etc etc. Well after todays run my feet are fine,the only damage is a small blister which I actually got on monday whilst running in 'proper' trail running shoes!
It turns out the thing I should have been concerned about was dogs.....and not dog crap.....as whilst running past a group of walkers and their dogs a doberman type thing launched itself into my ribs, it had a hard plastic muzzle on which with the weight of the dog behind it, plus my forward momentum didnt half knock the wind out of me, and has left my ribs pretty tender.

Anyway, I plan to keep using the shoes with the occasional short blast without them and see how I go. Not sure yet if I will go completely barefoot full time, but for sure doing a couple kilometers every few runs will help massively with keeping proper technique in check.
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#2
Nice write up, and good to see you are comparing trainers / barefoot shoes and au naturel, though the dog attack sounds a bit crap. Can you get barefoot shoes with steel toecaps?
Keep it foolish...
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#3
This is interesting; something many would never consider I'm sure.  As articulate as ever too!  I have always liked to be barefoot whenever possible, and know from experience of walking & running along a beach just how different everything feels without shoes - so shall be giving it a go in the coming weeks away for sure... 8)
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#4
Will be running Saturday if you want to join in.
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#5
[quote="]Will be running Saturday if you want to join in.[/quote"]

If it's in the sand on a hot sunny beach - I'll be there... Smile

(I was looking out for your paw prints at Blean last night - but didn't see any. May need a little persuading to try it in the mud however)
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#6
[quote="]Will be running Saturday if you want to join in.[/quote"]

Are you going to be trying to beat my 20:09 on the red trail???? hehehe....  Wink
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#7
"BennyP" Wrote:Are you going to be trying to beat my 20:09 on the red trail???? hehehe....  Wink

BUT..... the 3 million dollar question is: did you have shoes on? Wink
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#8
"BennyP" Wrote:Are you going to be trying to beat my 20:09 on the red trail???? hehehe....  Wink

Nope, short sprints dont interest me. Im training to maintain around  a 5.5 min/km pace over long distances, that would be a 2hr half marathon and under 4 hour marathon, which off road is a pretty good time. Im doing one lap of the red in around 24 mins but when I finish I'm barely breathing and still very fresh.
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#9
[quote author=]

Nope, short sprints dont interest me. Im training to maintain around  a 5.5 min/km pace over long distances, that would be a 2hr half marathon and under 4 hour marathon, which off road is a pretty good time. Im doing one lap of the red in around 24 mins but when I finish I'm barely breathing and still very fresh. [/quote]

Hehe.. Yeah I was screwed after that effort. I tend to do 6-7k at just over 5min/k pace. I find half an hours running is the most I can take before boredom sets in....
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#10
I like the theory of running but never have because I've suffered big time with shin splints. Recently I've been adviced that they may be caused by my running technique.. I'm very much a heel first person.
In the opinion of the experts on here, would getting something like a minimal running shoe help as I'd need to adjust my technique, or am I just talking nonsense altogether  Undecided
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