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Thursday, April 29, 2010

So, you wanna start running barefoot?

Firstly, before you begin, you want to evaluate what it is that is leading you to even accept the logic behind the concept of barefoot running. We all know that barefoot running has gotten a lot of attention lately. Much of it is valid and deserves your attention.

Yet, one must still ask: is this a viable option for me?

Before you answer that question, let me explain why I think barefoot or minimal footwear running may not be good for you. It is not good if you are thinking it is some sort of cure-all that only requires taking off your shoes and starting to run injury free without radical changes in the way you may have been thinking of running up to now. If your running strategy has been about very specific time or distance goals, and you have been willing to push through pain to injury, then I would caution you: your bare feet will not allow you to continue this way.

Alas, the hallmark of my barefoot running philosophy is regaining connectedness, mindfulness, and presence in your running and in your body.

Barefoot running is not about blocking or pushing through pain, or at least it shouldn't be. Rather it is about tuning-in to your own body's highly sophisticated set of integrated awareness systems, systems that communicate through feelings and senses that are being collected in real-time as you move. From my perspective, learning how to run well means learning how to tap into the feeling of running well, which more often than not requires baring the foot to get the full feel of what happens when you move.

However, even if you decide that barefoot is the route for you, take one step backward and realize you are most likely in the process of rehabilitating your feet and legs from years of being differently-abled, shoed, and cast. Atrophy, loss of range of motion, weakness, neglect, the foot has not been treated well lately. All the padding and support and protection has not led to stronger feet...sadly.

So, the first key is to start slowly, incrementally and avoid over-exuberance, avoid being driven by your ego. Think orchard growing, not fast food. Think lifetime of development and growth. Think joy.

So, what are my secrets, what is it I share with clients who take my Introduction to Barefoot Running Clinic?

My goal is to get people to learn how to feel what good running feels like. I want them to develop a feeling for it. One of the primary feelings becomes an awareness of the texture and hardness of terrain and of impact. This awareness is the beginning.

To master this awareness, I have clients learn to move on hard surfaces first. Not focusing on distance or speed, I have my clients first walk and then trot on hard, fairly smooth surfaces. I work with them to focus on and begin to master three goals: quiet, quick, in-balance.

The Three Goals

1. Master gentle, quiet, forefoot-centric landings, silent and smooth.

Learn to move with no hard edges, no pounding, by learning how to have the impact of landing flow through the entire foot, starting in the forefoot and quickly spreading through the legs smoothly. Notice how silent your movement becomes. Imagine the movement of a big cat. Watch your dogs trot. Let them be models for tuned-in, flowing movement that wastes little energy on pound or sound.

2. Quicken your cadence: Running in bare feet encourages this naturally.

Some shoe runners are plodders. You can hear them coming. Lots of wasted energy on poorly timed impact. Quicker cadence ends up making sense when you realize that your ability to absorb and recoil energy through elasticity in your body dissipates quickly and is lost if not used. Learning how to get back in touch with the sweet spot of optimal recoil efficiency is easier to find when you can feel your feet, feeling that encourages a landing phase with foot more in line with your center of gravity (thinking about how you land if you jump down onto a hard surface in barefeet, not on your heels!). Over-striding is discouraged, nearly impossible barefooted.

3. Stable upright posture: balanced head, core engaged, unbent torso, the feeling of balance, relaxed, yet strong.

I think that good running can be judged aesthetically. It should look good, not painful. When you see someone moving or running well, it looks smooth and fluid and graceful and efficient. The opposite looks painful, when someone is hunched and stiff, robotic and plodding. Indeed efficient running is tall and stable, the upper body acting as the fulcrum from which the legs and arms can move freely with a serious lack of bouncing or swaying of the head.

Ultimately my coaching goal is to help people perfect what I call a persistent hunt trot...a gait not purely about speed, but about smooth, flowing, efficient, sustainable movement, movement that leaves you ready to hunt or play another day.

Barefooting itself is all about mindfulness and presence. Running like an upright Primate, not like a Robot. Aware of your body and your environment AT ALL TIMES.

Listen to your body...learn to hear what it is telling you. Adjust accordingly. Advance accordingly.

Best Regards, Barefoot Ted

PS.  Be sure to join the Minimalist Runner Google Group, link below:

http://groups.google.com/group/huaraches



Labels:

51 Comments:

Anonymous Joseph said...

I'd start running barefoot but whenever I try I have this sensation of fear that I'm going to step on a rock and hurt myself severely. I don't think I'm going to get over that because at least a bit of rubber does prevent you from getting cut.

At god forbid you step on a piece of glass or anything...

Thursday, April 29, 2010

 
Blogger Barefoot Ted said...

Joseph, the real "god forbid" in my opinion is with people who error on the side of too much caution when it comes to mastering smooth barefoot movement.

I have covered a lot of territory in my bare feet, and they are much hardier than most would assume.

Indeed, one needs to be MUCH MORE focused on what one is doing while barefooted, but that is the whole point.

By becoming MUCH MORE focused, you become MUCH MORE in-tune with your own body and environment.

Therefore, you are MUCH MORE likely NOT to step on things that are unfriendly (although it is still quite possible...it is far less likely than first assumptions), you will be MUCH MORE likely either to avoid hazards, and if encountered, MUCH MORE likely not to make a full impact.

If all else fails, you are MUCH MORE likely to live a fuller life by learning how to move barefooted, joyfully and self-sufficiently, rather than waiting around for a product to solve the problem for you...in my humble opinion.

BFT

Thursday, April 29, 2010

 
Blogger GymX said...

Great timing. This morning after a gentle 3-mile run, concentrating on form and a high cadence, I took off my shoes for the last 1/4 to 1/2 mile on the sidewalk just before getting home. It felt GREAT. I can feel the connectedness you talk aboutand my stride and cadence 'softened' and felt natural, although a bit odd because it's new. Looking forward to extending the barefoot portions of my run from 1% to 100% over some time.

Thanks for your posts and the information you provide Ted. I caught your google talk and looking forward to running 'free' in the feet.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

 
Blogger Kevin Kleinfelter said...

I'm a VERY low-mileage runner, building up. I'm using the following checklist, extracted from this (and other) posts.

Run "SQUB":
1. Silent
2. Quick steps
3. Upright
4. no Bobble-head

VFFs for now. Maybe less someday.

Friday, April 30, 2010

 
Blogger Christina A-BEAR said...

Saw some of your comments posted on some site comparing crocs to vibrams. Had to check your blog out. Very interesting. Just purchased my first pair of vibrams. 2 days and loving it , with a mile run this morning. Turned to this because my IT band has sidelined my running and deep reading I have come to realize it is the way I run that has caused the pain. Slowly but surely catching on and I love all I see and hear.

Friday, April 30, 2010

 
Blogger Primal Toad said...

I am new to going barefoot so I will have to ease into it. I have walked around my neighborhood a couple of times barefoot and love it. When I am on flat, soft surfaces I will always go barefoot.

I went to buy some vibram five fingers last week but they were out of my size. I am running in a 5K run on May 8 - The Fifth Third River Bank run and will be running in a 5K 1-2 times a month for the next 5-7 months.

I hope to get the VFF's soon. These tips and this blog will help me ease into it.

Thanks!

Saturday, May 01, 2010

 
Blogger Barefoot Ted said...

I highly recommending adding more barefoot running in the beginning...even if not far or long. It seems to be one of the most effective ways to get in touch with an efficient running form that eludes many running in shoes.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

 
Blogger Peter said...

Hi Ted

Looking forward to see, hear and run with you in Copenhagen, Denmark on May 21st. Take care.

Best regards
Peter

Monday, May 03, 2010

 
Blogger Duncan and Joan said...

As always, Ted, your words and coaching are so incredibly inspiring. Thanks for giving us a start and hoping to see you in Seattle again one day soon!

Duncan.

Monday, May 03, 2010

 
Blogger Tristan said...

I can definitely vouch for easing into barefoot running. Starting out, I dumped the shoes altogether, but I also dropped my mileage down to a bare minimum. Maybe a mile or two a few times a week for a couple weeks and then I built up from there. I was sore for the first two weeks or so, but once those muscles strengthened up, the soreness went away and I was able to increase my mileage.

Now I've been running either barefoot or with VFFs for about 7 months and I'm by far a better runner than I'd ever been with shoes. Also, no more knee problems!

-Tristan

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

 
Anonymous Jill said...

Hi Ted-

Thanks for sharing so much of your inspiration with us. I've been running in VFFs for a month or so and am very comfortable running in them on trails and on the treadmill. Pavement, not so much. Is it just a matter of continuing to gradually ramp up? I'd like to get to a point where I do all my runs in the VFFs no matter what surface I'm on.

I keyed on what you said about needing to be much more focused running barefoot (or in my case, VFFs). I feel so connected to the trails, more nimble and playful - and am falling in love with running and the environment all over again.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

 
Anonymous scaramouchex said...

Ted, I love yr blog, lots of beautiful ideas. I have been running in VFF's for a year, and it's been so cathartic...you write very well of the experience.
I wonder, have you heard of the 'lung-gom-pa' runners of Tibet?
Thanks for the blog, it's agreat resource.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

 
Anonymous scaramouches said...

Also: I wrote an article for trailrunner.ca that you ight enjoy: it's to be found at that website, under, 'Trail Stories, Running Without Shoes, Pts 1 and 2'.
It's about the first trail race I entered with the VFF Flow.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

 
Anonymous Oxnard Dan said...

Great post Ted! Perfect refresher to the sessions at PrimalCon...thanks again for your help!

On a somewhat related note, do you skate barefootted as well? Reason I ask is that I rode for a really long time a few days ago in my VIbrams, and now the outside edge of my kicking foot is super sore! At first I thought it was from my beveled board, but it was only on one foot. Maybe I just need to ease into it more like I am doing with running?
If you do go barefoot on your board, did you ever have the same problem?

Keep up the great blog!!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

 
Blogger jenny said...

Having spent every summer in my childhood and two or three years of my hippy adolescence in bare feet (arriving at home one day with a large piece of glass embedded in my foot), plus minimal shoe during my pregnancies, my feet are now too wide for most shoes. I also have a bunion which just gets worse and I'm limited to Crocs or my ancient, ripped up Nike Frees (you can't get them any more).
I bought some Vibram 5 fingers in February but because of the cold here in England have only started running with them recently. They really give your feet and calves a workout and you really do need to go slowly. I managed a 5k run with them last Monday and felt brilliant!
Thanks for your site, I always knew barefoot was best and now other people do too. Hooray!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

 
Anonymous Barefoot Brenna said...

This is a great summary of how to ease into barefoot running. I've been running barefoot for only a little over a month now but I'm up to running 3 miles with little pain (on sidewalk) and my goal is to run the LA Marathon barefoot next March.

The most important thing I've learned is to listen to my body and when it says I should stop, I stop.

About the fear of stepping on something sharp, I definitely pay lots of attention how and where my feet are landing but I like to believe if I have positive thoughts, I won't get hurt. It's worked so far!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

 
Blogger Steve said...

After 30 years of running, and 600 miles (and) exclusively barefoot since September 09, it is not only my running that that has been transformed but my attitude about running and what running means in my daily life. There is still an ongoing temptation to run for performance, but my joy is greatest, when I just listen to my body and run in peace.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

 
Anonymous Andrew Schwartz said...

Excellent excellent excellent!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

 
Anonymous Kim said...

Re: "Listen to your body...learn to hear what it is telling you."

Yes! This is what I'm working on, and it makes all the difference.

Monday, May 17, 2010

 
Anonymous Barefoot Thundergod said...

Quite is definitely the key, just don't get shot... ;)
I live in Texas and run very early in the morning. One time, I was on my usual route and ran past some guy who was just getting out of his car. I was so close to him when he noticed me (and I'm a pretty big guy and had flashing lights on) that he just jumped with surprise when he saw me. Glad he wasn't armed... ;)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can you define cadence please

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

 
Blogger Tobias Gimmel, Villigen said...

Hi Ted
I just read "Born to Run" and started changing from the usual shoes to NikeFrees and a pair of VFF. Besides running I was used to walk barefoot a lot: at home, in our house, in the garden, playing with the kids ... it is exciting to feel how much fun it is, this steady-state flowing kind of running. Almost like a dance. It feels much better than it did before ... so I just wanted to express my gratitude that my wife gave me Chris' book and that I discovered this new way of running. I will be back on your blog again.
Best regards from Switzerland
Tobias

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

 
Blogger Aska said...

Dear Ted:
Hello, I'm from Taiwan :)
Now more and more people in Taiwan start to try barefoot running, and I found this article is so helpful for us.

Can I try to translate this introduction into Chinese version?

You original content will be attached with the Chinese one, and it will be released only in my personal website.

Regards,
Aska.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

 
Anonymous MaLo said...

Dear Ted,
I have been running with your huruaches for a little while now and I was surprised by the fact that I seem to make a lot of noise when I run. I land on the middle of the foot which I am supposed to do but I can't help but making slapping noise. I do think that it's because I run with my hubby (who runs with the 5 fingers) so I have to run faster that I would want.. Maybe I should run at my own pace to get use to it but if you have any other suggestion, let me know! Love the huruaches by the way, even though strapping them properly can be a bit of a challenge sometimes.. but it will get beasier with practice ;)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

 
Anonymous Krista Cavender said...

You have some excellent advice. I am a beginner barefooter and am starting out very slow. I notice that I have to be ultra tuned in to my running form when I'm barefooting. It helps me avoid blisters and sore calves. I'm working through these right now as I write this. Its a slow process, but I can't begin to explain how exciting of a challenge it is to me. I have a blog to document my journey.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

 
Blogger Cathy said...

I have rheumatoid arthritis and shoes kill my feet. My chiropractor has recommended going barefoot as often as possible. Right now, I am just working on that around the house, trying to strengthen my feet after years of supportive shoes, even in the house. I am excited to start doing walks this spring/summer barefoot. Thanks for this post. It gives me wonderful advice to ponder on this winter.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

 
Blogger 555sports said...

I've been running for years and have always been pretty good at it. In recent years I've had some nagging injuries that have kept me from enjoying it. A friend gave me "Born to Run" and I was sold in about 5 seconds. I gave it a try the next day and I can't believe how amazing this running technique is. My knees, ankle, and shin (nagging injuries) all felt fine. UNREAL!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

 
Blogger klax13 said...

I too was inspired by 'Born to Run' to try barefoot/minimalist running. My first attempts this past August did not end well, IT Band and foot injuries sidelining me for a month. A common case of too much too soon and also using VFF's instead of BF. I started back up again, much more slowly, and was comfortably running 3 miles BF, in between intermittent daily runs (1-2mi) in my VFF's. I thought I was managing my progression well but received another unexpected wakeup this past weekend. I ran a 5K with my daughter which turned out great. We kept at a comfortable 11 min/mi pace. After the race, I ran the approx. 2 miles home, again feeling very good. Later that day I noticed the beginnings of blisters on my feet, nothing serious but figured I would take a few days off to avoid any lasting problem. Unfortunately, the blisters were not the real problem. Starting the day after the race, my right achilles tendon felt like it was catching, hard to explain but something like a rusty hinge. I have been following RICE for 4 days, anxiously hoping that the feeling would disappear. Point of all this I guess is that being careful while running, being careful to slowly build up did not seem to work for me. I am not giving up but regret having to wait days (or weeks?) for my achilles to mend. Any advice on how I could have prevented or how to better treat is appreciated.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm interested in trying the vibrams, however my toes are webbed and therefore I wouldn't be able to put on the VFF shoes unless I cut the toes of the shoe apart and re-sewed them. I'll have to try running completely barefoot until Vibram comes come up with a model for ducks.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

 
Blogger Pat said...

I have a question. Reading Born to Run, various websites, etc. Intrigued, to say the least. I am turning 60 in May. Want to run Fall Marathon to celebrate. Haven't run much in over 25 years. 7-8 years ago had breast cancer (cured) and tore my ACL on my right knee. Rehabbed versus surgery, so no ACL exists there. Currently on barrier island and would love to start running barefoot - little at a time. Is that possible with ACL situation? Enough time to build up to run Marathon next Fall (November)?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

 
Anonymous Magnus said...

I bought a pair of vibrams and decided to train with them the whole last summer. It felt so good, I actually ran faster with them, and broke my personal best of 40mins per 10km.

Also, running completely barefooted can be great, on a nice forest trail in the summer.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

 
Blogger barefootsteve said...

I am 45 years old and have been a runner for 4 years doing 10k’s half marathons, marathons etc. however like most runners I have had my share of injuries. A couple of months ago I heard about Barefoot running and it’s huge benefits but didn’t pursue it however to cut a long story short, since then I have just finished the Born To Run book which involved yourself and now I can’t wait to get started…! Let me say that I found that book such a great read, and full of great technical proof to back up this concept which you yourself have taken on even further.

Before starting this journey I have taken a lot of pointers from that book and also reading comments on your forum. However I am still apprehensive about my first shot at this which I am going to start next week. I think this is because of all the head still, back straight, kick towards your butt, 180bpm cadence stuff to think about – I think it will be hard to check all this in my head when I am running.

I am also wondering about further down the road whether I would be best to buy Vibrams or Equus etc.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

 
Blogger barefootsteve said...

Hi,
I am Steve from Arbroath in Scotland and am 45 years old. I have been a runner for 4 years doing 10k’s half marathons, marathons etc. however like most runners I have had my share of injuries. A couple of months ago I heard about Barefoot running and it’s huge benefits but didn’t pursue it however to cut a long story short, since then I have just finished the Born To Run book which involved yourself and now I can’t wait to get started…! Let me say that I found that book such a great read, and full of great technical proof to back up this concept which you yourself have taken on even further.

Before starting this journey I have taken a lot of pointers from that book and also reading comments on your forum. However I am still apprehensive about my first shot at this which I am going to start next week. I think this is because of all the head still, back straight, kick towards your butt, 180bpm cadence stuff to think about – I think it will be hard to check all this in my head when I am running.

I am also wondering about further down the road whether I would be best to buy Vibrams or Equus etc.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

 
Blogger rhonda said...

I'm new to barefoot walking/running. My calves hurt, but no pain in my feet. Have some pain in my achilles also. Any helpful hints? I am wearing VFF's.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

 
Blogger Jarkko said...

I'm thinking about starting barefoot running. My problem is that I live in Finland, which means it's seriously hard for me to do this during months from september to may. But I quess half a year barefoot is better than none, huh?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

 
Blogger kirk9108 said...

I wear my VFFs exclusively. Around town, working out, working at the hospital, on dates, running and even when climbing mountains in the Snow (climbed Mt Hood last year, all in the snow, KSO treks and an ice axe in hand :p) I think I'm now gonna start barefoot running. I'm mainly worried about thorns, particularly goats heads :(. Lot of them here in Reno!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

 
Anonymous runninglucy said...

Thanks for the info, Ted. I discovered that I was pounding too hard a little while ago when running on my treadmill barefoot and now that I've read your information I see that I am on the right track to getting this under control. Thanks for the tips!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for this text. I have been wondering about the changes barefoot running does to the foot and whether it is possible or forgivable to put on the shoes again after training barefoot. Barefoot running (mostly vibram KSO) is my preference but I consider putting on shoes for my upcoming first marathon.
Should I run it wearing vibrams? Would putting the "squeakers" back on be fatal for my feet/legs?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

 
Anonymous Barefoot Ted-wannabe said...

I really want to start running barefoot but I'm wondering if it's safe to do so without any classes or training first? Also, I've never run much before, is that going to work against me or in my favor?

Friday, May 20, 2011

 
Blogger Gordo said...

"Persistent hunt trot" That's a wonderful image. I think I can use that.
I've been running barefoot for a couple weeks, and I find it exhilarating. I noticed today that I may still be heel-striking, but I'm not sure. I'll keep a mind's eye on that.
I've been running for about 36 years, I had knee surgery a year and a half ago (bone graft), but I am excited about running again.
Thanks for the great website and for sharing your passion.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

 
Blogger Ty said...

This sounds good for me. if it helps my Achilles and or back, then this is for me. Barefoot Ted, I read the book Born To Run. It was awesome how you ran against Caballo Blanco barefoot in the Copper Canyons.

Monday, May 30, 2011

 
Blogger Joy said...

Hi Ted,

First I want to say how much I admire you!

I'm recovering from ankle surgery, and my orthopaedic surgeon has referred me to a podiatrist for custom-made orthotics because I pronate a little. But I want to start barefoot running! Its been on my mind for a few years, but I've been training to represent my country in another sport, so I decided not to make any major changes.

Now I've got time to make the transition, but do you think it would be wise considering my situation? Are there exercises I can do to correct my biomechanics?
I'm an 18 year old girl and I live in London.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would people please not say they are running barefoot with toe shoes. It makes for terribly oxymoronic posts.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

 
Blogger Barefoot Ted said...

I actually think that oxymorons are very effective for communicating ideas.

Barefoot shoe makes good sense to me. It is a shoe that assumes that the foot in its default sense is ideal and the simplest cover makes the most sense rather than something that makes it better.

Look at these:

Act naturally
Advanced BASIC
Almost exactly
alone together
Civil engineer
Clearly confused
Constant variable
Deafening silence
Definite maybe
Even odds
Exact estimate
Extinct life
Found missing
Free love
Freezer burn
Genuine imitation
Hell's Angels
Larger half
Liquid gas
Living dead
Microsoft Works
Military intelligence
Minor crisis
Old news
Only choice
Open secret
Original copies
Plastic glasses
Pretty ugly
Rolling stop
Same difference
Seriously funny
Tragic comedy
Unbiased opinion
Virtual reality
Working holiday
Barefoot running

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Running is good regardless of the footwear or its lack. I said "mostly vibram KSO" which doesn't change the fact that I do run with no shoes increasingly. I didn't mean to contaminate the purity of the "holly movement" by not being too specific.
The link below I would like to dedicate to the holier than thou Anonymous (oxymoron guy/gall):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUpo_mA5RP8

Saturday, June 11, 2011

 
Blogger Carol said...

I am 55 year old and have been running barefoot for over a year. It has been anything but easy; it took a lot of dedication and of course at times some frustration.

I have read so many articles and books about barefoot running but at the end I coached myself.

I have so far ran a few Half Marathons a lots of 5Ks, 10Ks and preparing for the Full Marathon.
I run Barefoot on any type of terrain: gravel, rocks, concrete etc... The goal is to run very relax, upright with a strong core, a slight forward lean and quick short strides, like the 2 year old toddlers.
I feel so light while running barefoot, and much more efficient.

Also I do not thing that running barefoot will prevent injuries from happening. For me it just takes the running shoes out of the equation.
Most of the injuries are due to overuse, as runners always want to run faster and faster too soon.
Just like Barefoot running, the gradual approach is key, and plenty of recovery in between.

Is barefoot running for everyone? Of course not! One must have a good reason for running barefoot, if your reason is to think that you will be injury free, in my view it is the wrong reason.
It will decrease injuries, because you will not be able to run as fast as you were running before, at least for a few years.
My goal is not speed anymore. I always let my body dictate the speed. My body set the goal for every run or race. Time is not of the essence anymore, it is of how I feel at the moment.

I run barefoot now because I have time to look around, enjoy my surrounding, talk to runners even when I am racing.
I always tell runners that they first must enjoy running and not setting goals that will lead to unhappiness.
I could go on and on…
Most of all… run happy!

Cheers Everyone!

Frenchy

Monday, June 13, 2011

 
Blogger Leo Navis said...

Hi,

I just started walking barefoot, over almost everything… It is very nice, I love it. Today I had to run for my train (at least I thought so), that was no problem either, due to the fact that I got the idea a few days ago to get on my forefoot first. The first few days my right leg really hurt (not the 'Urgh, there's something damaged!'-pain, more the 'Urgh, there's something that'll have to adapt!'-pain, know the difference from climbing very well), but now it's all fine.

I started to walk barefoot because I wanted to climb better. The idea was, that, if you want to climb good, you have to have strong feet. If you want to have strong feet, you should just use them as 'normal' in nature. But then something strange happend: I started walking barefoot, and over normal stone and beton. It hurt. But after a while, I feel an odd sensation - it's like you know the stone, you really feel it. Now I'm always on the way barefoot (except when I'm biking or climbing, but I ordered VFFs for that), and when I get home, it's just great. It's like you experienced so much more over the day than you did before, every day is like 10 times that full of information than it was before!

I love that feeling. And I think, on the long run, I'm gonna start running again. I did so in the past, but it started to bore me. Interestingly, barefoot even walking is interesting - let's see how running does.

Anyway: Nice blog, thx for that. :-)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

 
Blogger Cynthia said...

Just finished "Born to Run" and was wondering about the runners featured in it. Great to find this site. I'm 56 and am trying the barefoot thing. After finishing a run I went to the track and ran barefoot around the football field. I've done it twice and loved it. Loved it so much that I took my grandchildren up and we all took off our shoes and ran through the sprinklers. We probably put more miles in on the football field than we did on the track. It was absolutely joyous. Thank you for taking me back to my childhood (Mom says she could never keep shoes on me).

Saturday, August 20, 2011

 
Blogger BohemianYogini said...

This was my letter to BT!

"Since running in the sandals for probably 5 months now, the muscles around the back side of my feet hurt. I am a fore/mid foot runner and since there is no great pressure being put on the heals, I cannot figure out why those muscles hurt??? ( the muscles around the ankle, no lower, around the bottom of the foot). And I've also noticed when I get up to walk every morning, all the muscles in my feet are sore (top & bottom). I've been reading up and watching videos but thus far have not seen anyone else with this complaint.

I LOVE your sandals and running barefoot. Do you have any suggestions or heard of anyone with the same issue??? Tomorrow I am going to run upward with the knees rising more
"Back straight? Check.
Knees bent and driving forward? Check.
Heel flicking back?"
hmmmmmm. Maybe? Not sure I have that but looking for videos!!

Any help as you know would be greatly appreciated as I know this is the way for me since from an early age I couldn't tie my tennis shoes because it cut off the circulation of my feet so my strings were always dirty. And after years of running with shoes, I'd immediately have to take them off because of numbness---so I am a Barefoot/Minimal runner no question!!!!

thank you for setting a trend or moving the trend forward!"

So has anyone experienced this and/or does anyone have suggestions. I ran 8 1/2 miles today and I can hardly walk. The muscles are tight and maybe it's more than my muscles. I could say that I might be trying to run faster but the whole reason I really wanted to be in touch was because of my 21 year yoga practice. So I don't want to give up using the sandals!!!

Namaste,
Carrie B

Sunday, August 21, 2011

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been running for over 30 years and hating every minute of it.

Running is nothing more than a necessary weight control evil.

As I aged everything began to ache - feet, hips, lower back. My Ortho laughed at me and said "live with it, it's the onset of normal aged related arthritis."

My General Internist put me on a statin for cholesterol and said I'd be on it for the rest of my life.

I dumped both doctors and began to take responsibility for my own health. The search for answers began in earnest. I began looking into how our precivilization ancestors lived. I changed my diet. Although I already had dumped red meat and dairy, processed grains remained. I dumped those and focused on a pureed fruit drink in the morning, one vegetable puree at lunch, almonds for snacks and a modest meal at dinner that either was vegetarian of a very low percentage of fowl/fish. I was full. Refreshed. Had no cravings and felt good.

Within three days, the arthritis symptoms began to fade. Within five, my energy levels were up, my thinking improved, my vision (I swear is more acute if not better).

Then, I saw a History special on Bushman and saw how they hunted. Four hours to four days spent persistent hunting animals. I realized that meat is a premium food requiring a significant energy expenditure to obtain and therefore should be a small part of my diet. The second conclusion was these guys know something about running and that led me to barefoot running.

I studied the motion study videos of barefoot versus shod runners. I could see the artistry and fluidity of the barefoot runners. The way they converted or conserved the impact energy expended by shod runners back into a reinvestment of energy into the next step.

I went out that morning and ran. I focused on leaning forward, using the ball of my foot.

The change that occurred that morning is continuing to reshape my life - physically and mentally.

I instantly felt the shock absorbing mechanics of my calves, achilles heels, knees and thighs (and butt) all begin to work together for the first time in my life.

I am an instant convert. I didn't need books or lectures - the only guide required was the message my body sung. "This is right."

Amazingly, my pace began to increase, my respiration became rythmic (I've ditched the ipod - don't need it any more). I have done things I avoided - running in turf, trails, climbs, rocks. I no longer suffer dead legs. I no longer have to push myself to go. When finished I am not exhausted. I did have sore lower calves and achilles - proof of atrophy.

I now run whenever, where ever I have the opportunity. It's my body, not my guilt that's in control.

Yesterday I ran for the first time ever barefoot. One mile to pick up my car - right down the middle of the side streets. Nothing hurt. Without my shoes, the dull pain in my achilles disappeared. I could feel the muscles in my feet moving. A steady stream of information - from a source I never encountered before filled my head. Hot, cooler, firm, soft, sand, rocks, friction - my feet had joined my body's community of communicators. They were providing real, relevant information about what I was doing.

I get it. I look at feet differently now. I see them as prisoners to our domestication. Crushed together, cut off, stumpified, unhealthy, untoned - we are injuring ourselves and we don't even realize it. When I see runners now I study their gate. What was once a imprecise or vague notion is now a stark difference.

I've had three revelations. We should be eating mostly raw fruits and vegetables. We should be taking steps to rebuild our feet, if not running barefoot. People that eat a lot of processed foods act and think like addicts.

Change your diet. Free your feet. Get moving. Have a better life.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

 
Anonymous Shivalla said...

Dear BFT,
First thank you for everything! I'm in the middle of reading Born to Run and have loved it so much, I'm re-energized to take up the sport I love but had to quit due to injuries. Hoping barefoot running will work for me!
Question though - as a child I used to play barefoot outside, and I got pin worms once. I grew up in perfectly clean neighborhood. Pin worms are not nearly as bad as all of the disgusting rumors about hook worms, but still pretty gross. Do you have any insight on avoiding pin worms as a barefoot runner? The possibility of getting worms freaks me out!
Thank you!
~Shivalla

Thursday, November 03, 2011

 

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