Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Barefoot Running? Why not!

My knees suck from hiking the Appalachian Trail. I have been off the AT for a few months and have been getting out of shape. So in an effort to try to get in shape and see if I can strengthen my knees I took up barefoot running. I have been told I should not run, but barefoot running is easier on the body and especially the knees. In an effort to give it a try, I had to give it a chance. I am using Vibram's FiveFingers footwear as a low profile footwear so I am not actually barefoot, but believe me when I say if you slam your heel or foot into the ground it will hurt. I am on a treadmill at the gym since the air quality isn't good right now for running outside. I started last week with a session with five sets of running alternated with walking. The key to running barefoot is to land on the midsole before allowing the toes and heel to contact the ground. The other key is to have a straight posture. Since I don't run and haven't, I really had no bad habits to break first. At this point it is a matter of getting in shape. At the end of that first session, the midsole of my feet was killing me, my calves were sore and my ankles were a little sore too. The next two days was probably the worst calf pain I have had in a while, but my midsoles were better as were my ankles.

So maybe I am a sucker for punishment but I had to keep going to see if this was something that would work for me. At this point after one session, my calves are really the only thing that hurt. Good news is my knees and lower back are fine. Not something I generally say after hiking. The next session I did about the same time and number of sets. This session was harder as my calves were still sore, but other than sore midsoles and calves, I was again fine. Yesterday was my third session and I increased the number of sets to six. The feet are recovering faster from the tenderness and the calves are not nearly as sore as the first time. So far barefoot running seems to be working for me. It is kind of fun as it seems easier to run this way, utilizing the natural spring in the arch.

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15 Comments:

Blogger Sam said...

I've always wanted to hear someone's review of the Vibram shoes. Glad to hear they're working for you.

4:47 PM  
Blogger Canadian Loonie said...

I generally use them for kayaking and really like them in that role, but the running thing is new for me and they are working out quite well.

8:32 PM  
Anonymous Britney Hale said...

Ever since I've started reading Born to Run, I'm overwhelmed with its health benefits. I have the Classic version of VFF and I love it. In fact, I even customized it by adding a little bit of designs and colors just to make it like a signature shoes. Check out some of the photos here.

3:57 AM  
Blogger yaya said...

'In an effort to give it a try, I had to give it a chance.' The first part of the sentence isn't needed at all, at all.

10:41 AM  
Blogger Leann said...

Just wandered by.

I've heard that barefoot running can at first be very painful. Getting your body back into it's natural alignment and retraining muscles that a lifetime of wearing shoes has trained incorrectly. Did that sentence make sense :-)

Anyway, good luck with the barefoot running regime.

2:12 PM  
Blogger Canadian Loonie said...

@Leann It wasn't really painful but the soles of my feet got tender which may have been from the treadmill. The painful part was how sore my calves became by the end of just a few minutes of running and would hurt for several days. That went away after a couple weeks and now isn't so bad. My ankles had a little muscle tenderness but nothing unbearable.

8:59 AM  
Anonymous ASAZ said...

walking barefoot is good for health, I also had a routine every day of the week often walked barefoot

2:23 AM  
Anonymous Restroom Trailers said...

Barefoot running hurts my feet! Hope I get used to it quick.

12:06 PM  
Blogger missions of hope said...

wow, that should have been fun

4:19 AM  
Anonymous Bhavna said...

oops that hurts......i can imagine stepping on a rock stone barefoot alothough u had a thin covering but still...more than that i was/am scared to walk barefoot becoz i might get some foot callus or corns, i had few and it took a long time to go...vibram shoes never seen one of those lets see good luck with bare footing nad losing weight hehe

would appreciate if you can come to my blog and comment on my posts too... http://autom-atic.blogspot.com/

10:37 PM  
Blogger Father Time said...

Great writing! Great stories!

7:02 AM  
Blogger Silentwhisper1 said...

Barefoot running sounds, oh, a wee-bit-painful, I suspect at first.
I'm a pretty good thong runner myself, though, usually I'm not running purposely, so hat's off to you:)

Dee~

4:17 PM  
Blogger Sandie said...

owwie!!! barefoot running sounds quite painful just to think about

12:43 PM  
Blogger Sandie said...

owwie!!! barefoot running sounds quite painful just to think about

12:43 PM  
Blogger Jen Hus said...

Your blog is great! Could you give me some tips?

9:37 AM  

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