I am desperately looking for support because I am feeling stagnant and need help to avoid the pull back to the couch.....I am 42 yo Mom of seven, average weight but chubby around the middle and softer all around than I need to be. I had some health problems a few years ago but was pretty active before that with hiking, biking, walking, swimming, but not sustained workouts, and no running. When I felt my health return to the point where I knew it was now mostly a couch potato problem...I started researching what I wanted to do in order to make a lifelong commitment to fitness. Honestly, I do not enjoy running longer than a few minutes at a time so far, but I want to enjoy it longer. I have been walking for the last six months but it is not satisfying enough so I am hoping with support I can figure out what will help me feel excited about getting more fit. A point to note...I am committed to barefoot running almost exclusively with minimalist shoes for everday wear, and maybe in the winter. But no more heels for me or ouchy 'supportive' shoes. So I am looking especially for support from those who are experienced barefooters. However, since my general fitness needs help all around, I welcome any advice for hydration, drills, eating etc.
I have been walking barefoot 4-6 months everyday, not more than 2.5 miles at a time. but often 2 or even 3 times per day. My feet feel great except for a slight crampy feeling sometimes in the area between my middle and fourth toe where I dropped a grain mill (stone) on it about 10-12 years ago. My concern is making sure I don't aggravate that old injury long term. Also, I want help manage my discouragement which may be coming from the fact that I expected to feel less....clunky... by now. I have been reading books, bending knees, relaxing etc. The most fun I have is when I am with my children, and I stop overthinking things but then, I worry I forget to watch my form with them around too. My favorite part of every day is at the end of our walk/run trail there is a dirt bike trail that we have groomed (weeded, removed sticks and stickers) a bit to make it safer for us to run up and around the dirt track and leaping over small hills etc. Problem is, I have to be really careful not to overdo it. But I have alot of fun. No way to measure if I am doing it 'right' except that I don't do it very long and so far haven't had any pain. But the rest of my training is getting boring and I am feeling less and less like going out every day. Heat is hitting our area but I am up early so it shouldn't be an excuse but I am delaying sometimes until it becomes that. So I am reaching out to help get momentum back again.
My recommendation: Just keep poking away at it. It can take a while. I've been working on it multiple years and I'm still "not there" - but I'm having enough fun and I believe in it enough I'm keeping at it.
Nothing against any of the expertise you'll find around here - but you might head over to http://www.thebarefootrunners.org/. You'll find a much greater concentration of barefoot runners there.
If you haven't seen this video you might also give it a look. If nothing else - I find it incredibly inspiring:
"Kick off your high heel sneakers, it's party time."
-- From the song FM by Steely Dan
I started the couch to 5k program with minimalist/barefoot shoes, and while it was a little harder in the begining, my perseverence paid off because now I can do 20 minutes at a time and I am still getting better (I am finishing week 6 of the program). I find that barefoot is ideal for me and it has helped me develop better form and avoid injury (I had tried running before and ended up with horrible shin splints that wouldn't go away).
Do a lot of research on barefoot running and overall focus on staying relaxed and not worrying so much about "form", just make sure you are not heel striking. I found that once I learned to relax my stride, my body naturally started doing the right thing, and it became a lot easier. I am also learning to listen to my body and adjust things accordingly during my runs. With barefoot running you are usually going with smaller but faster strides, and you have to maintain an upright posture where your feet remain under you, almost like you are falling forward and your feet are just catching up with you.
I liked this video and found it helpful and inspirational:
also this one:
Remember also to have fun! Barefoot running is about the joy of running, so enjoy!
I'm not a barefoot runner, but I am another mom who runs and I just want to say that it's changed my life in terms of feeling better, making time for myself, and having more energy for my kids! It's definitely worth working on until you get to the point where it's more enjoyable and becomes part of your routine. Even days that I don't look forward to running, or I cut my run a little short, I still get the runner's high and have a more positive outlook and ability to handle my day.
Also, if you have seven children, you're probably one of the most motivated, hard working people out there, so if anyone can reach your goals, it's you! (I have two boys and I think I'm done!)
I write a running blog geared towards other new runners at http://www.iamrunningthis.com!
Couch to 5K graduate, September 2012
First 10K, June 2nd, 2013
First Half Marathon, September 2013
GREAT FOR YOU. and I mean that- great for trying. Great for reaching out. I hear you and feel your pain. I dont do barefoot, but to keep at it I have found 3 or 4 things to motivate me.
First was the Garmin 405 watch. It records my running and really helps me. Sometimes I think my run is awful, but when I download the data I find I did better than I thought. It also helps me track milage, time, etc.. so I dont worry about doing it- and can adjust my run on the fly. If I'm feeling good- I add a loop here or variety their - and let the watch worry about it.
Second- books on tape. I have downloaded books on tape to listen to only when I run. It motivates me to get to the next chapter by going out. I tend to run slower when I listed, but it keeps me regular.
Third - music - alternate to above- Music helps make me run faster. Sometimes I need that pump up to give me a kick - so that I dont slow down too much and become a jogger.
Lastly- schedule the time. Fridays at 3:00 is my run time. I try to keep it to that no matter what. I fill in other times and try to do 2-3 times a week- but if nothing else- my family knows thats my time and to not schedule anything in it. I also have 2 kids and are done. However, they have expressed an interest in running. Sometimes I get frustrated because if I take my daughter out for a 1 miler, it affects MY RUN. Yet I want to share this with her. So I had set up a seperate weekly run time for her- but it is too hot now, and lost some motivation with it. She is a hard core swimmer.
Thanks, and good luck!
I too took on running after having kids and found it to be a struggle after several months and making no gains. I had a physical therapist assess my stregnth and hips and discovered I was very weak in the hips and thighs. I was given a workout to assist with regaining my stregnth and balance to help with my running and it has made a huge improvement!. You might want to get an assessment done by someone who is familiar with running and can help pinpoint areas to make your running stronger and less labor intensive, thus more enjoyable. Good Luck!!
Good for you for deciding to be more active and including your kids. The book Barefoot Running by Michael Sanders had lots of good information regarding drills/exercises and how to work your way up to running longer distances barefoot. Races are what keeps me motivated. I don't race barefoot since I do mostly triathlons but I have seen more and more people running races either barefoot or with minimalist shoes. Maybe you should pick a race and follow a training plan for motivation. Even if its just a 5K, with a training plan you'll know you have to get your workouts in to prepare for race day. And when its too hot to run, go play in the pool! Good luck!
Absolutely +1000 to the "good on you!"
I have been running mostly BF since May, 2010 and put on Vibram 5 Finger Bikilas for rougher going or to run in ice and snow. (I still run in my first pair which I purchased in September, 2010 and have put nearly 2,000 miles on them.) Sometime I put them on just to give my feet a rest. Trust me, if you're out there running, it's a good thing and nobody should give you any hassle for not being a BF purist, especially your own self. You are doing just GREAT! As for doing it with 7 kids...I bow to you, Madam, most humbly.
It sounds like you have been very smart about your development, and I have no recommendations for improving any of your running strategies. Perhaps it would be a help to pursue gigglesisme's advice to look for weaknesses in your "instrument." Having a strong core is critical to maintaining your form, especially as you get your milage up a bit. Do you know that feeling of having your head remain nearly perfectly level as you run, with your back held straight as if you were suspended by a thread through the top of your head? Once you feel that smooth, cruising sensation you will never again look at regular runners bouncing along (and usually loudly thumping) with anything but a bit of pity.
I second HasselMasher's advice to check in with the Barefoot Runners Society. Most of my time online is spent in communication with those folks, and I have learned an awful lot from them. I've read several of the BF Running books, and recommend them all, but I'm not a book learner so much as an interactive one these days.
One last thought I'd share is about tunes and such. I suspect you have found that BF running and distractions don't fit well. Most BF runners, though not all, find that there's quite enough to attend to in watching footing, monitoring posture, cadence and breathing, and just being in the moment. As a group BF runners tend to shed tech and sreamline the experience.
I wish you patience and joy in your running adventures!
Barefoot / Minimalist Runner
...not maintaining this these days..
07/29/2012 Marsh Creek Raptor Run 10 Mile Trail Race
07/15/2012 Quadzilla 15K Trail Run, Trexlertown, PA 1:37 (2011, 1:49)
04/29/2012 Lehigh Valley / St. Luke's HM, 1:43:15 (2011, 1:54:20 )
03/19/2012 Kutztown Fool's Run 10 Miler, 1:18:15 (2011, 1:30:20)
02/26/2012 Ugly Mudder 7.2 Mile Trail Run, Reading, PA 1:20
11/27/2011 Dirty Bird 15K Trail Run, Birdsboro, PA 1:40
10/08/2011 Lehigh Gap Nature Center 10K Trail Run (6.38 miles), 59:20 (10/07/2012)
Started running (again) May 5, 2010