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2984 Views 8 Replies Latest reply: Sep 1, 2010 10:31 AM by JRoy7 RSS
JRoy7 Rookie 3 posts since
Aug 19, 2010
Currently Being Moderated

Aug 19, 2010 9:30 AM

Getting started. 'Barefoot' running? Speed?

Hi there! After a friend posted some C25K app results on Facebook I've been reading a lot about running. I've never been into running, although I did start some biking at the gym for a few months late last year. I ended up stopping that for a while and need to get back into some sort of regular exercise. Seeing all the posts in the 200+ thread (I am 212lbs at the moment with a goal of ~175, a 38yo 5'11" male) has made me think I could actually start the C25K program and work up to running on a regular basis. I've always envied the people at the gym who run on the treadmill longer than my whole workout.

 

In the reading I've been doing, I've read some articles about barefoot running (and reviews of the book Born To Run), which suggest that most running injuries are the result of modern running shoes. I figure if I'll eventually want to move to a barefoot running style anyway, maybe I should get some sort of "neutral" running shoe with a low heel (I can't see going totally barefoot, I'd want something for basic protection from glass/etc).

 

I'd like the advice of any experienced runners on this. Since I'd be starting out slowly as it is, I wouldn't need to slow down and readjust to lower heels later. I'd be willing to walk with them a while before even starting running, if that is wise.

 

Finally, what speed do new people usually walk/run at? I saw on a c25k podcast blog someone mentioned doing about 4.2 on their brisk walks and 5.0 for the run segments (working towards 6.0 later). When I do long walks on the treadmill, I normally don't exceed 3.5. Above that it feels like I need to start jogging instead.

 

Thanks!

  • runningman400 Legend 191 posts since
    Aug 26, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Aug 19, 2010 1:15 PM (in response to JRoy7)
    Re: Getting started. 'Barefoot' running? Speed?

    First off, welcome to the world of running, I hope you find what you're looking for and are able to stick with it!

     

    As far as barefoot running is concerned, I've been running for 18 years, both sprinting and distance, collegiate competitive to fun runs and in "normal" shoes and barefoot.  All that experience has definitely taught me a lot!  So my advice would be this: make sure that you fully understand what you are getting yourself into.  I think that the concept of barefoot is great, but it is a big commitment and requires a lot of dedication and patience.  Also, make sure you understand why you would want to be running barefoot and what it can do for you.  If you are doing it to stay injury free or avoid re-irritating an old injury, it sounds like you are just getting started into fitness and therefore don't have to worry about the wear and tear "regular" running can do and there are more conventional means of staying injury free.

     

    Here is my personal opinion on it: Running barefoot definitely has it's place.  I use it as a training tool, but not my exclusive running style.  I tried it and I simply did not have the patience to decrease my mileage so much and I did not like the idea that it would realistically take me about a year to get back to where I was with "normal" shoes.  I also suffered some injuries, even though I was doing everything by the book.  It frustrated me to no end!  I now walk just about everyday in my Vibram Five Finger shoes for a few miles so I can still get the benefits of being barefoot but with less worry of injury.

     

    If you are dead set on running barefoot make sure you find the right shoes for your feet and do A LOT of research on it; how to stretch, what pains are normal and what may be a warning sign, how you should be progressing, etc. 

     

    As far as speed, don't concern yourself with what is "normal"..."normal" is a very relative term.  Just watch what you do and keep track of yourself, you'll soon discover what is "normal" for you and that is all that matters.

     

     

    Good luck, I hope this helps and be careful!





    "WITHOUT STRUGGLE, THERE WOULD BE NO PROGRESS" - Frederick  Douglass

    "TOUGH TIMES NEVER LAST, TOUGH PEOPLE DO!"

  • TheSillyErudite Amateur 36 posts since
    Aug 10, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Aug 19, 2010 3:50 PM (in response to JRoy7)
    Re: Getting started. 'Barefoot' running? Speed?

    I've never run barefoot.  Matter of fact it could be argued that I've never run.  But I saw this (http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/health/baring-it-all-the-barefoot-running-trend-2337336/) and thought it might be helpful.

     

    Good Luck!

    -L

  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,332 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Aug 19, 2010 5:46 PM (in response to JRoy7)
    Re: Getting started. 'Barefoot' running? Speed?

    JRoy7 wrote:

     

     

     

    . . . In the reading I've been doing, I've read some articles about barefoot running (and reviews of the book Born To Run), which suggest that most running injuries are the result of modern running shoes. I figure if I'll eventually want to move to a barefoot running style anyway, maybe I should get some sort of "neutral" running shoe with a low heel (I can't see going totally barefoot, I'd want something for basic protection from glass/etc).

     

    I'd like the advice of any experienced runners on this. Since I'd be starting out slowly as it is, I wouldn't need to slow down and readjust to lower heels later. I'd be willing to walk with them a while before even starting running, if that is wise.

     

    Finally, what speed do new people usually walk/run at? I saw on a c25k podcast blog someone mentioned doing about 4.2 on their brisk walks and 5.0 for the run segments (working towards 6.0 later). When I do long walks on the treadmill, I normally don't exceed 3.5. Above that it feels like I need to start jogging instead.

     

    Thanks!

    What you're talking about is known as "minimalist" running, as opposed to "barefoot".  Yes, some people "suggest that most running injuries are the result of modern running shoes".  This is known as opinion.  There is no proof that it's true.  Nor is there proof that modern running shoes help prevent injury.  Here's an interesting thread to read: http://community.active.com/thread/95156/interesting-conversation-about-shoes-today/0/0.  Note the varying opinions.  All of the opinions expressed are equally valid.  Different approaches work for different people.  You may ultimately find that minimalist shoes work well for you.  Or barefoot (Vibram FiveFingers, as close as you can get with some foot protection). Or conventional running shoes may work best.  You have to try them and see whether you and they get along.

     

    That said, a some shoes listed as minimalist:  The Nike Free series; Saucony Kinvara; Newton shoes (a stretch in my opinion); Skora footwear; Terra Plana Vivo Barefoot; Vibram FiveFingers.  There are other, more mainstream shoes that have a relatively low heel.  A couple months ago either Running Times or Runner's World listed some shoes and the heel-to-forefoot drop (how much higher the heel is than the forefoot).  Unfortunately I can't find the article to cite it.

     

    Speed is really simple.  Run at a comfortable ("conversational") pace that doesn't leave you gasping.  Walk at a pace that lets you recover for the next running segment.

     

    Len





    Len

  • BowieLinda Pro 136 posts since
    Jul 8, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Aug 30, 2010 12:39 PM (in response to lenzlaw)
    Re: Getting started. 'Barefoot' running? Speed?

    If you're already walking on a treadmill some, why not try running barefoot on that?  This is what I did the other day, mostly as a lark rather than any sort of epiphany or specific intent to switch.  I found that my feet felt a little bit abraded right where the sole and the base of the toes meet.  It was fine by the next day.  I didn't notice any particular differences, for me, between running on the treadmill shod and barefoot.  Oh well.

     

    Most if not all treadmills are designed to have a fairly low-impact belt and those belts are safe from foreign matter like bottles or tin or the like.  So you can certainly try going barefoot and see what you think of it, how it works for you.

     

    I think it is a fascinating issue for discussion and more study.  Since I'm a new runner, my times and distances aren't exactly the best for testing the differences.  I do think that occasional runs in safe situations like on a treadmill, barefoot, are probably useful for sensing how our feet and bones and ligaments behave when we run.

     

    Linda





    C25K Training begun (Treadmill) 6/1/10); restarted 7/11/12

    First run OUTDOORS - Club Fun Run 1.75 mile circuit time 26:06:72 on 7/29/10

    Proud C25K Grad, 8/7/10

    College Park Cares 5K Sponsored by Vecna Technologies, Inc. 9/25/10 44:04.4

    Fell off of the regular running routine, experienced the DC Derecho Disaster, and now aiming to get back on track!

    Future:

    Jug Bay Run for Wildlife 5K 11/3/12

  • coolbikermom Legend 418 posts since
    Jan 25, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Aug 30, 2010 7:06 PM (in response to BowieLinda)
    Re: Getting started. 'Barefoot' running? Speed?

    A few weeks after I started running I tried using Vibrams on the treadmill. I did great with them, and it taught me a lot about foot strike. I believe it gave me a great foundation for running and even though I don't do barefoot running now, I think there is definite benefit to learning how to run that way.

     

    Read everything you can, pro and con, and make up your own mind by doing or not doing it yourself.





    C25k dropout

    Rock the Parkway 5k 3/27/10  37:40.6

    Mother's Day 5k  5/9/10  33:19

    Walk/Run for Isaiah 9/18/10 4.4k 37:26

    Harvest Moon 10k 10/23/10  1:08.50

    Great Santa 5k 12/5/10 33:22

    Carlsbad half marathon 1/23/11

    "Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better." ~Albert Einstein

  • Chvostek Rookie 1 posts since
    Sep 1, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    6. Sep 1, 2010 8:22 AM (in response to JRoy7)
    Re: Getting started. 'Barefoot' running? Speed?

    I have tried barefoot running in the past few months and the experience was horrible. My feet got sore and and I had blisters around my sole. I totally stopped running barefooted and decided to use barefoot shoes like Vibrams. These shoes sure taught me the value of being patient - to slowly yet surely increase the mileage and not rush into minimalist running. One guy actually complained of a deformed pinky though. You can read about his interesting real life experience in easing into barefoot running here - http://tinyurl.com/deformedfoot

  • dkhartung Pro 98 posts since
    Aug 2, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. Sep 1, 2010 9:27 AM (in response to runningman400)
    Re: Getting started. 'Barefoot' running? Speed?

    Great response from Runningman400.

     

    I think the big question is, "why consider running barefoot, and to what end?".  It's very trendy right now, but that's not a very good reason (look at me! I ran a marathon barefoot!).  I also find that it can be a very good training tool, but my objective is just to use the barefoot running to make changes in my running gait to be more efficient and less injury prone, then shod the feet again and try and replicate the same running gait.

     

    One approach that might work for you.

     

    1.  Walk on the treadmill for awhile to get yourself used to moving.

    2.  Start to incorporate some light jogging.  Go back and forth between jogging and walking.  Don't worry about how much running you're doing, just try and increase it over time.

    3.  Eventually you'll get to the point that you're jogging a mile between short walking breaks.

     

    I had some success on the tredmill by doing a good warmup in the shoes, and then taking off the shoes and jogging on the tredmill for a couple of minutes.  Not ten minutes, 1-2.  I dial down the pace, and really focus on how my feet are landing, how my legs are moving, etc.  Then put the shoes back on a try and replicate that stride.

     

    I'd rather use barefoot as a tool to improve efficiency and reduce injury risk that view it as an end in and of itself, but that's just me.

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