Starting running – to barefoot or not?

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  • Starting running – to barefoot or not?
  • Ro5ey
    Member

    No

    Why do people wanna get technical/have the best equipment (or not in this case) and know all the theory before they even start something.

    Just get out there man.

    Throw some trainers on, open the front door and go… when you find it starting to get tough slow down and walk for a bit then start running again…Do that for half an hour

    After half a dozen times… feel how you’ve improved and take joy in it… you are on your way.

    Now go… stop talking/thinking and just do it

    oli31
    Member

    is that ‘barefoot’ as in trail glove style trainers? or proper barefoot?

    Recently picked up a pair of trial gloves and they took a bit of getting used to but now I really like them. Leak really quickly so prob not the best for muddy wet cold trail running and a bit slippy on wet rock but for dry dusty trails they’re ace

    Premier Icon ahwiles
    Subscriber

    actually barefoot? – no that’s silly,

    or just minimalist shoes? – not a bad idea.

    ‘barefoot’ running is all about technique, now’s a good time to learn, because you don’t have any, you’re a blank canvas.

    … I’ll prolly start offroad…

    good idea, it’ll be ‘nicer’ than running on pavements, watch out for tweaking your ankles on awkward roots/rocks – running forefoot (what most people seem to mean when they say ‘barefoot’) helps against this, your feet are flexible, and can shrug off deflections that would hurt your ankles.

    r0bh
    Member

    Not.

    Just get out and run. And anyway it’s where your foot strikes that is important, not how it strikes.

    Bimbler
    Member

    minimalist shoes? – not a bad idea

    This.

    Friends have “sold” me on the idea that it’s much better physiologically than traditional heel strike running. But they’re pretty zealous about it and just wanted to get some opinions of other people expecially as I’m a total noob.

    Premier Icon ahwiles
    Subscriber

    run somewhere nice.

    Take it really easy at first – definitely no more than 10 mins for your first run, see how you feel in the morning – you may be in more pain than you expect…

    don’t run downhill – for now…

    the human body is designed to be great at running, and to enjoy it, you say you hate running, but it’s in there somewhere ๐Ÿ™‚

    surfer
    Member

    If you hate running and dont have any motivation why are you running (or thinking about running)

    Why dont you you just go out and have a run?

    don’t run downhill – for now…

    ๐Ÿ™„ oh FFS

    “traditional heel strike running” there is no such thing. I have been running for over 30 years and I didnt and dont “heel strike” it unnatural.

    Bimbler
    Member

    Feel like starting running (I bloody hate running though), friends of mine who are runners have all gone “barefoot”, and it spprsls. Is it worth starting off barefoot or get some fitness (+motivation) first and then making the switch. I’ll prolly start offroad as (like cycling) it may be ok in the winter but tarmac is dull, dull, dull in the summer. Any advice appreciated.

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    Is barefoot the running equivalent of 29ers?

    Bimbler
    Member

    Is barefoot the running equivalent of 29ers?

    Possibly, maybe 29er SS – guess what I ride ๐Ÿ˜€

    If you hate running and dont have any motivation why are you running (or thinking about running)

    Why dont you you just go out and have a run?

    Fitness – easier than getting on bike for a 45 minute run than a 45 minute ride – plus I can take dog, thought it might be fun if I can get beyond the “I hate running, me”.

    “traditional heel strike running” there is no such thing. I have been running for over 30 years and I didnt and dont “heel strike” it unnatural.

    Isn’t heel striking what “running trainers” sort of force you to do – that’s how friend explained it.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Yes, minimalist shoes.

    After half a dozen times… feel how you’ve improved and take joy in it.

    See, I just ‘went out and ran’ and it was bloody awaful, and stayed bloody awful. It was ONLY when I started thinking about it, and running minimal, that I startd to enjoy it.

    There are pleny of people on here who just say they are crap runners and hate it. Maybe they just need the right technique? It worked for me. I think they people who say ‘just do it’ are the ones who naturally have decent technique.

    “traditional heel strike running” there is no such thing. I have been running for over 30 years and I didnt and dont “heel strike” it unnatural.

    When I ‘just ran’ I was heel striking heavily by default, foot strike well out in front of me. And it’s not just me either – lots of people do this naturally. Shoes with thick heels allow you to do this. Shoes with thick heels also make it harder to forefoot strike because you need to be quite up on your toes just to avoid the heel. Minimal shoes allow you to strike with the outside of your foot and roll onto your toes, which is how your foot is designed to work.

    I can’t run in my traditional shoes any more, feels awful – and the original shoes I bought with even thicker heels are absoultely dreadful now.

    dragon
    Member

    I wouldn’t recommend anyone started with very minimal shoes, since you need a bit of technique to get them to work well.
    I agree with advice of bung some trainers on and go for a run, then walk a bit, run a bit etc. Once you can do 20-30 mins non stop, then think about better trainers.

    I like the Saucony Mirage as a good minimalist intro trainer. It’s pretty flat and light but with cushioning and a bit of stability. However, I don’t doubt Brooks, Nike, Asics etc. all do good options as well.

    Edukator
    Member

    You’ve told us how much you weigh, Molgrips, your good technique is likely to last 70m.

    If you are intending to run any distance then I suggest normal trainers. Paleo-runners didn’t run marathons. This barefoot thing is a fad which will fade away as the protagonists eliminate themselves from running with injury.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    I think the technique comes naturally in minimal shoes, with a bit of common sense. If you let your heel smash into the floor and can feel the pounding vibrations in your skull as the shockwaves travel up your spine, then that’s a bad thing – run to avoid that, and you’ll be alright.

    I would not waste my money on ‘normal’ trainers as yo’ll only have to re-learn if you switch later.

    You’ve told us how much you weigh, Molgrips, your good technique is likely to last 70m.

    You think I can only run 70m?

    I used to struggle like hell, then I switched to forefoot striking (initially in the same shoes) and it was instantly miles better. I can now run 10km with ease, which is a long way for me.

    Edukator likes to think he knows all about what other people are experiencing, even though he has never met them or run with them or anything. He’s not as clever as he thinks he is. Ask me how many injuries I’ve had with minimal shoes, Ed, go on.

    Incidentally, I should add that for me the key is FLAT shoes, with little or no heel rise. A bit of cushioning is good, but not loads of squish.

    Premier Icon brassneck
    Subscriber

    I would not waste my money on ‘normal’ trainers as yo’ll only have to re-learn if you switch later.

    Equally, I would not waste my money on ‘minimalist’ shoes when you can run on the fore foot in anything equally well.

    Just get out and run /walk is the best advice. Couch 2 5K / 10K apps are quite good for timing the bursts, though I think they are undercooked (unsurprisingly) for someone with a bit of bike fitness, they’ll help you legs adapt.

    BTW, running with the dog really actually does make it fun.. I run for the efficiency of it health wise and because I like to be outdoors, but a bit of company does seem to help.

    Just before Easter, I decided to try running again (after a number a previous failed attempts) and have been using a pair of Merrell Bare Access trainers.

    Only doing around 5k (not continuous running either) but, so far, so good.

    I was worried about aggravating my achilles so spent over a month just alternating a 60/90 seconds running with a 60 seconds walking (similar to the start of the couch to 5k plan).

    For me, these particular Merrells are the single best fitting pair of shoes that I have ever owned.

    I used to think I didn’t like running but I’m typically getting out every other day and get annoyed if I can’t go.

    I’d say it’s worth a go.

    I also replaced my lost Garmin Etrex with a Garmin Forerunner 10 watch – it’s great being able to check time/pace/distance and upload where I’ve been.

    alaslas
    Member

    Amazing how quickly this descends into a spat about the merits of minimalism or bare-footism.

    As a new runner, you would be well advised to work up very slowly if you intend to run barefoot, as it’s unlikely that your feet will be developed enough to support anything like a beginner’s training plan unshod.

    Otherwise, buy some cheap neutral trainers, go for some short runs, build up gradually. Buy some minimalist trainers later and see if you like them. Then try some barefoot running.

    bencooper
    Member

    Feel like starting running (I bloody hate running though)

    Why do it then? There are lots of other good ways to keep fit which aren’t so mind-numbingly dull.

    Can you tell I don’t like running either? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    bikebouy
    Member

    Tarmac or trail ?

    I say as I think it’s important.

    Barefoot on Tarmac in a city, nope, no thanks. Too much snot and dog poo and spit and baby sick and costa cups everywhere.
    Barefoot in a local town, nope, no thanks. As above..
    Barefoot in a rural area, possibly but then you have to encounter grit and shale and horse shit.

    So, no, no thanks.

    On a trail? A soft trail like singletrack through the woods, yes possibly, possibly if you are used to the myriad of twists and shakes your foot makes as it hits the ground. But as I’ve just come back from a 22k trail run through my local woods, there would be no way on earth I’d do it barefoot.

    So, no, no thanks.

    Take care out there,

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    I would not waste my money on ‘minimalist’ shoes when you can run on the fore foot in anything equally well.

    Well it’s not a waste if you only buy one pair. They aren’t any more expensive than normal trainers. In my direct experience it’s easier to forefoot strike when you don’t have a heel. It also feels far far better for my feet to run in my NB Minius Trails than in either pair of ‘normal’ shoes I’ve owned. It feels like my foot is a working body part I can use, rather than an inert platform on the end of my leg.

    Just get out and run /walk is the best advice.

    For me, it was terrible advice.

    Bikebouy, I don’t think anyone’s suggesting running barefoot, we’re talking about barefoot style shoes.

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    For me, it was terrible advice.

    Hardly proof positive, you might have just had ill fitting trainers.

    Premier Icon brassneck
    Subscriber

    They aren’t any more expensive than normal trainers

    Probably a fair point, my prejudice is founded on people waving those silly looking monster feet things in my face and telling me how much they paid for them, rather than minimal ‘normal’ shoes.

    For me, it was terrible advice.

    Maybe for you, but I know lots of people for whom it worked just fine, myself included, and it’s the common thread of advice in most books/magazines/courses. Including some pretty hefty cases to start with, whose run/walk ratio just took longer to build.

    In some ways it seems easier to go from a base health level of zero than starting bike fit, as it’s reasonably easy to kill your legs and put yourself off forever when you’re not used to the impact.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Regardless of shoe, I think it’s hugely important not to heel strike with your foot infront of you, rather than underneath you. This is the killer.

    Following on from this, why buy a shoe with a thick heel if you’re not going to land on it? It does actually get in the way slightly, depending on how thick it is.

    Training the muscles and tendons in your foot to work the way they’re meant to is nice, but not necessarily as important as the heel striking bit, I reckon.

    I know lots of people for whom it worked just fine

    There are loads and loads of people, especialyl cyclists, who hate running. They hate it because it’s difficult and tiring, even if they are fit. I suspect most of them are simply doing it badly. A bit like saying you hate cycling when you’re using a poorly set up wrong sized BSO.

    kill your legs and put yourself off forever when you’re not used to the impact

    Well the nice thing about the minimal style is that there isn’t really any impact. If done right your foot should take all the force out of it.

    lemonysam
    Member

    Personally I’d just go for a run. Bear in mind when you read the above that certain members of the forum have a proud history of massively overthinking their fitness regime…

    If you find running really boring then maybe consider something like orienteering which gives you something to concentrate on and will improve your map skills which is useful on the bike.

    Edukator
    Member

    Watch good runners at any distance and you’ll see their foot is in front of them when it lands. The longer the distance the more runners land heel first.

    A good 10 000m runner won’t need much of a heel cushion but an overweight marathon runner wouldn’t get very far without a heel cushion:

    [video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPVMvPhkc58[/video]

    I used to run up to 17km in light shoes with minimal heel on triathlons and duathlons, but always trained in proper trainers and ran longer distances in proper trainers even when racing. Not doing so meant much longer recovery periods between races and training sessions.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Bear in mind when you read the above that certain members of the forum have a proud history of massively overthinking their fitness regime

    If you’re talking about me, I can’t see what the problem is. I have improved my enjoyment of running beyond anything I would have expectd, mostly by thikning about my style. Can’t see what I did wrong!

    an overweight marathon runner wouldn’t get very far without a heel cushion:

    And yet here I am, an overweight runner having run hundreds of miles in my overweight body with both kinds of shoes, telling you that I much prefer the minimal ones.

    I have direct experience of this, you do not.

    Edukator
    Member

    I didn’t know you had run a marathon, Molgrips.

    Edit: I’ve run over 1000km a year for over 30 years, and have tried lots of different footware and barefoot. The only place to run barefoot is the beach IMO.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    I didn’t know you knew what it was like to be a fat runner.

    Are you saying I WOULD be able to run a marathon in normal shoes, but not in minimal ones?

    Actually, **** it, I will train for one and enter to prove you wrong.

    phil.w
    Member

    The thing is, lots of people harp on about barefoot this, minimal that yet there is no evidence that it’s universally better for you.

    Everybody is different, what works for one won’t necessarily work for another.

    Here’s a great article that shows some useful data about the marketing bull around minimal shoes.

    And here’s one about a study that found almost no difference in running injurys between heel and forefoot strikers.

    If one style was vastly superior, everybody would be running that way.

    Edukator
    Member

    I didn’t say it’s impossible to run a marathon barefoot. I think there’s a good chance you’d injure yourself either in training or the race itself, if you want to prove me wrong go ahead – it’s not my tendons, aponevrose, heel pads, knees, hips, muscles and back that will suffer.

    Premier Icon phinbob
    Subscriber

    It’s clear that humans can run in ‘normal’ trainers or minimalist.

    There are plenty of cases of ultra-distances being run with minimal footwear (see Tarahumara).

    If you are going to start easy and you are not already a runner you could do worse than go straight to minimalist, since you will be building up slowly and naturally anyway. Just take it easy – you probably have leg strength and aerobic capacity way beyond what your feet can cope with at this stage.

    There is also evidence that early humans would have run great distances (see persistence hunting).

    As to the zealots on both sides – there is definitely a lack of scientific evidence that links traditional running shoes or minimalist shoes to a reduction in injury – so you might as well do what appeals most.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Why would my heel pad suffer?

    Edukator
    Member

    It’s not uncommon for distance runners to split their heel pads even with good shoes, Molgrips, barefoot it’s more common. I take issue with those who say there’s no no difference in injury rates..

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    I hardly land on my heel, it gets far less strain than it used to.

    Edukator
    Member

    Well train for that marathon then.

    Edit: or just run one, I ran my first marathon on the occasional jog, I had spent 4 to 8 hours a day delivering leaflets door to door for the previous couple of months though.

    colonel wax
    Member

    Ok, heres my opinon. This is based on my experience, which seeing as this is STW is FACT.

    Anyway, after a break of 5 years from running I’ve started again. I’ve been running in some traditional style Asics, some minimalist-ish Nikes, and a pair of Merril trail gloves.

    I’m starting to think I feel more difference from fit rather than thickness of cushioning. The Nikes have got not very much in the way of material on the toes, and the Merrils have got a big toe box and really narrow heel.

    So for me, a flexible toe seems to be more important rather than the amount of drop.

    TBH in the past I’ve run in Walshes, Inov8s, road shoes from proper running shops. I can’t say they ve been that different other than fit, so if I was you id just get some that feel comfy and just go for a run.

    Unless you’re competitive the beauty of running is not really having to think about it or kit, and just doing it (sorry for the semi-nike quote)

    emsz
    Member

    be very very careful, if your just starting running, I messed up my ankle good and proper with a pair of Innov8 f195. I ONLY ever run v short distancs in my 195s now (less than 10k, and even then I umm and ahh about it) Thing is when I run I don’t want to have to think about my feet, or where my heel or whatever is doing. At 20 miles my head is defo not about technique it’s all about sandwich making and cake eating!!

    I think it’s hugely important not to heel strike with your foot infront of you

    While YOU may think is hugely important Molly, that’s how I run, and know I run faster and longer than you…The MOST important thing is make sure YOU are running pain free, and get shoes that are OK for that, and sod every-one lese opinion LOL.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    I don’t think about my feet any more than I think about riding my bike. I still had to learn that.

    and sod every-one lese opinion

    Well it’s not about opinion, it’s about physics. You may be good heel striking, but you may be even better with a different style ๐Ÿ™‚

    alaslas
    Member

    This is drifting off topic – beginner runner wants advice: does s/he even bother running? And should s/he start off barefoot?

    My answers: a. yes, b. no*

    *unless s/he has a lot of time, patience, and/or access to a beach.

    glupton1976
    Member

    I didn’t say it’s impossible to run a marathon barefoot. I think there’s a good chance you’d injure yourself either in training or the race itself, if you want to prove me wrong go ahead – it’s not my tendons, aponevrose, heel pads, knees, hips, muscles and back that will suffer.

    I’d say, based on that comment, that you don’t understand the ground reaction forces involved in running in minimalist shoes.

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