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- Posted: 20th Feb 2012, 13:36Report
I am currently training for the North Downs 100 Mile Ultra in August this year after completing a few 50k ultras and 50-60 mile training runs. My training program is making the race look achievable with one minor disruption. I will be having an operation on my nose in April so will be out of action for a couple of weeks- this is for my own protection (risk of falling over and damaging the nose etc). My query is with barefoot running. I’m thinking of taking the 2 weeks off to condition my feet to barefoot running by walking around in barefoot shoes to accustom my feet to the positioning- I’ve read this is the thing to do on a couple of barefoot running sites. I’ve run the last mile barefoot on recent 25-30 mile runs and while this is quite painful at times on the soles of the feet the difference in my knees and core is amazing. Has anyone had any experience with conditioning your feet for barefoot running? And do you think that 3 months would be long enough to condition my feet and body for a distance of 100 miles or am I better off waiting until the ultra is out of the way? Or is it unwise to alternate between barefoot and cushioned soles during training and running. Any barefoot help would be much appreciated.
- Posted: 20th Apr 2012, 22:41Report
Hello! First off, hope the training is going well. Sounds fantastic. Secondly, a bit about myself: I've been running barefooted for just over a year now and have recently done my first marathon, doing it barefoot, naturally. Now, to try and answer your questions: In my opinion, wait until after the ultra before making any fundamental changes to your running. There's every chance that your gait will be different between running shod and unshod. In my own experience, my running gait changes when I run with even so-called minimalist trainers on (which led coincidently to a rotten injury), so I only run barefoot now. I used to get knee and shin problems, which is in part why I started trying barefoot. I started slow and alternated between starting a run in my trainers (Asics Cumulus's) and ending barefoot. However, it wasn't long before I ditched the trainers altogether as it didn't feel right with the trainers. When I was researching about BF running, many said that it was better to ditch the trainers and concentrate on cutting back and building up again with the new running style that BF running gives you. Other general points: The skin on your feet isn't too much of an issue. With BF, you're not pushing off but lifting your feet so there are no shear forces that would cause blisters on your feet. Give your skin enough time to recover - I normally had a day off after every run to give the skin a break. Once things are established, you can run daily or as your plan dictates. Important points are bones and ligaments. Bones will take time to thicken and strengthen though with the mileage you're used to, that shouldn't be so much of an issue - the bones in your feet will need time to adapt though. As for ligaments, barefooted, there isn't that cushion of padding between your heal and the floor so the achillies and calf muscles will be stretched to make up that extra distance, even before you start running. Many have written that it takes up to 7 months for the ligaments in the legs to adapt. It's not surprising to learn that achillies and stress fractures pop up time and again as injuries cited by people transitioning to BF running. Look on the web and you'll find people who have ran ultras barefoot so it's entirely reasonable to go for it, though I've no idea how long it took them to get to that point. A great source of info. is barefoot ken bob's website. Jason Robillard is an ultra barefoot runner and another great person to look up on his website as your cause and his are the same! Anyway, I hope I've been of some help, i'm by no means an expert. Feel free to message me if you want follow up on anything. Good luck!