Second to that I like the huaraches. I would alternate between walking and a little running, hoping to build up from there. I found later that cobbled stones and other uneven surfaces help because of the added sensory input. I thought it would be a good idea to run on rough surfaces because, even on sandy surfaces one occasionally finds a surprise, while running in grass, at least around here, there are a lot of acorn shells, so I want to be prepared.
I also carry my huaraches in case I need them.
Every time I do that my ankles and top of my feet get swollen and I have to go back to running with shoes. However I can run on grass without any problems and enjoy it. My running shoes have almost no padding and I am no heel striker. My usual runs are on paved streets with rolling hill segments. When I run barefoot I land mostly on forefoot and have almost no heel contact which is quite unlike the way I usually run in shoes.
I know I am doing something fundamentally wrong. These mental cues might help you find a lighter, easier stride.
Thick layers of soft pine needles! When I run through deciduous wooded trails that periodically change over to pine tree habitat I am in instant heaven. The downside is pine cones and roots of course but treading with care is all that is needed. Conversely, the worst surface that I find myself mincing my way through lies beneath oak trees in the fall. Killer acorns. Lots of bruises. Thanks for such a quick and thorough reply Steven my Invisible Shoe order will be coming soon!
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I have a theory that soft sand is worse than hard…. That said, over time, you can acclimate to almost anything. BTW, you mentioned that you were trying to stay off your heels. That depends as much on your form and your mileage as it does on the shoes. I run barefoot on a seldom used aircraft taxiway at work.
But seriously…. My poor knees…. But walking barefoot has been a revelation in terms of using all those sensory nerve endings in the feet to really come into contact with the ground and really be in touch with the way my ankles, knees and hips are reacting to the way my feet are striking the ground. I love smooth asphalt to make me feel like flying, rough asphalt to teach me to soften and silence my stride, grass, sand and mud for the myriads of sensations on my feet.
And I do appreciate my bare feet for not hurting themselves when something sharp pops up underneath them. My conscious brain would be far too late to prevent the harm if they had to instruct my feet first. I have run more than 1, miles barefoot in the last two years on asphalt and sidewalk. I just finished the Tom King half marathon in Nashville, Tennessee. It was my second fastest half out of four. The other three I ran in shoes. However, it does also give you great control of your movements, and it freaks people out to see you running down the streets of Los Angeles in sandals at midnight.
Running on trails in Invisible Shoes is not very painful at all, and also gives you great feedback from the ground. Depending on the quality of the trail, you may have some slippage. Now, as for grass, there are pros and cons. That was back when I ran in conventional running shoes.
Because of the lack of cushioning in Invisible Shoes, the softness of the grass acts as the perfect amount of cushioning, resulting in little to no pain from running in sandals. However, it is also important to point out that running on wet grass completely soaks your feet and causes major slippage and instability.
This barefoot experience allows for good form, no heel-striking, muscle use, and cushioning for joints, and allows any runner to recover and restrengthen their legs from injuries due to overuse. Even among the shoe-wearers, there is this knowledge that barefoot running is beneficial on soft surfaces. In conclusion, when running in Invisible Shoes, natural surfaces dirt trails, grass work best by eliminating stress and pressure on feet. For working on a good, steady pace, dirt trails probably work best. I doubt that the Copper Canyon runs include many sidewalks either. Good old Mother Nature is still the best surface.
When I first started my transition natural style I ran the first short distances less than half a mile barefoot on the well worn roads of the New England town where I live. That was in the fall and the roads got cold and full of debris, so I started wearing some minimal protection, but every run ended with about a mile of barefoot. I found out that my feet were fine until the temps got below 30 degrees F. That bit of barefoot helped me really tune my form and I still go back to it on a regular basis to remind myself. I have two choices where I live: chip-and-seal or coarse gravel.
I have not managed to get comfortable running on either of those surfaces completely barefoot. My contact xeroshoes fit the bill. I cycle in them part way to work and run the rest without having to carry extra shoes or change footwear. I wear them all day at work too; they are super comfortable… When winter comes, I will have to scale up my cycling shoes for protection from cold, but the xeroshoes will ride lightly in my backpack, ready for the run. I agree completely that a smooth hard surface is best for learning your natural run and building your strength to avoid injury.
I took this advice while learning too. Almost nothing feels better than running through a field of grass with bare feet.
I'm kinda used to running slow now, but the most frustrating thing is I have to start walking after about 5 miles. This teaches the body how to work through a fatigued state Speed work : Aimed at improving running speed, these types of workouts can include intervals, hill repeats, and tempo runs. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. Really like this podcast. I emailed Tina afterwards for some sample workouts Its a great resource for anyone who is a runner. Hope to see you coach me one day!
The information in this article is great, except that two statements are totally contradictory. I love and practice barefoot walking, but these two statements can be very confusing for the newbies to barefoot practice. Otherwise, all these articles are such good information when beginning or continuing the barefoot lifestyle. Running a mile or more the first time out is just inviting trouble. Grass is not bad. Just tricky, because of honeybees and thistles. When I walk barefoot what I like most is the variety. I recommend running and walking on a clean sandy beach because it is actually a wonderful muscle training.
Hey, Day 6 of BF and so far so good. April in Wisconsin and after 51 years in shoes I am trying take it easy.
Calves and pads sore which I expected. What would you folks recommend for technique and fitness for 51 YO in his first week BF. Good to know I am not the only weirdo out there!