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Thread: Running barefoot.....yes barefoot!

  1. #11
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    Re: Running barefoot.....yes barefoot!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kathy Ellen View Post
    Hi RC,

    I have become a lazy, lazy person and plan to something about it this weekend. My 'excuse' is that I'm working a lot of hours due to 2 part-time jobs and 1 full time + job.

    I used to walk along the beach and boardwalk everyday...rain, shine, snow, sleet, hail..yada..yada. I was walking 5 miles 3x a week and 10 miles when I had a day off.

    I live at the beach and have a beautiful bay on the west. and should be taking advantage of the fresh, salt air, lack of tourists as we're not in season, and crisp, fall air.

    Thank you...You've given me the insentive to start walking again. I don't run or fast jog as my tummy hurts. But, I can do a slow jog, and that's what I'll do.

    I haven't had a chance to read all that you've written and will come back again to focus on tips.

    Here's where I live. I love living here for the most part.

    Thanks for the incentive to exercise again.
    Wow! Looks like you have a great place to go walking.....weather providing of course. Walking on the beach in sandals is a great way to start. I guess the difference between walking barefoot and running barefoot, is that running puts so much greater impact on the feet and legs, that you learn really fast to stop bad habits....like heel-striking. Walking puts about 1/6th the pressure on the feet, so you have to make a conscious effort to raise your toes (like your trying to grab the surface with your toes) and landing first on the outside of the mid-foot, rolling in and then touching down on the heel before pushing off. I found that, even though I was hitting the ground heel first in running shoes for decades, that once I didn't have them on, I didn't even have to remember the procedure for running barefoot! Just the thump that jars the knees and goes right up the legs, was enough to help me learn not to do it, and land on the mid-foot or fore-foot first.

    I work about 50 hours in the average week at one job, so I guess your schedule makes getting enough exercise a challenge! If it's possible to walk part of the way to one of those jobs, that would be a way to get your walking in without having to take time out of your schedule for it. I was running to work for a few years, until a change of work site made me re-adjust my running routine.

    One thing you should consider with a busy life, is how much sleep you are getting. If you have to go an extended period of time with less sleep, your body will adjust; but it will lower metabolic rate and even immune response to compensate. Whenever someone asks me "how do I lose weight" they are usually asking for diet and/or exercise tips; but my first question is "how much sleep do you get each night?" because most middle-aged people who find themselves unable to stop a slow, steady increase in bodyweight usually are sleeping six hours or less per night. If it's possible to get enough time to be well-rested, people often feel more like getting out to exercise, and are less likely to turn to high fat, high calorie snacks. Many people who aren't sleeping long enough, have to continually get their caffeine and sugar fix, which keeps adding to the problem of weight gain, among other things.

  2. #12
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    Re: Running barefoot.....yes barefoot!

    Quote Originally Posted by chonsigirl View Post
    I run barefoot around the dojong 3 times a week, thats enough running for me. But it is nice to jump up and down, and kick and spar with no shoes on. Kudos for running barefoot!
    flopstock:
    Re: Running barefoot.....yes barefoot!

    lady came into pilates class wearing these shoes that looked like the bottom of your feet. cracked me up, but she said they were great. my sister does her running in the mountains in special shoes too.

    me, i'd rather watch folks run.
    I've heard of a lot of people wearing minimal shoes to the gym or to martial arts classes. I wear mine at the gym, since they don't allow anyone going barefoot. A friend of mine who teaches martial arts part-time says that members of his club are encouraged to go barefoot, since it reduces the risk of sprains and other injuries; and most martial arts were started and developed by people who were practicing them barefoot. the eastern martial arts traditionalists have always insisted on 'no shoes' if you want to get it right.

  3. #13
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    Re: Running barefoot.....yes barefoot!

    It is better to have no martial arts shoes on when practicing. The first winter I did wear a pair-my feet were so cold. But you cannot do everything properly that way. If you go into a tournament, you cannot wear shoes for sparring. (like I am not sparring in a tournament at my age anyway! But I will do forms and breaking at one in the spring)

    I've never seen anyone at the gym without shoes on-but I wear minimal tennies to the gym-none of those big sneaker shoes. I am only biking and walking/running anyway.

    I do wear swimming tennies for water aerobics.

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    Re: Running barefoot.....yes barefoot!

    I'm not sure what minimal tennies are, but the basic rule of thumb is: the closer your foot is to the ground, the more stability you have. The thicker the soles, the more likely it is to twist an ankle, or lose your balance. I've learned some of the wing chun practice routines from my friend, when he was teaching classes. I've worn my KSO shoes there, and they seemed to work fine.

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    Re: Running barefoot.....yes barefoot!

    Judging from the temperatures lately, it seems to be time to prepare for winter. Last winter, I learned that the Vibram unique look of shoes with individual toe pockets makes running in colder weather a challenge. The design may feel more like running with no shoes, but when it gets cold outside, it's like wearing a pair of gloves, instead of mittens.

    Vibram KSO

    Last winter, I spent most of my time at the gym, running on treadmills. I tried Nike Free's, but didn't care for them, or see where they were much different than my old running shoes! Late in the winter, I got the cold weather Vibram shoe -- the KSO Flow; and Sunday was the first day this year that I put them on again.

    Vibram KSO Flow

    They are heavier, and are insulated -- so that may make them warmer, but I don't care for the reduced sensitivity to the ground. It becomes more like wearing shoes with separate toes. And, even though the ground was dry, and air temps were around +4C (38F), I had to take a couple of breaks on my 12 mile run, to go inside, so my feet could warm up a little.

    There are several moccasin-makers now, that have noticed the barefoot/minimal shoe market, and are designing moccasins for running. I've recently ordered a couple of pairs from a company called Softstar Products. When they arrive, I'll try them out and give a recommendation or a thumbs down, depending on how well they work out.

  6. #16
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    Re: Running barefoot.....yes barefoot!

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    I noticed my old thread here, that I posted up back around the time when, after being unable to run for a few years because of cartilage damage to the knees, and since I've been posting on health and fitness issues of late, I figured it was time for an update here for anyone who might be interests.

    Back when I started this thread, it was likely about two or three months into my foray into running without running shoes, and back at the time, I noted some suspicions about how practical it is to run truely barefoot - no shoes. Even my ancestors from one side of my family had invented deer-skin moccassins to deal with: the cold or jagged stones etc., that would be obvious hazards to running barefoot.

    Some of the hippies in places like Colorado who claim you can run barefoot on all surfaces and in all types of weather once your feet are properly conditioned (and post pictures of themselves running in snow barefoot), do not have tips for dealing with cold...except the obvious things like dress warmer, and limit your exposure when the ground is frozen. I have noticed that when I have tried to run completely barefoot, that I am more paranoid about stepping on broken glass or some other jagged object than I am in a pair of thin minimal shoes that at least offer some degree of protection. It takes a few months to get used to having so little between your feet and the road or the trail....your nervous system has to relearn something generations of our ancestors had to deal with - having an acute touch sense in the feet that immediately causes one to stop pressing down with each footfall when something sharp is felt underneath that could cut through thin minimal soled shoes.

    Those who are determined to get that natural feel for having nothing between their feet and the road, should plan out their jogging route so that they are within a short distance of the nearest hospital or walk-in clinic, to get a tetanus shot before anything sets in!

    Anyway, I returned to running in minimal shoes on a regular basis four years ago and kept at it....although earlier attempts to resume the average 30 miles per week previous to knee issues did not happen. What I discovered through trial and a lot of error, is that I push too hard on a daily run to do the daily runs for more than about half an hour; while the weekend long run had to be abolished entirely. Previously, I would go out and run for two hours on the weekend, and in the fall, would bump it up as high as 3.5 hours, if I was training to finish a marathon. But, the only significant injury I suffered because of minimal shoe running (aside from numerous broken toes early on) was a serious muscle pull in my right foot, during the time I was trying to run two hours in minimals. What happens is that: when you run in typical running shoes with padded mid-soles and elevated heels, you learn to heel-strike - hit the ground heel first with each footfall. And when you take off those shoes, you learn just how stupid it is to run that way, as the shock from the heel radiates right up through your knees!

    The only reason why you can do this in the padded shoes and not feel it, is because the shock is radiated too gradually to gain the attention of the nervous system and send a warning alarm to the brain. But your joints sure as hell notice it! And that's why typically - middle aged runners start suffering cartilage wear and other joint issues by the time they hit 50....even if they have perfect running form otherwise! The determining factor of if or when the joint problems will develop from running in running shoes, depends on other factors - size likely being the most important one. If you're 180 lbs. or higher, simple laws of physics tell us that you are going to have joint problems before the average 120 lb. runner. But what's really important to keep in mind, is that the cartilage wear begins long before any pain warning signs start to flare up. I discovered that my foot arches had almost completely collapsed and cartilage under my right knee was badly inflamed by the time I felt the first problems in my early 40's. And I tried all of the typical fixes that runners are sent for: thicker motion-control shoes and the one to avoid like the plague- orthotics!

    Don't buy the crap from the orthotics dealers! Orthotic inserts will only provide temporary relief, and make the problems worse, because they lead to further weakening of the muscles and connective tissues in the feet. I can't say my sample of one is typical, but I stopped feeling the problems of "Plantar Fascitis" when slowly venturing into minimal running strengthened my feet and brought my arches back to the point where I was back wearing shoes that were one to two sizes smaller than the ones I was in before the switch in running footwear.

    Before I forget; the only real change in the last four years, other than cutting out the long weekend run and replacing it with the bike, is dropping the expensive minimal shoes that can cost $100 or more per pair. The Vibram shoes (the ones that look like feet because of the toe pockets) are totally unnecessary, difficult to put on, and not even as flexible and in touch with the surface as a cheap pair of aquasocks or aquashoes that retail for 7 to 10 dollars a pair! These cheap pool deck shoes that you can find in any department store until the swimming season is over, are actually better than the Vibrams and better than specially designed "running moccassins" that also have poor surface feel.

    The aquasocks have a thin, soft sole that wears quickly, so I stock up and buy enough pairs to last till the following spring. When the temperatures start dipping below freezing, then it's time to put them aside and put on a pair of these new "neutral" shoes that Nike, Reebok etc. are promoting, now that they've noticed the shift to minimal shoes. I have a pair of Nike Free's, which are the cold weather compromise: a flat, sandal-like sole that's obviously thicker than aquasocks. They provide the needed insulation between the foot and the cold pavement during the winter time, but I drop them as soon as I can when the weather gets warmer, because....as always...the general rule of thumb is that the less shoe you have on between your foot and the surface, the more in touch and less at risk of injury you are as well.

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