Friday, July 22, 2011

Super cautious return to barefoot runs

I did a lot of short barefoot runs two years ago, and my feet benefited greatly from the extra strengthening. With being injured last year, I let that part of my training go, and had intended to get back to it this summer. Then I started having some plantar fascia issues, so I thought I had better hold off. But after reading this post, I decided to add it to my physio regimen and carefully try to do some grass barefoot runs to see if it would help. I asked my physiotherapist about it, and she agreed that as long as I was careful, to go ahead.

So, here's how I progressed with it: (all done in bare feet on grass, at end or in middle of a run)
Jun 18 - walk 5 minutes
Jul 3 - 2 x 2 min, with1 min walk (i.e. recovery between)
Jul 5 - 3 x 2 min, with 1 min walk
Jul 7 - 4 x 2 min, with 1 min walk
Jul 10 - 4 x 3 min, with 1 min walk
Jul 13 - 5 min, 3 min, 3 min, with 1 min walk
Jul 19 - 10 min
Jul 22 - 15 min

So it took me a month to get to 10 minutes of continuous running, but it is always better to be extremely patient with adding barefoot, even without a sore foot. With having tightness in the PF, I knew I could make things a lot worse if I did too much, so it wasn't hard to hold back and make sure it was helping, not hurting. I had three physio treatments for my PF as well, and am feeling quite good about how things are coming along. I'll probably do another 15 minute barefoot run next time, before hitting 20 minutes and then holding it at that level after that. For what I want out of it (injury prevention in the form of stronger feet, stretching out the achilles and calves, and a bit of help with form) I think that is enough time. Occasionally I might do 30 minutes, but that's about it.


Derrick said...

Really great to see how cautious you've been with it and the results you've gotten. So many people rush into barefoot, Five Finger and minimalist running way too soon. They then get injured and then don't see the potential benefits. Barefoot, FF and minimalist running are great tools and don't have to be all or nothing approaches.

EJ said...

Are you running that on hot coals or broken glass? ;-)
A while back I was checking out the running forums at an online running magazine and in the "Barefoot Forum" the most recent thread title was, "How do you remove glass in your foot?" I thought that was funny.

Sara said...

EJ, I'll be sure to report back whenever I step on any glass shards, thistles, bumble bees, hypodermic needles, etc etc etc ;)

David said...

Next up

I just ordered a pair of the 6mm. Got a wee bit of a deal on them. Be happy to order you a pair.

EJ said...

Invisible shoes? I thought you were kidding, as in "The Emperor's New Clothes". I am actually considering wearing flip flops walking occasionally to strengthen my foot.

JessiePants said...

Good job Sara, I'll be interested to see how the slow introduction is going.