First a bit of background on me. I've been running for about 16 years (since high school) and I've been pretty much injury free the whole time in regular shoes. I little shin splint or IT band tightness here and there, but even that's not very common. I've been told by the running store guys I strike pretty mid-foot and have a "neutral gait". I'm slightly above average speed wise. My runs are usually 7:00-7:45/mile. My 1/2 marathon and marathon PR's are 1:32 and 3:25.
I just recently read Born to Run and was fascinated. I was remidned of the strides and intervals I used to do in high school barefoot just for fun. I just got my 4mm invisible shoes a few weeks ago and have done a couple runs in them so far. The first was a 5 mile run with about 4 miles on the road and 1 mile on trail. My run today was 4 miles with most of it on dirt.
I've got a few questions for the community:
Thanks in advance for the input and advice! I'm really hoping to make a transition to mostly using minimal gear over the coming months.
I'll consider myself part of the community and toss out an thought or two
Thanks for replying Steven!
And in response to 6-9, and my recent runs:
I'm still having a really rough time. Everytime I go out it's still resulting in blisters and pain, then a few days of healing, then a few days of running in my normal shoes. I meticulously worked on my tying and I how I have them setup now feels much more secure (and it looks a lot better too). I've watched a number of videos on form and I'm definitely form focused when I'm out there, but it doesn't seem to be helping. What's the best thing to do for support and help? Is it just a matter of mixing them in slowly to get used to it? Or building calluses?
Really appreciate your insight. Thank you!
b) Read http://www.invisibleshoe.com/blister immediately
c) No, you don't need to build callouses (if you look at the feet of experienced barefoot runners, none of us have callouses).
e) Read How to run bare foot
Here's the big picture on blisters: Blisters come from friction. Friction comes from incorrect form.
Let's start with the blister on your big toe… the only way you can get that is by either "scraping" your foot as you push off, or placing your foot way out in front of you when you land (overstriding).
My hunch is that you're overstriding, which means you're putting on the brakes every time you land… and that jams your foot into the lace, which could cause blister #1
The blood blister in the middle could be caused by overstriding as well, and landing too hard (not being flexible with your ankles, knees, and hips).
I'm also willing to bet that your cadence is too low. And you're definitely doing too much, too soon, before you've experimented with adjustments to your form. You don't want to do more than about 200 yards until you can do that COMFORTABLY… then build up distance SLOWLY.
If you can't experiment with your gait (trying to place your feet closer to your body, placing/lifting your feet instead of pushing/pulling, etc.), then try to get someone to video tape you as you run. Watching what you're doing may be helpful.
I'll add in my question here since we're chatting about blisters: I've been running in VFF's for a couple of years, and I just got a pair of Invisible Shoes recently. I went with the toga tying method rather than slip-on, because the slip-on method felt less secure. But I can't cover more than a mile in the Invisible shoes without getting gnarly blisters on the balls of both feet. I don't know if it's form-related, as I've never had a single blister in VFF's. And the huaraches feel loose and sort of slippy, but tying them tighter doesn't seem to help. I even tried Injinji socks, which also didn't help. Any suggestions?
So… where to begin:
a) You can't compare VFFs to IS unless you have a video to see whether you're using the same running form in both. For example, I know many people who heel strike in VFFs and don't even know it. So if you heel-strike (again, this is just an example) in VFFs but forefoot strike in IS, then you're comparing apples to orangutans.
b) Blisters are a form problem 99% of the time. It's POSSIBLE, for that 1%, that having sandals tied too loosely could contribute to the problem, but even with extremely loosely tied sandals, if you have good form you won't get blisters.
c) The form problem in question is almost always either overstriding (reaching out too far with your foot when you land on it), or pulling/pushing with your foot rather than placing/lifting it
d) If Injinji didn't help, then it's definitely pointing to a form problem, since the added layer of fabric would eliminate friction between your foot and the sole itself.
e) FWIW, the toga tying style is always looser than the slip-on styles. If you haven't tried the tying style at the top of the Tying page, I'd give that one a whirl.
Drat, I'm always hoping the problem is something other than me …. So maybe I'll do my runs in VFF's and the pull out my Invisible Shoes for the last mile or so, until I figure out what I'm doing wrong. And I'll check out the slip-on tying video. It looked complicated the first time I watched, but I think if I can get all my orangutans lined up, I'll like the huaraches better, so I'll keep trying. Thanks!
Hey, you're getting blisters where I was on my left foot! But yours are way worse. It's like I'm seeing into the future of what would have happened to me had I not changed my ways. Spooky.
Anywho, you're probably landing too much on the inner toe/ball of your foot between the first two toes, and using it to pull or push your stride. Try focusing your initial landing more on the outter ball of your foot, behind your toes.
I went ahead and grabbed a picture off google and photoshopped it to try and show what your initial ground contact should feel more like. The one of the left, with the red triangle, is the one you're probably doing, while the one with the blue triangle shows where to better place your foot. I'm mostly basing this off my own personal change, so it won't be exactly the same for you, but hopefully it'll help.
As far as form goes, I'm still trying to figure out the placing/lifting part of it. I notice that I still push a bit with my feet. One thing I try to do when I'm walking around is to try to use only my upper leg, but let my lower leg relax, with each stride. When I lower my leg, the foot will land pretty much directly under my knee, and I don't engage my foot to move forward; I just let my natural momentum carry me through. It feels a bit like relaxed marching, if that makes any sense. I don't feel any pulling or pushing when I walk this way, and it's a good way to meditate on how things feel when you're not trying to move the ground beneath you.
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