A few months into barefoot running I have two major learnings:
1, It’s so smooth, effortless and joyful compared to conventional running, IF you get the technique right.
2, It’s very hard work and takes a lot of patience to reset the muscles, calves in particular, to tune into barefoot running technique.
I have searched the Internet for more guidance on barefoot running technique and reviewed a lot of videos and texts. The most comprehensive and scientifically backed approach I have found is the POSE method.
POSE and CrossFit
The POSE method is a system of teaching efficient human movement developed by Dr Romanov, former Olympic coach from Russia. In essence his method is focused on getting the hamstrings to work by pulling the heel towards the butt and then letting it fall to the ground again landing on the ball of the foot. Keep your upper arms vertical and bend at the elbow to keep your fore arms horizontal. Try this standing still in one spot. Assume the POSE and focus on pulling the heel towards your butt. When you feel comfortable with this continue the same pattern of movement and adjust your centre of gravity slightly forward. You will notice that just a little lean will make you start moving. That’s pretty much it! Check out PoseTV on YouTube for more about Dr Romanov and POSE.
So back to my own experiences of barefoot running. I have actually stopped barefoot running. Temporarily.
The new muscular stress on my calves has only become slightly milder so in a transition period to running in my Vibram Fivefingers I have bought a pair of Puma LIFT. A very light shoe with minimal cushioning and therefore very little wedge between your foot and the ground. The little shock absorption it offers makes a huge difference for how my calves handle barefoot running according to the POSE method. In one of the CrossFit videos below they talk about problems with calves in POSE running and state that it only occurs when you run on your toes. I beg to differ. I am very conscious of landing on the ball of my foot and falling forward rather then stretching forward in each step. My problem may be that I have a calves of a bodybuilder rather than a runner and years of conventional running technique with poor stretching habits gives me a tougher starting point than the average runner.
There are two videos in particular that I strongly recommend that you watch to get the fundamentals of proper running technique .
Teaching Running as a Skill by Brian McKenzie and Intro to the POSE Method for Distance Running by Mike Collins. You will need a subscription to CrossFit Journal to view the clips but do not hesitate - it’s only USD25 per year. A CrossFit Journal subscription is a must have for anybody interested in perfection of motion technique to maximize your physical ability in most areas of physical exercise. For a taste of CrossFit Journal and a few previews check the running section in the open part of CrossFit.com.
My focus now is on POSE drills in my Puma LIFT shoes to work on technique and getting more used to the Vibram Fivefingers by wearing them as often as possible. As mentioned the first part of the barefoot running series the FiveFingers do look a bit weird and I get a lot of looks and comments. Wearing them a day on town is a great way of spreading happiness, I have never had so many people looking at me, my shoes and them me again with a big smile! Vibram FiveFingers – spreading happiness, one step at a time! ,-)
Let me know how you are progressing developing proper running technique!
barefoot running, crossfit, fivefingers, lift, pose method, romanov
My calves are hard as a rock right now, so I actually walk carefully with very small steps. I even went by car for lunch instead of walking. Yesterday the pain came creeping in the afternoon. The day before yesterday I ran 6 kilometres in my FiveFingers. Back then it felt really good and I didn’t experience any unusual pain, so I reckon this is just a temporary pain for muscle rebuilding (träningsvärk in swedish).
That is also the longest I have ever run in my Vibrams. Earlier, I have only used them for short sprints, walking and at the gym.
Now I just hope that the pain will leave me in a few days.
I personally find Dr. Romanov’s explanations utterly incomprehensible… I have a copy of his “Pose Method of Triathlon Techniques” and couldn’t really make any sense out of it until I read “Chi Running”. It is basically the same thing as POSE, although covered in oriental philosophical crap, but with much, much clearer explanations, and much, much less focus on non-running drills. Because while some time in the weight room is a great complement, especially working your calves and hamstrings, there’s no better drill than easy running barefoot itself, or so I believe.
After several of weeks of random, short barefoot runs, I’m now two weeks into consistent barefoot running. With the proper technique, my experience is that calves adapt very quickly, and I haven’t had any blistering issues so far. But I have kept my mileage much, much more conservative: I’ll be running 2 Km at noon today, and that will be my longest barefoot run so far.
I have mixed feelings about the Vibram’s: will probably get a pair this Christmas, but right now I don’t think I’ll use them except for some trail running, or over dangerous (as in broken glass to be found) routes. The less is definitely the better.
I enjoyed reading about your barefoot adventures! I’ve only just started out myself, and have hovered over the “buy” button for a pair of FiveFingers many times but not yet actually bought them. I’ve only done 2 very short runs barefoot so far, but it was a really good feeling. I did have quite a lot of pain after the first session (and that was only 2×90 second bursts!), but not in my calves, more in the tendons and bones around my lower leg. It took 4-5 days to go away completely. I agree with Jaime on the FiveFingers, I also believe that less is more, although as I live in Amsterdam and don’t really have easy access to undisturbed nature running, I have to stick with parks and pavements, meaning a higher risk of glass and other sharp objects. So I’m thinking it could be a good idea to be on the safe side. I really enjoy the sensation of the pavement against my feet tho, the different textures and temperatures. It seems to add a new dimension to the experience!
Email (will not be published) (required)
Notify me of follow-up comments by email.
Notify me of new posts by email.
© 2013 reintegrate. All Rights Reserved.
Powered by WordPress. Designed by