Forefoot running beginner

5 messages
24/04/2012 at 22:08

Hi all,

After getting fed up with heel striking & picking up injuries (achilles tendon & now patella tendon) I am experimenting with forefoot running which is going pretty well.

I am still using my existing trainers with  heel cushioning & am wondering if these are preventing me from a good technique (heel not lowering enough after take off / land on forefoot)

I'm thinking about buying a cheap pair of racing flats to see if it makes any diffference in the way I run.

Any advice greatfully appreciated

Pete... 

25/04/2012 at 08:56

Racing flats tend to be quite narrow, so not so good if you have a wide foot/wide forefoot.

Really cheap way to try out minimalist shoes is to pick up an old-fashioned pair of thin-soled plimsolls or, even cheaper and more flexible, a pair of water shoes (under a tenner). The water shoes won't last very long but may give you an idea whether you like the thin, flexible soles and no toe-heel differential.

Some of the Terra Plana / Vivo Barefoot Neos and Evos are on sale for about £40 on www.sportsshoes.com - I really like the Neos (fantastic room for toes to flex) and I'd suggest the Airmesh (which are multiterrain, i.e. you can use on road or on light trails - there's a more trail-oriented version as well with chevron-shaped lugs on the bottom but I doubt you want those at present). Go look at http://www.sportsshoes.com/product/VIV59/vivobarefoot-neo-airmesh-running-shoes/ - that's the sole pattern you're looking for; if they haven't got your size, go looking for a different colour of the same shoes...

OR: find somewhere safe (running track, or a sports field after you've run around it checking for dog poop, broken glass etc. and try actually going barefoot, see how it feels.

25/04/2012 at 10:48
I think I'm about 2 weeks ahead of you Peter. Best advice I've had is to find somewhere with a safe surface and go completely barefoot. This will allow you to feel your footstrike which is important while you're adapting your form. I found it very useful, you get a lot more feedback from the surface and learn a whole lot quicker than even using minimalist shoes. (I had Nike Free)
Secondly take it slow, my calves were murder when I started a couple of weeks ago, now I'm only up to half a mile, (which I did last night and no soreness this morning).
Best advice is to go to the USA Runnersworld site who have a barefoot forum with excellent beginners advice:
http://www.runnersworld.com/community/forums/runner-communities/barefoot-running
25/04/2012 at 12:08
Debra, thanks for the link to the discount site.

Whatever shoes you get (and I'd suggest going cheap at first, as your wear patterns will be strange as your gait changes), I'd recommend regularly going back to 'true barefoot' at first: this is the only way you will get the feedback you need, as whenever you have the form wrong, it will feel bad.

Once you have settled on a form, you might not be as comfortable in shoes with a supported heel, but you can still transfer the forefoot style to most shoes.

Don't be afraid of landing on the heel as well as the front-foot. In my opinion, this uses the foot's mechanics in a perfectly natural way, and you're far less likely to get a stress fracture. I've never had any plantar issues from using midfoot rather than exclusively forefoot. If you do use true forefoot, you don't want to be too far forwards so that you're onto your toes.
25/04/2012 at 17:44

Thanks all for replies, some valuable advice there!

I have only just read your posts after jumping the gun & buying some puma speed trainers. They look like retro trainers but felt just right for what I wanted with minimal cushioning but good tread & seem to have plenty of room around the toes. Just been out & run 3 miles in them & they feel good, you certainly notice all the bumps & lumps in the running surface!

Agree about the calves aching to start. I ran a couple of 5 milers on the forefoot last week & had to have 4 days off to recover. Back to 3 miles for the forseeable future for me

Edited: 25/04/2012 at 17:47

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