Comment from: bf in az [Visitor]  
bf in az

Be humble. That may be the best bit of barefoot running advice ever. I wrote a blog post in response here.

12/03/12 @ 16:38
Comment from: Larry Prater [Visitor]
Larry Prater

OMG. Your feet look so much worse than mine after my first 50-miler. Didn't think it possible!

12/03/12 @ 17:11
Comment from: hadi [Visitor]  
hadi

That was an awesome story! I'm still trying to get the hang of the whole running barefoot thing, and its been tough. But i do hope to increase distance and improve running posture. Any advice for this humble beginner? Cheers :)

12/03/12 @ 21:15
Comment from: John [Visitor]
John

Yow. That does NOT look fun!
Running completely barefoot on pavement is exposing feet to far more than we are conditioned for. Let's face it-most of us have spent the majority of our lives with our feet pampered in thick socks + cushiony sneakers. Unless our soles get like boot leather - or a dog's! - it's going to be a really tough road. Please consider this - don't kill your feet!

12/04/12 @ 09:22
Comment from: greg [Member]  

@hadi - Best advice I can give is to keep the ego reigned in. Listen to your body, progress slowly, be humble, and you'll be fine. Barefoot Ken Bob (http://barefootrunning.com/) has a great set of simple reminders on his site, too. Here they are verbatim:

1.Running Barefoot should NOT hurt (on almost any terrain)
2.Running Barefoot should NOT be work
3.Running Barefoot should be FUN!

@Larry Prater - I've seen worse than this on shorter distances and I've seen nearly flawless feet after ultras. How a runner's feet (and arguably their physical form as a whole) look after a race are a good reflection on how prepared they are and how smartly they planned.

@bf in az - Thanks for the shout out! I'm a big fan of your blog.

12/04/12 @ 09:28
Comment from: Alex [Visitor]  
Alex

" The entire second half of the drive home consisted of me doubled over holding my feet, shuffling and gripping them to find some position that relieved even a little of the pain."

Try not to disgrace racing by being such a wimp. Racing is supposed to be a challenge. I'm not sure why you felt it necessary to write this blog complaining about your "pain". Maybe one day you will do something that actually challenges you instead of these meager attempts.

12/04/12 @ 09:40
Comment from: Doug [Visitor]
Doug

OUCH! I can only imagine how much that hurt, but I can definitely relate. We tend to hear the good things about barefoot running while conveniently ignoring the bad.

After a few setbacks, I'm probably more cautious than I need to be, but I still push myself more than I should once in a while - just to remember I need to respect the road :)

Thanks for sharing

12/04/12 @ 11:27
Comment from: Kurt [Visitor]
Kurt

Alex: The only one being disgraceful here is you.

Greg: Man can I relate to this one! When I got my first set of fivefingers I ran races in them at a seven and a half minute mile pace within four months. Ended up with a stress fracture and had to take six months off from running. Being humble would have prevented that.

12/04/12 @ 11:37
Comment from: Horse Rider [Visitor]
Horse Rider

Wow Alex, having a bad day?

12/04/12 @ 11:58
Comment from: Robert [Visitor]
Robert

Alex, Seriously, really you can just type that comment out? Why don't you step up and try to be a positive part of this community.
Greg good story, it just reminds all of us to take it easy, for me you reminded me of how we can make mistakes, but to learn from another's misfortune, well you can come out ahead.
Robert

12/04/12 @ 13:11
Comment from: sizart [Visitor]
sizart

LOL @Alex, dude went in on Greg!.... it's kind of funny, i thought this type of "hate" existed only for famous people, not people just trying to pass on some helpful advice :/....smh

12/04/12 @ 16:24
Comment from: Russell [Visitor]
Russell

My experience in learning to run barefoot taught me to take it slow and build gradually.

Despite being used to running in minimalist shoes I found it took some tweaks to my form to prevent blisters. Even 3mm thick minimalist shoes and 6mm huaraches will mask a lot of scuffing.

I had to focus on landing without pronating as much (caused blisters on outside of the foot) and not pushing off aggressively (blisters in toe area).

The other key is pace. Keep it way slower than normal and build speed.

Starting with 1 mile cool downs then increasing to 5K I was able to work up to 15K and 1/2 marathon running 4 to 5 minutes/mile slower than my normal race pace.

I finally have worked up to running as far as I want at full speed without getting blisters on pavement. Next challenge is trails!

The two biggest benefits of barefoot running to me are the simple joy of bare feet on the ground and it is a fabulous way to teach yourself efficient, low impact form that you can't get with any form of footwear attached.

12/04/12 @ 17:05
Comment from: greg [Member]  

@Kurt - Stress fractures are one of my biggest fears when it comes to injury since it's such a seemingly minor thing but can completely sideline you.

When I first switched to minimalist I kept getting the familiar top-of-foot pain that lots of minimalist runners get from running too far up on the forefoot. That was enough to warn me to back off. You're in good company, though. I think runners get injured so much because we're a stubborn bunch!

@Doug and Robert - Learning lessons is what it's all about!

@Russell - EXCELLENT advice. I've got a long way to go to catch up to where you're at.

@sizart - Haha -- maybe this means I'm famous now!

12/04/12 @ 18:14
Comment from: Coach Jeff Stapleton [Visitor]
Coach Jeff Stapleton

Check out my blog (http:/naturalrunning.wordpress.com). There are lots of pointers on how to toughen up soles of feet to runner safer, stronger & more efficiently barefoot. Keep working at it - if done properly, you'll never get injured running again!

coach Jeff

12/05/12 @ 17:45
Comment from: Superturtle [Visitor]
Superturtle

This is more a masochiste running but a barefoot runnig. I'm not surprise that, if you were naked, we can see lot of whip marks at your back and on your butt.

12/05/12 @ 19:11
Comment from: glass [Visitor]
glass

Great post. I took a while build up enough skin on my feet to be able to run regularly barefoot on road. My limit now is 13km. With minimalist shoes I run 25km. However, the pleasure of running completely barefoot is something else. I never get tired of seeing people's face when they realise I running barefoot. Keep at it.

12/06/12 @ 05:33
Comment from: Allan [Visitor]
Allan

I've found that when running barefoot if you run faster, like in a race, you tend to push off harder and have more friction and tend to blister like you did. That might have been the difference compared to your training. The cold might have prevented you from feeling it, although usually cold weather makes my feet more sensitive.

For me, the soles of my feet didn't ever get tougher. They never got like shoe leather. What changed was how I was running. I think the blisters are simply a result of friction in your stride.

I feel for you man. I'm really surprised you didn't feel those blisters. They look REALLY painful. When I get blisters they feel awful and I immediately stop and walk home and when I get home they are the size of grains of sand and I can barely see them and they are healed by the next day. I can't imagine what those feel like.

BTW, hands down the worst blister I have ever gotten was on my pinky toe while wearing ASICS shoes during a 20 mile race. My entire toe was one giant blister filled with blood and fluid. So barefoot or shod you can get blisters and lose toenails.

12/06/12 @ 19:59
Comment from: markus gerat [Visitor]
markus gerat

too much too fast.
you dont have any hardskin on your feet! running 8k on grass would have worked better than on the street.
for my point of view your feet still look well after what you have done.
i think if you decide to go really barefoot there is no way back for longer time. you need much more hardskin, and if you have it, it will kill all your shoes.

12/07/12 @ 09:11
Comment from: Timetraveler [Visitor]
Timetraveler

John said:
"Let's face it-most of us have spent the majority of our lives with our feet pampered in thick socks + cushiony sneakers. Unless our soles get like boot leather - or a dog's! - it's going to be a really tough road."

He is right. You really need to WALK barefoot everywhere, on varying terrains first, and gradually get your feet to be tough like leather. Then transitioning to running is much easier. Many of us who grew up in the 1960s and 1970s went barefoot everywhere, all summer long. It was obvious to us that early in the spring we would start slowly toughening up our soles by doing longer and longer walks, so that by june we could walk all day barefoot, anywhere, even on hot pavement. You grew up in a shoe obsessed society and have never developed the tough skin you should have. It takes a while.

12/07/12 @ 12:37
Comment from: greg [Member]  

Some really great advice all around! And some well deserved criticism of my doing too much too fast. I've definitely got a long way to go.

@Timetraveler - you unintentionally settled a debate I had with a friend about whether runners from even just one generation before were better off for walking around barefoot more often. Thanks!

12/08/12 @ 13:28
Comment from: Justin Josef Gomez [Visitor]
Justin Josef Gomez

men! you should take it slow when you are running barefoot...im from Barefoot Running Philippines. our motto is "No,It doesnt hurt.Take it slow and you will get used to it. you should run 1 Kilometer and as you progress you cant have blisters any more RUN HAPPY! :-)

12/14/12 @ 07:39
Comment from: Christen [Visitor]
Christen

Nice pics, I need to start documenting my awesome blistered up feet.

01/07/13 @ 00:33
Comment from: Cordelia [Visitor]
Cordelia

That looks awful! I'd run barefoot, but the inside of my right ankle pronates and my XC coach won't let me... It's not like a lot of girls want to get their feet dirty. I'm just glad my boyfriend is on Cross Country too. Anyway, I tried to run barefoot last summer and was fed up with not having calluses, so I ran around, grating the full of each of my feet on the asphalt of my culdesac. I then put my feet in an ice bath. Anyway, I did this for a week and a half every other day and then just let them alone. My feet were tender for three days, but two weeks later, I got thick calluses that I run well in, don't look gross, and don't attract too much attention. (Except when I get my nails done with my Bff's. They shudder in horror!) <3!

03/18/14 @ 20:12