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The Peaceful Runner Newsletter #13 - October 4, 2011 - Barefoot Running - The Transition!
October 04, 2011

Welcome to the October edition of The Peaceful Runner Newsletter - a free monthly resource of tips, inspirational quotes, recipes and the latest news and trends in running.

In this issue:

1) Quote of the month
2) Article: Barefoot Running - The Transition!
3) Best Running Tips
4) Is Backwards Running a Joke?

Quote of the Month:

"Take chances, make mistakes. That's how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave."
-- Mary Tyler Moore, American Actress/Comedian/Star of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show"

Barefoot Running - The Transition!

My transition to barefoot running took a nose dive in week three. In retrospect, it was caused by a few bad decisions on my part.

The third week started off very well. As planned, I ran 10km on Monday morning. I had very little discomfort during the run, but my calves and ankles were tight and sore after the run. They were still tight and sore the next morning, but I thought a short run in my regular shoes would help stretch and loosen the muscles. I was wrong.

I should have known it was a bad idea as it was hurting as soon as I began to run. The pain didn't go away during the run. I ran 5km and had to stop. Now my ankles (probably my Achilles tendons) were really sore. While running the adrenaline kicked in and I didn't realize how much they were hurting, but when I stopped I knew I had overdone it.

I think that anyone considering transitioning to barefoot running should realize that you may not be able to keep up your regular weekly running mileage. This is what I was trying to do and it resulted in an injury that kept me from running for over two weeks.

I recently interviewed, Erskien Lenier, who is a barefoot ultra marathoner. In the interview, I asked him what he would suggest as the best way to transition to running in minimalist shoes. One of the things he suggested is that you allow your body to fully recover and let the stresses heal completely before running again. Unfortunately, the knowledge from this interview came to me after this incident.

I realize now that a 10km run in my was probably too long at this stage and that I definitely should not have run the next day -- not even in my regular shoes.

I had to take 2 1/2 weeks off from running. It took that long for the swelling and soreness to leave my ankles. Luckily for me, there is a gym in our apartment block so I was safely able to work out on some non-impact equipment.

Now I take a more sensible approach to my transition to barefoot running. Currently, I am doing two shorts runs a week in my new New Balance Minimus Trail shoes. I decided to try these minimal shoes for a number of reasons. First of all, I think they will be easier to transition to as they have a slightly higher heel at 15.3 mm as opposed to the 7.2 mm heel height of the Vibram Five Finger shoes. I also wanted to purchase a pair of minimalist running shoes that I could wear during the colder months when there is snow and ice about.

I space my runs out over the week, so I do one early in the week and another one towards the end of the week. My ankles still feel sore after a run, but they feel better after a few days. I think my earlier estimate of completing a full transition in 10 weeks was a bit ambitious. Most people I know who have transitioned to barefoot running say that it takes about six months to completely transition. It takes patience to transition to a completely different style of running.

This is the first injury I have ever experienced from running, so you may be wondering why I want to make the change. I have read so much about the benefits of barefoot running and landing on your forefoot that I want to experience it. It is also a natural way of running that appeals to me as it allows me to use my natural foot mechanisms to improve my running. I no longer want to wear or run in a bulky running shoe that allows no foot movements or feedback. I know barefoot running is not for everyone, but for me, it is the way I would like to run.

Read more here:

Erskien Lenier Interview

Barefoot Running

Best Running Tips

Dominique De Rooij has the best running tips online. Through his website he helps 3000-4000 runners each day by providing running tips and answering many, many questions from runners. Dominique also offers runners individualized training programs through his coaching service. I recently interviewed Dominique to learn more about the man who provides the best running tips and helps so many people become better runners.

Click to check out the full interview: Dominique De Dooij Interview.

Is Backwards Running a Joke?

Would you turn around and run backwards? It sounds wacky and absurd, but makes so much sense when you know the facts. The Chinese have been walking and running backwards for thousands of years. Maybe we can learn something from them and the many others who take this method of running very seriously.

Read the full article here: Backwards Running

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Keep peaceful and keep running injury free,


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