Barefoot run #3

On the 5 minute barefoot section of today’s run I still had a feeling of pounding in my heels. I took Mark’s advice and I tried leaning forwards. It did work, but at a cost.

I felt like I was having to lean a long way to get the sensation to stop. I thought I’d mastered the lean with my progress in chi running, but obviously not – my heart rate went sky high again.

I know I run slow but it seems I’m running too slow to be able to run barefoot for any length of time (even 5 minutes is too much).

If I’m going to give barefoot running a good test, I’m going to have to take the advice of the experts and start my beginners running program again from scratch.



  1. Hi Debra,

    What you are experiencing is not at all unusual. I went through it as did many others. You are right to think of yourself as a new runner. Your body may have some bad biomechanics to unlearn. I’m not pressuring but if you listen to your body, doesn’t it seem odd it is struggling to run barefoot? That’s because it’s been trained to run incorrectly in shoes! Maybe spend some time in the barefoot running group? They are terrific to talk to! Good luck Debra.

  2. Thanks.

    It’s clearly not as simple as throwing away your shoes – if it was there would be no real benefit. It’s good to know my experience is normal.

  3. I’m afraid my heel is way too damaged to risk barefoot running, any more cushioning and I’ll be 2 feet taller .Have to admit the idea interests me though ,has done ever since Zola Budd appeared on the scene. Good luck.

  4. I’ve got to ask this–especially since I had 2 knee surgeries this year to repair 3 medial meniscus tears–it really worth all the pounding on your ankles, heels, and knees?

  5. I hope you don’t mind me jumping in here but if you run correctly, there is no pounding. The problem as I see it is that we learn poor form because shoes “protect” us in such a way as we can continue running with bad form and pound the ground in our shoes. When you run barefoot, you get feedback from the ground and learn proper, non-pounding form. Your injuries may be due to poor form. Of course, I could be wrong. This is just my opinion. 🙂

  6. Thanks, Mark, for explaining that.
    Maybe it didn’t come across clearly enough in my post – I knew that the pounding was wrong, and worryingly, it must be the way I normally run with shoes. Only the shoes mask it.

    I think Patty’s question ‘is it really worth all the pounding on your ankles, heels, and knees?’ also applies to shod running, and for me the answer is no. That’s why I’m giving barefoot running a go.

  7. Right. Really, when it comes down to it, it is poor form we want to eliminate. One can certainly have poor form while running barefoot but the consequences are immediate when barefoot. If given a choice, I would be more interested in getting people to run with good form, than to run barefoot! (but, of course, I am an advocate of barefoot running too).

  8. Hi Debra. When your body stops you, as it has with this flu, I always think of it as a time for the imagination to soar. How is your writing going?

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