/ Progression in running

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EspenK - on 15 Jan 2013
Hi y'all,

I recently (mid December) threw my old running shoes away to get into "barefoot" running in Vibram Fivefingers. Starting on absolute scratch, and after a long history of problems (feet, knees, lower back) I have now progressed quite a bit. The other day I ran 17km, which is pretty much twice the furthest distance I ever ran in conventional shoes. Could barely walk the next day, but here's the point; All the pain is muscular. Previously, I'd have to stop either because I ran out of air or because my knees started aching. With the vibrams, I have to stop because my calf muscles get tired, and it's only the calf muscles that are sore the next day.

Now the internet keeps urging me to progress slowly, 10% a week seems to be the trend, however I just want to keep running. For the first time in my life I'm actually enjoying it, and aiming for my first Marathon in June.

The other tip I keep getting is to listen to my body, which at the moment is telling me that running is awesome and that it wants to go further next time. Are there any pitfalls, will my knees fall off or my back suddenly splinter, rendering me an injured wreck once again, or can I safely keep running and increasing the distance as long as it doesn't hurt anywhere?

Thanks,
Espen
Wonrek - on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to EspenK:

You just said your calves we're hurting? That's your body telling you that you're doing too much too soon, listen to it and ease back. The 10% distance increase advice is there for a reason because to ignore is to overtrain and risk injury.

It isn't your body telling you to keep going you body is tellin you it's sore and you're pushing too much too soon.

If I were you I'd listen to my body if you genuinely want to arrive at the start line in June.
EspenK - on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to Wonrek: Thanks for your feedback, but the thing is; it's my calf muscles that ache, nothing else. And I obviously wait to let my muscles recover before running again. Your muscles get sore from any sport you do, and I've never heard anyone say that muscle soreness is a sign of overtraining? In a gym setting, I'd be pretty disappointed if I never had sore muscles the day after a training session, whereas I would slow down and rethink my training at once if say my shoulders started aching.
jamesc88 on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to EspenK: I went from standard trainers to barefoot and ran a 1:48 half marathon 4 days after getting the shoes. Have had no injury what so ever and now happily run 30miles a week.

I'm sure there is some wisdom in the 10% rule but found the best way was to just listen to my body. I had a little bit of muscle ache for probably the first week or two but since then it's been a joy.

You'll find your running style will change to land on the ball of your feet not your heel, so your knees will be happier, not hurt more. Your legs will take a while to get used to it but once you're there you are in running heaven. Don't get caught up in the 'barefoot will kill your for the first 6 months' thing spread all over the internet, a lot of it comes from the manufacturers who don't like to see negative reviews from people injuring themselves and blaming the shoes. Bad workmen and all that.

Barefoot was the single best move I've made, looking forward to more road racing in 2013!
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DancingOnRock - on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to EspenK: The 10% rule is because your cardio vascular system adapts much quicker than your joints, tendons, ligaments and muscles do.

If you start off with very good cardio vascular fitness you run the risk of damaging yourself.

10% is quite a lot, I think 20% would be fine. Progression at that rate is very quick. You would be up to your 12miles within 6weeks if you started at 5miles. Your body will already be strengthed for running, you're just stretching the muscles more.

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