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Barefoot Running Step by Step (2011)

Always Remember…

  1. Running Barefoot should be comfortable (on almost any terrain)
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Pages: [1]
Author Topic: About relaxing your calves
tsdh
Newbie
Posts: 2
Permalink
Post About relaxing your calves
on: 2013 Oct 25 Fri, 09:56
Quote

Hi all,

I'm just reading Ken Bob's book and basically I like it much, though I do have some slight issues with understanding because English isn't my mother's tongue. So this question is probably just one of those.

So Ken says we should relax our calves when running barefoot, and the typical achilles pains common to runners switching to forefoot running result from not doing that.

But when to relax the calves? I mean, it's obvious that you should relax them after your foot left the ground, but I'm getting the impression he means while landing. But then it looks to me that after my ball touches the ground, my heel comes down unbraked, and the only suspension is my leg with its bent knee and the arch of the foot.

Also, I seems I'm losing "springiness". I mean, the "human spring" works by compressing the leg (bending the knee) and compressing the foot (bending the ankle) and letting them spring back. When my calves are relaxed, I don't load the lower spring, don't I?

Thanks for clarifications,
Tassilo

kenbobsaxt-
on
Administrator
Posts: 117
Permalink
Post Re: About relaxing your calves
on: 2013 Nov 8 Fri, 18:34
Quote

The springs in the arch of the foot are tiny compared to the ones in the leg. We expect too much out of the arch of our foot when we tense up our calves - which also results in a straighter leg.

Land with a bent knee, and as you land, your knee will bend more, even as your heel touches. The natural tension of the calf muscles will prevent impact on the heel. Also because the impact is spread over time as the knees and ankle bend. So effectively, when your heel touches immediately after the balls of the foot, full weight has not yet loaded on the foot.

Don't be afraid to exaggerate the bent knees, this is only a drill, not exactly how you're going to be running over distance or speed, but it should help give you an idea of how gentle you can land with relaxed calves, to take away your fear.

Have Fun,
-Ken Bob Saxton

kenbobsaxt-
on
Administrator
Posts: 117
Permalink
Post Re: About relaxing your calves
on: 2013 Nov 8 Fri, 18:36
Quote

P.S. ALWAYS ... is when to relax the calves...

... unless you're trying to reach something on the top shelf.

Have Fun,
-Ken Bob Saxton

LeeChase
Newbie
Posts: 18
Permalink
Post Re: About relaxing your calves
on: 2013 Dec 17 Tue, 16:21
Quote

I suffered with my achilies and it was mostly a too much too soon. The truth is if you take up any sport your muscles need time to adjust. If you were running in spongy heeled shoes you'd likely complain that your hams and glutes were sore. When you start running barefoot your under worked calves need time to adjust. Note that tired, sore muscles are tense muscles, tense muscles are not relaxed.

So when starting out barefoot take your time to build up your distance. Nobody would expect to do a 'Couch to 5K' regime in a day, a non-barefoot runner should not expect to go shoes to 5K in a day either. In fact a couch to 5K might be a good way to transition.

ciscobudge
Newbie
Posts: 3
Permalink
Post Re: About relaxing your calves
on: 2013 Dec 17 Tue, 22:13
Quote

I found the drills in that KB's book very helpful on how to stay bent and relaxed. I had great problems bending my knees at first, now I look like I am sitting when I run and it feels good - so far!

tsdh
Newbie
Posts: 2
Permalink
Post Re: About relaxing your calves
on: 2014 Feb 26 Wed, 07:33
Quote

Hi Ken, LeeChase, and ciscobudge,

thanks for clearing that up for me. In fact, bending my knees even a bit more and not exaggerating a forefoot stride (as I've probably done when I started) has made a big difference for me, especially when it comes to hot spots on my soles.

And sorry for the late reply. I've somehow thought I'd get a notification mail when someone answers.

Bye,
Tassilo

kenbobsaxt-
on
Administrator
Posts: 117
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Post Re: About relaxing your calves
on: 2014 Mar 26 Wed, 22:14
Quote

They may be going in your junk mail box or "social" mailbox (which is also why I'm replying late).

Have Fun,
-Ken Bob Saxton

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