Easy Training Schedule for Barefoot Half Marathon

Have you always wanted to run a half marathon? Most people can achieve the feat. Unfortunately, many programs don’t give barefoot runners enough time to recuperate. This regime gives a person one day of rest between runs. The rest periods allow for recovery, thickening of the foot pads, and time to write blog posts. This program is also good for a person who is transitioning into minimalist/ “barefoot” shoes.

Maybe you ran a full marathon in 2011 and just want t take it easy this summer. Maybe you’re wondering which barefoot running shoes work best. You might ask yourself questions such as, “Are there running shoes for mid to long distances?”

Sandals are my personal choice for all distances. BUT I did buy a pair of Merrel Road Gloves for work and I love how comfortable they are. Vibrams five fingers suck!!!! They look stupid, they stink, and they give satanic blisters. They are the pandora’s box of running shoes. Next to sandals, Merrell’s are dang good. Enough five fingers, sports shoes, barefeet, running without shoes keyword stuffing.  Onto the program:

Easy Barefoot Half Marathon Training Schedule
WEEK 1 3 3 4
WEEK 2 3 3 4
WEEK 3 3.5 3.5 5
WEEK 4 3.5 3.5 5
WEEK 5 4 4 6
WEEK 6 4 4 3
WEEK 7 4.5 4.5 7
WEEK 8 4.5 4.5 8
WEEK 9 5 5 6
WEEK 10 5 5 9
WEEK 11 5 5 10
WEEK 12 4 4 Rest Half Marathon!
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Covert Hippie Praises Sandals

Hirschvogel Sandals
Image via Wikipedia

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that Mr. Valen Longfeather is making some major life changes. But, at heart, I’m still a fun loving hippie. In my latest YouTube Video, I kick, yet again, the horse of barefoot shoes–you see I still mix metaphors. You may wonder if I kick the horse with a straight bare foot or with a fancy sandal wearing foot or  with some other stylish minimalist shoe wearing foot. The truth is that sometimes I kick it straight bare other times I kick it wearing classy sandals.

You are probably thinking that I am ramblings; you are probably right. Just watch the video. It is slightly more focused. It will take more than short hair, organization, goals, and better hygiene to tame this wild beast.

Thanks for watching, thanks for reading. May you be healthy, may you be happy, may you live with ease.

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Haunted Shoes: The Harm of Over-Pronation

Pronation and below, supination (19DYp12)
Image by sportEX magazines via Flickr

Did you know that:  “Gait is the single most complex motor function of the human body?”

It involves half of the body’s 650 muscles and 200 bones, along with a large share of the joints and ligaments. (Dr. Rossi)

As many of you know I suffered from serious barefoot running injuries when I started running without shoes. I partially ruptured both Achilles tendons, I severely ripped my calf muscle, and I suffered a little top of foot pain.

After some recovery and conscious effort, I have FINALLY DISCOVERED the SOURCE of my Lower Leg Barefoot Running Injuries. In addition to “going to far too fast” a major cause was OVER-pronation.

Yes, I know some pronation is natural and good, but OVER pronation is NOT. It can damage your lower leg.

Here is text-book Runner’s World Explanation of Over-Pronation and the by the book, orthotic fix for it:

The problem I had was the bad habit of walking and running wrong. My shoes had allowed me to walk with klonky unhealthy steps and strides. They allowed me to over-pronate with impunity. However, when I took off my shoes, my body let me know right away that something was wrong.

By trail and error, I discovered the secret to my particular problem. It was to straighten my feet. I tended to angle my feet outward, this put a lot of stress on torn calf. In fact, I can tell right away if I’m falling back into the old stride because my calf will bark at me if let my foot angle out.

This video about Chi running has some practical advice about how to correct over-pronation with better form, rather than with orthotics.

Danny Dreyer describes Chi running form and the use of shoes, but I applied his suggestion to my barefoot form and they have helped tremendously. Pointing my feet straight forward rather than angling them has eased a lot of stress to lower leg. It takes conscious effort, but it’s worth it. In a few days, I will post a video of about this and show some of the other tricks I learned about proper barefoot running form.

The problem with shoes is that simply cover-up the dangers of bad form. It’s like bailing water from a leaky boat instead of fixing the leak. Orthotics will make you bail until the boat finally sinks; going barefoot will put you in a shiny new yacht.

Now You Can Prevent Barefoot Blood Blisters

Grown male right foot (angle 1)
Image via Wikipedia

It’s difficult to believe, but running barefoot can decrease the number of blisters you get from running. Of course, running barefoot the wrong way can dramatically increase the number of gruesome blood blisters you get too. Blistering usually occurs around the front of the foot or on the toes. Blisters on the toes and front of the foot indicate a tendency to sweep or pull the foot backward. It is this longer contact with the turf that produces  more friction resulting in the unsightly blisters.

The key to preventing, not eliminating, these nasty blood blisters is to decrease friction. The foot and toes should NOT drag across the ground. They should bounce up and down. You’re not trying to pull yourself across the pavement, it’s more of a hopping motion. Terrain also plays a role. Asphalt will give more blisters than soft dirt or grass.

Ugly blood blisters are not the end of the world, but they aren’t fun either.You can, however, decrease the severity and frequency of blistering by improving your stride or by wearing running sandals. If you do get a blood blister, it’s best to leave it alone. Do your best to protect and prevent anything from breaking it. If it does break, put some antibacterial cream or ointment on it to decrease the chance of infection.

Luckily, blisters on the soles of your feet and toes tend heal more quickly than the ones on your sides of your foot. You, do, of course, feel the ones of your soles a bit more.


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3 Easy Barefoot Running Programs.

Image via Wikipedia

As I have mentioned many times, barefoot running has to be eased into. In fact, many responsible, barefoot shoe makers, such as SoftStar, are putting caveats on their products. You can, however, discuss deep philosophical topics without shoes or special training like these scholars of old.

In the “how to run barefoot” section of my site, I include a video that has step by step instructions about how to start running barefoot. But some people prefer reading and want to have a schedule. So, here are three resources to help first timers make the transition to barefoot running:

  1. The utter beginner program. For people who haven’t run a while and want to start out in their barefeet.
  2. The shod to shodless runner. For people who run in bouncy shoes, but want to become hippie barefoot runners.
  3. The “common sense” approach. This is for people who want advice from a Harvard man. Yes, it’s Lieberman.  Lieberman is a luminary  in the barefoot running community. His paper about the evolutionary roots of running explains much about the our biological need for cardio vasular exercise: “endurance running is a derived capability of the genus Homo, originating about 2 million years ago, and may have been  instrumental in the evolution of the human body form.”
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How I turned my Legs into Calorie Burning Machines

Muscles of the front of the leg.
Image via Wikipedia

My lower leg has transformed into a beautiful piece of art. Were I to shave it, it could serve as a shining example of the muscles of the lower leg; you can almost see the fibers of my tibialis anterior; heck I never even knew I had a muscle on the front of my leg. My new and improved lower leg is balanced, beautiful and it burns more calories with each step.

Why does it burn more calories?

As you may know I’m recovering from a torn soleus. I ripped it by doing too many eccentric heel drops and attempting to “run  through lower leg pain”. Big mistake. But I learned my lesson.

Whilst recovering from the injury I supplanted my running regime with some of my wife’s Jillian Michaels workouts. Her program focuses on 3 minutes of strength, 2 minutes of cardio and one minute of abs.

Ironically, it’s the strength portion that leads me to believe that barefooting burns more calories. The exercises in the strength portion involve a lot of movement. For example, Jillian has you do bicep curls as  you do lunges. The idea is to work more muscles at once; thereby burning more calories. By burning more calories, she assures me that I’ll be able to fit into that “strapless dress”. (HMMM, I don’t think the neighbors would be too keen on a barefoot Indian dude with tattoos running down the street in a strapless dress.  )

So, what the heck does that have to with barefooting? Remember my new lower leg?  Walking barefoot puts all of the muscles of your lower leg into action. So much so, that lower leg and foot shape have visibly changed. Since barefooting puts more muscles to work, it stands to reason that it burns more calories. Probably not a truckload more, but step by step a little more than shoes.



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5 & 1/18 Secrets to Blistered Feet & Fouled Shoes Why I hate Vibram Five Fingers

  1. Double Bubble Blisters

    Vibrams will make your feet look as if they were dipped in hot lava. Monstrous, ugly

    A woman wears Vibram
    Image via Wikipedia

    oozing blisters burst like bubbles in cannibal stew.The shoes are  elegant black gardens for world class germs. Only infection can blossom in such foul ground.

  2. Hot Brewed Stench

    Vibrams can brew a wicked and unforgivable stench. It’s a funky and deeply disturbing odor. I like to imagine there is an organic exterminator who uses the Vibram fumes to kill weeds and maybe even as a replacement for “bug bomb” in a toxic tent.

  3. Sole Shock

    Vibrams do offer some minor arch support and the sole is relatively thick for a barefoot shoe. As a result, some runners still heel strike when they wear them. In fact, Oberman got a stress fracture from running with a heavy stride in Vibrams.

  4. Stupid as Blue Mountains

    The toe glove/squid mitten is dumb. The forced separation of the toes does nothing for your foot. It’s just a marketing gimmick–kind like those stupid Coors Cold Activated Bottles; even if the mountain’s are blue, you’re better off eating yellow snow.

  5. Shoe Struggles

    It took me 5 minutes to get the damned  things on my foot. Sandals take less than a minute and that includes a custom, gladiator style lace.

    5 & 1/18. Vibrams have too many pronunciations (eg vEEbrUM, vEEbrAM, v-EYE-brum, v-EYEbrAM. I’m sure there are others). Sandals have one.

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DIY Running Sandals / Authentic Barefoot Shoes

DIY Sandal
Do It Yourself Tarahumara / Ruramari

Have you ever wanted to make your own running shoes? Steven makes it easy with his step by step Tarahumara Running Sandal Kits. He shows you everything you need to know to build a custom running sandal.

If you’re not into DIY, Invisible Shoes will also cut and construct a custom shoe for you. You just trace your foot and mail them the template.

If you’re going to run in a barefoot shoe, but don’t want to spend too much money for a running sandal, I highly recommend Invisible Shoes.

BTW, you can use Steven’s  excellent instructional videos to make your own Tarahumara running sandals out of other materials. I built some out of cardboard, oven mitts, and an old doormat. I use the oven-mit sandals for treadmill running. (The cardboard sandals were a joke.)


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3 More Secrets to Joyful Barefoot Running

  1. Run on Soft, Level Terrain

    Running straight bare on concrete hammers your feet hard. If you start out this way, you’ll most likely suffer from top of foot pain, achilles aches, and plantar faccitis. Running barefoot on concrete is ADVANCED–but definitely something to strive for because you look so damn cool running barefoot on the black asphalt. It’s entertaining just to watch the puzzled expressions of onlookers. You also learn right way about the difference between children and adults. Usually children will ask you why you’re running barefoot. They want to understand you–to fit you into their world. Most other adults think they know where you belong in their tiny world. They say thing like, “Put on some shoes.” “You forgot your shoes.” or “You’ll ruin your feet.” There are a variety of comebacks for these remarks. I will cover them in my next podcast. But beginners should not have to worry too much about such comments because running barefoot on pavement is not for beginners.

    A nice run around the soft grass of a local park or baseball diamond can instantly reveal joys of barefoot running without stressing your feet too much. When running on grass, AVOID the PERIMETER, WHERE the GRASS MEETS THE ROAD. These places are treacherous for bare-footers. They are minefields of shattered glass, rusty screws, and dirty condoms. Seriously, you don’t want step any of that with naked feet. USUALLY, the interior grass is safer, but you should always be diligent when running barefoot on any surface.

    As the skin of sole thickens, you’ll be able to stomp over most road hazards with little risk. I’ve accidentally stepped on glass. To my surprise, my bare foot broke the glass and I was unharmed. I don’t recommend it, but the skin on the sole your foot is pretty damn tough.

    Running barefoot on concrete in rain also increases the chances of cuts. The rain drains the super protection of your sole by turning the hard skin into mush. The one serious cut I got was from running barefoot was in the rain. I stepped on a shard of clear glass. It was impossible to spot in the fat Oregon rain, which pops the instant it hits the ground–quite lovely in its own way. I was able to dig the shard of glass from my foot on the curb, but it did draw blood.

  2. Forefoot/MidFoot Strike, Soft Stride

    I have a collection of videos about the every so mystical barefoot stride. Watch them. Here are two keys to a good barefoot stride: First Key: forefoot/midfoot strike: You should NOT lead with your heal when running barefoot. Instead your forefoot should land first, followed by a soft tap of the heel. The Second Key: Soft Stride. You are ACTIVELY TRYING to DECREASE THE FORCE WITH WHICH YOUR FOOT HITS THE GROUND. Wearing a necklace will help you track your stride. I have written that in many posts because it’s so damn important. Speed will come later–and it will come. When you’re starting out, it’s better to go slow and soft.

  3. Use “Barefoot” Shoes

    Although Barefoot shoes are for experienced barefoot runners, they can help you. Barefoot shoes are great for trail runs. They give the feel of bare-footing with some protection and since the trail is usually soft, you don’t have as many impact driven issue as you do on concrete. But you still have to seek a soft stride and refrain from the deadly heel strike.