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forefoot running and calf soreness

Commented on July 13, 2015
Created June 04, 2012 at 5:35 PM

I know alot of paleohackers hate running, but I'm getting back into seasonal runs now that it's summer. I run in New Balance minimus shoes, with a forefoot stride. My first run was on saturday and I've had calf soreness for the past couple of days.

Who has/had similar issues, and was it caused by bad form, or simply going to hard after a long break from running? Any particular stretches/cooldowns etc that help with this?

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on June 05, 2012
at 03:55 AM

You dance in heels?! Props. :)

870fdea50f2a9f1cd2890c8e22549300

(2056)

on June 04, 2012
at 10:03 PM

+1. I've been making a very gradual transition to zero-drop (except for the heels I wear dancing) over the course of a year.

Aa968cafce96d1810cb1014c7545d4a5

(90)

on June 04, 2012
at 06:41 PM

i'll second the "don't overdo it" comment. too much too soon is a major cause of people getting hurt when they switch to minimal running (and then of course they blame the shoes). start going barefoot more often if you can, even for walks around the block, to build up your feet as well.

Medium avatar

(19479)

on June 04, 2012
at 06:28 PM

Running in minimalist shoes or completely barefoot changes your stride (as you said "forefoot") and as a result, the calf muscles (mainly the gastrocnemius and soleus) have do to a lot more deceleration than they would if you were heel striking (which places more deceleration stress on the ankle dorsiflexors a la "shin splints"). Some DOMS is expected the first handful of times you go out, but it will subside. I can do a 5+ mile run with vibrams or barefoot now without any soreness when I used to limp for a week after doing a single mile.

07ca188c8dac3a17f629dd87198d2098

(7970)

on June 04, 2012
at 05:46 PM

Can't add any more than this. Your calves just aren't used to what you're asking them to do.

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5 Answers

4
5cd8441bd01fc10816085bfc092477c4

(925)

on June 04, 2012
at 05:39 PM

I love love love to run! If you haven't run in a while, it may just be the normal "getting back into it" soreness. Don't overdo it, just take it slow, even if you can only run/walk a mile to start, just take it easy and make sure you stretch nicely afterwards, maybe use a tennis ball to roll the lactic acid out of your sore calves.

Aa968cafce96d1810cb1014c7545d4a5

(90)

on June 04, 2012
at 06:41 PM

i'll second the "don't overdo it" comment. too much too soon is a major cause of people getting hurt when they switch to minimal running (and then of course they blame the shoes). start going barefoot more often if you can, even for walks around the block, to build up your feet as well.

07ca188c8dac3a17f629dd87198d2098

(7970)

on June 04, 2012
at 05:46 PM

Can't add any more than this. Your calves just aren't used to what you're asking them to do.

2
F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on June 04, 2012
at 09:41 PM

Calf soreness is perfectly natural when switching to a forefoot strike. As long as you run with some regularity, it shouldn't be a problem for much longer.

Think about it. Have you ever heard of folks complaining about how women's legs and feet get all wonky from constantly wearing high heels? It's because raised heels shorten the Achilles and it actually atrophies because it is prohibited from a full range of motion. All the shoes we wear today are lifted in the heel, thereby atrophying everyone's Achilles (and other related muscles and ligaments, etc.) to varying degrees.

The Achilles tendon is not a muscle and can't be stretched out quickly. This will take time to undo all the years of abuse. Trust me, I know. I've been at the forefoot strike and barefoot running now for a little over a year, and my calves still occasionally get sore. If you're a runner who's used to high mileage, please promise me that you'll take it easy with the forefoot stuff for a few months. Otherwise, you might be one of those folks who gets injured right outta the gates and declare that forefoot striking "doesn't work for me". When your muscles are "sore", this means your joints are at risk because they don't have the normal support they require to hold them together properly. So don't overdo the stretching when you're sore! This may feel good in the short term, but it's actually counterproductive. Let it heal before going out hard again.

It will also help to go barefoot as much as possible elsewhere, at home, in the garden, etc. I've also begun switching out almost all of my shoes to ones with zero or little drop.

Welcome to the wonderful world of forefoot striking! Be sure and try some actual barefooting to refine your form. Can't fake it when you're barefoot.

870fdea50f2a9f1cd2890c8e22549300

(2056)

on June 04, 2012
at 10:03 PM

+1. I've been making a very gradual transition to zero-drop (except for the heels I wear dancing) over the course of a year.

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on June 05, 2012
at 03:55 AM

You dance in heels?! Props. :)

1
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on June 04, 2012
at 05:56 PM

I've been playing around with a forefoot strike on my runs, and I can definitely feel it in my calves afterwards. You're not alone, though I can't say if this is normal or to be expected.

0
2589a28ad6a591cd5a19dc53082f57c0

on June 04, 2012
at 08:33 PM

Welcome back to running :) Ensure you are running on your mid-forefoot and not on your toes. That would definitely cause calf pain. Everything from your knee down should be relaxed when running, including your feet. If you video yourself running it will give you pointers. Read up on POSE running technique and if possible get some coaching.

0
Eb547bd3d1c1653933003c34496efa26

on June 04, 2012
at 06:51 PM

Ease back into it. I run marathons.. and I just started to transitioning into minimal running shoes for my longer runs. Dont over do it. You will feel it more in your calves.

3da8fd4106010caeab995e1f3aa30a9f

on July 13, 2015
at 01:46 AM

I use a golf ball muscle roller to massage my legs, it definitely helps my muscles be way less sore, seriously check it out! zzathletics

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