For all of you who are getting pounded with snow/cold/ice, just wanted to say, do not discount how valuable treadmill running can be.  It is great for:

  • good form practice, as the moving tread will 'try' to pull you into bad form.  So this is a great time to work on driving the knee forward.
  • Improves leg speed running at a consistent pace.
  • Wonderful way to build strength by doing intervals and tempo running at a steady pace when this is hard to do out in bad weather.
  • Good mental training to hold a steady pace that might be a little faster than your normal pace outside.

I just did 8 X 2 min at s95 and the body feels great.

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I just tried the forefoot strike for the first time, on the treadmill (winter in Vermont), 5 miles.  Felt great in terms of breathing/cardio, and form felt great too.  Only thing is painful calves and forefoot blisters after.  Is this normal for just starting out?  Was 5 mi. too much?  Thanks.

Hey John - this is all normal, but 5 miles is be too much if this is a drastic change for you.  I would start out with 10-15 mins at a time and progress from there.  You think your calves are sore now, wait till tomorrow - ha!

Thanks for the post - E

Hey, thanks for the quick reply Eric.  5 miles is a typical weekday run for me, it's just been heel-strike prior to today!  (Been reading Born to Run and checking out your website.)  Might also be my NB 719s and/or the thin Wigwam Ironman Triathlon socks. 

Thanks a lot for the feedback.  I'll brace myself for tomorrow.  J

Be patient with it, as that is the hardest part until your foot strength and form catches up with your cardio fitness.  As your foot strength improves, you will want to get out of those shoes, as they will start to feel very uncomfortable, especially near the arch.  I have a new foot strength program coming in DVD - hopefully launch in April.  I am trying to hurry - ha.


Eric what shoes would you recommend switching to?  Nike Frees, Vibram FFs, others?  I'll keep an eye out for the DVD.  Thanks, John

I've been using the following zero drop shoes over the last year:

B2R Road Performance Shoes

I imagine Eric would recommended these shoes. :-)
Pros: My favorite shoes for balancing cushion with ground feel. I think I am faster in these shoes compared to the others.
Cons: Toe box does not match the shape of my wide Fred Flintstone feet, but most “normal” shoes don’t either. Would be the perfect shoe for me if the toe box was wider like VIVOBAREFOOT and Altra.


Pros: I love these shoes. They fit my foot very well. Lack of cushioning makes them feel nearly identical to running barefoot.
Cons: Feet get fairly sore on any run over 7 miles. The blue dye has stained some of my socks. Have had to glue them once already where one of the factory glued seems started to separate.

Vibram FiveFingers SeeYa LS

Pros: Like these a lot. They fit my foot very well. Seem to have a bit more cushioning than the VIVOBAREFOOT ONEs. Would probably run in them more often if it wasn't for the odor issues.
Cons: Major odor issues. Wearing toe socks helps, but they still need washed frequently. Feet were a bit sore after wearing them for my half-marathon, but not as sore as the VIVOBAREFOOT ONEs.

Altra Superior Instinct 2.0

Pros: They fit my foot well. Lots of cushioning for long runs. Not as flexible as the other less-cushioned shoes. In-stock at a local running store.
Cons: Too much cushioning I think; almost feel wobbly at times. In hindsight, wish I would have ordered a pair of the Altra One2 from Zappos instead of buying the Instincts locally.

I did 2 miles on Sunday, barefoot, on the treadmill.  Normally I'd rather eat rocks or pull out my armpit hair than run on a treadmill.  But this being my first week of barfefoot/minimalist training and there were wind gusts of 45 mph, I thought I would try it.


I gotta say, the newness of running barefoot made it almost fun.  Had some pretty big blisters on my big toe, but other than that, it was good.

did you notice the belt actually gets pretty hot?  I bet treadmill designers never considered that! :)


when i look for a treadmill i purposely look for one with the least 'spring' or cushioning.  treadmill belts can be suspended by springs that are supposed to ease your footstrike.  but it really has the opposite affect, the softer the surface the harder you come down on it (in search of 'firm footing').  


I was watching a guy at the gym this week running on the TM with nike free 5.0s (like the ones I put >1500miles on) - he was still heel striking, but the treadmill is so forgiving and the 5.0s have 13mm of heel lift and a cushioned heel.  this shows that you can still cheat on your form :(

Regarding the heel strike:  A few years ago, I was training to run with a heel strike; my 2 mile and 5k times got fast, but the injuries piled up.  But, I think what promotes a heel strike in me, is the raised heel, which my Nike frees had.


Although new to minimalist running, I am fairly certain that if i were to go run on grass barefoot, that I could do a heel strike.


I wonder if a person could train to run barefoot on hard surfaces with a heel strike?  If you used other leg muscles to land softly, I think it could be done relatively painlessly.  Not that I am going to try it, haha.

lol, yeah not going to try it either! Best cue that worked for me to forefoot strike was the increase in cadence (to 180). When I showed my local running store the miles i'd put on the shoes i'd bought from them they said ' you must have a light for strike' haha, I want a trophy that says that.
Hi, could someone help me out?
I have been running in minimalist shoes for almost a year now and have been easily doing about 20 miles a week pain free.
I started the strategic running foundation programme 3 weeks ago (religiously doing all the slant board exercises...) and all was going great.
Last week (after not using the treadmill for a couple of years) I did one of the runs on a treadmill - ended up with really sore calves. On my next outdoor run the lower part of my calf (soleus?) became really painful. The day after I had mild pain in the ankle and Achilles and now the ankle joint is just a bit stiff. Is it likely this is a result of doing too much on the treadmill? When can I get back to normal running? Thanks.
Hi Kinga first of all welcome to this amazing and wonderful place that is ful of sincer and genuine people.
From what you describe I'd say given you hav'nt run on a tread mill for 2 years that this is the cause of your calf pain. You may have changed your foot strike while running on the treadmill as you keep to a set pace that is not controlled by you.
I would listen to your body and back off on your running for a bit so as to let your calves settle down. Keep us posted on your progress.


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