I am new to the group and was hoping to get some advice. I have been forefoot striking for years now and have begun to refine my technique according to what Eric suggests. I have read the Cool Impossible multiple times, especially the section on running form. My "performance shoe" is the zero-drop Merrell Trail Glove and as I have been going through the workouts I have started to get pain in both of my feet (even if I transition to different/older shoes).

The bottom of my feet seem to be always sore in the morning and now pain has started to develop on the top of my left foot. Sadly, I have begun to think I may have a stress fracture, but more importantly does anyone know what I might be doing wrong in terms of running form that might cause this (leaning to far forward, too much bounce, etc.)? I have no pain or soreness any where else except my feet (even during the strength training). Does this sound like more of a transitioning shoe issue?

Anyways, would love to hear what everyone thinks as I'm running out of ideas. Thanks.


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Hey Kevin -

  • what were some of the things that you had to change to your form that was different than what you were doing prior? In other words, was the run form focus a bog change for you?
  • Did you also make the switch to the Trail Gloves during this time or have you had extensive time in them prior to the new form work?
  • Could you be keeping your heels elevated too much and not allowing them to strike the ground?

Hi Eric,

I guess I should give a little more background on the issue. I began training for the Denver Rock N Roll Marathon in early May in the Merrell Bare Access. I had been having problems with my foot since the Vancouver marathon earlier that year. I thought transitioning down to a more minimalist shoe would help strengthen my feet, hence the Merrell Bare Access shoes (I was told were a good transition shoe). To answer your first question, at the time I thought my form was good and that my feet were weak, so reduce the amount of "shoe" to strengthen the feet. My training was good and was planning on running the Denver Marathon in my Merrell Bare Access shoes but I began to suffer problems with my knee and prior to the race switched back to my old Adidas Adios Boosts. I ended up running a 2:43 with no pain the knee but my feet (mostly my ankles) were incredibly sore and the weeks after.

I ended up taking a couple of weeks off and told a personal trainer I'm friends with (Dennis Mellon - he had said he had run with you) about the issues I had been having. He suggested I read your book and try your training plan in the off-season. At that time (a little over a month ago) I bought the Trail Gloves to act as my performance shoe and really started to focus on running form and strength training. So to answer your second question I had not had time in them prior to the new form work.

As for the third question. I try to take video of myself running and I believe my progression is consistent - land on the forefoot, let the heel drop, then push off. Kind of at a loss and thinking maybe the pain stems from trying to maintain the form while running downhill (steep inclines in the mountains here in CO). But not sure.


Also, Eric, I wanted to say that I enjoyed your book. Right now I have been stagnant in terms of my running (2:41-2:43 for the past 5 marathons) and am hoping the training can help me breach the the 2:40 mark. I feel like the strength training is working and if I can figure out my foot issues, that would be the last piece.


Hey Kevin - well your problem is in knowing Dennis Mellon! ha, just kidding.  Tell him hello and glad he suggested the book.

When hearing of your symptoms, I immediately go to these things:

  • too much running volume/miles while you are trying new form and new shoes
  • running too fast during this transition time

Also, my gut feeling is based on your ability/race times, your speed ability is way ahead of your foot strength, therefore, you might need to run even slower than you think at first to develop the form and shoe transition.  Having said this, I feel it is more of a shoe/strength issue than form issue.

If you can't back off on run volume right now and slow way down, I would use the Trail Gloves for very short, easy form/strength focused runs and find a more protective shoe for longer/faster runs.

And you might find that you keep this philosophy going throughout the training:

  • very minimal shoe for easy strength/recovery/form runs
  • and a more protective zero drop or very low drop shoe for longer/faster quality runs.

I had the same problem and Eric's guess is spot on.  I did too much too soon in minimalist shoes several years ago and came down with major top of the foot pain.  I couldn't run for over a month.  After that injury, I did a slower transition to minimalist shoes and used my Altra's for longer distances while using minimalist shoes like the VFFs and Merrell's for shorter distances.  These days, I use my B2Rs for distances up to 10K, but for anything above that, I use my Altras.

Kevin your not alone with this, in early September 5-6 weeks out from the Melbourne Marathon, I developed a very sore spot on the top of my foot, near the big toe knuckle. It became inflamed making it uncomfortable to wear shoes. Up until then I was fine, training & continuing my transition to my B2R trail shoes. So what had changed, one morning it came to me, as part of Eric's marathon program sometimes twice a week you run concentrating on form for 30' or so. I love the feeling of this & wouldn't miss an opportunity to do this session. However I realised that these sessions plus using my B2R's was too much too soon. So I stopped running sessions in my B2R's for a couple of weeks & just did the barefoot running, leaving the B2R's in the cupboard & hey presto, my foot came good. Too much too soon!! Hope I've helped, enjoy the Journey.


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