I first tried a barefoot approach to running in the form of Pose Running a few years ago because I got injured by my Saucony stability shoes. I later found out it was compartment syndrome in my anterior shin compartment I suffered from. There is “… only one form of effective treatment for this injury, and that is a surgical procedure in which the lining of the tight compartment is split, allowing the mucle to expand freely” according to Noakes pp. 833-834. Good thing I didn’t know that at the time, and set about correcting the underlying biomechanical issues instead.
At first I tried going to 100% Pose Running, cold turkey style, in a pair of Puma H-streets, which of course gave me sore calves like never before. In the beginning it took 5-6 days for the pain to subside, after around 6 weeks it was down to 3 days, and then it didn’t get better. Which was very discouraging. I was saved by the Nike Free 4.0 shoes that had just come out, they proved to be a good compromise.
Later I’ve fallen completely in love with Newton shoes.
In retrospect all my problems came from the misunderstanding that for Pose Running the heel is not supposed to touch the ground at all. This seems to be a common misconception when learning, so let me just say here that my experience is that everything gets better when you start to support your weight on a flat foot in the middle phase of the step. If you’re a fast runner with a very fast turnover—unlike me—you might be able to run more on your forefoot, at least that’s what I think I tend to do when running strides at around 3’30"/km and a cadence of 95 or faster, and also the reason incorporating strides is a great idea in general, year round.
All is not perfect though; this morning when I got out of bed and put weight on my right foot my right calf was very stiff and sore, so much that I had a limp the first 5 minutes. It probably started on April 18th (Ahh, the value of a training log. Intensity kills—or at least injures—in case you were wondering). So I’m back to my current Newtons and had a completely unproblematic run in them this morning.
So I guess I should reintroduce the FiveFingers in a weeks time or so, and then only run half of my runs in them, and none of the longer runs, where longer is defined as anything above 60 minutes or so. And nothing fast, not even strides, for a while.