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Barefoot, Marathon, Road Running, Trail Running

Ground Contact – Barefoot to Shoes

Good morning.

I have previously mentioned that I now have a Garmin Forerunner 620.  Having never used a sports watch before, and being a bit analytical by nature, I am mesmerised with all the stats provided.

So for me to have perfect form and or technique in running, I pretty much need to hit the purple bands on each of the graphs for pace, steps per minute, VO2 and Ground Contact Time (GCT).   I have managed to get purple on every  graph bar one so far, indicating a pretty good technique.  However on Ground Contact time I land more in blue than purple.  I then noticed something – when I run in shoes, my New balance zero drop Minimus, I get a blue GCT, but when I run BAREFOOT, I get the elusive purple target area.

comparison of barefoot and shod for Ground Contact Time (GCT)

comparison of barefoot and shod for Ground Contact Time (GCT)

A week ago I did an awesome 5km sprint, backed up the next day with an awful half marathon “race”, of which I got muscle fatigue from the second km.   So have used the week up having sports massages, feeling sorry for myself, taking a bit of a break and just working on sprint training.

On Tuesday we had sprint training usually on the pavement which is perfect for me.  Except this time we moved onto grass.  It was early in the morning and very very frosty.  The grass was actually covered in a fine layer of ice, which crunched and broke leaving my perfect little footprints behind as I ran along this.  Freezing cold barefoot ice crunching was not my idea of a fun start to the day.  My feet it seemed were also not impressed, as for the first time in a year of barefoot running, my soles have reacted, which as I have only done those two sprints in the last week, and my feet were physically aching from Tuesday, it is like the thick layer of my skin on my foot sole is trying to peel off.  Most annoying, and has left me with achy tired feet all week.  Either that or perhaps I am getting a tad worn out, although I have cut back to doing only about 60km a week at the moment.

foot soles not happy with being 'frozen!"

foot soles not happy with being ‘frozen!”

About Dale-Lyn

Hi, I am in my mid forties and run barefoot. Mostly really barefoot, sans any form of foot protection. My claim to fame for this blog, is that I have run my first full marathon completely and really barefoot, in a respectable time of 4:16. Scroll through my posts and enjoy them - all with a good sense of humour too. My story is simply my story of running barefoot, brought about by all the various questions people ask me. I am not a specialist of any sort or any particular athlete or doctor or guru. I am an average woman who runs barefoot, enters a few club runs and a few fun runs. I run races from 5km to marathon. I love trail running, and include chats about my trail adventures. To date, although I only started running end of August 2013, I have done nearly 2000km, of that at least 1500km in barefeet. Real barefoot. No minimalist shoes. Although when I do run in shoes I use my zero drop mimimus ones (haha - they are my ONLY pair of running shoes..) The blog tells of my journey through life, on the road, barefoot. The journey my real barefeet go through when they connect with the road. The emotions my real barefeet bring out - in me, in passers by, in fellow runners. The aggressive reactions and debates as to the well being of the real bare-feet I run in. The passive acceptance of my real bare-feet and their exposure to the elements. The humour to show those real bare-feet of mine are not just a piece of running equipment, a statement, a leftie or a rightie, but real flesh and blood feet with real issues. An interesting post note..I commenced my first active run in August 2013 progressing sporadically. But it really was only from May 2014 that I started running on a consistent and slightly more serious note and slightly faster than walking pace. I am scheduled to run my Comrades Marathon in May 2015..that is a massive progression from walk/shuffle er um excuse me look at me run.. to aiming to run a World famous Ultra. Some one pinch me please!


2 thoughts on “Ground Contact – Barefoot to Shoes

  1. I would wonder if the ground contact time is affected at all by how long you intend to run. What I mean is that it looks like the barefoot run came from a shorter run of around 30 minutes, and the shod run lasted over 1 hour and 40 minutes. It’s not hard to imagine that if you’re going to run longer, that along with cadence slowing down, the ground contact time might also increase.

    Still, I think that perhaps if you were to control the variable of how long you run, you will still find slightly faster ground contact time when barefoot.


    Posted by scratchtype1 | October 13, 2014, 8:30 pm
    • I believe you may have a point. I will checked my comparison to my first 5km run in shoes, which was a minute slower than my barefoot 5km, and I blue lined. Barefoot I purple lined. Did intervals today barefoot, and again achieved the purple GCT. However yesterday did a very easy 15k barefoot, and GCT is blue line. So I will do the 15k next week at threshold and see the outcome? I find these stats fascinating.


      Posted by Dale-Lyn | October 14, 2014, 8:54 am

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