Sore Calves From Running Forefoot, Barefoot, or in Minimalist Shoes

Hi everyone, its Bretta Riches from Today I’m going to be talking to you about why you may be
getting sore calves when you first learn forefoot running, whether you’re barefoot
or whether you are doing so in barefoot- inspired running shoes. I get a lot of
comments and questions about why the sore calves when learning forefoot running, so I just want to reiterate why your calves may become sore when
learning forefoot running, like I said whether you are doing so barefoot or
whether you are doing so in barefoot- like running shoes. It’s important to
note that the calves have a different and distinct mechanical task in forefoot running than they do in heel strike running. Because of this, you will get
some sort of calf soreness, depending on your fitness level and running experience,
you may encounter mildly sore calves or extremely sore calves. Calf soreness
is a well-known form of soreness related to the early stages of learning
forefoot running. In forefoot running, the calves have a more tight control
over balance, spring behavior as well as a shock absorption than in heel strike
running. Because of this, there will be a massive surge in muscle activation
in the calves as well, but don’t forget that the calf activity is not exhaustive
in forefoot running –what I mean by that is, the more you run forefoot, the
more the calves will strengthen and become a more valuable spring
contributor to forefoot running. In a sense, forefoot running is in part
powered by the calf muscles. With more forefoot running experience, the calf
pain will completely diminish and will have a profound effect on your calf
strength. In heel strike running, calf activity is more repressive and
the knee does a lot of the mechanical work which can foster, based on
mechanical overload, can foster runner’s knee. Just to compare the mechanical
behavior of the calf muscles in forefoot running versus and heel strike running
and to give you a better understanding as to why your calves may become sore
when learning forefoot running, one study confirmed that the calf muscle
activation duration in forefoot running lasted longer than the
calf muscle activation duration in heel strike running. The research paper, which
I linked below in the description box, found that habitual or highly
experienced forefoot runners activated their calf muscles on average 9.7%
longer duration than heel strike runners. The researchers also
found that forefoot runners activated their lateral calf muscles 6.32% to 14.3%
longer in duration than in heel strike running at slow moderate and
fast speeds. What this data means is that forefoot running livens the calf
muscles more so than in heel strike running. In forefoot running, the calves
are more mechanically on board and collaborate more with the ankles to
provide a stronger, steady, sturdy support base for your forefoot strike landing
when you run. That’s the principle reason for your calf soreness and
tightness. Again, in forefoot running, the calves are more engaged
mechanically and energetically than in heel strike running. Because your
calves aren’t used to being put to this kind of word in this capacity, your
calves just need a period of time to adapt. Embrace the soreness. It’s not a
big deal, even though blow-torched-feeling calves might be alarming for some, it
typically does not signal that you are doing anything wrong at the mechanical
level, but rather the soreness is a constructive role in the adaptation of
the leg to forefoot running. For more information on the performance and
health benefits of forefoot running please visit my blog
where you will also find information on the health benefits of barefoot running
as well and please subscribe to my youtube channel to stay updated on
all the latest research regarding the biomechanics of running and
scientifically-backed nutritional information for endurance running. Thanks so much for listening and watching. Have fun out there on the roads, bye for now!

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