Mon 1st Dec 14
December started with a blister on the outside sole of my right foot. I ran almost 7 miles barefoot yesterday and before setting off thought that I might get some distress from my sales but it was better then thought. It was only later that I felt a big blood blister. It was like I had stepped on something and was painful to step on so I drained it a couple of times and then covered in spray plaster because I knew that I would be running this morning. I did a mile and was absolutely fine running on it this morning. It will be interesting to see how it is over the next few days.
Tue 2nd Dec 14
Day 41 – a mile barefoot in the dark. No real problem but I am not going to go far until this blister has settled down. The nice thing is that I feel under no pressure. I want to be a lifelong runner and I am not going to hurt myself for the sake of a schedule.
Wed 3rd Dec 14
What is it with the council? First they resurface the smoothest road in Bolton with broken bits of tarmac and then they go and send the gritters out at the first sight of frost. I have been waiting for this day. I have been seeing if I can run barefoot each day as it has become colder. It is around zero this morning and the cold isn’t a problem but the rock salt is. I ended up on the pavement and heading for a traffic free road with no grit this morning. I am enjoying the flexibility of my runstreak. Life is busy at the moment and I have a large assignment to get in. That means that I am burning the midnight oil. What is good , is that I can drop off some of the other things that I do for a little while in the knowledge that I can pick them up in a week or so. Other than my training blog, I have dropped off my usual barefoot and beer related writing and will come back to it and I am just keeping the runstreak going with a mile a day for a little while. It keeps my sanity and things ticking over. I can see the light at the other end.
Thur 4th Dec 14
Day 43. I slept in this morning to catch up with a bit of sleep which I felt was more important than a longer run so just a mile. It was down at about zero again. Yesterday was more like -1C and the cold is not a problem as long as it is pretty dry. I have some real aching in my right hip and my groin is tensing up. I have not had that for a long time and it was one of the things that characterised my early minimalist running in trail gloves. I have exercises to do so had better get on with them.
Fri 5th Dec 14
A barefoot mile and it was cold and wet underfoot. I counted on the rain having washed away the rock salt and ran more on the roads than over the past day or two. My breath fogged up my vision in the beam of my headtorch. I got to thinking about how great my little torch has been. It has been with me on runs day after day and it never complains. It just gets on with the job and has even been through the washing machine and come out fine. It is a little Petzl Tikka. I am still burning the midnight oil and should be able to let up in a day or two. At least my soles have had a bit of a rest.
Sat 6th Dec 14
A barefoot mile this morning. It was cold and icy and the roads were slippy. Good fun really. First run in the daylight this week and that brought about the usual stares from folk walking their dogs. As far as I recall, none of the dogs were wearing footwear but no-one was staring at them. The injustice of it all.
Sun 7th Dec 14
Very wet and cold this morning. An early barefoot mile before setting off to do Great Harwood Chritmas market. Keeping warm and dry will be the order of the day, I think. Then off for an outdoor Carol Service with Em later. Shold be fun. My feet felt robust and I was pushing along even over the stony bits this morning. My hip feels much better. When I look at my mileage, I had taken a big step jump and it looks like my hip is the thing that goes off first. This week of barefoot miles seems to have recharged my batteries and kept things ticking over. My first EdD assignment is ready for handing in and I can get back to a bit of normality. Maybe!
Mon 8th Dec 14
There was a terrific hail shower just before I set off this morning which on top of very wet ground made it a mazy run of icy puddles this morning. I kept the barefoot mile going. My soles were burning pretty much straight away and then it eased off. Tricky going downhill and on a steep slope I switched to the pavement for more traction. It is certainly the coldest that my feet have been for some time. They are now warming up and that is OK. Not the pain I expected. At least not yet.
Tues 9th Dec 14
Dodging frozen puddles this morning which is better than the freezing slush of yeterday. kept the streak going but this was the first morning that getting out there was a struggle. Late night drive back from Robinwood last night. Day 48. Tommorow will make 7 weeks of continual barefooting.
Wed 10th Dec 14
The weather has taken a real turn for the worse and I didn’t run as planned this morning up in Northumberland. I ended up running when I got home. I just came in and got my stuff on and went. I really enjoyed it. I felt quick and robust even through the cold. A barefoot mile My feet were in icy puddles for quite a lot of the way but it wasn’t a problem. They gave me no issues warming back up afterwards. City vs Roma on TV tonight.
Thur 11th Dec 14
I was up late after a busy few days away with schoolchildren on Outwards Bounds. It was cold up there. This morning was cold again and my feet handled it well. I was running through cold puddles and it was fine. No ice around so can’t be too bad. My legs feel softer than a couple of weeks ago. the barefoot mile a day has kept me going during a busy and difficult perios where running may have stopped in the past but I also needto now break out of the routine and go further. Not easy to do barefoot in this weather. I may try an out and back couple of miles tomorrow although most likely Saturday in the light.
Fri 12th Dec 14
What is it with common sense? I got to thinking as my feet were slowly going numb during my barefoot mile this morning. Common sense is what is says. It is a generalisation. The thing is that we are individuals and we should challenge the things dictated by bloody common sense. Running every day barefoot throughout the winter flies in the face of common sense so why am I doing it. For fun, enjoyment and to see if I can. Knowing what the commion sense is can be quite useful but then ignore it if you choose. Don’t put anyone else in danger, that would be selfish but live life and don’t sit in that safe zone dictated by common sense all the time. It was cold this morning and there were some deep puddles to splash through. I was 100yds into the unlit section before I realised that I hadn’t put my headtorch on. I was feeling my way with my feet.
Sat 13th Dec 14
The coldest morning by far or so it felt. Icy inderfoot rather than wet in most places. Car said -1C but it felt colder. I ram 3.5 miles barefoot and my left foot was numb quickest. My right foot didn’t really get there. After 2 miles, the feeling went away and I felt fine and the cold was no longer an issue. Cold induced vasodilation in action. I think my body had worked out what I was doing. Again, I am not really bothered why it works as long as it does. It would be interesting to look at all the common sense assumptions to do with running and then investigate a way to test yourself against them to find a way of running that works for you. It is also interesting to think about running in a seasonal sense like strawberries. Sure, you can have strawberries all year round but is that really a good thing. Depends on your point of view, I suppose. Now that I am only running barefoot, my long runs seem lmited in the colder months. Maybe that is a good thing for someone looking for a way to make running a lifelong pursuit. This has been my only run of the week in the daylight.
Sun 14th Dec 14
A mile barefoot with a headache this morning. I am defintely under the weather and am up early ready to go to Ramsbottom farmers’ market. My breathing is laboured again and my inhaler is only just taking the edge of it. Visit to the doctors this week. My feet were not bothered by the cold this morning but they felt tender after yesterday morning’s run. I am turning into a completely unshod runner. I haven’t run in shoes for quite a long time now. Whilst running, I was thinking about James Cracknell in the desert. That has to be one of the most remarkable things that I have seen. Highest placed Brit ever in the Marathon de Sable.
Mon 15th Dec 14
5 fantastic barefoot miles this morning. I set off at 6am with the thought of doing about 2.5 miles but my soles immediately felt robust and I was running well. I had in in there so I made hay whilst the sun was shining (or not seeing as I hardly ever run in the daylight). Not as cold today and the rain has washed the rocksalt away. I have beenr eading Ruby Wax’s book on mindfulness and it is fascinating. I took a couple of points on my run to stop for a few seconds and feel what was going on around me. It is all too easy to get carried away with life. She also makes the point about us being comfortable with the pain of misery. It feels comfortable because it is what we are used to and getting out of it means change. We would rather put up with it than change. She makes a good point. I was stuck for years in a cycle of injury and rehab that I deep down knew wouldn’t help but made me feel comfortable. I was in a comfy rut. It would be nice to run a workshop for runners where we look at the givens of running and then test ourselves against them. Day 54 of this little run streak.
Tues 16th Dec 14
Day 55 and something weird happened on my barefoot mile this morning. I turned right instead of left for a change and this route has steep hills. I was running pretty quickly uphill and my soles felt incredibly robust. I was expecting to feel the barefoot burn but instead could feel my soles protesting as the skin bunched and shifted on them but no pain at all. Just sensation where I could feel the skin moving around. I kept waiting for the pain to arrive but it never did. I could still feel enough to be cautious and back of the pace slightly but it wasn’t pain that did it. Both brilliant and something to beware of, I think.
Wed 17th Dec14
8 weeks of daily barefooting and my soles felt no discomfort for the second day running. It feels significant and a change. 5 miles this morning. I went out thinking that the weather was awful and that my soles were tired and that I would do a mile but my soles felt fine. Again, I could feel the pulling and shifting of the skin but just as a sensation. I ended up keeping going and ran my usual 5 mile route. Giving myself that hour to run in the morning works well for me. It gives me space to run upto 6 without worrying or rushing. My stomach felt sore though. Lots of bugs going around at the moment and it was there all along. My stride felt heavy and I had trouble running light. My feet wouldn’t lift too high off the ground. When I came around the final bend onto a flat smooth section though, I speeded up and an image of Dr Mark Cuzzella came into my mind. Not as fast but my form felt similar. Maybe not to a passer by but at least in my head. Nice to get 2, 5 milers in so early in the week.
Thur 18th Dec 14
A barefoot mile with headtorch and no problem. Soles still feel robust even though I had the beginnings of a blister behind the big toe on my right foot yesterday. It has gome away and things are fine. I was challenged on my thinking yesterday about spending money. Not so much challenged but I had one of the pints I made expanded. I think that I have a mindset problem with coahing in a lot of ways where some people don’t. I find that it can be useful as long as I believe in the person doing the coaching. Mostly I don’t. That cynical ‘spend your money here and I will sort you out’ sort of thing that is all over the place. It would be interesting to go and see Tony Riddle. Perhaps I am just not willing to invest the time in drills when I think that i can do it myself by barefooting regularly. Interesting problem.
Fri 19th Dec 14
A barefoot mile and it has turned a bit colder again which meant my soles felt it. No real problem though. Just pitter-pattered along. The hills were easy and I felt good on them. The hills just come and go. I have noticed that since beginning to barefoot. I think it is the short strides being like a low gear. I enjoy the hills, it breaks things up. Downhil is more challenging than uphill because my feet want to slide and the friction is increased. Lifting going downhill takes practice and feels weird. Danny Dreyer had something in his book about keeping your trailing foot on the floor longer than normal when going down hill. it would then be about removing alltension from that leg to stop pushing off. Practice.
Sat 20th Dec 14
6.3 miles in the daylight on the trails this morning. I wonder which is worse – gravel or treed debris. At least gravel is consistent and not full of spikey thorns. I chose a route with the trails in the second half to let my feet get going and that seemed to work. Also worth remembering that if you have the choice of running rough trail up or downhill choose the uphill every time. Much easier.
I was really pleased to find that i had no trouble on the trails this morning and that opens up quite a few routes. Now that it is evening, I can feel my soles. They have definitely been out for a run but I wouldn’t describe then as sore. They are more in need of a break.
Bumped into an old running friend. he was walking alongside the Jumbles resevoir at quite a pace. He no longer runs because of his knees and we had a good chat about barefooting. It is runners like him that strike a chord with me. There may just be another way for them. Day 59 of this little barefoot runstreak.
Sun 21st Dec 14
A barefoot mile this morning to keep the runsteak going and make 20 barefoot miles for the week. My soles don’t feel pain in the same way as the did at the start and that needs thinking about. Yesterday, i ran 6 and a bit miles on the trails. At the end, I felt like I could easily have done a few more miles (say upto 10) but in the evening my soles felt a bit battered. nothing too bad that made me think I wouldn’t run today but tired. I didn’t feel this at the time. This must be because my soles are getting used to running but it also means that the way I listen to them has to change. It is no longer just pain that is going to keep me safe but also sensations and being sensible(ish).
The amazing Ron Hill completed his 50year runstreak yesterday. Just day 60 for me. Found the #runeveryday hashtag from Ron Hill’s T-shirt.
Mon 22nd Dec 14
Ran barefoot for 3 miles around Egerton with no real problem. Just keeping the miles going. Day 61
Tues 23rd Dec 14
Very wet today and running quickly. Feel feel pretty good with some tender spots on the outside of my midfoot on both sides. Be good to get a 10k in over Christmas
Wed 24th Dec 14
Glorious day and it would have been good to get out for a decent run today but ran out of time. My feet told me pretty quickly that I needed a short run today in any case. I did a barefoot mile and remembered why I run early morning when no one is about. I don’t like the fuss. I have avoided runs because of it. I ended up running quicker than I have for ages uphill. Good fun. Arms swinging on the uphills and flying. I am definitely getting fitter. A barefoot mile was my lot on day 63. 9 weeks of barefooting. New Years Eve will take me to 10 weeks.
Thursday Dec 25th 14
Just a barefoot mile this morning. My breathing was very laboured and I have been sneezing a bit this morning. Time to go back and get a preventer inhaler I think. Not had one for years but this is getting beyond a joke. Maybe it was something to do with the big chocolate Santa I ate before I set off though.
Fri 26th Dec 14
3 barefoot miles this morning was all my stomach could handle. Severe case of runners’ trots or IBS or one of the other terms for it. Whatever we call it, we don’t discuss it often enough. It can be debilitating and I once had to walk the second half a half marathon because of it. The number of times, I have been running home from work and had to stop. I have planned my entire race mornings around bowel movements. It can be quite difficult. Be good to discuss openly in the forum at some point.
My feet felt a bit tender this morning and 3 miles was probably enough in any case.
Sat 27th Dec 14
A barefoot mile this morning in the first snow and ice of the year. It snowed a lot yesterday and then it froze overnight. My feet were very cold straight away and I headed for the car tracks on the road. They were very slippy. It turned out not to be the cold that was a problem but the sharpness of the ice. It made me turn back because the most i could do was hobble on it. I found a section of road that was easy to run on and did my mile there. My feet warmed up and it was pleasant to be out. A couple of people stopped me including a delivery van driver to ask but were all very happy and positive. ‘So…you are not crazy then’ said on guy. Not too sure about that. I am in the bloody minded phase. I am doing a mile no matter what. Not advocating it for anyone.
Also seem to have something stuck in my foot. I felt it go in and the irony was that i was in the hose wearing socks at the time. I jumped and felt a pain in my left arch. Tracy had a go at removing with tweezers last night but to no avail. Still sore.
Sun 28th Dec 14
4.83 miles barefoot this morning in the ice. No snow any more but the roads had a thin lacer of ice on them. My left foot in particular was very cold initially and my soles were protesting almost straight away. I set off thinking that maybe I would do a mile but ended up getting into the swing of things. The sun was shining and I got into a rhythm. After about 1.5 miles my feet felt fine. I am sure that they are a little numb because my left calf started to feel sore towards the end. I have not had that for a long time and I figure that my form must be affected by numb feet. I could have gone further but I think that would have been for the wrong reasons. 5 miles or so is fine for now. So easy to get caught up and run for the wrong reason and not for myself. Good to have an early night last night and be up early as usual.I like the routine.
Mon 29th Dec 14
Well below zero this morning for this barefoot mile and my soles were tender almost straight away. I think it is a combination of the cold and the rocksalt. Looks like the grtiiter had been up during the night. lots of fresh and melted rocksalt everywhere. It wasn’t there yesterday. Must be getting ready for Monday morning and getting folk to work. My right groin was tight which I think is to do with running on ice yesterday. You grip with your toes evern when you try not to. had a long soak yesterday and that may have softened my feet up also. This thing stuck in my right foot is not working its way out yet. It is in there, no doubt. Tender to touch.
Tues 30th Dec 14
A barefoot mile to keep things going. About -2C and my left foot again went cold much quicker than my right. I prefer to get up early and run when there is no one about.
Wed 31st Dec 14
First piece of glass of the year and it waited until the last day of the year. Running past The Cross Guns Inn and I felt a sharp stab in my right heel. I carried on a step or two but it was pretty clear that something was wrong. I brushed a stone off and that didn’t help. My feet were pretty dirty and i couldn’t see anything. I brushed my fingers and felt something tiny and managed to get hold of a sliver of glass. About 5mm long. I pulled it out. Plenty of blood initially but I carried on running and it was fine for the next 4 miles home. I passed a group of cyclists near home. Mountain biking forty somethings on shiny bikes and lots of expensice gear. One shouted at me,’You’ve got no shoes mate’. I shouted back that he seemed to be sitting on top of a big piece of metal. Wonder if he had noticed? I wonder how much his getup and bike cost. Expensive to sit in a garage for weeks on end. Barefeet cost nothing and I am put every day in mine. It was all very good natured but I am not a fan of this sort of thing. I prefer to enjoy my run without having to justify myself and respond all the time. My barefoot running is not attention seeking behaviour. I just wanna run.
I spent a while wondering how many miles I can run in 2015. I have never done 1000miles in a year because of injury. 20 miles a week would do it. I found myself plotting and planing and scheming. I am still not immune to this sort of thinking. It is so seductive and dangerous but also helps get me out of the front door. The balance is so hard to find.
5 miles to complete 10 weeks of barefoot running every day.