Jul 01

Barefoot Beginner Training Blog – June 2015

WednesdayMon 1st June

OK – May was a low mileage month. I ran barefoot everyday but my mileage dropped off. I speculated yesterday as to why and thought that I would give myself some easy to uindersatnd structure to get things back. I know that my normal morning 5 milers fit well and also combining that with a barefoot mile on inbetween days and a longer run at weekend seems to work.

104 miles across the month will see me hit 500 miles for the first 6 nof the year. That was the plan. If I don’t get there so be it but it would be good to give myself some easy to understand ways of getting there that wold help.

Two 5 milers a week plus long runs of 10,11,12&13 would do it with barefoot miles in between will get me there and see me increase my miles towards marathon OK.

A barefoot mile this morning. My soles felt it. I am also going to increase the challenge of my squats and also introduce the stretch to my quads for the month of June to see what happens.

Tues 2nd June 15

Interesting day yesterday. I felt at a very low ebb for pretty much the whole of the day. School holidays can do that to me. I miss the structure of normal life. I am often glad in September when we go back to school and get back into routine. My running suffers during the holidays and there is too much freedom. I wrote about it last year after noticing something similar. Constraints often fire our creativity and there is nothing worse for me than a day with nothing in it. It just stretches ahead of me and instead of doing loads of good stuff, I end up doing nothing and feeling down about it. I am wondering if the low mood is because I have not run much or if I have not run much because I am in a low mood.

I spend most of my time working at such a pace that when I slow down during the holidays, I can end up in a slump that it hard to shift. I then find that I start a new term at a low ebb and find it hard to get myself up and running. I then finish the term going great when everyone else is on their knees. I am going to try an experiment and give myself real structure this week with my running and also set myself 3 things to accomplish during the day. Let’ ssee if I can get myself back up and running in time for getting back to school next week.

5 barefoot miles this morning and it was tough. I didn’t want to run, felt tired, my soles were tender and I wanted it to be over. I am not normally like that. Lets’s see if I can pull out of it.

Wed 3rd June 15

Did squats this morning for the first time for a few days. Felt better for it and have made it more difficult by moving over a few more pages of the book I am using.

A barefoot mile this morning and I threw in some jumps at high cadence a la Vivobarefoot drills. It was strangely addictive and made me more upright. I then carried on running and it seemed to work well.

Good comment yesterday about not running if I don’t want to. That made me think. What never? What if I am a very low ebb and in danger of sinking further. Running always seems to make me feel better. Can running be an effective therapy for those suffering mild forms of depression? Food for thought.

Thursday 4th June 15

Ran a barefoot mile this morning and an eldely gentleman was walking along the top road on the edge of some very nice gardens. He was takingnhis time and admiring the flowers. He smiled and commented on how brave i was to be running barefoot. On my way back I passed him again and he stopped for a moment to let me pass. We had a brief chat about why I am barefooting. It was a nice to pass the time of day with someone who was so obviously enjoying being out in the sunshiine and admiring the view. He then told me that he was 95 years old and made his way off down the path, stopping to smell the flowers. He was immaculately dressed with shirt and tie. He must be doing something right. Not a pick of fat on him. I need to think about that.

Did squats. I have been neglecting them and my hip is feeling it.

Friday 5th June 15

5 barefoot miles this morning in the sunshine. The dry roads make such a difference. Did squats. Now at pg 150 of the book (Spanish Armada) and gradually reducing the height under my heel when squatting. (I will do a video at some point).

My mood is lifting and I am geartting up ready for work on Monday. I didn’t really fancy it this moring but not as bad and got out there. Just went very steady at start and did a few high cadence jumps. Moves me onto balls of feet as well as makes me more upright.

Did hamstring and ankle stretch today too. This is something I need to do every day.

Sat 6th June 15

A mile barefoot this morning and my right achilles is a bit sore. I think that I need to use the roller on the soles of my feet before running tomorrow just to stretch everything out and loosen things off. I did squats this morning. they felt good and could feel the stretch in my groin and hip. I also did quad and ankle stretch. I am managing to lean back further than before which is a good sign. Lots to do here though. The mile has vanished from my memory already and I was thinking about all sorts of things.

Went for a walk around Stonyhurst College in the Ribble Valley yesterday. What a beautiful part of the world. Tolkein wrote some of Lord of the Rings in the upper rooms and the family around the area were calles the Shireburns. When I read Lord of the Rings, this was the landscape I imagined and not the spectacular New Zealand. This area is not spectacular but is beautiful, green and rolling. Middle Earth come to life. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a pupil here as was his friend Moriarty. Nice to get out for a walk with my dad in the sunshine.

Sun 7th June 15

10.2 barefoot this morning. Up early this morning and had our Stout racked into a cask before 6.30am. It should be nice once bottled. Did squats and quad stretches and then rolled out the arches of my feet to get rid of any tight spots. My right achilles has been feeling it over the last few days.

Set off steady and ran a 10.2 miles. Was really in my stride gheading up the long hills. Felt a bit like all my suspension had gone in the last mile and a bit. it comes at the end of a couple of miles gradual downhill and there is not mudh to relieve the monotony of stride. Did quite a few stops to bounce at 180bpm to reinforce being upright. I seem to be lifting out of my slump and it will be interesting to see how I start the new half-term tomorrow. Right ankle and groin all a bit tight. i think it must be as I protect my achilles subconsciously. Lots of stretching needed as the day goes on to negate everything tightening up.

Mon 8th June 15

Found the squats and quad stretches a challenge this morning after the 10 miler yesterday. Also found that the first 400yds of my run was very slow as I eased into it. By the end, the stiffness had gone away which I think is the benefit of barefooting every day. A barefoot mile in the glorious sunshine.

Tuesday 9th June 15

5 barefoot miles and I set off slowly and sleepily. Running free and well by the end.

Wed 10th June 15

Barefoot mile in the sunshine and all is well with the world.

Thursday 11th June 15

5 miles this morning and feeling good. My right knee has started to crack when squatting. it has been coming on for a little while and I am not sure wehere it has come from. It is uncomfortable and cracks as I go down into the squat and is OK when i am in a deep squat. I am favouring my left leg now as I squat and losing an equal weight bearing stance. Need to think about that.

Friday 12th June 15

Felt stiff this morning. The barefoot mile eased things off a bit but I need to do my stretches every day.

Sat 13th June 15

11.13 miles barefoot this morning in the rain. Got up at 5.40am to fit it in before taking som to football. First time this year I have been aiming for big warm puddles and splashing through. Really enjoyed the long steady uphill. If anything I enjoy the gradual uphills more than the downhills when barefooting. Who would have thought. Did squats and rolled out arched before setting off and set off steady. The desire to get 500 miles barefoot before end of June got me out this morning. It looks like structure does me good. A month at a time seems like as much as I can put in any detail.

Sun 14th June 15

Quick bleary eyed mile this morning. No hangover from 11 miler yesterday. Caught a couple of sharp stones with left foot. Don’t usually do that. Enough to really have to concentrate on form for second half mile. Watched video on youtube yesterday of Finn running with a bushman. Bushman was taking big strides with no effort and short choppy cadence next to Finn who was bombing along trying to keep up. Need to find the link to it.

Mon 15th June 15

5 barefoot miles this morning. Nice and dry on the roads. I ended up thinking about mileage. For the last 20 years or perhaps even longer, I have used 20 miles a week as a goal. Amy more than that and I broke down injured. In fact, at 20 miles a week, I knew that it was only a matter of time before somethng (usually calf) went. I chose 20 miles because I could get pretty fit on that much running. I knew it would get ne down to 40 minutes for a 10k or 1hr 30mins for a half marathon. I just needed 4 months or so without a problem. Only happened a couple of times in all that time. Now I have just run 6 months and am averaging 20 miles a week and for the last few weeks am more like 25 miles. I have no concerns about injury. There is somethiing in this barefooting.

I also found myself plotting and planning myh marathon preparation this morning and that mostly included an increase in miles. I need to do this but I am not going to get too far ahead of myself and re-evaluate my plan every 3 or 4 weeks.

Tues 16th June 15

Spent the morning going through some of the old posts on Barefoot Beginner. There are over 500 and it was good to go back 3 years and see where I was at. I was experimenting with barefooting in between Chi Running in my old Pegasus. It learnt a lot quickly and when I look back, I just wasn’t ready to ditch the shoes completely. My biggest leap forward came when I did that but it wasn’t a decision that came easily. I now no longer run with the fear and spectre of long term injury hangingover every outing. I had run with for decades. It makes you want to shout it from the roof tops. I meet injured people who just can’t let go and make the leap. I understand. It is all about readiness. the more we can tell our stories, the more likely those injured runners are to get there.

A barefoot mile this morning. The day was already warm and it was very nice to be out.

Wed 17th June 15

A barefoot mile this morning. I has planned a 12 miler but didn’t get up in time.It will have to wait until Saturday. Bumped into a friend and neighbour who asked me about my website. Her daughter had taken her shoes off on a run the other day and found that she felt felt very grounded afterwards. We got into chatting about the spiritual side of barefooting and theories about earthing. Michael Sandler and his vitaimin G (ground) came up and I must admit that that sort of thing just doesn’t float my boat. I am more of a pragmatist and seek things that work and then investigate them and do that. I recall my beginning barefooting and how walking the dogs around the block barefoot became almost addictive. If I didn’t go barefoot, I felt like I hadn’t really been out. Barefooting just left me feeling better. I don’t think that i will ever be a Buddist but the idea of mindfullness appeals to me. Running affects my whole life and wellbeing and I am fascinated to find out why and how i can make tweaks to how I do it that will make things better still. Sounds like a life’s work but one worth doing. I plan to still be running in 40 years time so I might as well get on with it. I bet I am still blogging to. That is also strangely addicitve.

Thursday 18th June 15

5 barefoot miles and very tired this morning. I think I might be suffering for something coming up. Breathing a bit shallow in a way that I havve not had for quite some time. Form felt good. I was thnking about the whole form, distance and then speed pathway and I am definitely in the distance phase. When i tried to introduce some speed work a oittle while ago, my miles dropped off and I lost motivation. It seems that distance is the thing that matters the most to me at the moment after running every day to keep my form tight. Maybe next year when I have got a really good distance base under my belt, I will think more about running quickly. Perhaps I will do that with shoes. In fact, I am pretty sure that will be the case but I will also want to give it a go barefoot.

Friday 19th June 15

A barefoot mile before work.

Sat 20th June 15

The morning after the night before. I was meant to be running a 12 this morning but ended up not running at all. I was up late therefore ran in the evening. A quick barefoot  mile. I much prefer running in the morning.

Sun 21st June 15

On the road at 5am this morning for a barefoot 12 miler before heading off to Hoghtin tower for the farmers’ market. I was reading Ruby Wax’s book about the mind last night and set my watch to beep every 10 minutes. i then looked at where my mind had drifted and pulled it back to focus on apart of my body. I found the most effective part to focus on was my wrists and keeping them loose and then my mind would wander again. After watching it for a while, it was clear to see what was on mund and causing my anxiety and stress. Good to recognise it for what it is. I ran the 12 miles inexactly 110 minutes which is a shade over 9 minute miles. At no point did I focus on pace at all aprt from the last mile which i ran in just over 7 minutes. Feel pretty good. Now off to market to sell some beer.

Mon 22nd June 15

A tenderfoot this morning on a barefoot mile. It makes me wonder what the best way to prepare for a barefoot marathon is. I clearly need to help my soles get ready by running and not worrying too much about it. How much is enough is a good question and one that it is going to be interesting to experiment with over the coming months. i set off very slow and headed for puddles on a damp morning. Damp conditions are the worst. give me bone dry of really wet. It si the in between that seems to get to me most.

Tuesday 23rd June 15

Much better this morning and I think I could have made a 5 miler but I was up a bit late and just went out for an easy barefoot mile. I think that I will add shoes back into my running next year. Maybe I will run 1000 miles and do half in shoes and half barefoot and see what happens. It would be interesting to see how quick I can run in footwear and barefoot. Funny where your mind wanders. I will never have run as consistently across a year before and should be the fittest that I have ever been in my running life.

Wed 24th June 15

5 barefoot miles this morning. It is these 5 milers that are the base of my running. I ran this morning in just under 9 minute miles. Not very quick but pretty effortless and much quicker than when I started to barefoot. It is the routine and not having to think about it that helps but i do enjoy walking into work knowing that I have run a 5 miler before start of play. mY soles are feelig much better although I did get a holly leaf stuck in the arch of my left foot. Ouch!

Thurs 25th June 15

A barefoot mile this morning after reading a bit more about mindfullness last night. It does seem to be about training the mind to focus and become quiet whilst tackling that crazy ;onging to be ‘ding’ all the time that we get (or certainly I do). I stopped at the turn round point for a few minutes and just listened to the distant traffic but mostly the birds. I then concetrated on a stone under my left foot. All about keeping the mind on one thing. harder than it seems. My mind flits all over the place. Things that are worrying me, thiings that are coming up. Even when i try really hard, I find that my mind has drifted to other things. How do i live like that. No wonder I am exhausted most of the time.

Friday 26th June 15

Tired this morning and up a little late. Still got in a barefoot 5 miler and set off very slow. Picke dupp by the end and as usual feel better for it. My right hip does need squats every day, I thiink. My feet felt a little tender before setting off and I was worried because the road was damp but they just felt alive on the floor rather than tendet whilst runing and now I have no problem sitting typing my thoughts afterwards. I will have run a marathon distance across the week this week. Over 7 days isn’t an issue. Over 4 hours, I am not so sure. I stopped at aboout halfway and made myself stand still and quieten my mind. I focussed on birds and working out how far away they were and in which direction. Hard to keep my mind from pulling back to constant busy dialogue that i have going on all the time. i think that is why i like watching TV. It pulls mind away from the dialogue for a little while.

Saturday 27th June 15

A quick barefoot mile this morning. A chap was walking his dog and asked why barefoot. it is hard to sum up but i go for the pragmatic solution in my explanation of wanting to be bale to run and I can nno longer run in shoes without injury.

Sunday 28th June 15

13 barefoot miles this morning with no real trouble. The route was all on road with some of it rough and challenging. I felt a hot spot on the balls of my feet in the same pint of the run as last week. It was on a steep uphill after a very broken tarmac section. I think I must be gripping hard to get  traction on the slope. Ended by going pretty quickly and thinking about the marathon in October. I think that the marathon is a good overall thing to go for but I can only plan a month at a time because I don’t have much idea ahead of that what I might be capable of. I could end up sort changing myself or over reachig which is a danger. I am sucker for a training plan. June is working out well and my feet are in much better shape than they were at the end of the 12 miler last week.

I stopped of for a few chats this morning and ended up running for 2hrs 15 mins. I enjoyed chatting with a mountain biker and then he said goodbye and pulled away from me going uphill. I knew that I would catch him. I just pitter-pattered away and he couldn’t shake me off going uphill for a couple of long steady miles. I wasn’t breathing hard and at no point really went for it. I just kept ticking along. Of coourse, we came to a downhill eventually and he was away but it made me feel good to be able to catch and keep up with him for that stretch.

I need a few more miles over the next couple of days and that will be 500 miles for the first 6 months of the year.

Mon 29th June 15

An easy barefoot mile which was no problem after yesterday’s run. That is 499 miles so far.

Tuesday 30 th June 15

Another steady mile. I had planned to run 5 but a beer fermenter related problem meant that I spent an hour mopping and cleaning up.

It gave me 104 miles for the month of June which is a new high and exactly 500 miles for the first 6 months of the year. Bring on July!





Jun 13

Hardware and Software according to Lee Saxby

LeeSaxbyhardwaresoftwareI wish I could sum things up as succinctly as Lee does. In this post, he spilts things up into hardware and software and in my year of running everyday barefoot, I am trying to improve both things.

The software by running actually barefoot and  working on cadence and technique. The hardware by being patient and letting my body develop the structure it needs gradually over a long period of time. Running barefoot has limited my mileage and my increase has been gradual. It seems to be working.

I am not of course saying that my way is the only way to success but it does seem to be working out well for me.

Lee’s BTR website is well worth a look round and his posts are clever, succint and useful.

Jun 11

New study on running form – commentary by Pete Larson of Runblogger

Journal Article ShoesThose of you who have been reading Barefoot Beginner for a while will know my feelings on research projects. Dangerous things!

I think research is a fine annd noble thing and usually I have no issue with the researcher but the problem comes when their findings get out there into the public domain and start to be interpreted. Before you know it, we are being told how to run which was probably never the intention of the researcher.

In that respect, I have a lot of time for Pete Larson and his Runblogger site. I think that Pete is a pragmatist and searches for the things that work. I find that I trust his opinion because he doesn’t come to the table with an overt idealogical standpoint. He does a very good line in analysing and providing a commentary on the many studies that are out there.

I also love his posts about his lifestyle and the way he has turned his passion for running and blogging into a lifestyle business (and a very successful one at that).

This commentary from Pete is on a new study that looks at the differences in running form between barefooters, minimaI and standard shoe runners.

I was aware of the study and am glad that Pete has had his analytical eye on it. It is entitled:

‘Comparison of Minimalist Footwear Strategies for Simulating Barefoot Running: A Randomized Crossover Study

The full citation can be found by following the link to Runblogger here or by clicking on the image.

I tend to post this sort of interesting link over on our Barefoot Beginner facebook page. Have a look and like the page.





Jun 02

Improving my running form with Ben Le Vesconte

I am attempting to run barefoot every day of 2015 and cover 1000 miles in doing so. Things are going well but I thought it was time that someone had a good look at my form.

You can read my thoughts on how it is going and what I am learning each day on my Barefoot 365 facebook page and each month here on Barefoot Beginner. If you want to join in then we have a Barefoot Mile a Day facebook group here. You will be made very welcome.

A few weeks ago, I attended a running clinic by Ben Le Vesconte. I was curious to see what someone with Ben’s knowledge would make of my running form.

Ben gave us some background and then we were off to be filmed on a treadmill. We ran at 8kph and them 13 kph. I had not run in shoes for over 6 months so I slipped mine off and went for it whilst Ben filmed from the side.

You can click on each image to see the video footage. Just a few seconds on each case. (A new window will open and then you might get a white screen for a few seconds whilst video loads)

pic before 8kph

8kph felt slow but I settled into my usual pitter-patter and Ben asked if I had ever run with a metronome. I did start out with one a couple of years ago but have not run with one for a long time. I think that increasing my cadence to 180 bpm was one of two big contributors to changing my technique.

I don’t get any niggles when running barefoot but do in footwear so wanted Ben to have a look at how I went on in a pair of Vivobarefoot Evos. I have not worn any footwear whilst running for running for a long time and it felt strange and very, very loud.

pic before 8kph VB

Then quicker in shoes. The main issue I get in shoes is in my calves. It was the thing that caused my main injuries in my shod days in conventional shoes. It was much less in minimal shoes but eventually my calves would succumb. It simply doesn’t happen barefoot and my thinking is that if I run every day barefoot without issue for a year then maybe I will imprint this form and be able to replicate it in minimal shoes.

Pic before 13kph VB

We headed back for some analysis and I was pleased to say that Ben was pleased with my tecnique. He may have been over generous but when slowing the footage down, he could see where my point of contact was and put me into the category of a skilled runner. He then set about improving things further.

This was the part of the day that I was most interested in. I wanted to know what exercises I could do to fend off injury. Things were split into flexibilty and strength. I am pleased that my idea of reducing the heel raise on my squats by using a thick book and gradually turning over the pages went down OK. I was shocked at how little flexibilty I have in my quads and came away with drills to improve that.

The biggest thing to come out of the day for me was my lack of flexibility. It  needs some work. Nothing that diligence and patience can’t remedy and I think that in my quest to be a lifelong runner, it is going to be important.

We did quite a bit of jumping at 180bpm. Both stationary and then on the treadmill. I have been doing this whilst out running and it always leads to be getting back into my stride more upright. It is strangely addictive…and then we had another go at being filmed. This time we all went barefoot with a metronome set at 180bpm

Pic after 8kph

Then quicker. My form worked well at the slower pace but if I want to go quicker, I need to pull the heel up with my hamstring and pull it through and down quickly. At the moment, I don’t do that effectively and my cadence increases rather than my stride length. This needs some practice as well as being more upright and open through the shoulders and keeping my hips forward. Whenever I do that now, I find myself flying along.

Pic after 13kph

There were 12 of us in the group and it took all day to analyse the before and after for everyone. I learnt a lot from watching everyone else and listening to Ben answer their questions.

I came away feeling good about the experiment I am doing on myself. My form has changed completely and I am running pretty well (although there is clearly room for improvement).

The two main things that have done that are increasing my cadence to about 180bpm (or higher) and taking off my shoes and running barefoot regularly. Hopefully, the strength and flexibility drills, I learnt today will help me be robust enough to handle it.

You can see Ben’s ‘Running is A Skill’ facebook page here. and can email him at  Runningisaskill@gmail.com.

A huge shout out to Anne Rosbottom for getting this day organised. We will hopefully be having some follow up with Anne sometime soon.

Jun 02

Problem Sitting? – Advice from Michelle Hall of Barefoot Scotland

I worry about the way I sit. I spend a large amount of time (including typing this) sitting at a desk or table and on a recent visit to a Hakomi body centred pyscotherapist, I found out that there is so much about my daily life that manifests itself in the way I hold and support my body whilst sitting.

stron and collapsed sitting

I came across this post from Michelle Hall on her Barefoot Running Scotland website.

I came to it through a desire to learn about sitting but it was the whole business about active and passive hanging that I found the most fascinating. Her blog is full of fascinating stuff that will be of interest to most barefoot runners. Take some time and have a look round.

Jun 02

Barefoot to Minimal defined – Video from Ady Benn

Ady is an ultra runner who competes barefoot, in sandals and in minmal shoes. He has just put this 4 minute video together showing the sliding scale from barefoot to more conventional shoes.

He mentions our very own Barefoot Ultra Fell running shoes in there and I liked it because he explained it well. On steep, muddy ground, it is easier to run with good form with something that is sure footed rather than something slick. I runn mostly barefoot and the most challenging surface for me are wet muddy slopes.
Nice for Ady to describe the Walsh is a shoe that he would take pretty much anywhere and it looks like he has knocked them about quite a bit.


Ady is listed on Lee Saxby’s new website as an accredited BTR(Born to Run) coach and he also runs his own business at Elemental Fitness. Check them out.

May 30

Barefoot Beginner Training Blog May 2015

Fri 1st May 2015

A planned mile barefoot to get May off to a start. It is interesting. I have just listened to a coach taking abiout motivation. he says that everyone has motivatioj but what they lack is structure. He believes in giving people structure. I think that seems right. I like to have things that you can tick off each day and then forget about.

Sat 2nd May 15 – Up early to start brewing and then got involved in family stuff so didn’t get the long run in that I planned so just a barefoot mile.

Sun 3rd May 15 – I was out last night and so just did a quick barefoot mile in the rain this morning. Feet feel good.

Mon 4th May 15

Another barefoot mile. I had grand plans to run a long way today but didn’t really get there. I have not had the urge to write and fiddle with websites for ages but this morning I couldn’t help myself and ended up just doing a mile instead of the 15 I had planned!

Blimey – What have I done. I have enterered the Chester marathon on October 4th. Should be a good course. Have a look. https://ale.niftyentries.com/al-1kzg

Tues 5th May 15

A very wet 5 miler this morning with a marathon very much in my thoughts. I have no idea what sort of pace is right for me to do it barefoot. 10 minute miling seems sensible but I have 20 weeks or so to practice running a bit quicker so 9  minute miling seems reasonable. I will have to have a play with my pace and see what happens. I have no real concerns about the distance, that is just practice. I think.

Wed 6th May 15

Still got toe taped up and ran a barefoot mile with some stiffness in calves this morning. Gone by the time I got back. Achilles a bit tight too. Not sure where that has come from. I have not used the roller for a long time and have no plans to start on my legs but I do like it in the arches. it really stretches out my feet and seems to help with calf tightness.

Managing squats well and can now do a full squat without falling over backwards. that is quite something. The experiment with the book under heels has done its job. I am going to keep on with it. i want to be able to do it comfortably and siti in that position for extended periods. Hip has felt the benefit.

Thur 7th May 15

General election polling day and i started it with a 6 miler barefoot. i decided to head for a route around Stones Bank which has some rough tarmac on the roads. If i am going to do this marathon in October then I am going to have to get used to it underfoot. My feet were sensitive and i slowed right down. A little later, I was climbing a hill and a mountain bike was overtaking me. I raced him for a quarter of a mile or so uphill and was pleasantly surpised at how fast I could go. I then had a mile left and I kept a pretty high pace up. maybe i should do a few 800m reps so that I get to feel what different paces are like. It would be interesting.

Friday 8th May 15

A quick barefoot mile. I ended up running the first half pretty steadily and then enjoyed upping the pace on the return. Good fun but it shows that I am just not used to running quickly. Out of breath but grinning. I know that it will come. I am confident about that just not it a big rush. Had a few beers and then walked home in the evening. Very steep and lots of steps and I breezed up them. I am so much fitter than I have been for a while.

Saturday 9th May 15

The plan was to go out for a 5 miler this morning but the beers from the night before disagreed. We were trying out quite a lot ofnew beers that we are selling on Sunday. remember, I taste them so that you don’t have to.

Just a mile then.

Spent the day at a coaching clinic with Ben Le Vesconte. I will post more about at some point when I get hold of the videos of me running. I learny a lot. You get things when people ask questions and see others running so you get something different each time.

MY running technique initially was pretty good. I was pleased with that seeing as I don’t really think too much about technique and rely of the fact that I am running every day without footwear.

I have slight forward lean which is a hangover from Chirunning, i think. Ben recommended more of a lean at the hips which is more Ken Bob’s way. I have been trying to do this but it looks like I could do with practising.

I do stand up staright but could do with opening my shooulders out and relaxing them a bit more and just leaning back ever so slightly.

The biggest thing was to do with pulling through my hamstrings. I do it OK and that is probably becasue I don’t often run at speed. If I want to run more quickly and for longer, I would benefit from increasing the way I pull my heel through quickly and geting it higher (towards my glutes) and then down quickly. I was much better at it than I thought when i tried. I have struggled with it in the past.

My flexibility is a shocker. I am pleased with how I have done with squats and it looks like my idea of using a book isn’t a bad one. I need to keep going with it. I was shocked how easy some people found it whereas I struggle. The prgression to lifting your bodyweight seems a long way off but I do have every day for the rest of my life to get there.

My quads are tight and this limits lots of things. Good stretch for that. Again, I was shocked at my lack of flexibility compared to everyone else. Lots of things to do every day.

The toe exercises wheree also fascinating. can’t do those either although my big toe does engage with the floor when I run and feels strong. i will be engaging it when i squat from now on.

All in all, a really useful day. I confirmed to me that this experiment is working and that I am not doing something stupid and that I have lots of things to work on in my quest to be a lifelong runner. My feet and lower leg bones and structure  is building up gradually to be strong but my flexibiliy and sterength in other areas needs attention. It can be done.

Sunday 10th May 15

A barefoot mile before heading off to Rammy Farmers’ market. I think I get it. When I ncrease speed, my cadence goes up rather than pulling through and liftingnhigher with hamstring. I think that to help with that, I could run with a metronome for a while. I need to get a new one.

Monday 11th May 15

Life is busy and I am struggling to motivate myself intoo longer runs. Ticking along too easily. need to get back in groove (or is it a rut.) Quick mile this morning practising with hamstring pulling through.

Tues 12th May 15

5 barefoot miles this morning. I am pretty lethargic at the moment and fell asleep very early last night. One of those where I sat down but was too tired to even go to bed. I had done some kneeling to work my quads and found it a challenge. Looks like I now have a regime to follow that can help with flexibility.

I did squats this morning. I am turning over the pages of Heritage of Britain and thereby reducing the heel raise I am using to squat. Last month I was squatting over Magna Carta. This month I am over Henry V.

I set of slow and sluggish but by the last couple of miles was upright and thinking about my form. When i run fast, I either lean too much or increase my cadence. It would be good to set a mtronome and pratcie running at quicker speeds whilst maintaining cadence and minimising the lean. I need to push hips through and get that foot up and through a bit higher as my speed increases.

Feeling hip a little which i out down to not running any distance for a few days and a few days off squatting. It could also just be because I am trying one or two new stretches and things need to settle down. Good to get that run out of my system.

Wed 13th May 15

First run for a while without toe being taped up. I must have smacked it harder than I first thought. It is bruised and still a bit tender. I do keep catching the same one which is interesting in itself.

I ran the first half of my barefoot mile this morning nice and steady and then the return as quickly as I could. I started by concentrating on form and pulling through using hamstring. In the end, i just ran as fast as i could and only thought about the hamstring pull. Out of breath quickly which is good. It can only get better and it makes my mile runs a bit more fun.

Thursday 14th May 15

5 barefoot miles this morning without scraping my toe. Sitting here dripping with sweat because I ran the last mile as fast as I could. No idea how fast that is but I needed to concentrate hard to keep going. My natural style has a high cadence but I sort of lean forward slightly and almost reach out gently to touch the ground and then I pull myself through. I feels natural and quick. This morning I resisted that and kept myself upright and tried lead from my hips. Sort of like the chirunning prompt of imagining being pulled forward from the naval but I did it from my hips. Everytime I visualised that it seemed to click into place (My techinque – not my hip!). I then focussed on the lift and pull through using hamstring. I fatigued quickly and it was mostly my core that struggled. I think I might do that a bit more often. My soles threatened to get sore but in the end didn’t and I just get going. Bumped into friend and brewing partner Phil running the other way this morning.

Friday 15th May 15

A barefoot mile before work. Ran quickly and then sttod on something sharp coming round the last bend. amazing how quickly I can stop when I need to. No damage done.

Saturday 16th May 15

Up at 5.30am to fit in a 8.75 miler barefoot his morning. The road was damp and my feet were singing by the end of a couple of miles. It is rough uunderfoot. I can pretty much run on any surface now but my speed is affected. I let myself go down hill and concentrated on lifting heel rather than knees and pulling through quickly. On these longer runs, I think I just need to go with the flow and enjoy being out and let the form take care of itself. I am definitely improving though. The short runs with focus on tecnique are helping me to run more quickly.

Got thinking about targets. I think a good way to decide whether it is healthy is if a second makes a difference to how you feel about yourself.

Sun 17th May 15

A quick barefoot mile before heading off to the market today. Feet a bit tender but still manged to run pretty quickly. I speed up when I push my hips forward. Targets wise, Imaging running a 2:59 marathon or a 3:01 marathon. Would it make that much difference to you? If it would, the maybe the 2:59 target wasn’t a healthy one in the first place. Attaching so much importance to arbitrary figures seems crazy when you stand back and have a look at it. There moust be much mre worthwhile things to set yourself as overall goals than that.

Mon 18th May 15

A barefoot mile in the pouring rain after posting about how setting goals can bash your resilience and what to do about that.

Tues 19th May 15

A quick barefoot mile and I turned right instead of left. Immediately found myself on a steep, slick slope and footing was a bit harum scarum. Rough is one thing but slippy is quite another. Give me gravel any day of the week. Squats challenging today. I have been using a table to hold onto to bounce once I am in the squat and this is waking up places I didn’t even know I had places. My right knee is a bit crunchy on the way down which is a surprise. i also feel it when running. Last time I had this sort of thing was when I doing some lunge type exercises and I thnk I am stretching stuff around the knee. Not a worry but something to keep an eye on and back off from if needed.

Wed 20th May15

Felt pretty awful in the night and woke up with a pretty bad stomach ache. 5 barefoot miles sorted it out but to be honest I am still feeling a bit ropey. I am more convinced than ever that giving yourself structure helps with motivation. Things to tick off. If I had not had the structure then I would only have arun a mile this morning and in the end, a 5 miler was well within me and was no problem. I could do with doing the same thing for my blogging and also beer writing. It would help with a bit of focus and stop me drifting. Create an experiment with my time and see if it works. I am nothing if not a pragmatist.

Thursday 21st May 15

A quick mile barefoot everyone got upp on my wife’s birthday. I set off slowly within 5 minutes of getting out of bed and it took a few hundred yards to iron the creases out and then I felt good and was away. Iran quickly for the second half mile and kept my hips forward and chest and shoulders open. Running more quickly increases the friction on my soles and it is good practice because it sorts out your form. I might have slipped into bad habits now that my soles are more robust when running at slower speeds.

Friday 22nd May 15

Planned to run 5 this morning but was very tired and sluggish so ended up doing a barefoot mile. Ate too much yesterday and was up until well gone midnight with school work. Feel better having got it done and not too bothered about missing the 5 miler this morning.

Sat 23rd – Tuesday 26th May 15

I a bit of a slump but still manged to run a barefoot mile each day. I did come out of it a bit on Tuesday by running a different route with hills. I have been preoccupied by the artisan newtwork market we did on Monday. It was causing some stress and looking back it took its toll. It was new venture for us as we were running a bar as well as just our stall. It went well but worn out. Hip threatening to flare up because of lack of real miles.

Wed 27th May 15

6 barefoot miles this morning. Just took my time and I was full of running. A little tired in the last mile or so but feet felt good. I am learning to go with what my body needs and I think it needed me to back off for a few days and recover. I have slept a lot and feel better for it.

Thursday 28th May 15

A mile barefoot with my son this morning. The weather was sunny but blustery and as usual he set off at a cracking pace. I pitter-pattered along behind him and the first thing that I noticed was how good my soles felt. I think that laying off and reducing miles for a few days has done me some good. I caught him up pretty soon and the second thing that i noticed was how fit I feel. Running every day for over 7 months is going to do that to you but it creeps up and today I was flying alongside him with no problem at all without raising a sweat. Sometimes, we just need to go wiht the flow and back off.

Friday 29th May 15

Tipping down with rain and streams running down the centre of the road. Fantastic to run in although my toes did get cold to start with. Thinking about some of the Vivobarefoot training. The before and after vids don’t compare like with like. it would be more interesting if there were 3 videos. A before followed immediatley by a barefoot with 180bpm metronome and then one after coaching and drills. It would be interesting to see where the biggest change came. between video 1&2 or between 2&3. Just a thought that has been niggling away at the back of my mind and I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I can see how important the drills are and for me that was worth paying the session fee for.

Sat 30th May 15

A quick barefoot mile this morning. The weather was great but it was a heavy night out but it was a brewing day today and I needed to get out to the brew shop whilst mash was on rather than run.

Sun 31st May 15

Another mile this morning instead of the 10 planned. 2 thngs going on. My mileage has decreased significantly since entering the marathon. It might be that the pressure of geting in some bigger miles is meaning that I just don’t fancy it and I might be better forgetting the marathon and just putting in the 2 goals that are easy to understand. Run every day and 20 miles a week. I could do with changing the secons one to a simple to understand structure that I can just tick off. Too woolly at moment.

The second is to so with structure. I find it so much easier to run when my days are structured. i don’t seal well with a lack of structure. I carry around a feeling of guilt with me. Guilt for not running as far and also my food intake has not been as good. I find myself longing for a bit of structure and being back at work. Something to think about for the the long summer holidays.

I also have so many other things that I need to get done during the holidays that running gets put in the back burner. Shame!!




May 28

Teacher, Aleks Kashefi running length of Britain barefoot this summer

I am running every day barefoot this year and hope to do the Chester Marathon at some point. That is a challenge but nothing commared to Alex Kashefi who is running 1206 barefoot miles this summer to raise money for the stroke association. You can read more about it here and here is a link to Alek’s Just Giving page  if you would like to join in and donate. barefoot run

May 28

Free barefoot running ebook from Lee Saxby

I am not sure how many of you realise that Lee Saxby has a website of his own. I enjoy his blog posts. They are short, informative and to the point. He also has a free ebook for download. It takes you through his philosophy in a simple, easily digestible way.

You can visit Lee’s website here and find out more.

Lee Saxby ebok

May 26

18. Advice with achilles issue – Physio says wear orthotics

I received a request from one of our group members. Trish has been suffering from achilles issues and was receiving orthotics advice from physio. She was looking for some wider advice and so I opened it up to the coaches and also to the wisdom of the group. Thanks everyone for taking part.

Trying to work thru Achilles issues…need help….physio tells me to wear my orthotics in a well cushioned shoe but this just hurts. She is trying to convince me that the minimalist shoes cause more harm than good and yes there is good research for both sides of this coin. Exercises or sites that have helped anyone with these issues would be greatly appreciated. – Trish

First to reply was Steven Sashen of Xero Shoes. –  I wouldn’t begin to diagnose your problem from the limited amount of information you gave, and without seeing you, seeing you move, and without doing a thorough analysis.

That said, I can tell you that your physio is completely wrong and, I’m guessing, young enough to not recall that prior to 45 years ago ALL shoes were minimalist. Nor does your physio seem know that the meta analysis of orthotics shows that they are only effective on a small percentage of users (but it’s impossible to pre-identify which ones), and that expensive, custom-made orthotics are no better/worse than insoles you can buy off the shelf in a drug store.
If I had to place a bet, though, on what’s going on for you, it would be this: overuse and/or putting excessive strain on your Achilles by either overstriding while forefoot landing (puts strain on the Achilles because you’re using it to decelerate with every step), or getting your foot off the ground by pushing with the foot/ankle rather than by lifting (by flexing at the hip).
Feel The World!Steven Sashen, CEO
Xero Shoes

The wisdom of the group  – I opened this to our group. You can see the whole discussion here


Anne Vasey I have much painful personal experience here, too. Eccentric calf raises are good, but only if the tendon isn’t inflamed. Settle it down by strapping on an ice pack for 20 mins per night. Use arnica or ibuprofen gel before bed. First thing in the morning, write the alphabet with your feet to gently loosen stiffness in the tendon before getting out of bed. once the inflammation is gone, start stretching The tendon properly. Meanwhile, work on core strength, glutes and calf. The physio should be helping you to address any biomechanical issues with drills. In my case, the problem has been caused by tight hip flexors and a tilted pelvis. These are fixable with work. Hope you feel much better soon!
Michele Hall Like Anne Vase says it’s never as simple as just the tendons. You have to address the flexibility and power of your entire body. Strong and flexible will absorb shock and rebound with elastic energy like a solid rubber ball. Flexibility alone is more like a soft sponge ball, absorbent but without rebound. Lack of flexibility is more like a glass ball. It will shatter every time you try to workout. Use this time to work on your entire body get the hips and legs in shape and be patient with yourself. Think how long it took to get into this condition. Getting everything back in action is going to feel great.
Andrew O’Brien –  I’m a physio and Vivobarefoot coach, so I’m going to come at this from a different angle than your current physio. Hopefully without upsetting them too much.

Firstly, everyone above is pretty much bang on the money.

Yes, the eccentric exercises can work, but as Anne Vasey says, only if the tendon isn’t too badly inflamed.

The most important thing to remember is to do as you get back running is to build it up slowly and steadily- you should be trying to work on your from before you even think about fitness or speed.

While you are resting, try some toe-ga exercises (I’m sure there are videos on here somewhere, but if not, send me a message and I’ll get some over to you).

Also, work on your cadence as much as you can- again you might need to wait until the tendon settles a bit more) by bouncing in time with a metronome set to 180bpm (remember to let your heel kiss the floor though).

Also, if you are at the physio, I’m sure the do it anyway, but get them to work on the trigger points in your calf muscles- preferably with dry needling if they do it.

Finally, when you are running, remember the 3 golden rules, in this order, and you’ll be heading in the right direction- POSTURE, RHYTHM, RELAX.

I hope some of that helps…
Thank you to everyone who took the time to offer some advice. you can see our FAQ barefoot page here.

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