Nov 13

2 week Maffetone Test – Day 10 and my hunger has vanished!

I am now 10 days into the 2 week Maffetone test as described by Dr Phil Maffetone in his writings. Things are a bit more clear.

My hunger has dropped off over the past day or so to the point where I don’t feel hungry but more ’empty’ if that makes sense. It is definitely different. I remember reading that Dr. Phil has times when he can’t remember the last time that he ate and thinking that I would never be like that. I am certainly not there but I am getting a brief glimpse of what he means.

I am now eating out of habit rather than hunger and also in a response to that empty feeling. I am not used to it. I have spent years topping myself up so that I feel almost full most of the time. I am also eating because I think I should. Yesterday, I had 2 boiled eggs and 3 rashers of bacon for breakfast. This was before 7am. I had a hectic morning at work and hadn’t noticed that I hadn’t eaten anything until it got to 12.30pm. I sat with 2 colleagues who were having lunch and I just didn’t feel hungry. I had a small stick of cheese and a very small handful of nuts and kept my large salad and peppered trout in my bag.

I ate it at about 5pm and it was more than enough to fill me up and keep me satisfied. I then took my daughter out to a band practise and spent an hour wandering around a local supermarket. I am looking with new eyes. I am going up aisles I would never usually visit and missing out the ones where I would normally spend my time. I wasn’t even a little bit tempted by any convenience food or bread. I missed out the chocolate altogether. I ended up looking at salad, vegetables and different cuts of meat and smoked mackerel. I read every label. A new experience for me. I bought a single cup cafetiere as I would like to follow Dr Phil’s coffee recommedatons and left content that I hadn’t stuffed my self with all sorts of rubbish.

From a lay persons point of view, I see what is happening as follows:

  • I have been a carbo consuming, sugar addicted machine for decades and have always struggled with my weight. I have tried to maintain my weight through running but even after training for a marathon, I am stubbornly overweight. I think that this is because i consume a mixture of fats and refined sugar and my body is now completely set up to burn carbohydrates and the fat I consume is hardly used as a fuel source at all. A good portion of the sugar I consume is converted to fat in my body and stored. Because my body is fuelling itself on carbs, it craves them and I get hungry quickly and I am in a vicious circle.
  • This 2 week zero carb test has attempted to break that cycle and it has taken 10 days to get to the point where my body is now getting its fuel more from fat than carbs.. This means that I am not craving sugar because I am not reliant on it and I already have loads of fat stored and so my body is not searching round and craving for that either.

My waist size is narrowing as demonstrated by needing to use different holes on my belt. I need to make sure that I keep my heart rate within the MAF range whilst running to ensure that I am in the aerobic fat burning zone to really get the ball rolling. It feels good and the right thing to do. I have not allowed myself to get hungry and am carrying around cheese and nuts as snacks.

It has all been about readiness. I have friends not much older than me who have had health scares. I have never worried about my health because I have always run but that is not enough. I have had decades of being fit but unhealthy.

Time to stop and change things. If I am to be a life long runner, I need to look at the whole picture and not just my running. 

Nov 08

Maffetone 2 week test – Progress by end of week 1

5051413543146_250000_OutofPackLidoff_6My Chester Marathon experiences have convinced me that all is not well with my running.

OK, I have just run every day for the last year and covered over 1000 miles but I don’t feel much more healthy. In fact, I feel unhealthy, big and heavy.

I have begun to read Dr Phil Maffetone’s blog and bought his book and this has had an impact on the way I see things. I am reasonably fit but unhealthy.

I have linked this mostly do my diet and I think that is a big change that I am ready to make. Stress and the way I train are also significant factors. I am a carbo burning machine consuming the vast majority of my calories via refined carbs with very little fruit or veg at all. That is why I carry so much fat. I must hardly burn any at all. All my running has been in the anaerobic range. Once the fat is stored in my body, it is there to stay and is added to by the excess carbs I consume being converted efficiently by my body and laid down as fat reserves

I was convinced that I was going to run a good marathon and I am pleased that I got round Chester last month…but in all honestly I crashed and burned. I ran out of fuel and by the time I realised, it was too late.

My body is set up with my aerobic/anaerobic balance all out of kilter and relys almost exclusively on carbs. I had read diligently in the run up to the marathon and decided to rely on fat burning during the marathon so avoided carbo loading and didn’t use gels or carbs before or in the first half of the marathon. I decided to let my body burn fat instead. Big mistake. I needed a whole aerobic  base layer of training in order to do that. Something I had not done. I went into the marathon having done the training miles but completely un-fueled and was heading for trouble. It came and I hit the wall early and was in a big, black world of awfulness for a long, long time. I tried to make it up with gels and sports drinks but this just sent things all over the place and I felt very sick.

Since then, I have bought a heart rate monitor and been training at a rate lower than the MAF 180-age formula. I am very slow. So slow that it is clear that I have almost no aerobic base at all. It is hard to go so slow but the parallel with barefooting is clear to see. When I was very injured and broken, I went back to zero and ran barefoot. I have now done that for a year and have run more miles than ever before.

If I drop my pace to be within the MAF range, then there should be big rewards. I am already thinking about the marathon again, next year and how to approach it. I have a lot to learn and want to experiment  and find out more.

I am halfway through a 2 week zero carb Maffetone test. It is fascinating. I feel ready to change my dietary habits. I have been a ready meal, pizza and chocolate consumer for as long as I can remember. This last week has seen me learning to make my own salad dressing and eating a large salad every day. I have started each day with a cooked breakfast. I would normally skip breakfast and snacks have been cheese, nuts and boiled eggs.

I have had no cravings but have had 3 proper headaches which I think are linked to withdrawal from my very high sugar intake. I have had periods of euphoria. One morning this week, I was so full of energy that I had a competition with my son to see who could bounce the highest. This was not planned. It was 7.15am and we were both in the middle of getting dressed for the day. I am walking differently and my right hip inflammation seemed to have vanished.

I started 7 days ago at 12st 7lbs with a 41 inch waist. 7 days later, I am 7lbs lighter with a an inch and a half off my waist.

I am learning about warming up properly using a HRM to gradually increase the heart rate over 15 minutes so as not to stress internal organs.

I have reduced my upper MAF heart rate to 134bpm as it is becoming clear that my aerobic base is so poor. I am erring on the side of caution and am prepared to do that. I have the rest of my life to be a runner.

This meant that my normal 10 mile run took 140 minutes instead of 100 minutes. This was a shock. 14 minute miles!! It takes a leap of faith to go for it. But in my quest to be a lifelong runner, I need to address my health as well as my fitness.

My diet over the past week has been easy to prepare. I think that I need to keep things simple. Make things complicated and I just revert back to type.

A few examples of the way that the week has gone.

Pre breakfast – Coffee with peppermint leaves and a drop of whipping cream

Breakfast – 3 rashers of bacon plus 2 boiled eggs

Mid morning – Hard boiled egg, mixed nuts or mature cheese

Lunch – Large green salad (own balsamic/olive oil dressing) with leftovers from last night’s meal

Mid afternoon  – Hard boiled egg, mixed nuts or mature cheese

Evening meal – Cooked veg with butter, own simple chicken curry or bolognaise type affair made to Dr Phil’s recommendations.

Evening – I have some lovely almond butter from Funky Nut Company. Might have a snack to ward off hunger pangs.

Drinks – Lots of water, coffee as described. I am a big tea drinker. I am going to reduce my caffeine intake over the coming months but one thing at a time. Enough headaches for one week! I have found that a tea bag with a pure peppermint leaf tea bag produces a lovely smooth tasting drink. The peppermint takes the bitter edge off the tea in the same way that milk does.

This is just a test and after another week, I will begin to add some carbs back in. Fruit will be the first thing. Plums and apples as snacks. Then a bit of honey. The idea is to see what effect each type of carb has.

I am keeping a daily record which I post in Barefoot Mile a Day and Barefoot 365 for those who are interested.

I have lots to learn and many questions but the biggest one nagging away at me is:

  • If my MAF test shows me running at 10 minutes mile pace, how should I pace myself for a marathon?
  • Or is it, If my MAF heart rate is 134, what heart rate should I run a a marathon in?

Lots of reading to do and self experimentation to do. Exciting!

Oct 30

Barefoot beginner Training Blog – October 2015

Thursday 1st October

Not long now. I started this run streak in October last year.

Last decent run before marathon. Feet fine,legs fine. I’m fine. Felt full of running. We will see how we go!

Friday 2nd Oct 15

A barefoot mile

Sat 3rd October 15

IMG_3391Final mile before marathon tomorrow and full of running. My toe has had some sort of reaction to the plaster I put on. Swollen, red and itchy with a couple of small blistery patches. Itchiness is spreading underneath. Not too worried but I could do without it.






Sun 4th Oct 15

Barefooted Chester Marathon. Wow!

orig-CHEC1043Mon 5th Oct 15

Just pitter pattered very slowly this morning for a mile…and put in a big hill to make things interesting. Feet tender but OK. It is my quads. They are screaming. Never really had that before. It was my quads that gave up yesterday. Been a long time since I have run a the pace I started at yesterday for a sustained period and my lack of practise cost me.

Tuesday 6th October

Blimey. The DOMs has kicked in. My quads are on fire and my calves are feeling a bit stiff. I got a bit of a niggle about 8 miles in on Sunday in my right calf and no matter how I altered my style it wouldn’t go away. Itnnworroed me for a while and then I realised it had gone. Feeling stiff in the exact spot. I did some kneeling stretches last night to see if I could my quads at all. Sore!

Nothing that a bit of barefooting won’t sort out though. A barefoot mile. I set off gingerly and my quads felt like they had been hit with a hammer on the first 20 yrds which is steep downhill. Then I just got into it and by the end was whizzing along and enjoying myself. Might go a bit further tomorrow.

Wednesday 7th Oct 15

A barefoot mile in the rain.My stomach hasn’t recovered yet. Still needed to get back quick.

Thursday 8th Oct 15

2 barefoot miles this morning. Feet feel remarkably robust this morning and quads back to normal. Amazing thing the human body. I reckon I will be back to normal running next week. No rush though. Explained marathon to friend I saw out this morning. I end up saying that I went too fast but it still felt so comfortable. 8-8.30  miling was very conversational pace. I remember a stretch of road and feeling a little deadness in quads after 8 miles or so and thinking that I might have gone too quickly but I was still chatting happily away with runners I was passing. I had a 3hr 45 min finish in my head and it felt good to build up a little bit of a buffer. I was through half marathon dead on for that and then at 17 miles I realised that I just needed to run 3 miles in 30 mins to get under 3 hrs which would put me on for under 4hrs. I did that fine. At 22 miles, I was struggling but still on for under 4hrs. then went to pieces and I must have been on 14 minute miles near the end. I truly couldn’t go any faster.

Might go a bit further tomorrow.

Friday 9th Oct 15

A 5 miler barefooot this morning. Feet feel great although they were a bit weary in the last few hundred yards. I found myself with my hands spontaneously in the air in a victory salute at one point. I did that every mile on the marathon. I grinned each time and remembered that I was doing it out of choice. I have also just realised that I have not mentioned top of foot pain for a while. Stopped beinng an issue. Going to get a heart rate monitor this weekend and begin to MAF. The experiment continues.

Sat 10th Oct 15

A barefoot mile in crisp autumn sunshine. Full of running and toe doing well. 1001 miles for the last 12 months and 2 weeks to go.

Sun 11th Oct 15

I started a new experiment today using the MAF test. I took my age from 180 and ended up with a aerobic range of 124-134 bpm. I set my new polar HRM and warmed up with a gentle mile run of about 11 minutes. I ran a measured mile long section of a local road. it is as flat as I can find near home but is slightly downhill one way and both ways have a gentle inclines and descents.

Mile 1 – 10mins 48 (uphill)

Mile 2 – 10 mins 47

Mile 3 – 10 mins 45

Pretty consistent but I would expect the times to get slower over each mile so it means that I haven’t warmed up enough. Need a mile and a half probably.

It was hard to stay below the upper limit and I ended up feeling very, very slow. I suppose that I have been running and competing without issue for over 2 years with no real issues so could add an extra 5 onto the time. I think that I will do that next time out. Running this slow had an effect on my right calf and left one too to a lesser extent. The plan is to use this method to get ready for the 40 miler in March.

4 miles barefoot which takes me to 1005 in this runstreak with 12 days to go to make it a year.

Mon 12th October 15

A barefoot mile a bit earlier than usual. The sky was clear and the stars very bright as I ran in the darkness. Forgot my headtorch and ran half a mile on unlit road feeling my way with my feet. Addictive. No heartrate monitor this morning but I think I will wear it next time out to see how my heart is over a mile. Sore throat and sniffly. I thought I had avoided this cold going round but it has got me in the end. Planning the 3 peaks in a couple of weeks time. Should be fun.

Tues 13th Oct 15

The MAF experiment continues. I increaed my upper limit by 5 beats per min because I have been running injury free and consistetly fo 2 years to give me an upper limit of 139bpm so I am running in the 129-139 range.

It made a noticeable difference annd it was difficult to get inot the zone on the lonng downhills. I ran them faster than I am used to. Sort of evens out with running uphill slower. I have a cold at the moment. Conditions chilly and damp underfoot.

5 barefoot miles in 54 mins 42secs. Last mile in 10mins 21 secs remaining in zone. Average HR was 134bpm.

I feel like I have had a good run and I was sure that it was faster than it ended up being.

Wed 14th Oct 15

Legs sore last night. Hamstrings. I am guessing that it was from running quicker then normal at times yeterday to keep heart rate in the zone. Fine this morning.
A barefoot mile with HRM on. It was hard to keep up in the zone on the first halfmile. As soon as I go on the level or downhill, I need to speed up. The calf trouble from a couple of days ago had vanished. Overall, I am not quick but there are sections where I am running quicker than usual.
Overall 11.41 (I do stand at halsway point for a little while ans enjoy being out in the morning darkness.) Average HR os 122 but at the end of my little rest I had dropped to 82bpm.

Thursday 15th Oct 15

A barefoot mile nice and easy.

Friday 16th Oct 15

5 barefoot miles HRM on and feeling grotty with a bad cold. Was slower than last time out.

Sat 17th Oct 15

Planned a 6 mile run with HRM but feeling rotten and when I set off HRM wasn’t picking up so I cut short and just ran a very easy barefoot mile. Been reading the Maffetone book this morning. Most interested in diet. This is the thing I need to change along with jjst about everything else. I am stuck in this sugar loop and need to get off. Easy to say but very hard to do. Or at least I am finding it hard. I need to remove the refined carbs from my diet full stop. Question is whether to do the 2 week test or not. Why does that seem so scary? Surely not. I think it is practical issues of combining it with family life. Plus I am not sure whether I am able to do it. Will I give in and end up feeling awful. Should just be non-negotiable. Get the stuff in that I need and just do it. Cold turkey.

Sun 18th Oct 15

A barefoot mile this morning.

Mon 19th Oct 15

Tried to get a better MAF baseline at max of 139bpm. Ran 2 miles warmup then miles at
9:58 av 134
9:51 av 135
9:38 av 135
This decrease in time would suggest that I need to warm up more. Interesting that putting HRM up by 5 bpm makes such a difference. 5 miles in total. Only 3 more runs before I have run everyday barefoot for a year.

Tues 20th Oct 15

A barefoot mile and was cold this morning and foggy which made it very dark. The senses come to the fore, smell in particular. I needed to back off and keep under what I think is my upper heart rate limit. Two more days and I will be there.

UntitledWed 21st Oct 15

Oct 15 -13 miles

1026 miles and tomorrow will be a full year running without shoes. Can’t believe that it here already.

Thursday 22nd Oct 15

A year of barefooting rounding off with a 5 miler in the early morning darkness round a route that has become so familiar, it just feels part of my day.

365 day barefoot runstreak covering 1,031 miles in total. I have learned such a lot and can’t imagine not running every day anymore. I might even try in a bit of footwear tomorrow. Who knows. What I do know, is that i seem to have found a way to make running a sustainable, injury free part of my life and long may it continue.

I was on my HRM this morning and am at the end of a bad cold.

5 mile route in total. Last mile was 13 minutes. I was struggling to keep below the 139 upper limit this morning. My last mile the other day was 9 mins something. It would seem that I might be sickening for something. We will see.

Friday 23rd October 15

Started year 2 of the runstreak with a barefoot mile in the rain. Cold and foggy. Ended up running with headtorch in my hand.

Sat 24th Oct 15

A hefty night out last night and ended up running a barefoot mile later in the day. Always feel better for a run.

Sun 25th Oct 15

Clocks went back last night but still only felt like doing a barefoot mile. It was cold today annd I got numb feet for the first time this year.

Mon 26th Oct 15

Big day today. I ran in footwear for the first time in over a year. I ran in Walsh zero drop after warming up with a barefoot mile as the dawn broke. My shod run was about 6.5 miles and I used heart rate monitor. I have never urn the route as slowly. 83 minutes with an average of about 135bpm. As soon as I reached a slight incline the HRM went up about 139. I ended up walking to get in back down and then running again once it had dropped. I feel fine and no problems to report but it was very slow. My MAF test had me going much quicker than this bit maybe it is the effect of going over uneven undulating ground. I am looking forward to doing the 3 peaks on Wednesday and then doing a 2 week carb test and seeing hiow much difference it makes. If it is all about readiness, I am ready.

Tuesday 27th Oct 15

About to head out for an early morning barefoot mile. My hip is very stiff after running in shoes yesterday. Not sure if it is shoes or the act of running so slowly that has caused it. I will need to mix it up with barefoot and strength and flexibility exercises if this is going to work. I have been looking forward to running in shoes for ages and now it has arrived, I realise how special barefoot running feels. What a pain drying shoes out is and what a pain having to buy running socks is too.

12187697_661962063946738_3578156017999475540_nWed 28th Oct 1512188998_661962087280069_3237984980696929099_n11181955_661962097280068_521699698651497714_n

Aimed to run the 3 peaks but went wrong on Pen-Y-Ghent and went north across Plover Hill. Miles out of our way and very rough getting back on track. Weather atrocious so decided to cut it short and ran back into Horton. About 16 miles in total with a few of those barefoot on road back in. Walshes did well. Saloman vest did well too. Comfy. My HR was high and struggled to keep slow enough to keep it under. I think my Aerobic base is shocking ad I need to do something about it. Diet related, I think. Maffetone test coming up over next week. I will do a MAF test tomorrow to get the ball rolling.

Thursday 29th October 15

A barefoot mile. Outside of quads stiff and sore

Friday 30th Oct 15

Another barefoot mile. Quads still stiff

Sat 31st Oct 15

104 miles for October and feeling a bit lethargic. All connected to having now done the marathon and a year barefoot. Need a bit of focus. the Maffetone 22 week test should do that. I am shopping today to start it tomorrow. 12st 7oz at the start.


Oct 03

5 favourite barefoot posts of the week – Number 40

Walsh 600x100 banner


It is a while since I have listed my favourite 5 barefoot posts of the week and I have missed it. Blogging has become part of my life but the biggest part of blogging is reading the writing of others. It helps to keep things connected.

This week, I have chosen 5 posts that caught my attention and made me want to read on.

1 1. The first post is a news report about Jake Brown who is running barefoot across the US.

2700 miles into his run, he stopped off at a school for a chat. There seems to be a few of these types of journey going on and it caught my attention after reading a few posts from Alek’s Kashefi who had just run the length of the UK.

22. Post two is a post from Visual News on the new VFF Furoshiki.

Well from Vibram anyway as it does not have 5 fingers. At first I thought it might be an April Fool and I checked the date on the post twice. It wraps your foot in the she like a Japanese Kimono. Beautiful or horrible? Can’t quite decide.



Find out how to run barefoot from Steven Sashen of Xeros here


33. Interesting article about shoes and injury from the South China Morning Post.

It cites a study that says that expensive shoes cause the most injury  and that comfortable shoes fare better. I have a theory here. I reckon that the only reason you would spend crazy amounts on running shoes is if you are injured or have been injured. The more injuries you have had, the more likely you are to get injured again and the more desperate you get and the more you spend. It is a vicious  circle.

44. Five lies you may have been told about running from

This grabbed me because one of my biggest areas of interest is uncovering the things we all take for granted as runners. The set of ‘norms’ that pen us in. Running (and barefoot running) is full of them. They seem like common sense but sometimes they are not. The more we can question them the better. Number 4 is ‘Barefoot is best’ and I found myself nodding after my initial bristling response.


55. Final post of the week is from the Southern Daily Echo about Andy McGhee who has just run 7 marathons in 7 days.

Andy ran in Xeros to raise some money for the paediatric unit that helped his son after a severe asthma attack. It caught my attention as I a worried about running my first barefoot marathon this week and it was on my mind. Andy’s comment “You can’t run normally…You have to run flat-footed and that can really start to take its toll after a while.” will no doubt interest a few of you. Fantastic achievement.  Well done Andy.

We have a facebook group where you find out more barefoot and minimalist news and opinions. We are a friendly group and you will be made very welcome.

Sep 30

Barefoot beginner Training Blog – September 2015


Tues 1st September 2015

A quick barefoot mile before heading off to the airport to see family in France.

Wed 2nd Sept 15

6 barefoot miles through the French and Swiss countryside to find Pere Jacob’s brewery. French roads rough and Swiss roads amazing and smooth. Nice way to start the day.

IMG_3326Thursday 3rd September 15

A barefoot mile this morning befoe heading toi Chamonix and the Augille de Midi cable car. 3500ft straight down from the viewing platform. Guy next to us climbed over the rail wearing wing suit and parachute.

Friday 4th Sept 15

Another barefoot mile. Got up late and so missed the chance to run firther before heading to airport.

Sat 5th Sept 15

Very gentle barefoot mile after late night in the DunscarBbridge Brewhouse.

Sun 6th Sept 15

IMG_333315 barefoot miles this morning. up nice and early. Feet cold for first mile or so. Top of foot felt discomfort when running uphill, downhill or on rough ground so that wass pretty much the entire route. the route was challenging climb wise. I am running at about 10 minute mile pace over this rough ground and the hills slow me down. It is because, I am also slow going down as well as up. No real problem though and foot is OK. Giving myself the best chance of doing this marathon. Plan for a longer one next weekend and then we will see what things are like with 3 weeks to go.

Mon 7th Sept 15

First day of school year and so out at 6am. It was darker than I expected and the last couple of days have been a little chilly. I like it. Still stopped halfway and looked out over the valley to the cars driving in the distance on the other side. MMy foot is a little tender after the 15 miler yesterday but nothing bad. Yesterday when I stretched out, I felt a lack of confidence because I was worried about scraping my toe again. It affected my pace. I curl my toes upwards when on rough ground and this makes the tendons on the top of my foot work which is why they are a little sore this morniing.

Tues 8th Sept 15

5 barefoot miles in a perfectly still and slightly chilly morning. Running from being under streetlamps to daylight. I love it. My left foot tendons were tender when I got out of bed and it was most noticeable when running down steep hills. My form completely affected. No problem or discomfort on the flat. I am not worried. Going to put in the miles posssibel and give myself best chance of the marathon in3 and a half weeks. If I don’t get there, it will not be the end of the world.

Wed 9th Sept 15

Wow – What a difference a day makes. It was pretty dark at 6am this morning and I almost went and got my headtorch. Not long until I will need it. I enjoy running in my own dark bubble but it is here sooner than I thought. Still burning the candle at both ends. Another night workking until midnight on assignment. Finally got it to thee pint where it is OK. Needss a few extra bits over next couple of days and then I will get a few consecutive good night’s sleep. Foot OK but set off at a bit of a shuffle until things had warmed up. Not lifting my feet far off the ground at all which has always been my style as a barefooter but it seems more pronounced.

Thursday 10th Sept 15

5 barefoot miles this morning and feeling a bit more normal. My foot was OK except on steep downhills annd I am back into a routine where I am out there at 6am enjoying the morning air. Good to stop in the middle and pause for a minute or so to ground myself and stop my mind whirring aboout the things that I have going on. I go calm when I do that. I try and remind myself that the day is for enjoying and not getting to hung up about.

Friday 11th Sept 15

A mile barefoot this morning and I changed route to take in the newly refurbished park in Egerton where I live. I wanted to have a go on the monkey bars. On holiday, I was shocked at how my upper body strength has deteriorated. I grew up in a very small house which just happened to have 3 big trees in the back garden. I had a rope swing and climbed just about everything that was climbable. i prided myself on it. In Geneva, I couldn’t get up the climbing wall that comes out of the lake and kept falling back into the water. So…monkey bars for me! I tried a couple of pul ups. (Ahem…least said the better). I think that I will make it a regular stop off in my morning runs.

The pain in the top of my foot was noticeable by its absence. The body truly is an amazing thing. Been planning a 20 miler for Sunday morning. Looking forward to it. Lots of little route alterations to keep thinngs interesting.

Sat 12th Sept 15

A mile barefoot and another trip to the monkey bars. Pathetic attempt at pullups. Things can only get better. No discomfort at all. Feeling good.

Sun 13th Sept 15

IMG_336320 miles barefoot this morning and it felt like a breakthrough run. I gained in confidence and was full of running. I managed tor un quicker on rough ground by relaxing and was running on the edge but I felt in control of this run rather than it just being a beast.

Took 3.5 hrs and my foot was fine. The top of foot pain went away when I tried to engage my big toes and the rest of them followed. It was glorious up in the West Pennine Moors and I set off at just gone 6am. New route and that made it interesting. I spoke to a woman with 4 enormous dogs and we came to the conclusion that the only person wearing anything on their feet was her and she was the only one with a limp. Go figure!

IMG_3347Lots of time to think about the people who I have read about, met and learnt from over the past couple of years. Danny Dreyer, Tracy Davenport, Anna and David, Gray Caws, Ben le Vesconte, Ted, Ken Bob, guys at Evolve, Jean Haines, Jon Woodward, Colin, Aleks Kashefi, Ron Hill and all the real barefooters interviewed.

I think I stand a chance of making the marathon in 3 weeks time even thoguh it is brutal underfoot.

Mon 14th Sept 15

Dark this morning so dug out headtorch for morning run. In the end I forgot to switch it on. A barefoot mile and my feet are OK after the long run yesterday. My legs were heavy but not badly so. My left foot has a little discomfort on the top but only onn rough ground annd I iginred it pretty much and kept my toes to the floor. Soem amazing things going on. Georg and his coast to coat and Tracy and her hardcore lined half marathon. Jyst shows what can be done. I will get there. Day by day, step by pitter-pattering step.

Tues 15th Sept 15

5 barefoot miles setting off in the dark this morning. Almost straight away my soles felt tender after Sunday’s run. Half a mile in and I was wonndering whether I was going to manage but I now have enough experience to know that my soles can go from tender to no problem depending on the surface and the point in my run. I gave myself the option of bailing out after 2 miles and 3 miles but ended up being OK. It is just as satisfying running a 5 miler 2 days after running 20 miles. I feel more like a runner somehow. The 20 miles hasn’t knocked me out for a week annd I am just back into the groove.

A word on being sensible. It is not always the best option. What does being sensible mean? Usually it means doing the thing that is common sense at the time. So..what is common sense? It is made up what everyone seems think and assumes to be right. The problem is that when there are a load of assumptions made, they are often wrong. Just because a load of people think something is true doesn’t make it so. Plus it might be true for them but not for you. We are not all the same. Much better to experiment and work out for yourself what is good for you. The common sense assumptions are a good place to start and to test yourself against but the number of times I have been told that what i doing is not sensible yet i have gone from a broken down runner to someone who is running pretty much injury free every day. Not being sensible is not the same as being stupid, however. Try to avoid that.

Wed 16th Sept 15

Soles tender this morning and developing a crack in my right heel which is a new thing for me. I need to look back at Ady’s YouTube clip on heels. A few more pathetic attempts at pull-ups on the monkey bars. No worse than last time…and no better either.

Thursday 17th Sept 15

5 barefoot miles this morning and much better. My soles are a little tender but nothing toobad. Getting to the time of year when the ground is damp whatever and I must admit I enjoy running on dry ground. A pleasant run overall. Met a woman wlaking her dogs who stopped me and said that she had been wondering for ages why she kept seeing me out barefoot. I stopped for a walk alongside her and explained that I often meet people with dogs and a limp. They are usually the only one of us wearing shoes. She nodded. Most people are just curious and when you explain they understand.

Friday 18th Sept 15

Feeling tired at the moment. Managed to get oout of bed first thhing and put on headtorch. Didn’t need it in the end. The run was OK but no real spring in my step. I think I will be better when I know that I am heading out for a 10  miler in the morning. I tried to remove one of my new finger plasters from my toe afterwards. Really difficult to get off which is a good sign. Skin on top of toe is a thin as wet tissue paper.

Sat 19th Sept 15

10 barefoot miles this morning and feeling good. Just warming up after 10 and running strongly up steep hills near finish. I felt like I wasn’t ‘barefoot’ running this morning. i was just running. The barefoot bit was incidental. I went into that free flowing state that runners get sometimes and the miles slipped by. There is a very steep, long hill at about mile 7 which I had been thinking about early in my run. I was waiting for it to come. It was only when I was a good half mile past it that I realised that I had run it. I have no recollection of being on the hill at all. It just glided past. There is a distinct change in my running and it has happened over the past couple of weeks. I am realising that running quickly is a confidence thing and I am getting used to the idea and just accepting what the ground gives me.

43 barefoot running miles in the last 7 days. Who would have thought that was possible after that first 40 second run.

Sun 20th Sept 15

Day  number 332 of this little barefoot runstreak and on track to hit 1000 miles by October 22nd. This morning was just a mile in the dark after yesterday’s 10 miler. Feet feel OK if a little tired. It is mazing how quickly they recover.

Mon 21st Sept 15

A barefoot mile after sleeping like a log. A very long day selling beer at Sefton Palm House yesterday. Wet and dark this morning. I am confident that after another 2 weeks my soles will be fresh and I will be full of running. Reading blog this morning about barefooting being more difficult for older runners. Doesn’t mean it isn’t worthwhile though. I was one of the runners described. You end up finding a way.

Tues 22nd Sept 15

An unpleasant barefoot mile this morning in the dark. Unpleasant because I felt heavy and lethargic and wheezy. A lot to do with the fact that I ate blindly yesterday and I feel yuk. A lesson learnt. Probably not. Need to do something about it though.

Wed 23rd Sept 15

Still wheezy this morning and not feeling quite at it. 5 barefoot miles and improving all the way round. Feeet feeling OK

Thursday 24th Sept 15

Feet feel robust and glad to have eased off a little. Looking forward to seeing how they are after another 10 days with nothing crazy in there. Marathon pack arrived. Getting closer. A barefoot mile in the dark this morning. Cold underfoot and headtorch out now we are past the Autumn Equinox.

Friday 25th Sept

11 months of running barefoot every day. Motivation is not a problem because I believe that I have found out whyI run and have a structure that is easy to follow and understand. 5 barefoot miles this morning. Ground damp and then the heavens opened. I am hoping for dry ground next week on marathon. If not dry then very wet. Damp is not my favourite and can be a challenge.

Sat 26th Sept 15

A barefoot mile. Feet feel OK. The mornings are getting colder. Thought there might be a bit of frost but not yet.

Sun 27th Sept 15

6 barefoot miles this morning. It is a week before the Chester marathon and feeling OK about it. Worried about conditions underfoot but I will take it as I find it. If I need to slow right down then so be it.

Felt pretty dreadful this morning. Stomach not good last night ot this morning and I feel wheezy and lethargic. My joints have been aching for a couple of days. Not just my legs but all over. Always feel better for a run though. I took my time for 5 miles thenn picked Dan up. He bombed off ahead and I tried to keep up. At the halfmile turn round point, he was way ahead and I worked really hard at catching him. He ran very well and fought me off on the last flat section to beat me home by a 10 yards or do. Good fun. Not sensible to be going flat out at this point but it was what I needed to lift me out of a bit of a rut.

Mon 28th Sept 15

A wheezy barefoot mile this morning. Still feel lethargic. Soles are good though. I have a slight felling in my left calf but I think that it is the beginning of ‘maranoia’ with less than a week to go until Chester.

Read a post about minimal shoes this morning. Funny but I don’t have a problem with the term barefoot shoe but with minimal, I do gave an issue if they are nnot. It was the Altra which has a good amount of cushioning thhat caused the problem for me. They are zero drop with a wide toe box and I would like a go in a pair but they are not minimal. We need a term for zero drop with a wide toe box that doesn’t hijack minimal.

IMG_3390 IMG_3390 IMG_3387Tuesday 29th Sept 15

Good to chat with Greg Dimelow yesterday and hand over a pair of Walshes. Maranoia is weaving its spell this morning. I cut my 5 miler short and ended up with less than 3 because of a sharp felling in my right heel. Must be something in there. I need to have a dig around and get it out. No real fear to be honest but a pain in more than one way.

We were chatting about the 10% mileage increase rule and then I got thinking about the term recovery run. I think that is what my runs mostly are. They sya that there is no such thing but I disagree. Only if you run wrong.

Wed 30th Sept 15

Yesterday was last 5 miler before Sunday’s marathon and I ended up hobbling home after 2 miles and performing open heel surgery to remove a bit of glass. Usually causes no problem and I can sort of flick glass or thorns etc out whilst out running. On 3 occasions during the past year, however, it has needed more digging to get things out.

This morning, I did a barefoot mile to check it out and no issues at all. I was whizzing along feeling more full of running than I have for ages. Pics to follow!

September closed with a hole in my heel and having run 107 miles which was one short of my monthly barefoot record.





Sep 30

Crikey – I seem to have entered the Oldham Way Ultra

Walsh 600x100 bannerMy fingers just seemed to move themselves and before I knew it, I had clicked send, paid my money and there I was on the start list of the Red Rose Ultra. (previously known as the Oldham Way Ultra)

I am blaming Greg Dimelow. I met him a couple of days ago to swap a pair of Walsh zero drop ultras for a VW beer cooler (don’t ask) and we got chatting. We put the world to rights as usual with the main thrust being that there is far to much sensibleness in the world. I think that we both feel that there is this prevailing discourse in running that means that you have to do things in a certain way. Increase your mileage by no more than 10% a week. Don’t run every day, rest days are important plus a myriad of other things. We just all take these things for granted as being true. Greg doesn’t and following our chat he posted in our group about his plans to run the OWA. I was sitting outside my daughter’s brass band practise when I read his entry and within 10 minutes was on the start list.

Sometimes it is best to just not think about things too much. The OWA is 40 miles and my furthest run to date is 22.5 miles and all of that was on the roads. Roads that took me up and over the West Pennines but nothing I could sink into upto my waist. That was also barefoot and I cannot see me running the OWA barefoot.

This means that I am am going to have to get used to having something on my feet. Having not run in shoes for over 11 months that is the thing causing me a moment or two’s thought.


Nice video on the race reports section

I had always planned to gradually transition back to shoes and the whole point of running a year completely barefoot was to improve my form. It will be interesting to see whether I can handle it.

It is interesting to note where my points of concern are and are not:

  1. Although I have not run that far, I am not worried about the distance. I will use the winter months to enjoy myself and get used to spending time on my feet. The terrain doesn’t worry me too much. Looks fun.
  2. Kit – I ran a lot of long fell races in my youth but before the days of mandatory kit. I have a cavernous Low Alpine bum bag from the last time I did the Mary Townley Loop relays but things have moved on and I reckon I will be wearing one of these new fangled Ultra Vests. Need to practise.
  3. Blisters – I am going to be putting shoes back on. I have had no blisters barefoot. It is shoes that cause blisters and not the ground. I need to get comfortable in a my shoes.
  4. Navigation – The moors are big out there and it is just far enough away to mean that recce runs are going to be few and far between. I will be practising then getting in with a group of locals and sticking to them like glue.
  5. My weight. I am running a marathon on Sunday and am at least 2 stones overweight. I need to do something about that if I am going to lug myself 40 miles over hill and dale.
  6. I am worried that I am worrying too much and have too much time to prepare and think about things. If it was this weekend. I would pack my bumbag, put on my Walshes, use the maps that they provide for each section and just get out there with friends and enjoy myself. I would get round.

OWA Kit list is below. 

  1. •Waterproof jacket – not a log flume poncho or super market fashion jacket, it has to have a waterproof membrane with taped seams
  2. •Waterproof trousers see point 1
  3.  • Long sleeve top
  4. •Hat and gloves
  5. •Torch and spare batteries + a back light or Glowstick (if you are out after dark)
  6. •Foil blanket
  7. •Mobile phone, add our number now or don’t complain on the day if you don’t have it; 01484 599123
  8. •Whistle
  9. Map, Compass and the knowledge how to use them. We will supply you with A4 map extracts on the day.

I have also begun to read Phil Maffetone’s blog. Full of good stuff. I reckon it might be interesting to use some of his ideas in preparation.

I will keep you posted and see how we go. Quite exciting!


Sep 28

Minimal shoes from startup companies


Xero Shoes












I enjoyed reading this post from Amy Hatch on Gear Junkie.

She goes through her selection of startup companies that have entered the minimal shoe market. Pleased to see Xeros in there. It is the comments that follow the post that make me smile. Terminology is so precious to some people and they just can’t let things go. We always get the same reaction when someone uses the term ‘barefoot shoe’. It causes so many people to get steamed up. Personally I have no problem with the term. It isn’t misleading. If they had meant to mislead us, I am guessing that they would have missed out the word ‘shoe’. Nobody owns the word ‘barefoot’ although sometimes you get the sense that some people think that they do.

Walsh 600x100 banner

The word ‘minimal’ is an interesting one though. It seems to have become adopted as a shoe that is an alternative to the cushioned running shoe that is typified by the Nike Pegasus and myriad others. However, some of the shoes in this list are not minimal at all. That seems to have caused a little bit of disturbance. The Altra is cushioned but has a big wide toe box and is zero drop and was one of the first so called ‘minimal’ brands on the scene. Since its arrival, lots of more minimal shoes have arrived that make the Altra look positively built up.

Perhaps we need a term for the shoes with wide toe boxes and zero drop that doesn’t hijack the term minimal.

I haven’t run in shoes for over 11 months now and I fancy a pair of Altras. My goal is to run injury free and I have yet to try zero drop and cushioned. I might splash out on a pair and see how they go.

You can read Amy’s post here


Sep 23

Barefoot Runner Gladson Johnson

Running-kXfG--621x414@LiveMintEnjoyed this article about barefooter Gladson Johnson. on

What resonated with me most was the fact thhat he does all his exercise before anyone else in his family gets out of bed in the morning. A man after my own heart.

I enjoy stories like these. It makes what I thought was impossible seem possible.

Sep 23

Some nice feedback

I have just had a lovely email in from one of our readers.

Hello Chris,
Thank you very much for the download. I look forward to reading the info. I have gone through your website already and enjoyed reading the various articles.
As far as stories are concerned, I could easily fit in the graveyard of damaged feet as you mentioned. I have spent many years dancing, fast pace walking/short runs followed by walking, or hiking for long hours. I find myself today taking it easy because no matter the shoes for dancing or the sneakers that I buy I end up discarding them because my feet are sore. I now walk slow and only for an hour. I have not danced for a couple of years, although I look forward to being on the dance floor again one of these days with new high heels :)
I read your post about the shoes/sandals you mentioned. I have not looked into them yet.
Once again, thank you for your courtesy. Much appreciated!
Thanks Chiara, it makes it all worthwhile.

Sep 22

Barefooting harder for older runners? Maybe but so what?


Daniel Lieberman runs barefoot across the Weeks Bridge n Cambride, Mass.Credit Bryce Vickmark for The New York Times

This article on the NY times blog caught my attention. It cites research that claims that barefoot running is harder to transition to when you are older. Older seems to mean over 30 and the hypothesis is that this is because older runners have years of bad running to unlearn.

This seems obvious but that doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t or can’t be done. I am one of those older runners with 25 years of cushioned shod running in my history. I was broken and at the end of the line and now I have gradually taught myself to run with good form by barefoot running (with the help of a little handheld metronome in the very early days).

I am now running every day and pretty much without injury. Harder? Possibly, but so what?

In my eyes it is all about readiness. I hit a point in my life where I was ready to do whatever it took to find a way to run in a sustainable way into my old age. It can be done!

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