June 2012 archive

Jun 29

Barefoot running – Uphills are a breeze


I still feel like I am running on empty but was determined to get up and get out to see if it helped.

I have started to potter round the house for 10 minutes after I get up so that I am not throwing myself straight into it. That could prompt a long discussion about warming up but I will save that for another day and another post.

I was a little concerned because my calf was reminding me of its existence as I set off but I forgot about it within a few strides. In fact if anything, I noticed a slight tightness in the outside of my right shin and a little tension in my right arch as I got going.

The floor was slightly damp and I felt the burn almost immediately.

I am becoming more confident about that and knew that it would pass as I got into it and it proved to be the case. I forgot about the burn as I heard a runner approaching me from behind. He did a couple of double takes as he passed me and said,

“Barefoot, is that deliberate?”

I could have replied by thanking him for pointing out that I had put my shoes on my hands by mistake but his manner was not unkind, just curious.

I have taken to replying by saying that it is to do with rehab for my calf injury and most people accept it and move on.

I was pleased that I had heard him coming from a way off and enjoyed trying to run as quietly as I could and looking at the contrast in our styles. His was quicker but mine was much more fluent and sustainable.

I decided to go a little further this morning and try something new. I headed off down the local A-road (A666). I have commented in the past that I find the amount of road debris on the pavements a challenge. It is the little bits of broken tarmac thrown up by the big lorries that give me most pain. I crossed the road and found that the pavement is shocking. I was really surprised at how much my feet could stand and although I slowed a little I felt that I could keep going.

I am becoming an expert on the quality of tarmac on our local roads. I took a right turn into a road that I have driven and cycled hundreds of times. This morning was the first time that I noticed the cheese grater quality of the road surface.

I passed my daughter’s school teacher walking his dog, said good morning and sped up a little. I was pleased to say that I felt like a could have carried on for quite a while.

The last section back home is a very steep winding half mile. I was thinking about how steep one of the switchbacks is and then daydreamed off. I came to with no recollection of the steepest section. It just shows that little pitter-patter steps really help up hill. The same thing happened on another steep section just before home. Either it helps or I am blocking out the trauma of running uphill.

I am feeling like a barefoot 5k might be a possibility.

Great to have a comment on the metronome page from a runner that is going to have a go. It certainly had the biggest impact on my progress.

I am looking forward to stretching out in my shoes tomorrow and going a little further.

Click here for next key post – My Pegasus feel like bricks


Jun 27

Barefoot running in the rain – What an improvement!


What a change. I actually wanted it to be wet this morning so that I could see how much my feet are progressing.

I have posted a number of times how much my feet feel the burn on a wet road with comments and specualation from Ken Bob Saxton as to the reason.

I ran no trouble for 20 minutes which is real progress. I wasn’t weaving around looking for dry patches of road this morning although I must admit that I did weave a little looking for smooth tarmac.

I had a comment on one of my previous posts from Bobblesop (great name). He smiled when he read about my experiences because he had gone through the same thing. I am glad that it is not just me.

No problem with my calf, in fact I forgot all about it.

I did feel the 3rd toe of my left foot rubbing a little at the tip. I thought I was imaginging it at first but at the end of the run, I had a look and it is red and tender. It has never happened before and will interesting to monitor.

The whole road had a section covered in horse manure that was slimy because of the rain. It was tricky to avoid and I spent the rest of the run thinking about my wife’s comments if I was turn up at home with covered feet.

I have taken to putting socks on when I get in to keep the floor clean until I get chance to wash them properly. I wonder what everyone else does.

I am pondering whether to run in my minimalist trail gloves tomorrow. I think that I probably will.

Click here for next key post – Uphills are a breeze



Jun 25

Calf strain- Returning from injury


First decent run in my shoes since the calf strain. A little nervous setting out but absolutely fine. I have the tight groin that I reported a month ago when I started. I think that it tightens if I don’t loosen up with a bit of running each day.

Once I was half a mile in, I realised I was full of running and went a little further than intended. I am still being sensible and am aiming for about 13 miles overall this week.

Someone once told me to half my normal mileage on my first week back and then increase incrementally, dividing the other half by the number of weeks out. So a twenty mile a week runner that has been out for 3 weeks would run 10 miles on their first week back and then 13.3m ,16.6m and then 20m.

I have always done this and it seems to work.

I had the normal hot spot under my left ankle on the inside but it eased.

I ran a different way at the end so that I could keep running the entire way. The final 100 metres is very steep and I eased off and relaxed my legs. I am feeling very positive and hope to be back properly over the summer break.

My eating has been very erratic over the past two

days. I feel like I am at a turning point and really need to concerntrate on only eating when I am full.

I am looking forward to a barefoot run in the morning.



Jun 23

Breakthrough-Feeling like a real barefoot runner


I was looking forward to barefooting this morning. The road was damp but not too bad. I carried my minimalist Nike Frees and had to concentrate on keeping my arms free from tension.

I am getting used to feeling the burn on certain sections of the road and not worrying too much because I know it will ease further on.

I managed to run a little way along the major A road (A666) and avoided the worst of the debris thrown up by passing lorries onto the pavement.

I cut through a rather posh estate on my way back. The houses are very nice but their tarmac is rubbish. It was like running on shards of glass (OK, not that bad) and was rough enough for me to consider avoiding it for a while.

I could feel the calf strain at the start but not after the first few minutes.

A breakthorugh today was that I forgot that I was running barefoot for a while, I was just running. I was even pretty quick coming back. I had no feeling of slapping my feet and am feeling more like a bonefide barefooter.

I didn’t take my watch and have done my ten miles for the week. This was my plan for the first week back after almost 3 weeks out.

Looking forward to getting out for a little longer tomorrow.

Click here for next key post – Running in the rain – What an improvement




Jun 22

Barefoot running- Don’t be a slapper


I ran barefoot yeaterday morning. The road was damp and once again I found myself weaving in and out looking for the best bits of road.

I had a couple of hot spots on my soles but a quick change in tecnique sorted it out. I am learning that sometimes I feel the burn and then it passes. I am at the point where I limited my run to 20 minutes to be sensible rather than simply running as far as my soles would takes me. This is a welcome change. I keep passing the milkman, he doesn’t say much but I think that he thinks I am mad.

I got as far as the main A road (A666). When I tried to run along the pavement at the side, it was full of small, sharp bits of broken tarmmac and stones thrown up by the huge lorries that race past. I need to run this section to get to the good stuff but it a bridge too far for my feet at the moment. I will keep testing it out to see how I go. At the moment I am trapped on the estate where I live.

I didn’t think about my calf injury at all and noticed that on my way back, I was running a little quicker than normal and slapping my feet down. I could hear it. I tried then to run as quietly as I could. This will be a focus next time out.

Looking forward to doing that tomorrow and completing 10 miles for the week which was my goal for the first week back follwing the calf strain.

I had the first proper response to my blog yesterday from Steve at the naked feet. It is great to chat to real UK barefoot bloggers.

Click here for next key post – Feeling like a real barefoot runner



Jun 18

Barefoot running- the ups and downs


I left my watch at home this morning and ran barefoot. Not even an echo of a strain in my calf this morning. The road was damp but I seem to be getting used to it.

I decided to vary things this morning and run a couple of steep downhills this morning. I have found that I really feel it when I do this but it was OK today. I even hopped on and off the pavement a couple of times to avoid traffic. I would not have been able to do this before. I am progressing quicker than I thought.

I exchanged thoughts with barefoot Ken Bob Saxton on running in the wet on facebook today. He has run two marathons in torrential rain but does say that the more experienced runners feel the road is rougher in the wet.

I think the milkman thinks that I am mad as I run past with a shoe in each hand.

I have also started a bit of a facebook chat about huaraches. Lots of good advice and a runner saying that barefoot is best.

I sort of agree, I am starting to feel like I am cheating with shoes on and I love the feel of the ground. On the other hand, the Tarahumara wear huaraches and they seem to know a thing or two.

I ran about 15 mins barefoot in the wet, up and down steep hills, progress!

I am looking forward to getting out and running in my pegasus in the morning and seeing how my calf reacts.

Click here for next key post – Don’t be a slapper

Jun 17

Barefoot running shortens rehab for calf strain.


I ran in my Pegasus for the first time for 17 days this morning. I am familiar with the calf strain and it would have ruled out my summer if it hadn’t been for barefoot running.

I concentrated hard on cadence and midfoot strike. I lifted off and spent some time checking that my posture was good. I could feel the effort in my abs. 17 days out has made a difference!

I felt my calf as I set off but not in the same place. It eased off as I did. I didn’t feel it again at all until very close to the end. It was tight close to the surface. I slowed and leant back and ran gently pitter-patter home. It felt good to be out properly.

I am feeling more like a true barefooter which is strange seeing as I have just run a pair of Nikes.

I think that it is good to be making a few links with barefooters out ther. I had a facebook chat about huaraches and the finer points of invisible shoes and Luna sandals.

I also had a mention on the feel the dirt blog. He created my first inward link. I am soooo….proud!

30 minutes slow and steady- job done!

I am looking forward to running barefoot in the morning.


Jun 16

Barefoot running pain – my feet feel alive!


The rain is falling heavily everywhere and as you probably know, my barefoot runs in the wet have been short because I really feel the burn. I think that it is the fact that my soles pick up lots of very fine material from the road. It  turns into an almost stick paste that grinds away like sandpaper.

Sounds a bit dramatic but it does seem to be limiting things. When I head through a puddle, it seems to wash my soles and barefoot running becomes cool and pleasant for a few strides. I headed off road to try and get away from this.

This is a relatively new experience for me and just the 5 minute run to the trail left my feet feeling the burn.

I pushed through it and was rewarded with 12 minutes of fun on the grass and muddy tracks near home.

I was concentrating so much on a patch of nettles I was approaching that I didn’t see the huge rock I was just about to step on. it hurt for a while but my feel certainly felt alive.

I had great fun. I put my mimimalist Nike Free shoes on when I had reached my limit and ran gently home.

There was no sign at all of my calf injury until I had my shoes on. then it was only a whisper, a gentle reminder to be careful and not take things for granted.

Sitting at home, I have forgotten the pain of the rock but I can still feel the long grass dragging between my toes. An distant echo of childhood. What fun.

I am looking forward to getting back out there next week and aim to run about 10 mles in total

just to ease myself back in.

Click here for next key post – The ups and downs

Jun 14

An echo of a calf strain- barefoot running is helping.


It was good to test my soles out on a wet road this morning. The good thing is that I didn’t think about my calf at all. I ended up weaving around gently looking for the dryest patches and concentrating on keeping my legs loose and easy.

Barefoot running in the wet seems to be something I find more of a challenge and I lasted 4 minutes and 16 seconds this morning. I am reading posts from other runners talking about barefoot marathons and dreaming of the future. I am in no hurry and it will be interesting to see if I get that far. I can’t see why not. Barefoot running takes patience and I am in no hurry.

My left achilles Continue reading

Jun 13

A walk in my minimalist trail gloves-so proud

I am quite proud of myself this morning. It would have been easy to go for a run. The weather was fine and it was a lovely morning. Instead I took the dogs for a walk and even resisted the urge to break into a trot. I will run again in the morning but the job this week was to do a few short barefoot runs and check that my calf can cope.

I walked in my minimalist shoes (Merrel Trailgloves) and the zero drop is still a challenge on my left achilles but not enough to be a worry.

I am finding more blogs out there and I had a twitter conversation about Invisible shoes and hope to get some soon. The advice is to stick them down the back of my shorts and use them if the trail is too rough to handle barefoot.

There are a few barefoot events but they are mostly London based. it would be good to get a few of us together in the Northwest and get out there and meet a few like minded barefoot runners. It would also be interesting to meet runners who use a range of minimalist shoes.

My instinct says avoid minimalist running this week and run barefoot instead. I think I will listen.

I think I need to join facebook then I can join BarefootrunningUK’s facebook group.

I am really looking forward to getting out there tomorrow. I hope the road is dry.