January 2013 archive

Jan 30

I missed two barefoot runs this week…and that is OK. Progress!

The snow dominated proceedings this week. We get so little of it in the West Pennine Moors that when it falls everything grinds to a halt.

Other than last weeks barefoot outing in the snow, I didn’t run at all for a day or two. My feet had gone numb in the snow and ached like crazy the following day. I think that my style must have suffered and I used bits that I had not really used before. My feet felt fatigued, the structure was complaining and I laid off and missed two runs that I had planned.

That is OK and is part of the whole way my life has changed since I began to barefoot. I was able to lay off without guilt and anxiety, I just knew that it was the best thing to do. In the past, I would have pushed through the pain and tested myself to destruction.snow

I have also had quite a few ski lessons recently. I have found my feet aching after that as well. The parallels were easy to draw. I was concentrating on my posture, lean, weight distribution and which part on my foot was in contact with the sole of my boot.

There were lots of small children wading through almost a foot of snow to get to the Chill Factor indoor slope to have snow play parties in snow that was less than inch deep. They would have been better staying at home.

I got out yesterday morning barefoot. There are still bits of rocksalt affected road and they made my soles sing but I got home safe and sound.

My barefoot running and barefoot blogging are becoming entwined. I love them both. It feels like I am making progress all the time. I have a new logo which I tried out on my newsletter this week and I experimented with a grading system for barefoot runs.

I want to enter a few races this spring and I want to know which ones are good for barefoot runners. i can’t be the only person looking for this kind of information. Therefore the grading system was born. I want to create a resource that can be accessed and updated by barefoot community. For me that is what blogging is all about.

The Barefoot Beginner Facebook group is growing daily and I get real pleasure out of reading the discussions going on and chipping in where appropriate.

My life feels richer for it. I do not feel as fragile as I used to. My running is not as fast or as far but much more robust. Long may it continue.


You can comment on this post and others at the Barefoot Beginners Facebook group.


Jan 29

Barefoot Beginner Newsletter 30th Jan 2013

This week I produced our first newsletter for a while. It is good to be back compiling the best bits from the last week. It is exciting being part of Barefoot Beginner and there is a real sense of community building. We have an active facebook group and a barefoot running group meeting monthly. I want my blog to be a resource for all thosw wanting to change their running style for the better.

Click on the image to view the best bits from the last week.

Jan 27

Seiko Clip-On Metronome

Seiko MetronomeSeiko Clip-On Metronome :

This little metronome was probably the first piece of kit that I bought when I started to change my running style. Pound for pound, it is also the thing that has made the most difference.

Initially, I was running at a much slower cadence and having it in my hand helped imprint my new technique. I now run at about 180 bpm. This is not definitive but a guide. Matt Wallden from Primal Lifestyle wrote recently about stress being lower at closer to 200 bpm. I have not gone up there myself but do find that when I switch the metronome on, it now usually slows my cadence down rather than speeds it up. That must be a sign of something.





After a while, I carried it switched off and just gave it a whirl when I came to an incline. It helped me focus and hills became much easier.

This little metronome is good quality and cheap. It will last but not forever. It would urge you to give one a go. By the time the sweat and the rain gets into its system, I fancy that your form will have changed for the better.


Read about my experiences with a metronome on my Barefoot Beginner blog

Jan 25

Run UK – Adventure Evolution & Route Planning

This is the second post in out mini-series from Nadine Horn. Nadine is no stranger to adventure. You can read all about her career to date by clicking on her picture. We spoke a little while ago about her plan to get back to barefoot and run across Britain in barefoot shoes. Nadine agreed to share her preparations with us at Barefoot Beginner. I am looking forward to trying to meet up with her enroute.

Nadine horn

I have honestly to say that planning a route is not one of my strengths. It’s not that I cannot do it, it just seems preferable in my nature to just plot a line in 5min and then go and do it. The downside: I may not experience the most beautiful scenery and it seems to be more about the ‘doing’ it, then making the best of all aspects of the project. It’s good to be aware of these things, cause then you can decide to put a learning curve in.
So at the beginning of my project planning I approached my Run UK in the same ‘my-normal-5min-plotting-nature’ approach until I realised that it’s not going to work like this. But before the route comes the evolution of the adventure itself.

The ‘difficulties’ – the decision making process

The difficulties lie in the mind to make a decision. I have recognised the pattern whenever I start out for planning a new adventure: the amount of options is huge, the imaginary ‘fear’ of missing out is present and it takes me days if not a week or two to decide on one route, realising that I can make twist and tweaks along the way, but need a framework to start with.

The evolution of the adventure

One things leads to another. After doing my Three Border Triathlon and experiencing problems with my feet during the run-across-austria-leg I came across ‘Barefoot running’ or as the Vivobarefoot Trainingsclinic puts it: ‘learn the skill of running’. I was intrigued by their philosophy and it seemed very obvious and interesting that we learn the skill of swimming and cycling, but never really the one of running. Once I started to get involved with Vivo and started the journey of learning the skill, running made more sense to me and the core of the next adventure was clear: run across the UK in barefoot shoes.

What was next? The route (and my challenging learning curve)

The evolution of the route

The country

I was intrigued by the UK for a while and it seemed to be the perfect country for my next adventure. You don’t have to go far to experience beautiful landscapes. I just remembered how stunned I was when I went to the Lake District Area before.

The route – crossing the 10 largest National Parks

And here was the challenge: I knew that the route ‘Landsend to John o’ Groats’ was out from the start. It seems boring to chew the same route as many others have done before. Creating your adventure gives you the possibility to explore the country in your own terms and discover something new, exciting that has no real template. Someone recommended to run across the National Parks. Great idea. Rather then me running across any way (which I most properly would have done, and most properly would have ended up running ugly carriage ways and non-spectactular industrial areas) – this was a great idea to experience the UK beauty in its best. So the idea received a tick. It was clear for me to run South to North.
The next question was: which National Parks? And here came the first little head-battle. I wanted to have a mileage of around 1000miles, doing all of the National Parks would have gone over for quite a bit, so a solution was needed. After a bit of brainstorming and listening to my gut-feeling of what felt right, I came up with – the 10 largest Nationalparks. Done. And here they are:
1. South Downs
2. Brecon Beacons
3. Snowdonia
4. Peak District
5. North York Moors
6. Yorkshire Dales
7. Lake District
8. Northumberland
9. Loch Lomond
10. Cairngorms
It still took me a couple of days to accept the route. Still wondering about other options. Could I squeeze a milage of around a 1000 miles into this route? And then it was time to stop wondering and just deciding on it and doing it. The clock is ticking and the more time you give yourself, the more time you waste. The next step was the detailed planning of the route (which I am still in the process). As I have mentioned before, having made the decision above would normally be enough for me to start – but listening to some recommendations it made sense to map out the route in detail to have the rough mileage, the towns I am going to pass etc. So here we go…

What have I planned so far:

The overall route:


Plotted with google pedometer – click on it to go to the site and see the details of the map. Rough plan, no detailed mileage with this.

Detailed map planning


Plotting the route with the help of markers, route tools and making use of the features that OS map allows such as showing the National Parks and Trails.
I started off marking the rough route with purple markers. Start will be Eastbourne where the South Downs begin. I haven’t plotted the route there yet cause I am going to follow the South Down Ways (Distance: 100mile, finished in Winchester). So I started the plotting from Winchester onwards up to Bristol. From there I will follow the National Trail ‘Offa’s Dyke’. I will follow the trail until Knighton from where I head west to Snowdonia, crossing the east corner from close to Machynlleth up to Ybala. From there I follow a couple of trails to go to Chester. So far so good. Things can change along the way cause it will be interesting to see what the paths are like. One thing I know I will need is a navigation tool 🙂

So what’s next:

In the next days I finish the detailed route, have picked 10 cities where I am going to organise a barefoot-running workshop to explain what it all means. Will start to get sponsorship for equipment, make a decision on where to sleep (camping, accommodation etc.) and see who is nuts to come and join me as a driver (still need to organise a car), as a film-maker to help me documenting the trip and one more person that I will need for the logistics. Also I like to get in contact with running groups in the area to join me for some parts.

If you like to get involved in any way in this project, drop me a line at


You can read Nadine’s other posts in our guest post category.

Comment on this post or others at our Barefoot Beginner Facebook group.


Jan 25

The best cold weather barefoot running post I have read and the Barefoot Connections Conference – Pick of the posts 23

Heading for my 5 favourite posts of the week again has been fun. I was once again spoilt for choice. I go for posts that make me read on and catch my interest.

1. No doubts about post of the week. The Barefoot Connections Conference was last year but this video compilation produced for Primal Lifestyle was uploaded to Youtube this week. I was able to link to presentations from the speakers from there. I enjoyed scanning the audience looking for people I know. Have a look.


2. Is there one right way to Run?

An article by Gretchen Reynolds in the NY Times. She cites a report that finds a Kenyan tribe who heel strike barefoot when running slowly but who move to forefoot when they run quickly. It is well put together and a good read.

3.This is a fantastic post from Todd on the BetterMovement blog and grabbed my wife’s attention as she was walking past. Watch tree climbing, deep squatting and a girl putting on makeup with her feet. It adds to the barefoot running debate and was fascinating. Really good stuff.


4. Bob Neinast’s post on the Ahcuah blog is the best I have read about cold weather barefooting. I blogged last week about running in the snow and that feeling I got when it felt like I had suddenly put my foot in warm water. Know I know why and why we practice helps. So, if you only read one post on barefooting in the snow, make it this one. If your feet are cold -put on a hat!

5. Jae Gruenke is a regular contributor to the Barefoot Beginner Facebook group and a well respected coach. She pointed our group members towards 5 videos on Youtube channel. this week that are aimed at improving running form. have a look . 5 Running Form Tips You’ve Never Heard Before.



Comment on this post and other posts at our Barefoot Beginner Facebook group.

See the Pick of the Posts archive

Jan 24

A grading system for barefoot runs, races and routes?

I have been running road, trail and fell races throughout the UK since I was in my teens. There are not many races in the Northwest that I have not taken part in at some point over the past 25 years.

The problem is, I wore shoes for them all and hardly noticed the surface under my feet at all.

Now I am a barefooter, I want to take part without shoes but don’t know which races will be suitable. I need some help.

I am off for a few days skiing soon and my daughter has just got her first adult sized muntain bike. As we head onto the slopes and we cycle off into the forest, there are trail gradings to help us.

I have also been reading the route grading systems devised by Stuart Ferguson to describe off road running routes. This seems like a good system to build on top of.

It seems like distance should be taken out of the equation and it is surface type, consistency and hazards that need to be taken account of most. I have put  together the following table as a starting point for discussion.



Grade  Barefoot Running Routes
Green (B) – Easy Suitable for:

  • Relative beginners with some success at running barefoot and looking for a route to try out.

Characterised by:

  • Firm/hard surfaces such as smooth tarmac, grass, sand or dirt. Debris free, smooth and consistent throughout.


 Blue(BB) – Moderate  Suitable for:

  •  Runners with some success on easier routes and looking for the next challenge.

Characterised by:

  • Either slightly rougher surface throughout


  •   Mostly smooth sections with some rougher section in places
 Red (BBB) – Difficult Suitable for:

  • Experienced barefoot runners

Characterised by:

  • Either fairly rough throughout


  • Characterised by having mostly rough sections with a few smooth sections in places providing some respite.


 Black(BBBB) – Severe  Suitable for:

  • Very experienced barefooters with a secure knowledge of their own capabilities and limitations.

Characterised by:

  • Very rough natural trail throughout. Man made chipping trails and poor quality roads.
  •  Very little respite between long challenging sections underfoot.


I would welcome your thoughts and would love to hear how you would grade some of the races, runs and routes that you have done recently.

You can join in at the Barefoot beginner facebook group here.

Jan 22

Vibram Fivefingers Treksport

treksport 1I have been running in the Vibram Fivefingers Treksport for a while now and look forward to running in them. One of my main criteria when evaluating a shoe is how much I look forward to putting them on and getting out there. The Treksport works for me and I feel fast in them. They provide plenty of protection and as I get more minimalist they are one of my more substantial footwear choices. I feel like I have an exo-skeleton on my feet akin to something out of the film ‘Predator’.



I have used them on very rocky trails and river beds and managed well. I was most concerned about whether I would be able to get them on my feet in the first place and then whether they would rub. Neither has been a problem.

I use the advice that came in the box to put them on. You sort of wriggle your foot forward until your big toe is in place and then wriggle a bit more and put each toe in as you go. There is no way that my little toe is going into its sleeve but that has not been an issue. It sort of sits between  and is very comfortable there.

I read a post a while ago about a runner who had the same thing. After a couple of years of barefooting, the little toe suddenly fit with no problem. It is symptom of how much my feet have become mis-shapen by conventional shoes over the years.

As for rubbing, it has been no problem. They are extremely comfortable. I have read a review or two commenting on the heel tab but I just use it to help get them on my feet and then forget about it.

So.. my first venture into the world of Vibram Fivefingers has been a successful one. the Treksport works for me.

From Amazon.co.uk

The Vibram Five Fingers Trek Sport offers a 4mm EVA midsole for plating protection and a lightly cleated 4 mm Vibram performance rubber outsole for added grip on a variety of surfaces as well. TPU Toe protection uses plating protection to protect your toes while still remaining light weight. The Coconut Active Carbon Fiber increases breathability. MINIMALIST RUNNING / BAREFOOT RUNNING The typical human foot is an anatomical masterpiece of evolution with 26 bones, 33 joints, 20 muscles, and hundreds of sensory receptors, tendons and ligaments. To keep our feet healthy, like the rest of our bodies, they need to be stimulated and exercised regularly. Many experts believe the shoes we wear not only cast the foot in a protective form, but can also weaken our foot and leg muscles, leaving them underdeveloped and more susceptible to injury. And while there are many occasions where traditional footwear is essential for protection, safety, and security, it is equally important to stimulate and exercise our feet in a more natural state on a regular basis. To stimulate the muscles in your feet and lower legs, which in turn can make stronger, healthier and improve your balance then the Vibram Fivefingers could help you achieve this. Use them for training, running and many other activities to see the benfits!


You can see our the Vibram Fivefingers page on Lonely Feet, our online store.


Jan 21

Barefoot running in the snow – A lesson learned

You know when you are a barefoot runner when…..you find yourself on your hands and knees in the snow analysing your footprints.

That was comment I made following some chat about Ian Hicks run in the snow. Ian is an experienced barefooter and was one of the first to succumb to being interviewed for our ‘Real Barefooters’  feature.

Ian’s footprints. Click on them to see his original post.

I have been looking for weeks at the posts and pictures about barefooting in the winter. Barefoot running in the snow was just one of those things that I needed to try. I have been out in the cold but snow is a whole new experience.

There were a couple of posts on our facebook group about what a terrific experience it was so when I got the chance, I headed out into the fine, powdery snow that fell on the West Pennine Moors on Friday.

The 3 mile route I planned  is normally pretty rough underfoot so I wore my 4mm Xeros to begin with. The wind was getting up and the snow was being whipped up around me, it felt cold!

After 400 yds, my toes began to protest and I wondered if I would have been better with something more substantial on my feet. I was convinced that if I kept up a good pace, my feet would warm up and all would be fine.

I was running lightly but the snow was so fine that it was working its way under my foot. It was forming hard snowballs between my arches and the footbed. It felt like stones and I needed to stop a time or two to scoop it out. Whenever I did I was a little disconcerted by how cold it felt and agitation began to creep in. I kept telling myself that 3 miles is not very far and that I was on a golf course near Bolton and not trecking across the artic tundra. Pretty soon my toes stopped protesting and I felt nothing. After about a mile and a half, I had a sudden surge of warmth through my feet as though I had put them in warm water. The snow was still bunching up under my arch so I took my Xeros off and ran the rest barefoot.

I really enjoyed it, I went through the odd patch of rocksalt and my soles sang for a few seconds but I made it home no problem.

As usual, my family were completely unmoved by my exploits and as soon as I walked in my son, without looking up, challenged me to a game of FIFA13. I sat with him, my feet on the cold tiles at the back of the house. I was determined to warm them up slowly and was expecting some discomfort while the feeling came back. I was surprised by how numb they had gone. It was as though I had been given a local anaesthetic.

Then the feeling began to return. The discomfort was way beyond anything I was expecting. It hurt like hell. I had to forfeit the game (It must have been bad) whilst I ran up and down. I massaged my toes, I ran on the spot. It probably lasted for about 20 minutes or so.

The morning after, I can still feel it in the end of my toes. It may have been the cold or maybe it is just the abrasion from the snow.

So…lesson learned. I will be out in the snow again but will pay it a little more respect next time.

Join in the chat – Comment on this and other posts at our Barefoot Beginner facebook group. How have you found running in the snow? Post a picture or two. We would love to see them.

Jan 20

Vivovarefoot Shoes at Sportsdirect for £20

Ladies Running Shoes Vivo Neo Airmesh Ladies Running Shoes From www.sportsdirect.comNatasha Fox has just pointed the Barefoot Beginner group towards Vivobarefoot shoes at Sportsdirect.com. I have just been on to have a look and there are a good range of sizes and styles. I am not jumping in this time but if I was looking for a pair £20 is very good value. Not an affiliate link here, just a good deal to share.

I clicked running shoes at the top and then filtered for Vivo on the left.


Thanks Natasha


You can comment on this post at the Barefoot Beginner Facebook group. Join in the chat, you will be very welcome.

Jan 19

5. How to recover between barefoot runs so I don’t ache 24/7

Craig (Barefoot Nozza) contacted me at Barefoot Beginner. I put his question out to the barefoot coaches and these were their responses.

I am an experienced barefooter and am 4 weeks into a schedule
to prepare for my 1st marathon. I am on schedule but need some advice on
recovery as I am aching 24/7.

Steven Sashen from Xero shoes


Simple: Fixed schedules are meaningless. They’re arbitrary and have nothing to do with YOU. Your body, and the feedback you get trump all schedules. Sure this can sometimes lead to disappointment, when you have your heart set on some imagined future. But, sadly, that’s the way it is. Sometimes training doesn’t go as well as our schedule says it should, sometimes we get injured, sometimes weather grounds our plane and we can’t make it to the race… and sometimes with “inadequate” training, we show up on race day and set a PR.There’s no rush, and no reason to rush the development of a new skill or the work to attain a new goal.
I won’t say “enjoy the journey.” That’s too cliche. But know that every athlete at every level has dealt with the phenomenon of reality not matching their wishes. Just part of the game.

Feel The Worldâ„¢!

Sam MurphySam Murphy from Emperor’s New Shoes and sam-murphy.co.uk

Hi Craig, here’s my advice.

I’d first check out your schedule. Is it suitable for a first-timer? Is the mileage too high, or the progression too fast?

Continual fatigue would suggest this might be the case. I often find that ‘beginner’ schedules contain far too many long runs – your body doesn’t ‘forget’ what to do if you have a break from long runs (I have some of my clients do them only fortnightly). So a long run break – as part of a reduced mileage week – might be the way to go.

I’d also recommend that you don’t skip important post-run recovery practices such as refuelling within the first half hour with 50-60g carbohydrate and 15-20g protein (a chocolate milk or banana smoothie should do the trick, along with a piece of fruit), stretching, icing any sore areas and using compression tights to assist venous return and reduce soreness. I also like to spend a few minutes with my legs up the wall, just breathing, after my stretch to enhance recovery.

Andy ClarkeAndy Clarke of Cambridge Fitness Academy (Blogs as Caveman Clarke)

Hi Craig, Firstly I would like to wish you all the best in your marathon as they are a fantastic experience and a great way of building character!

As for your enquiry regarding recovery, this is something that you must address sooner rather than later. There are two ways of aching after exercise. One is a healthy muscular ache that occurs after taking part in exercise that your body is not used to or pushing yourself hard during a training session, whereas the other is your body’s way of telling you that you are over-training.

Possible causes of over-training:

1) When you are building up your mileage you should never increase your weekly mileage or the longest weekly distance by more than 10% from the previous week. You should also incorporate ‘rest’ weeks where you drop the mileage to let your body recover.

2) Have you changed the terrain that you run on from smooth to rough off-road running? This increases the stress on muscles as they have to work harder to stabilise you.

3) Are you prancing like a pony? This may sound weird, but many barefoot runners actually run too much on their toes and need to let their heels drop quite a bit. Check out http://www.barefootbeginner.com/2012/12/01/should-my-heel-touch-the-floor-ask-the-barefoot-coaches-number-2/ for more info on this subject You also need to keep well hydrated and eat a variety of fresh foods including fruit and veg to supply your body with the nutrients it needs to recover from each session.

Listen to your body and if it aches too much, stop, take a few days rest or walk for a few days instead of running. Once you push it too much and injure yourself it is too late and you could set yourself back weeks or even months. Listen to your body and pay attention is the best advice anyone can give you; everyone’s body is individual and therefore requires an individual training program.

All the best with the rest of your training Andy (Contact me at www.cambridgefitnessacademy.co.uk or www.caveman-clarke.blogspot.co.uk )


Gray CawsGray Caws of N8pt.com

Hi Craig

I note in your interview that you mention you felt weak all the time when playing football, so firstly it may be worth seeing a GP to make sure there are no underlying causes to your achiness and general fatigue. If all is OK then, whilst ensuring that your basic technique is sound, I would focus on body sensing and gradual process – two principles of the Chi Running technique.

Are you aching in a particular place or all over? Listen and respond to your body

If you start an new exercise programme or increase intensity it is usual to experience DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). This can kick in anytime up to 72 hours after a workout. It is a normal response and will lead to greater strength and stamina. However it shouldn’t be constant. Make sure you do a good warm up with joint looseness and dynamic stretching and give yourself enough time after each run to do good quality, focused static stretching.

General aching should wear off if you allow yourself to recover properly – stretching, eating the right foods, sleeping well and having rest days. Think of it as ‘functional discomfort’. If you ache in a particular area then you need to pay attention to technique as something is not quite right. If you experience pain then stop immediately and have it checked out. Listen to your body, sense what is going on and respond to it.

What schedule are you following and was it designed for you personally? Progress gradually with realistic goals in mind

Make sure you are not over training by setting your goals to high. You should be following a realistic training programme and not ‘pushing’ yourself beyond your optimal limits. Gradual progress is the key. Don’t do too much too soon. Focus on technique first then distance. Make sure you follow a specific marathon training programme with time dedicated to long slow runs at a comfortable conversational pace (try total nasal breathing). These will develop your cardiovascular system and aerobic capacity, condition your muscles and help you become more energy-efficient. Then you can look to develop speed when your body is suitably conditioned. Again, make sure recovery is paramount and rest days are scheduled. These are just as important as your active sessions. If you don’t recover properly your body will not develop. Fatigue will set in which is a surefire way to head down the road to injury and dissillusionment.

Finally, understand fully why you are running the marathon, relax and enjoy!

Gray Caws

personal trainer | certified Chi Running® instructor | certified Chi Walking® instructor



Anna TombesAnna Toombs of BarefootRunningUK

Hi Craig

It’s difficult to be very specific with an answer without knowing more about your training schedule, diet, etc. but here are some general pointers that may help:

It sounds, from your interview with Chris, that you’re quite used to running regularly and already cover significant distances during your runs. However, if the aches and pains have coincided with a change in your running habits (as you’re now following a specific schedule for the marathon) it’s likely that this change is a contributing cause.

If you’re aching all the time, it indicates that your body is under some distress. The most likely reason is that you’ve increased your mileage and/or running frequency too quickly and you’re not getting sufficient rest and recovery. Most marathon schedules have some room for flexibility, so see if you can make some moderate changes so that you have more rest time. Most marathon schedules will also offer you different types of runs too, so this maybe a new factor for you.

In your interview, you mentioned that speed is not really your focus, but if this schedule has you doing intervals and tempo runs, this might be something your body’s not used to and will need time to adapt. Take a look at other stresses in your life too. Are you more stressed at work or not eating and hydrating well? Are you getting ample amounts of sleep? Make sure you’re not reaching for extra caffeine or sugary foods/drinks to help combat feelings of fatigue as this will create a spiralling (downwards!) effect. Try adding in some relaxation sessions to your schedule too. Some simple meditation exercises would probably be useful as they are calming and help you improve your breathing. Many people find that yoga is a great complement to running too. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself with the marathon.

It sounds like you really enjoy your running so continue to make that your focus. Best of luck!


Anna Toombs www.barefootrunninguk.com


Michael Cohen 1Michael Cohen of Wild Forest Gym


Hi Craig

Training for a marathon is the next step up from the half marathon that you did at the end of September. However, training should be demanding but not that you are aching 24/7. I haven’t seen your current training plan so the advice I am going to give you is based on information that I have gathered from your interview in early September. With that in mid I would direct my advice down the following lines:

1. Recovery

Firstly ‘Weekly Recovery’. Each week there should be easy and hard sessions and you should consider a day completely off. Then you need to consider ‘Monthly Recovery’. Have you built in a recovery week into your training plan every third or fourth week. This regular period of reduced workload (approx 75%) maybe 3 to 7 days, depending on your workload from the previous hard training weeks. This will enable your fatigue to diminish and your form to recover. Recovery is vital it enables you to replenish, revitalise and means that you don’t go into zombie training mode.

2. Running Form

I see from your reading list you have taken inspiration from various sources such as Chi Running all the way through to Chrissie Wellington. That is great, but have you developed specific techniques based on a natural running technique that is focused on the midfoot strike. You see so many runners decide to move across from heal striking to midfoot striking like I did, but decide to experiment rather than follow a proven system of transition and training. In your case you are moving up to marathon distance, and if you haven’t developed the right technique and learnt how to transition to mid-foot, you are exposing your body to a lot of potential stress physically as well as mentally.

As a coach I thought I could do it my way too when I decided to move from heal striking to midfoot striking. I learnt the hard way! Six months down the line I suffered a stress fracture to my left tibia. That knocked me back for 3 months having to recover. So I used the time to do some serious research which led me to Dr Nicholas Romanov’s teachings of the POSE Method. Romanov’s teaching’s are well chronicled over the last 40 years. His technique is logical and takes you through the transitions in stages to reduce your chances of injury. So I learnt how to methodically transition and now run with an effective midfoot strike. A key aspect to his teachings is through the understanding of how to use your body’s GCM (General Centre of Mass),so you can use gravity to power your running for FREE. I was so impressed I undertook training in the POSE Method with Romanov’s POSE Tech, so that I can teach effective Natural Running techniques.

3. Shoes

You have been experimenting with Vivram barefoots whilst still wearing your ‘trashed’ Nikes. It is good to experiment but you need to be careful when starting to up the distances, so that you are not putting stress on your legs by increasing mileage too quickly in your Vibrams. As far as your Nike’s are concerned they were second hand and battered before you got them. I would question using someone elses shoes as they mould and wear to the previous owners foot shape and running form. I know you are dreaming about ‘Barefoot Ted’s Luna Sandals. They may prove to be perfect for you, but please look into logically as your feet would need so much training to get used the support straps. So don’t jump in to making such decisions, especially if you are training for the likes of a marathon. To make transition from regular trainers to minimalist/barefoot shoes should be done out of event training season.

I hope I have covered most angles not having a full picture to your issues. If you want to read more about natural running training then visit by website www.wildforestgym.com

Best Wishes


Thankyou to all the coaches for taking time out of their busy schedules to answer Craig’s question. If you have a question for the coaches, contact Chris here

If you have any advice for Craig or would like to join in the chat about this post or any other visit our Barefoot Beginner facebook group.

Do you have a question that you would like a bit of advice with? Ask it here.

The coaches answers to previous barefoot questions.

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