January 2014 archive

Jan 31

Training Log wb 27th Jan 14

2.5 miles this morning in paleo Paws with winter kit underneath. The kit rubbed for a few hundred metres but then settled into place and worked well. It was cold this morning and my feet were numb early on but warmed up later.

I had my headtorch but my breath lit up and it was hard to see the floor at times. I needed to slow down and feel my way. When I got complascent, I caught a sharp one in my arch or heel. Good for concentration and keeping light on my feet.

Completely alone in the dark until I saw two sets of headtorches coming in the opposite direction. Something unearthly about that this morning. i think it was the complete darkness and the mist. The two eyes lit up as dog bounded past and then I was alone again. I sped up at the end keeping my form in check. Speed is all about form.

Motivation is again difficult this week and I get to wondering what works for me when I feel like this.

Do I need routine or is it the routine that is killing me?

Do I need to vary my routes or should I just get out and run knowing that I don’t have to waste energy on thinking to much?

Early morning or allow quality time in the evening?

3 runs a week with some distance or a runstreak with less miles per run.

Alone or with someone?

Barefoot or not?

Wrapped up warm or allow myself to warm up as I go?

Take my watch or leave it at home? (Same for GPS)

Gentle or fartlek?

Cup of tea before I go or just get out and run.

Set off walking or run from the start?

Sunday 2nd February 14

7.5 very muddy miles in Paleo paws with winter kit this morning. the weather was glorious and I decided to get off road and into the mud for a change. I ran trails that I have not done for a long time and had the most fun I have had in ages. I just took my time and went pitter patter. I ended up slipping down muddy banks and wading through cold streams. i went over my knees in mud and water at times but it was so much fun.

Looking at the West Pennines in a new light this morning. they are a fantastic payground and I am looking forward to Spring kicking in and getting some miles under my belt. I think that I would like to try and run a loop of the West Pennine Bridleway this summer. It would be good to put a few drop bags along the route and set off early. Good thing to aim for. The mao will be out later on.

One of those morning where being a runner is the best thing in the world.

The Paws handled it well and were sure footed in most places. I am aching gently and now off to play football for an hour with my son’s team. they are short of players for training. My hip is going to be a limiting factor. I think I need to develop the ability to squat. I think that stretching out that whole area would help.


Jan 30

5 favourite barefoot posts from January 14

January was an excellent month for barefoot related posts and I had a shortlist of around 30 to include in this months picks.

As ever, I selected those that tweaked my interest and that made me want to comment. I hope you find one that catches your attention.

1. Post number one is about that famous barefoot runner, Robinson Crusoe.

..or should I say Alexander Selkirk who was marooned on an island and was the inspiration behind Crusoe. Here we have a diary extract from those who rescued him. They were amazed by his ability to run swiftly barefoot through the woods to hunt down his prey. Four years of barefooting and a low carb diet made him quick. Well worth a read.

2. Post 2 is a quick 20 minute interview with Chris McDougall.

I have listened to Chris speak on a number of occasions and always enjoyed his take on things. This quick 20 minute interview was full of things that could be used as excellent soundbites. They were just tripping effortlessly off his tongue. I have heard him at his most evangelical but here is relaxed and the mood of the interview is chilled. I really enjoyed it.

3. Post 3 is Xero Shoe’s infographic on barefoot running. Made me laugh.

I am listening to Steven Sashen’s commentry on this infographic as I type with a huge smile on my face. Steven at his best. It is done with such a deadpan voice. Have a look and then head on to the bottom of the page and click on Steven’s 4 minute commentry. Well worth it.

4. Post 4 appealed to the Sherlock Holmes fan in me.

It is called. ‘The mysterious case of the cracked little toe’. Sound like a case for Dr. Watson.

I have had something similar to this but not as extreme and it went away pretty quickly. It would be interesting to know how many of you have had the same sort of thing and how you treated it. With a persistant cut on the sole of my foot, I applied spray plaster repeatedly and eventually it went away but it took some time. A great looking blog to have a wander around.

Post 5 was the one that made me most want to comment and so in it went.

It is a video post from Alexa. I started watching feeling a little bit smug about my barefoot credentials and felt like the answer was obvious. Then I realised that Alexa is a genuine barefooter who does run in shoes sometimes. Her PF symptons were aleviated by running in shoes. A whole can of worms may be unleashed with this one. Have a look.


p.s. I would be grateful if you would head over and like our facebook page here.

p.p.s We also have a very friendly discussion group. Come and join in the chat, you will be made very welcome. We are a family group (my kids read over my shoulder). We don’t do profanity and we don’t do negativity. We run, we chat and we smile.



















Jan 30

Amis Sans Shoes Events – Paul Beales

Have you heard the recent buzz that’s going on in the barefoot running world about the barefoot 10K global charity event that is taking place all around the world this year?

Amis Sans Shoes (Friends Without Shoes for the non-Franglais) is a community page on Facebook that is asking barefoot runners, walkers and hikers from all around the world to meet up, run together and share their experiences with the rest of the world, all in support of international aid charity CARE International.

CARE International reached more than 82 million people last year, working in 87 countries, implementing long-term programmes to fight poverty, responding to humanitarian emergencies, and advocating for policy change to improve the lives of the poorest people.

 CARE have been doing much-needed excellent work in the Philippines recently. 14.1 million people were affected by the recent typhoon there, leaving 4.1 million displaced and more than 6,000 people dead. CARE are currently working to deliver emergency relief in three areas of the Philippines: Leyte, Samar and Panay. Their target is to reach 200,000 people with lifesaving food, shelter, other assistance, and help communities recover in the months and years to come.

For more details of their good work, visit: http://www.careinternational.org.uk/

The first ‘Amis’ event this year is a 10K BAREFOOT CHARITY RUN/WALK/HIKE to take place between 1st March and 31st August (including some events which will coincide with the Barefoot Runners Society’s International Barefoot Running Day on 4th May.)

The 10K must be done in one run/walk/hike WITH AT LEAST ONE OTHER BAREFOOTER, anytime, anywhere, and can be done as a run, walk, hike, ramble, track event, social run, fell race, competitive road race or even a TrailBall® Challenge. It can also be done in conjunction with any other existing 10K event PROVIDED that at least one other barefooter attends the same event.

BE WARNED HOWEVER – NO SHOES ARE ALLOWED FOR ANY OF THE 10K – including minimalist shoes, toe shoes, socks or huararche sandals! This is strictly for us barefooters.

The entry fee is £18.50 per person, and all monies raised will be donated to CARE International. All entrants will receive a personalised printed race number together with an information pack prior to their event, and an exclusive commemorative enamelled medal and ribbon on completion of their event.

Confirmed events are being planned in South Wales and Coventry in the UK, in Warmia in Poland, and in the Philippines. It is hoped that many more events in all countries will soon be appearing on the Facebook page as more and more people sign up.

The Amis’ motto as displayed on their web pages is “Barefoot, we’re almost always at peace. We’re gentle and tolerant with our fellow man” – Barbara Holland

This is a very ambitious project from Paul Beales and Julia Bradburn, and we should all support them by signing up and having some barefoot fun in the sun this Summer!

Amis Sans Shoes can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/amissansshoes and on Twitter at @amissansshoes.

The 10K event page is at: https://www.facebook.com/events/641221615900274/

The ticket website is at: http://amissansshoes.eventbrite.co.uk/

Jan 23

3 stupid things we do after we enter a race. Why do we do that?

I have recently begun to work with runners using some of the professional coaching methods I use in my work as a head teacher. One thing that strikes a chord with my own experiences is the amount of importance I attach to an event after I have entered. Sometimes it gets about of all proportion. Why do I do that?

Running is at the centre of many of our lives. Our social lives can revolve around club nights and races. For a long time my entire social life and group of friends was linked to weeknight runs, a drink afterwards and Sunday races. When I was injured, my whole social life collapsed and added to the feeling of despair that I felt when out of action.

We run with our club mates and look forward to the camaraderie and competition of the race meetings. We plan our races well ahead of schedule and have favourites that we feel we cannot miss. We may be running for points in a club championship or running as part of a team in a relay. If we cannot take part, it leaves an empty space in our lives.

We may have set ourselves a target for the year. It may be a marathon and we have a schedule of races that are part of our preparation. We feel that we can’t miss them. We may have set ourselves a target number of races to complete rough the year. I know of a few runners who have aimed for 50 races to celebrate their 50th birthday or something similar.

I have entered races well ahead of time as a challenge and a new experience. They were not cheap and I was determined to get there no matter what. Sometimes, I have not listened to my body and not made it to the start line.

My whole well being is attached to this. When I am running well and things are on track, I am much more able to deal win the ups and downs of everyday life. Running keeps me emotionally level. I have had good spells where I have been on top of other aspects of my life and only recently realised that they coincide with being able to run consistently.

We enter an event and tell people all about it. We plan our trips and accommodation ahead of time.  Sometimes we are raising money for a good cause and persuade our friends to take part alongside us. We attach such emotional importance to a day on the calendar and feel that we cannot back off from it even if it is the sensible and obvious thing to do.

Working with a runner recently, she said that if she had not managed to complete her first event then she would have felt like she was a failure as a runner. It was make or break for her. She knew that it wasn’t a rational point of view it but it is an example of how much importance we attach to the events we have entered.

All that means that we do things that no sensible person would ever do. We are crazy and although we know it, it is hard to stop. We do a whole host of things in training that can lead to us being out for a long time.

Firstly, we find ourselves a training plan.

The schedule is working and we can feel the improvement. We begin to feel the need for speed. We are mixing longer runs with quick ones or follow a generic plan created for someone else and sooner or later we pick up a bit of a niggle.

Secondly, we stick to the plan when we need to back off.

It is just a niggle that needs us to back off a little for a few days. The trouble is that we are on a schedule. We have a training plan and feel the need to stick to it. Deep down, we know that it is all going to end in tears but we are superb at sticking our heads in the sand. We plough on until we are forced to stop.

Finally, we cram in the miles to make up for lost time

We have a look at the calendar and we realise that time is moving on. We get a sense of unease in the pits of our stomachs and we start to work out how we can make up for lost time. We come back just a Iittle bit too early and try and make up the miles we have missed. Again, we know that it will end it tears but we cling to the hope that it may just pay off.

All because we have attached such importance to a single event in the calendar.

The calendar is awash with events. I used to scour Runners World each month for likely races to enter. Nowadays, I have a few online lists that I use to keep in touch with what is going on. One thing that is guaranteed is that if we miss a race there will be another one along the week after.

We all know that but accepting that you are going to miss an event is a hard blow to take. The funny thing is that when we do accept it and let go, the sense of relief is sometimes enormous. We can start to plan for the next thing and move on. We can life to run another day. It is when we don’t accept it that we become desparate and do silly things.

So….what is the answer?

I have been in this position so many times that I needed to change my attitude. I no longer put all my eggs in one race’s basket. I tend to enter more than one event so that I have a backup if I need it. I also now do more events on the spur of huge moment. If I am running well and fancy it, I go for it. Park Runs are perfect for that. You always know that there will be one the following week.

I don’t follow generic training plans. I feel what my body is capable of and add speed or distance when I am good and ready. I back off when I feel that I need to. This means that I can run more consistently over a long period rather than piling it on and then having spells where I need to sit out on the sidelines.

I was working with a runner recently and we went through all the points above but we were talking about her first ever event. Injuries had kicked in and the day was getting closer. It was clear that she was going to take part in the event no matter what. She had so much invested in it that she decided the risk was worth it. We worked on all the pitfalls and how to avoid them and she got to the start line in one piece.

We can only decide whether the risk is worth it for ourselves and it is good to go into that with all the emotional baggage laid out before us. For her, it was worth it and she is now planning her next event a little bit wiser and with more balance.

I hope that I can follow her lead and learn how to be sensible too. Like many experienced runners, I am great at giving advice but not that great at taking it.

You can join in the chat in our Barefoot Beginner facebook group and please visit and like our facebook page. I put all sorts of interestng stuff on there. I wouldn’t want you to miss it.


Jan 21

Training Log wb 20th January 14

Tuesday 21st Jan

4.3 miles in Sockwas this morning. Feeling good this morning after a few days off where I have felt very tired and decided not to run. I was up and ready to go at 5.30am this morning so that is better. It isn’t cold at the moment but I still felt like I needed to keep warm this morning so ran in leggings, fleece, hat and Sockwas. I started off steadily but felt myself pushing hard a few times. When I went for speed, I concentrated on form and taking all the tension out of my legs. I played with leaning from my ankles which feels good and also leaning just with my legs whilst keeping my upper body upright. That is more Ken Bob’s advice and feels OK. I keep mys legs loose and keep them rotating.

Speculating on the way round about weightloss. I am a runner who struggles with their weight. Chatting with another runner last night, I know it all about the amount of calories that I put in my body. I have a fine toned, runners body. It is hidden away in a fat suit. Something to think about. A good run.

Friday 24th January 14

6 miles at 6am wearing Paleobarefoot Paws with neoprene socks underneath. I have been struggling a bit for motivation over the past 2 weeks. I have a 10k adventure race coming up in 4 weeks time and that helped get me ouit of bed this morning. I have found that I am better at getting a run out of the way in the morning rather than going all day and running in the evening. Unless I am running with someone, I am finding it difficult to get out again once I have arrived home from work.

I tackle it by knowing my route for the morning an getting my running gear out the night before. I set the alarm for half an hour before I run and then roll out of bed. I put my gear on straight away and then wrap up warm and have a cup of tea. I make a commitment to being on the road for 6am. I pitter-patter the first couple of miles gently and before I know it I am beginning to up the pace and enjoying it. Always glad that I have done it. I will feel like a badass barefooter all day.

The Paws did well. I have cut a hole through the top of my neoprene socks with my toe nail. It wasn’t cold enough to really need the socks but I felt that I wanted a little bit of somehting this morning. I ran without a niggle so they musn’t be affecting my form very much.

I ran down a section that was completely dark and could small the dog poo. is it possible to echo locate dog crap in the dark? It felt like it. My senses were almost superhero like.

I enjoy the black part of my run. It really makes me feel the floor.

Jan 21

17. Can I barefoot running help with flat feet?

I got this message in from Tom on the subject of flat feet and had an excellent response staright back from Steven Sashen of Xero shoes.

Your site has so many great posts and excellent information about everything barefoot. One area where I haven’t seen much information here or other sites is about flat feet and pronated arches. I have been struggling with improving my flat feet for a long time, I wear minimal shoes, haven’t ran in a while due to some pain, and have tried countless self-rehab techniques to strengthen my arches. My ankles roll inward and trying to create “torque” by externally rotating my knees only adds to pain on the lateral sides of my underfoot. Do you have any extensive information or know of any great resources that can correct flat feet and flat arches? I would really appreciate any information. Thank you! – Tom


Steven Sashen from Xero shoes

a) If it ain’t broke, don’t worry about fixing it.

That is, the idea that there’s some ideal way for your feet and ankles to behave is simply false. Look at some world class marathoners and they have massive pronation and “inward rolling” ankles. If you’re not having actual problems, don’t try to “cure” what isn’t ailing you. And be careful of someone who diagnoses any problem you have with “pronation! flat feet!”… it’s a common, overly simplified, diagnosis, without a lot of evidence to back it up. And check out this article about why pronation is not the bogeyman it’s been made out to be: http://xeroshoes.com/barefoot-running/pronation-and-barefoot-running/

b) Minimalist *shoes* are not a cure

If you want to affect your foot and ankle strength, just wearing zero-drop or more flexible shoes won’t cut it. You need to USE the muscles that you think need strengthening, which won’t happen in almost any shoe, especially just from wearing it.

c) If you want to gain strength, work out.

Speaking as a formerly flat-footed person (for 46 years of my life), I can say that running barefoot, with a forefoot landing, was a big part of developing arch and ankle strength for me. When I used to get out of a pool, my footprint looked like a paddle. After about 6 months it looked like, well, a FOOT! Over the years, I’ve added specific foot strengthening exercises that have further improved my foot/arch/ankle strength. Dr. Emily Splichal (@ebfafitness) has a number of good exercises for that. More strength always helps. Think about working out your feet/ankles the way you would think about working out the rest of your body. Train.

d) Don’t ignore genetics

Arch height, ankle strength, tendon length, joint function… all of these have a HIGHLY genetic component. Professional bodybuilders, for example, aren’t just the guys who lift the most and take the best steroids… they’re the ones who do all that, PLUS, have exceptional genetics. You won’t go from flat feet to overly-high arches, no matter how much strengthening you do. Pay attention to what you can change, and look at resources you may need for those that you can’t.

For more info check out this link: http://xeroshoes.com/flat-feet-high-arches-and-running-barefoot/

Feel The World!

Steven Sashen, CEO
Xero Shoes • Original Barefootware

Check out our ask the coaches page here.

A great place to chat is in our Barefoot Beginner facebook group. You will be made very welcome. We run, we chat, we smile!

Jan 15

Training Log wb 13th Jan 2014

Wed 15th Jan

A mile barefoot this morning. I have found it hard to get out as I feel tired this week and getting up and out into the dreary cold has been a challenge. I was up this morning though and ran in the dark with my headtorch. It was foggy and my headtorch just lit up a patch of swirling nothingnedd. I ended up with it pointing down at my feet so that I could see the ground and then switched it off altogether. I ran about 400m in the complete darkness and needed to feel the ground. Liberating. It slowed me down but I enjoyed it a lot. The ground was very wet and I found myself aiming at puddles (although I do know how silly it is to run through puddles when you can’t see the bottom). CS Lewis at his best. I also know that it is very silly to shut oneself in a wardrobe. 3 times he has mentioned that so far in 2 chapters of the Lion, the with and the wardrobe. I blame him all future health and safety advice and folk who are just too cautious.

Jan 13

Paleobarefoot Paws – A barefoot review by Ian Hicks

Jörg from GoSt Barefoots very kindly sent me a pair of Pronativ just before Christmas, but this was no ordinary pair! This pair has been fitted with “Paws”! For an additional cost this new option is now available for the existing ULTRA range. The “Paws” are resin spots that are bonded to the underside of the mesh soles. The idea behind this is, to give them good grip on smooth surfaces.

The fit is better with the “Paws” fitted. The spots give the ULTRAS a bit of structure, creating a more shoe-like shape, although these are still more akin to a sock (performance sock) than a shoe. Anybody who has read issue 9 of Barefoot Running UK Magazine, would have seen my long term review of the Pronativ. In the review I talk about a slack feeling over the toes, this is now much less noticeable.

The barefoot feel is not as good with the spots fitted. The mesh is now raised very slightly off the ground. As my preferred option is barefoot, I probably notice this more than a minimalist runner would. Having said this, the barefoot stimulation is far better than the majority of minimalist shoes on the market.