May 2014 archive

May 20

This week on Barefoot Beginner – 20th May 14

A quick video of some of the new things of interest this week. Our new forum is getting a bit of momentum. Thanks to those posting. Please keep it up, every post helps.

If you would like to start a new topic then please go ahead. If you are not sure where to start it, use the Barefoot Chat forum here

If you have forgotten your password, just try and login and then follow the ‘forgotten my password’ link and you will be sent a new one. You can do that as often as you like or I put together a quick guide on how to change your password here.
You can see new topics and posts in the sidebar on the right and visit the forum homepage here.

Come and join in, it will make all the diffwerence.

May 19

Training Log wb 19th May 2014

Monday 19th May

A mile barefoot early this morning. My calf was very tight last week and so I ran a mile barefoot on Saturday and one this morning. The tightness has gone away. It usually does if I take this approach.

I have been practising a full squat over the past few days. I know that my inherent weakness is linked to glute and hip problems. I need to strenghten my glutes and increase range of movement in my hip.

I cannot handle a full squat at the moment but am able to do it when I put a book under my heels. I am using ‘The Heritage of Britain’ which is a big thick tome that my grandad gave me in the seventies.

On the first day, I really struggled but that has improved quickly. Afterwards, I can feel the way it has worked the outside of my hip which is where I have been struggling. The idea is to gradualy reduce the thickness of the book until I can manage it without. I will keep going and see how I go. A promising start though.

I was just logging off last night when I saw a post in the forum form Pinklady. She is injured but has a half marathon comng up where she is raising money towards a blade for her daughter who lost her lower leg to cancer at a very young age.

I went to bed thinking about that. This weekend I have been over to see my mother in law who is in hospital having chemotherapy. I also watched the Manchester Run and listened to all sorts of stories from people raising money. I hope that the forum grows into a useful place and that Pinklady gets some good advice to help her get there.

May 17

Changing your password and display name in forum

I have had a few emails asking how change the password on the forum.

It is a pretty simple thing to do and so I have just done this quick video to help.

If you have already registered, you don’t need to do that again. Just ignore the first bit of the video until it gets to editing your profile. Shouldn’t be too hard.

You click on your forum name after you login. This takes you to your profile page. Click edit and near the bottom there is a blank field to fill in a new password of your choice. Confirm it in the box underneath and then click save at the bottom of the page.

Hope it helps.

Barefoot Beginner forum password change from Chris Fielding on Vimeo.

May 13

Training Log wb 12th May 2014

Tues 13th May

4 miles at 6am this morning. 3 in Sockwas with the last barefoot. I was reading a comment from a new member of our forum last night about a hamstring niggle. Whether I was just thinking about it but I have a bit of a niggle myself in my right hamstring. It is not something I usually get. I played football against my son early in the year and both hamstrings forced me to go in goal by the end.

I did push my sister’s car and then race my son on his bike on Sunday. I was sprinting for all I was worth and maybe that is the cause.

When I took my Sockwa off and finished barefoot, it went away. It is nice to be out on lovely early summer mornings like this. I find myself plotting and planning how my running will develop over the coming months. A barefoot 10k then a half marathon would be good.

Thursday 15th May

Up with the lark for a 4 miler around the Entwistle. After 2 miles, I took of my VFF EL-X and went barefoot as my calf was protesting. It hasn’t been quite right since I packed in a few miles before the obstacle race I did a few months ago. I then came back from that and did some speed work which added to it. I will roller and take it easy. Probably barefooting gently for a few runs will do the trick.

Saturday 17th May

My right calf is very tight and I considered not running this morning. I decided to try a mile barefoot. It seemed to do the trick. I set off and it was tender but I then forgot about it as it went away. It was tight later on but fone whilst running.

Interesting chat on facebook last night with someone talking about a race coming up. They are barefooting 5k with the family and it will be a lot further than they are used to. Of course, the sensible advice is not to run but life would be boring if all we did was be sensible all the time. There are times when it is worth the risk. You just have to go in with your eyes wide open and accept that it may set you back a bit. Once the decision is made, you might as well go for it big style and live life to the full.

Had a good chat last night also with Greg Dimelow about something simliar. he has just entered his first Ultra. Greg’s mindset is that he can do it. This is based on very little evidence other than the fact that he keeps doing things that many people tell him not to do.

Interesting post from Galahad Clark on Vivobarefoot’s site saying don’t run in our shoes unless…..It basically looks like the biggest disclaimer going. This is in the week that the news is full of the Vibram case. Galahad is a member of our group. Fascinating stuff in a week when I have tired of the whole VFF thing.

I have found myself avoiding the whole subject but got drawn in by a headline stating that if you were one of the 70 million Americans who had bought a pair of VFF then you had been lied to and were due some money.

I am still not certain where I stand on the whole thing. They have such a hardcore of followers that if they can come out the other side then they will still sell container loads of shoes.

I have read headlines proclaiming the death of barefoot running because of the court case. I would love to stand up in court and be asked about that one. I keep going round in my head the cross-examination.

Q – you think that this court case is the end of barefoot running?

A – No, why do you ask?

Q – Because you might not be able to buy the shoes that you run barefoot in?

A – Just say that back for me slowly…Ok – Are you sure that you are in the right job?

I know that those questions would not come up but is my fantasy, I get to ask myself whatever I like!

May 09

Barefoot Friday Forum

Thankyou to all those getting involved with our new Barefoot Beginner Forum. Well over 200 people have registered. Thankyou to everyone who has contributed so far.

I appreciate that quite a few of you may be new to forums. If you are having difficulties, please reply to this email. There are bound to be a few of you in the same boat. It will help me to create a guide to help new members. It might be as simple as being sent a complex password that is hard to remember and not knowing how to change it.

It would be great if you join in and help get things off the ground. With that in mind, I am sending this to encourage people to at least contribute their thoughts to take us into the weekend.

Barefoot Friday  (I would love it if you joined in on any of the following topics)

ps – If there is nothing there that you inspires you then start a new topic in our Barefoot Chat section.

Happy Friday


May 07


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 help raise much-needed funds for 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.


For more details of their good work, visit:


Two Amis events have already taken place this year in West Sussex and in South Wales, and others are already in planning for later in the year in Coventry, and in Dobre Miasto, Poland and in Pennsylvania, USA.

Your 10K barefoot run, walk or hike can be done anytime between 1st March and 31st August 2014, 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.

To make this a proper barefoot challenge 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 J

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 embroidered beany hat on completion of their event. These hats will not be made available to anyone else.

All entrants (or group of entrants) must post their times and a report with photos to the Amis Sans Shoes Facebook page to receive their hats.

This is a very ambitious project by 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 and on Twitter at @amissansshoes.

The 10K event page is at:

The ticket website is at:

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

Let’s show the world what a caring bunch of people us barefooters really are!

Thank you

Chris – We have started an Amis Sans Shoes thread in our forum for latest information and questions.

May 05

Training Log wb 5th May 2014

Mon 5th May

2.33 miles barefoot this morning. I had a morning where my soles felt so robust. As soon as I set off, I diverted and headed to the rough stuff. It is a mile long section of very broken road and I have spent ages avoiding it. I ran across it this morning without a care. I had just read an excellent post by Jae Gruenke on form on different surfaces. Nothing could be more true.

A dry road also makes such a big difference. Wet is OK, dry is great but damp gets my soles burning.

It was great to be out and running this morning. If I had not been under reauure of time, I would have kept going for mile after mile this morning. I had one person avert their gave from me as I approached so that they wouldn’t have to acknowledge my barefootedness and one person nearly bump into a lamp-post from staring. My next run will be in some genuine huaraches that I am trying out. Not got the lacing quite right yet. Looking forward to it.

Wed 7th May

2.33 miles again, this time I did the whole thing in traditional huaraches. I tightened my right lace compared to my left but still haven’t got it right. My right foot is sitting too far back (probably because I have the lace drawn too tight across it) and this means that when it goes across the back of my heel it is dropping too low which makes the whole thing work loose.

I will have another play and keep comparing to my left. When I set off if felt a little loose but actually was perfect after a mile or so.

The last half mile uphill was a struggle. I ghost up it barefoot but was out of breath and struggling this morning.

Fri 9th May

Ran 2.3 miles again this morning. Half in Sockwa and half barefoot.

When I woke up, I had a look outside at the weather and I am noticing that it is affecting my mindset.

If it is dry and raring to barefoot. I think that i can take on the world and run for miles. If it is damp, my mind immediately jumps to footwear. This week when it has been very wet and raining hard, my mind has jumped to getting back into bed which I have resisted.

The Sockwa are very comfortable and when I set off, I noticed that my feet feet tired and a bit achy. I found myself running faster in my Sockwa than barefoot and took them off earlier than I planned. I wanted to barefoot. I ended up aiming for puddles and feeling the cold of the water was exhilerating.

The last half mile is very steep uphill and I often ghost up it with no problem barefoot. It was not quite that easy this morning but certainly easier than in the original huaraches that I was wearing a couple of days ago.

I found myself ruminating on how often I should barefoot for maximum progress. This is mostly to do with rest and allowing my foot to recover and strengthen between runs. I sometimes don’t barefoot for quite a while and then find that my first run back is easy barefoot because I have given my feet plenty of time to strengthen.

I am going for a barefoot run that is as a far as I can go once a week followed by a shod run of about the same distance followed by a part barefoot/part shod run. I will experiment and see how I go on.


May 03

We are 2 years old. So..where are we heading?

May will see the 2nd birthday of Barefoot Beginner. It all started because I was in a turbulent period in my life and I felt like I needed some direction. I felt like I was on a conveyor belt where all I longed for was retirement. It was decades away and I was not only wishing my days away but whole years. Something had to change.

I found blogging.  At first, it was because I had read about creating an income through blogging and although I had no experience at all, I was fascinated. It is by far the most liberating and wonderful experience I have had for a very long time. It has been life changing but as I will show you, not in the way I expected.

I have found that everything worthwhile is sitting there waiting for me. The only thing in the way is a big lump of fear and I am learning to head in the direction the butterflies in my stomach lead me. I tend to do the things that I am drawn to and that make me feel alive.

I can remember the fear of putting my thoughts down for other people to read and my journey over the past couple of years has been as much to do with blogging as it has to do with barefooting. The two have gone hand in hand and I know that they will stand the test of time.

When I first started Barefoot Beginner, I was writing a blog post almost every day. That has changed. I had to find a sustainable way of keeping going. I now blog once or twice a week and spend much more time developing our community and listening to the stories that people have to tell. That is much more fun.

Starting our Barefoot Beginner facebook group and our Northwest Barefooters running group has been life changing. I have met so many inspirational people. I get my inspiration from real people doing what they didn’t think possible through pragmatism and determination. When I started blogging, I read that many of the people I came into contact with online would become friends. I thought that was a bit of artistic license at the time but it is so true. I consider many of you that I have never met in person to be friends and I feel like I know you well.

The things that I write about have also changed. I started out by sharing my thoughts on each run and coming up with a good title for each. I look back and read those early posts with fondness. It was good to have a record because it gives me an insight into the experiences of those who are now just starting to barefoot. I still log my runs but don’t force them on people. They are there for anyone who wants to have a look. I log them to show that I am not the perfect running machine. If I can do it then so can anyone.

Initially, I thought that Barefoot Beginner would probably become a site where I review products. It hasn’t and that is because I don’t really read those sites myself very much. I am much more interested in personal experiences, awakenings and transformations.  I also love reading posts about being human and all that entails. I do write reviews from time to time but often am more comfortable in sharing the views and the reviews of our community. I received offers to review a couple of products this week and that still amazes me. One I accepted and I am excited about and the other was not right for me.

Barefoot Beginner isn’t a review site then. It is not where my heart is. So… what is it all about?

I am headteacher by occupation and educationalist at heart. That is where Barefoot Beginner is heading. Where things seem overwhelming and complicated, I find myself creating simple structures that are easy to digest and understand.

I find myself with big pieces of paper devising plans for those just starting out. I can’t help myself. I am drawn to it. My background also includes a great deal of professional mentoring and coaching. That is because I am also drawn to that aspect of my work. I get a great deal of pleasure from helping people achieve things that they never thought they could.

This usually includes helping them find clarity of purpose and identifying the thing that lights the spark within them.

So..what things do I see in our Barefoot Beginner future?

I get asked from time to time to go and run a barefoot running workshop in different places. I am very flattered but I can’t see that being the direction for me. I could become accredited by a number of barefoot type coaching programmes but I feel no emotional pull to do that. I believe in barefoot running being a very simple activity that builds day after day, week after week and month after month.

If I were to run a workshop then it would very much be a ‘Let’s take off our shoes and go for a run.’ A minute or two later we would stop and I would ask everyone to come back the day after tomorrow. I can’t see it working for me just at the moment. That may change but not for now.

I do however, see myself talking about the benefits of barefoot running and the journey that people take. How do we overcome the barriers to getting started?  How do we keep safe and what are some of the things we need to know?

That does frighten and excite me. I want to help runners to use barefoot running as a pragmatic means to an end. To help them make their running a sustainable, lifelong experience.

With that in mind, I can see that we might develop a self-guided barefoot running course to help runners through their first few months of barefooting. I get most interested when we talk about the wider benefits that running can have on wellbeing. I would love to help some non-runners to become runners in a safe, sustainable way. Sustainable because it is easy on the body and more importantly sustainable because the impact on self-esteem and wellbeing is so great that the person involved never wants to stop.

That is going to very time consuming but I am in no rush.

In the immediate future, I have just launched our own Barefoot Beginner forum. I am proud of our online community and our facebook group is just through the 1000 member mark. I am going to need the help of the group to get our forum off the ground. We have such fantastic discussions and the advice given by the group is so valuable that I don’t want it to get lost in the facebook ether. I want to be able to refer new members to it as and when they need it. We can do that much more effectively with our own space rather than relying on facebook for everything. is to the future! – It is where we are heading so we might as well make the most of it.

I have been heartened by the number of runners who have met through Barefoot Beginner. Some have even set up groups of their own. It would be great to have an event or two at some point but we are spread all over the globe so it might not be an easy thing to do. I have a fledgling idea for a group based in the north and bought the domain name ‘Northern Soles’ for that very purpose. I think that something will evolve eventually but it may be some time in the future.

On a personal note, I am always looking for the next opportunity for study. I am involved in some post graduate work on coaching and mentoring at the moment which I have an opportunity to develop further. It may be that I add some more formal counselling qualifications to be background. I am feeling a pull in that direction.

When my own blogging fire took hold and I was having so much fun that I started a whole host of blogs on a variety of subjects. Pressures of time meant that I needed to drop my other blogs to focus on the one that I cared about the most. Barefoot Beginner is where I felt drawn and where the excitement lay.

I also have a love of beer. At one point, my dream was to own my own shop to combine both my loves. The problem was I couldn’t decide which way round to put the title. Should it be ‘Running n’ Beer’ or ‘Beer n’ Running’?

I set up a Farmers’ market stall with a friend and we are an outlet for the very small brewers in Lancashire and I do also sell a few pairs of running shoes online but the shop will have to wait because the most important change over the past 2 years has been in my day job.

I started this adventure to find a way out of teaching but I no longer feel like that. I have learned to follow the things that I find exciting and fallen back in love with my job. I am nowhere near ready to say goodbye to that part of my life. Blogging and barefooting has done that. I had my head down and was heading for a point in the future when I could stop. I have now looked up, changed direction and decided that life is for living. I love my job.

It was pretty clear early on that I was going to need to share my love of blogging and started to do that in my primary school. We now have an active blog club and meet most days. My education brain is always devising things and I am working on blogging curriculum to help  new comers get into the swing of things quickly.

Like many people, I feel like I need more than one lifetime to fit everything in. That is good, I now never want to retire. If I do things right and head towards the things I truly love, why would I ever want to stop. I am professional but also find the time to develop those things about my job that make me feel most alive.

I also would like to become a registered Sport England coach and maybe do some formal sports injury training. I have a friend who works with athletes using hot and cold stones. I have been the beneficiary. It would be nice to have my own practice sometime in the future. I think ‘Northern Soles’ might be a good working title for that too. You will be able to pick up a pair of running shoes and a beer on your way out!

Those things are in the future. For the moment, I am concentrating on making Barefoot Beginner an education based site based on the concept of live and let live, run and let run. We need to make barefooting simple and easy to understand and then provide easily digestible solutions for those who want to delve deeper and find out more.

I don’t think we will stop doing reviews but that is not what Barefoot Beginner is all about. It is about providing people at the end of the line with another way forward. It is about sharing success and showing that it can be done. It is also about sharing our mistakes and not pretending that barefooting is a magic bullet that works no matter what.

I will continue to work with Walsh on their fell shoes. This is close to my heart as they are based in my home town and I grew up wearing their shoes and am very proud of them. Their zero drop shoes work well for me and if I can help them break into a market dominated by the big boys and help them succeed in the long term then I will be very pleased.

I find a lot of inspiration through the writing of a personal development coach called Henri Juntilla. Henri is making his living online but never promises the earth. He just urges you to find what you enjoy and do that. He says clearly that it won’t be perfect but that you should keep putting one front in front of the other and learn as you go.

He resonates with me. I want to convey the same feeling with running. I am not promising the earth or a magic wand. The most important thing is to get started and learn as you go. Henri writes at Wake Up Cloud and is worth a look if you like that sort of thing.

Do I make any money out of Barefoot Beginner?  Short answer – No, not really.

Would I like Barefoot Beginner to support me and my family?  Short answer – Yes, that would be nice but it is no longer about that. It is about so much more.

I have not gone the traditional route of affiliate marketing etc. I have dabbled because it was interesting to find out about but that it not for me. I can see a day when we have a selection of online courses but it is a long way off at the moment.

At present, I just want to help as many people begin barefooting as possible and connect those people with the questions with those with some answers.

The 2 years has flown by but I can’t remember a time before blogging. It has been the best thing that I have done with my life. I am hooked. Here is to the next 2 years and the future. That is where we are heading there so we might as well make the most of it.