Category: MAF

Jul 30

Barefoot Running Log August 16

Sat 30th July

List of symptoms that I am noticing. Headaches,12st 4 lbs, wheezy, skin not great, bloating, wind, lethargy, ankle joints aching along with most other things. Irritable. Finding it hard to get motivated to run. I get like that when something big is coming up. I think that the marathon is weighing on my mind. I am not enjoying running with HRM. Need to eat properly and get the refined carbs out of my diet.

Jun 06

Barefoot Running Log June 16

Mon 6th Jun

Life is busy and I haven’t been blogging as much as I used too. That is fine. I just haven’t felt the need. It was compulsive for a while. This feels more natural. It is the same with my running. I am in a strange phase. I began to barefoot as a means to an end. It was so that I could run and now I can. Job done? Maybe…but maybe not. I am struggling for motivation. The thing that will get me out of the door.

I am planning on running the Bolton half marathon in 13 weeks and am 12 stone 1lb today. I feel like I need to get hold of things and get out there taking in everything that I have learnt. I plan to get my diet back to MAF principles and get out there and run. The biggest problem though is whether to run barefoot or not. It can dominate things and also whether to run every day. I enjoy that but it also seems a bit compulsive. I need structure and a flexible plan to lay on top of it. I have injured myself with training schedules too many times than to download one and stick to it.

Here is what feels good today:

Do the 2 week MAF test – Kick start the process and lose a bit.

Run 5 days per week. 4 barefoot and one shod. One day off either side of long run.

Stick to MAF HR of 134

Build to 2 x 5 milers plus a 2hr long run with 30 mins walking either side of it. Build to that pretty quickly.

Alternate long runs barefoot and shod.

Felt good to get HRM on and run a mile.

Plan for the week

M barefoot mile

T Barefoot 5 miles

Wed Barefoot mile

Thursday Shod 5 miler

Fri Rest

Sat Barefoot ihr 30 mins with 20 mins before and after walking

Sun rest.

Tues 7th June 16

5 barefoot miles in 56 mins 57 secs within MAF range of 124-134bpm. First MAF run in ages and felt good for it. This is starting perp for Chester Marathon in about 15 weeks. Also doing 2 week MAF test with pretty much zero carbs. Hardest thing is no milk in tea. I have got used to a drop of honey in my coffee but I am ready to do this and feel better already.

Wed 8th June 16

Already feeling better. I forgot to take food with me yesterday and wasn’t hungry all day. Slight headache later in evening but other than that fine. 11stone 12lbs. I am wondering if the honey is what is bringing me back for more.


Apr 04

Barefoot Running Log April 16

Monday 4th April 16

I have run barefoot every day for the last couple of weeks and my feet are feeling robust again. I have noticed my pace picking up over the past couple of days and it is nice to be feeling like my old self again. Not quite there yet but well on the way. I didn’t run for about 5 weeks because I just didn’t feel like it and then it got into a habit and it took the first day of spring to get me back in action. I feel a bit heavy because my diet has been poor too over the past couple of weeks. Back in work this morning for an 8 week half term. It will be interesting to see where I am at the end of it.

Not surprising really. Other things have taken over over the past few months. A new job which made my brain leak out of its ears, doctoral studies and deadlines plus stepping up our commercial brewing so that we are now heading to our first beer festival and independent outlets. Something had to give. It isn’t usually running but it was this time.

Tues 5th April 16

A bit further this morning as I recondition my feet to berating again. Just over 2 miles in the pouring early morning rain. Feet got a bit cold but were fine. Ran the last very steep uphill on autopliot and enjoyed it. My biggest worry is taking the skin off the top of one of my toes again. It has healed up but feels vulnerable. maybe I will put a plaster on it so that I feel more protected. Feeling hot, out of breath and like a runner. Good!

Sat 9th April 16

Still running everyday. Very cold on Thursday morning but still ran 2.5 miles barefoot. I am losing the skin off the tip of the middle toe of my left foot. It is a while since that happened and a sign that I am back near the beginning. Of course, that is not properly the case. My foot and lower legs are strong and I just need to take things steadily and not rush coming back. I am going to run tomorrow and do a mile barefoot and then have a blast around the Entwistle in footwear of some sort. I have missed it. My MAF food intake this week has had an impact and I already feel better. I do seem to look for reasons to stop it though and then really go for it when I do. Need to change that and go back to the way I was before.

Mar 01

Barefoot Running Log – March 16

Tuesday 1st March 16

February has been a tricky month. I have now not run for over 2 weeks and just  don’t feel like it very much. The weather has been dreadful and whereas I would normally get out there anyway, I have been using it as a reason not to run.

I think that you can learn a lot from periods like this. A British winter like this one can get you down. It has rained incessantly for months. I have also being MAF methoding. I have lost my mojo and need to mix things up a bit. I have a couple of ideas. I think that I will now come out of this MAF base phase and add some quicker runs in as part of a planned blast and have some some. I think that I will run every day from March 20th. It will be the Spring Equinox and something about that is appealing. My dad used to wear shorts from Spring to Autumn. I might do the same.

I am also going to enter the Chester marathon and use MAF in the 12 weeks prior to get back into the base training. That should be good. I am going to limit my long run to 2 hrs (with 30 mins warmup and cool down) before the marathon and then run at my MAF rate plus or minus whatever the recommended is. My goal is to run a comfortable marathon where I don’t crash and burn.

My diet has been OK but I have felt a bit sluggish at times. I feel like I am coming out of that and start March at dead on 11 stone.

Here is to March. Bring on Spring.

Sunday 20th March

I am just about to head out for my first run for 5 weeks. I am 11 stone 6lbs this morning and have been waiting for this day for a little while. I can feel myself coming out of a slim. It sort of happened over the past few days and might coincide with the better sunny weather. We have needed it. This has been a very long and wet winter. My diet has suffered a bit but I don’t feel big and sluggish. I feel fine.

The mile felt goo too. This time of year has a feel all of its own. The air is still and quiet. It happens to me every year. We moved into this house over 20 years ago at Easter and when we moved in I was struck by the quietness and stillness of the mornings. I couldn’t believe anywhere could be so quiet. Every year, I walk out and a morning like this gets me and transports me back to those first days here. It is nice to have nothing to prove as a runner and just to go and and enjoy it.

Feb 01

Barefoot Running Log – February 16

Monday 1st Feb 16

Started Feb with a barefoot mile in the dark at 6am. These little runs help me reset and manage longer runs in footwear. I don’t think that i would manage without. Also just good to be out in the fresh air enjoying being alive. No hungry when I wake up. I am making a conscious effort to have breakfast and not miss it. My normal fair is bacon, poached eggs with a little cheese. I might have a few sautéed mushrooms with that at the weekend. I am then not hungry for most of the day. I am taking this as a good sign.

Sat 13th Feb 16

I haven’t posted for  few days. Why? I think that it is simply because I am finding a routine that works for me and it is becoming the norm. This week, I started with bit of a cold and ran twice during the week and haven’t run every morning as planned. That feels OK. I think that I will do that between the spring and autumn equinox.

I am still losing weight and this removes anxiety because I fell like I am heading in the right direction. Running the 3 peaks next week feels possible.

I am coming to the  conclusion that few things leave me feeling sluggish. I can eat banana but just a half at a tome and not more than a half a day. Root veg is OK but more than one bowl of root veg soup leaves me bloated. I can tell when it is happening. I need to listen more.

Yesterday, I forgot my lunch but had cheese and fruit with me. It wasn’t a problem. I wasn’t too hungry and was able to wait until a take away arrived later in the evening. Take Away! yes, I had a tandoori mixed grill and very nice it was too. This type of joining in with everyone without fear of falling off the wagon is the key for me.

Mon 22nd Feb 16

You can see that I have been struggling to keep things constant and this morning I am feeling pretty awful. I have had a week of no running. I just haven’t felt like it and I have got into a routine of not running. It has been a week off work and my food has slipped too. I seem to be finding excuses for myself to eat sugary food. I went to the cinema with my son and had ice-cream. I went for a meal out with the family and had ice-cream. Yesterday, I had a bacon and burger on a bun and then some birthday cake.

My mood is low and I feel sluggish and down. I often feel like this at the end of a holiday just before going back to work so I am writing this at 6am in my running stuff. I am about to go out for a mile barefoot. It usually picks me up. I think that the weather is getting me down too.

It hasn’t been a bad week. A lot of financial spring cleaning and we have made progress on the brewing front. I should be feeling refreshed and ready to go but it is the opposite. I need a bit of routine back in my life. I think that I am groaning under a few things. New job, thought of Ultra in 4 weeks and next doctorate assignment deadline looming. Something might have to give. Might be the Ultra. The ultra training and the brewing occupy the same space in the week and I don’t think that I can do both. Marathon training I could fit in especially if I run like DR Maffetone recommends with 2 hrs as long run (with 30 mins either end warming up and cooling down). It is fitting in a 6 hr run that is the problem. I might have to let go.

Weighed myself this morning at 11st 4 lbs. Not a surprise. That is about how heavy I feel. A week of steady running, routine, plenty of sleep and eating properly should shed a whole new light on things.

Just got back from run and feel better for it. My diet has gravitated to meat, cheese and dairy. Not enough sad and fruit this week. It has an effect. Back on it this week.

Thursday 25th Feb 16

Falling out of love with barefoot:

That was how I felt this morning as I was half way through my morning run. I have very little motivation at the moment and am in a real lull.

It has been coming on a while. I think it is all linked to this Oldham Way Ultra attempt next month and the MAF slowing down business. My routine has gone and running every day seems like a long way away.

I looked out of the window this morning and the road was iced up and I just didn’t want to go out there barefoot. I did all last year but today I couldn’t see the point. I ended up in a pair of ankle socks and Runamoks for a quick mile. I enjoyed it and as I was crunching over stones, a thought popped into my head. ‘I am falling out of love with barefoot.’. I have this idea that I am going to run every day barefoot from Spring to Autumn Equinox and I might well do that. I think that it will be good. I think that I will end up running the Chester Marathon later in the year but also some shorter events too. Just the thought seems good to me. I like the idea of running the Yorkshire 3 peaks. That would be good. So…maybe I am not falling out of love with anything. Maybe I am just in a rut and feeling it. A change is as good as a rest. I think that I might mix everything up and run somewhere new this weekend…and not too far. I have done a period of MAF base training and stuck to it. i think that I might have a spell where I do a few races and then go into another aerobic base building phase before Chester.

Just typing this, I can feel my enthusiasm coming back. Nothing to do with barefoot or otherwise. The Ultra is feeling appealing too just as something to drop into without worrying or focussing on it too much.

Thanks for listening everyone. I feel better for that. I needed to articulate it and get it out of my system. It has been blocking things up and dragging me down. Upwards and onwards.

Happy running everyone.



Dec 31

Barefoot running log – December 15

Tuesday 1st December

Started December with 4.5 miles barefoot. Feet cold and feeling it this morning. I was able to run the route within MAF range of 124-134bpm. This feels like an improvement.

Wed 2nd December 15

Ended the day feeling a bit bloated. Hadn’t eaten anything with sugar or grain but did drink quite a bit of tea and coffee. Might have been that. I ended up not feeling hungry at all and it might be that I am eating too much. I will play with this one. Have added a banana with breakfast but the feeling came much later in the day. Joined online MAF group and posted in there that my times are slower. They all seem to think that it is normal.

Fri 4th Dec 15

4.5 miles barefoot this morning within MAF range. 11st 7lbs this morning which means a stone weight loss since starting the MAF test. Loss is now slow and steady. Added banana to bacon, egg, mozzarella this morning. Big breakfast means I am just not hungry and I don’t have any cravings at all for sugar.

I was able to run the entire route this morning and only went above MAF range for around 3 seconds when I lost concentration. Mt hr was dropping quickly and I had to run a bit quicker to keep within range at times. Still very slow overall but feels good to be able to run the entire route.

Heel is cracked which is a new on for me. A bit sore.

Sat 5th December

Weather awful. 9.5 miles in MAF range. 130 mins total. 13.7 minute miles. Slow but feels like an improvement. I feel like I amg less which is progress. Last night, I cooked up loads of stuff that I had left over. Made soup and a couple of curries. Nothing went to waste. I am enjoying eating like this. It is just as quick. Meals don’t take long to prepare at all. A pattern is developing. Egg and bacon for breakfast. Fruit and cheese mid morning snack. Large salad at lunch with either chicken or cheese, fruit and cheese snack and then smaller evening meal or homemade soup, curry or steak with vegetables (nice with a creamy sauce). I might have a bit more fruit later or natural yoghurt with honey. I am still drinking filter coffee and tea. Sometimes with cream and sometimes milk. I am drinking some beer. All real ale made with malted barley. I seem to be able to tolerate it without much trouble.

Sun 6th Dec 15

Another hole on the belt. Now on the 6th one in which is a big change. I was struggling on 3 to start with. Gradually to 4 then 5 and now this morning 6 is comfortable. I am changing shape more than losing weight.

Had natural yoghurt with sliced banana and honey last night. Nicer than any fruit corner.

I am learning new skills all the time.

How to make own salad dressing. Got better at that one.

How to make coffee in a caffetiere

How to fry a steak just right

and lots of things:

Next it is mayonnaise and home made curry. I also want my soups to be better. The microwaveable soup mug is excellent.

Tuesday 8th Dec 15

No run this morning. I am burning the midnight oil at the moment as I complete an EdD assignment. I enjoy it but it means less sleep. One change from Maffetone is appreciating when this sort of thing is happening and backing off. I will catch up with both sleep and time running at weekend. I felt too full last night. I was euphoric during the day. I felt light and fast and ‘up and at ’em’ all day and then I ate too much in the evening. It was the banana and honey. I will leave that out today and try and get my carbs elsewhere or at least at a different time. I ate loads all at once. I need to spread things out.

Thursday 10th Dec 15

Almost 5 miles barefoot this morning. HR got up to 134bpm very quickly but still managed further than ever before on this out and back route. For a little while, I forgot I was running in MAF range and just ran which is a good sign as I was in the range. Lots of fruit today. Spaced out during the day. Mouth feels like bottom on birdcage. Has a BBBBlone beer last night. Made with malt but also Candy syrup. I had forgotten about that. Nothing natural there. Body sensitive to these things.

Sat 12th Dec 15

12 miles in 3 hrs at MAF rate. managed to run pretty much all the way with only a few walks up hills. Last night I was drinking lager and Jaeger Bombs so I am surprised I could run at all to be honest. It rained hard the whole time. 15 minute miles with dodgy hr monitor

Tuesday 15th Dec 15

5 barefoot miles this morning and it felt like a bit of a breakthrough run. Ran the whole way and my heart rate kept dropping below the lower 124bpm rate of my MAF rate. I managed a full 5 miles in 1hr and 1 minute. Still slow but quicker than before. 11 st 7lbs this morning. I couldn’t get full last night and I feel a bit like that today. Sticking to the plan though.  Haloumi cheese for tea. Really good. Could get addicted!

Friday 18th Dec 15

Ran home from Queensbridge on my last day. Very sad to be leaving. About 6 miles or so in Vivobarefoot Evos. Nice and steady and very enjoyable. Forgot HR monitor but can tell when going too quick.

Tuesday 22nd Dec 15

10 barefoot miles this morning and I loved it. Not enjoyed a run like that for a while. I stayed within my MAF rate 124/134bpm and it felt so easy. I had to speed up sometimes to stay in the zone which shows a lot of improvement. I could happily have turned round at the end and run back the other way. A proper breakthrough run. Eating differently and attempting to build a proper aerobic base is making a difference. No rush though. This is all about sustainability and being able to run in a way that nurtures rather than damages. Buzzing!

HR monitor played up for while at the start and I ran what I thought would be right but I was too slow.

Friday 25th Dec 15

6.5 miles in new VFF Spyridons. They are awesome. Loved it. Was quick at the start but slow near the end. Ininjis worked well too. Got very wet.

Ate some of Emma’s ginger cake and quite a few chocolates. In for a penny…

Sun 27th Dec 15

A MAF test attempt that was interrupted.

Mile 1 – 10 mins 27 secs

Mile 2 – 10 mins 57 secs

Mile 3 – Was clicking along and a runner stopped me for a chat about barefooting.

Never mind. Feels like progress although I can tell I ate too much turkey yesterday. Good roasted veg soup and stroganoff after watching Hairy Bikers.

Tues 29th December

Did the MAF test barefoot again this morning without interruptions. At a steady 11st 5 lbs. My weight is continuing is fall but very steadily now. I had forgotten to eat enough fruit over the last few days and this has meant that I feel like my carb balance is not right. I put it down to filling up on lots of turkey and feeling a bit tired.

I had a bit of a headache this morning although I did manage to avoid all the sugar laden nonsense at the pantomime last night. The ground was cold and damp. Can’t help feeling that all this bad weather is having an impact on my mood. It was that that led me onto considering the carbs and whether that was lowering my mood too. Not too bad but noticeable.

Mile 1 – 10 mins 48 secs

Mile 2 – 10 mins 23 secs

Mile 3 – 10 mins 36 secs

Feels like steady progress. I will keep going and see how things go.

Dec 31st 2015

2015 drew to a close with a 4 hr run this morning. Out of the door barefoot at 6am with backpack on. Back through the door 45 mins later for emergency toilet stop. I really must the hang of that. Then 3hrs 15 mins wearing new pair of VFF Spyridons. Only second run in them but they feel like old friends already. Somewhere between 15 and 16 miles

To be able to run (albeit pretty steadily within MAF range) for 4 hrs was inconceivable a little while ago. I am not certain of the exact total miles I covered in 2015 but it was well over 1000 and that is the most that I have ever managed to run. Ever!!

Not a single niggle anywhere and I feel like I am on the path to finding a way to run sustainably into my old age.




Nov 13

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nov 08

Maffetone 2 week test – Progress by end of week 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Breakfast – 3 rashers of bacon plus 2 boiled eggs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nov 01

Barefoot Beginner Training Blog – November 2015

Sunday 1st November 15

Today feels like an important day. I am starting a Maffetone 2 week test to see how removing refined carbs from my diet affects things. It just seems so obvious but also scary. I am a sugar addict. I think that is probably the right term. It feels like an addiction. To go cold turkey for 2 weeks is daunting and I have butterflies. I did a bit of a shop yesterday and got some salad and veg in. this will be completely different type of eating for me. I need to keep it simple and not over complicate things. I need a few basic recipes. A good salad dressing. Mayonnaise. Salsa Guacamole. Simple curry sauce to keep things interesting but simple. I also need to work out how I am going to fit this sort of thing into my day. It is carrying lunch, snacks etc that is going to be new to me. No milk is a challenge because I love my cup of tea. I started out with a filter coffee with cream this morning. I out in too much cream. Lots to learn.

I weigh 12st 7oz and my waist was 41 inches!! around the naval. Blimey, what a bloater. Bloating is a good description because I experience that along with fatigue, inflammation, my ears feel blocked. I am wheezy and still have an inhaler. I have had one since childhood. I am pretty achy all over.

I ran a barefoot MAF test this morning. I ran for 2 miles to warm up then ran:

  1. 10mins 14secs
  2. 10 mins 7 secs
  3. 10 mins 12 secs
  4. 9 mins 50 secs

This is on a slightly undulating mile long section of road which passes for flat in this part f the West Pennine Moors. My last mile was quicker because I believe I was gaining experience at running in my target zone of 129-139 bpm.

It feels like a big day because it is all about readiness. I feel ready to take this on.. It feels like a proper challenge. I have a history of heart disease and diabetes in the family and at 46 years of age, I am not going to let that happen to me.

Food diary:

7.30am – Filter coffee with whipped cream

6mile run

10.30am – 2 egg omelette with air cured ham (0 carbohydrate Ingredients – Pork and Salt), cup of tea with whipped cream

11.00am – Hungry so had handful of grated mature cheese and spoonful of almond nut butter (Funky nut co)

I ate little and often during the rest of the day. I had bacon for lunch. For tea I had a big green salad with brocolli. I overdid the salad dressing (this is all new to me) and a simple chicken curry made from onions, spices and chicken with a dash of whipping cream added Lovely. Saved some for tomorrow.

Late on I had a coffee with whisky but not really me to be honest.

Mon 2nd Nov 15

Up early for a run. I am achy and stiff but then I have just run 34 miles which is a big week for me.

Cup of tea with peppermint teabag added and a dash of whipping cream. Lovely! Better than anything I made yesterday.

Last night I felt weird. Not hungry exactly but like I needed to eat even though I didn’t fancy anything in particular.

A barefoot mile this morning. It is so mild for the time of year. Headtorch in hand. I feel better for the run.

Boiled eggs and bacon for breakfast having made a salad for lunch and packed the left over curry from yesterday.

It feels like the start of something. Organisation is important though. For things to work for me they need to be really simple.

Tuesday 3rd Nov 15

5 barefoot miles with HRM at 139bpm.Took 60 mins exactly with the last mmile in 10mins 30 secs. The food is going well. It is imprtant to keep things simple. I am doing a small shop every 2/3 days and learning as I go. I am enjoying the food. I got a headache last night which I think was sugar withdrawal. Took 2 paracetamol and was OK. Not really very hungry to be honest. I would love a plum or an apple but am not tempted to give in. I feel ready to do this. I have learned how to make a salad dressing and sat with children having dinner with my food. It looked so much better than theirs even though it was meat pie day.

I have a peppermnt tea bag (Just dried leaves) in my tea and have it black and it is really nice. When having whipped cream in coffee I need to do the same because it makes it really bland.

Wed 4th Nov 15

A mile barefoot in the rain and dark and fog. Headtorch in hand. I just don’t fancy running in shoes. Food wide was a good day. I took my salad into the school hall and one of the children asked if it was just leaves. I said yes but not to go and pick any old leaf uup to eat. He then sidled off and asked another member of staff if I had jst been outside and picked them. I quite like the sald thing for lunch. Better then the carb rich diet we usually have for school dinners and I am fine. Not craviing chocolate or pizza although one challenge was all the quiet grazing I used to do all the time. My son asked if I wanted a piece of breaded chicken and I almost took it without thinking. The same for the odd biscuit lying around. To be honest, I am not too tempted by anything at the moment and I have had long periods of no hunger and then some periods where I have found myself a bit hungry. It is weird to deal with that with a piece of cheese but it seems to work.

It has been brought home how unhealthily my children eat and I would like to tackle that but feel like I need to lead the way and be a good example. I am also not trying to vary things too much. I am trying to learn a small core repetoire of foods to become a staple and then I can do the odd fancy thing on top of that as I go. It takes a biy of courage to go home when there is no meat in and think that I will have a cheese salad. I also think that because I am well prepared and have snack things around that I can have, I am not too worried about being hungry later as I know that I can always eat something and that I can have as much as I need.

Salad bags are a good idea for me. I have also found that i like vegetable raw more than cooked. Interesting. I have also got into the habit of splitting my evening meal and saving half for lunch the next day with a large salad.

Thursday 5th Nov 15

Couldn’t resist weighing myself this morning. 4 days in and I weighed 12st 1lb which is a loss of 6 lbs. That seems crazy to me. 1 inch off my waist. Slightly below 40inches.

I ran in Walshes for the first 4 miles of my run this morning and then took my shoes off and ran the last mile barefoot. I went over my 139bpm limit very quickly and ended up quite slow. The whole run was about 65 mins which is 5 mins slower than Tuesday when I ran the whole thing barefoot. That feels like a bit of a worry but I am going to put my faith into the sysytem and get on with it. I am wondering about warming up properly and whether that is linked to my slow times. When I d a MAF test, I have speeding up even though I have ran a 2 mile warmup beforehand.

Friday 6th Nov 15

A barefoot mile this morning and feeling more like myself and full of running. Enjoyed it. Headtorch lighting the way. At the half way point I switched it off and enjoyed being in the dark with hands aloft in victory salute. Just feels appropriate today. Woke up during the night with a headache. This was not unexpected. I suspected that I might when I went to bed, I was well hydrated but know the signs. Not as bad as I thought though.

I have been walking differently over the past few days. I think that I am losing weight but I am also experiencing less pain in my hip. I feel more free. Probably all in my head but it is interesting.

I ended up having a sort of bolognaise/chilli sort of thing last night and finishing it even though I had enough. I am getting better at creating leftovers and probably needed to do that. It goes back to getting an easy base of things that i enjoy eating and then experimenting on top of that.

I enjoy pizza but cant have the bast. I am going to get all the best bits I love. Sauce, cheese, toppings and just have those. It is coming down to the fact that I am eating very well but not anything processed which is great.

Just done squats and hip remarkably free and pain free.

Sat 7th Nov 15

10 miles barefoot in torrential rain this morning. Had my headtorch flashing the entire way so that folk could see my coming. I was on the road, in total darkness at 6am. Keeping below 139bpm was difficult and my overall time was 2hrs 20 mins (14 min miles!!!). This would usually be a comfortable 10 min/mile run. It just shows how poor my aerobic function is and probably how unhealthy I am.
Sun 8th Nov 15
A barefoot mile this morning but one where I learned how to raise myheart rate to 134 slowly (I have modified my MAF bpm as my aerobic function is so shocking). I started off by walking but pretty soon was into a run and I increased it by 10bpm every 2 minutes. I then brought it down again. I will do this in tomorrow’s run and make it part of the run. I may well run for a time and not a distance to keep things easy to understand. It is going back to basics again.
7 days in Maffetone no carb test. Feeling good. 7 lbs lighter and 1.5 inched off waist.

Mon 9th Nov 15

A barefoot mile in the cold. Warmed up to 134bpm and then came back down again. practising the warmup over 15 mins. I will do it for real tomorrow. Only problem is the cold. Need warmed up feet to do it. may need to do it inside in the cold.

Tues 10th Nov 15

Jumped out of my normal pattern this morning and ran time instead of distance. Ran for 60 mins that included a 15 min Maffetone warmup and a 15 min cooldown with 30 mins running in MAF range in the middle. I did an out and back run to keep things simple. The forst half is a net downhill and I ended up about half a mile short at the end.

My 15 min warmup meant gradually moving my heart rate up to 134bpm over that period. I went for 5x3minute blocks. I went

0-3 mins max 95

3-6 mins max 105

6-9 mins max 115

9-12 mins max 125

12-15 mins max 130

I then ran for 15 mins in the 124-134 range and turned round and ran for another 15 mins in that range. Then I began the cooldown which was just the opposite of the warmup. It is a leap of faith as it so slow and involves quite a bit of walking. It helps if I think of it as not running training but heart rate training. I am getting to gain a feel for how to keep my heart rate in a range.

I ran all but the last mile in Walshes and the last mile barefoot. Concerned that I will not be able to do this in the cold unless, I run a middle mile barefoot which is an option but a faff.

Food wise things are going well. Trying new things and enjoying them. I do not want to go back but I am looking forward to an apple or plum at the end of the test.

4.1 miles altogether with a mile barefoot.

Wed 11th Nov 15

A barefoot mile this morning and I took it easy and raised my heart rate gradually. I din’t feel the need to keep it precise but only got to my my MAF range at the half way point for a little while and then brought it back down again. Not all the way but back under 100bpm. It is now dropping gradually over time as I amble around making breakfast etc.

I asked myself why I am doing these mile runs. I want my bare feet to gradually become acclimatised as the weather gets colder. Going out every day seems like a good way of doing this. I also like the routine of going out every morning even if it is only for a mile. It is all part of my overall well-being.  If I can do it in a way that has a reduced amount of stress on my body then I am all for that.

Thursday 12th Nov 15

An hour between 6am and 7am this morning. Barefooting and it was cold. i warmed up steadily. I am trying to think that I am not training my legs but my aerobic engine. It doesn’t matter what activity I am doing as long as I work in the zone. I warmed up and took 15 mins to bring my heart rate to 134bpm. This was difficult as my feet where cold because I was going so slow.

I can tell when my heart rate is going to go too high when warming up because my breathing is a symptom. If I have to gasp of breath heavily, it means that heart is not beating fast enough for the oxyge that my muscles need and I back off. If I take it steadily, my heart rate increases gradually and my ability to send oxygen round my body is fine and I don’y need to gasp for air.

I covered 4 barefoot miles intotal which also included a cool down. I might decrease my cool down time and not bring it right down whilst out on the road. Having watched my HRM, it gradually decreases from about 105 gradually over the coming half hour as I am wandering around the house and doing normal morning things like making breakfast and sorting washing etc.

From a dietary point of view, I am on day 12 of the 2 week test and Iast night I was hungry. It was the flip of the day before. I couldn’t seem to satisfy my appetite very much and ate more than usual as I wanted to make sure that I didn’t let the hunger remain for long. I feel a bit slow and lethargic to be honest. Not overly so but I reckon that I am short of carbs at the moment. It will be interesting to see how the MAF test goes on Monday.

Question: I understand how to extrapolate pace schedules for things like a marathon from the 5k paces listed by Dr Maffetone based on my MAF pace but it is hard to pace yourself over an undulating hilly or even mountainous course. IS there a heart rate that I could run at for 10k, half marathon,marathon distance that is related to my MAF test. eg. If my MAF rate is 134bpm should I run a marathon at 164bpm? Can you work things out like that. So…to run a marathon what heart rate zone should I run in?

Friday 13th Nov 13

A barefoot mile this morning on a dry road just before the heavens opened. It is cold and my feet are feeling it. I judged my pace on my breathing and also keeping under a threshold where I burst out into a sweat. I can feel it coming and just back off a little. This means that I gradually raise my heart rate to my MAF range.

The hunger did hit in but then levelled off again. I feel like I am eating too much fat. I have never eaten as much salad or vegetables but am looking forward to an apple here or there rather than cheese or nuts now and again.

I had spinach and ricotta last night ad have been padding out my meaty curries and bolognaise with vegetables which is new to me. It works fine and is very nice. I am learning to prepare real food properly. I watched masterchef the other night and they made an Omelette Arnold Bennet. Smoked haddock omelette covered in a hollandaise sauce and then grilled. Wow – Looked good. Need to learn a few new techniques.

IMG_3517Sat 14th Nov 15

3 hrs round the West Pennines in the rain today. I am replacing distance with time at the moment because I just don’t know how long a certain distance will take and I need to fit runs into my day. I am also heading out and back so that I can time things properly. It is because I am not running about my MAF heart rate of 134bpm.

So…3hrs was my goal. 15 mins getting upto 134bpm gradually. It took about a mile and then I stopped and turned round after 1 hr 25 mins to allow for a slight slowing down in the second half. The last 15 mins was a cool down to lower my heart rate gradually. Exactly 3hrs for 11miles!! This would normally take well under 2 hrs. Even when you look at the miles I did within the MAF range it was 9 miles in 145 mins. 16 minute miles!! I have never been so slow but it just shows what a shocking aerobic base I have. Lots of walking to keep heart rate under 134 bpm. I feel good and my body feels unstressed. It was nice to be out in the countryside for 3 hrs and I tested out my ultra vest and Walsh zero drop fell shoes.

I might be slow because I am on day 14 of a 2 week zero carb Maeffetone test and am very low on carbs. I will be putting some fruit back into my diet tomorrow. This is all a big leap of faith. I am in no rush though. I have a 40 miler in March and my plan is to only run within MAF range throughout winter and see where it takes me. I also plan to build up the time on my feet and add in some fuelling on long runs to see how I react to it.

This 2 week Maffetone food test has been a revelation.. I am finding that I enjoy cooking ad don’t want to open a another jar or packet or ready meal. I want to eat real food and keep my refined carbs in check.

Sunday 15th Nov 15

A barefoot mile this morning and just monitored my breathing to keep heart rate under 134bpm. I had a large breakfast of carrot and coriander soup (curried), eggs, bacon and an apple. This si the first day beyond the 2 week test. I am 11st 11lbs which is a 10lb loss in the 2 weeks with about 22 inches off my waist. I still have a bit of asthma and allergic reaction to things but I feel a whole lot better generally and am not going back.

Adding in an apple and a drop of whole milk in a cup of tea where my carb additions. I am going to be gentle and avoid grains and potato. Having said that, I had half a bottle of real ale. I am a brewer and my palate has changed. It was so sweet.

I enjoyed cooking this afternoon and made broad beans with pancetta to go with roast chicken broccoli and a mixed salad. Really nice. I am determined not to throw any food away and getting good at making do with what is in rather than head for something else.

Planning MAF test in the morning. My last 134bpm was on 11th October and gave me:

Mile 1 – 10mins 48 (uphill)

Mile 2 – 10 mins 47

Mile 3 – 10 mins 45

I will see how I go with proper Maffetone warmup.

Mon 16th Nov 15

MAF test baredfoot this morning and it wasn’t good. Took longer.

MIle 1 – 11mins 58 secs (uphill)

Mile 2 – 12 mins 06 secs (void-  thorn if heel and needed to stop)

Mile 3 – 11 mins 06 secs

This after a 15 min Maffetone warmup. Weather cold, windy and wet and it was at 6am on a Monday morning.

I need to look at what is going on here. To slow down so significantly is a bit of a shocker. I might have to pull back my miles and look at my diet and runstreak.

I have spent most of my time in the last 5 weeks at a 139 bpm MAF rate rather than a 134bpm. I will see how it goes working for a couple of weeks below 134bpm.

Tues 17th Nov 15

A barefoot mile this morning and I felt full of the joys of spring on a cold, wintery morning. Almost like I had a wind behind me. I wonder if it is because I am now starting to put a bit of carbohydrate back into my body. I just had a couple of apples yesterday. I have been reading about a few things that have grabbed my interest. Inflammation and the balance of Omega 6 and Omega 3. My hip is till much better. The causes of muscle imbalance. My weak glutes and tight groin and how they are connected. Maybe all the way back to football injury 15 years ago.

Also mouth ph and how that indicates fat or carb burning dominance. Interesting stuff. Also listened to the first Maffetone podcast on his website.

I am also waking very early in the morning. Before 5am at times. I don’t think it is to go to the loo and it isn’t a restless insomnia. I am just ready to get up. I do manage to get off back to sleep but it has happened consistently all the way through the 2 week test and now beyond. I am not feeling over tired in the evening but am ready for sleep at 10pm which is pretty normal for me.

This morning is was up well before 6am, par boiling a ham shank to go in the slow cooker with onion, carrot and celeriac. First time for everything, i guess.

I ahve been speculating about my slow MAF test yesterday. I think that I am jow burning fat but still not efficiently. I had a long way to come from my sugar addicted, messed up system. One explanation may be that I was burning exclusively carbs on my last test even at a slow rate and I had plenty in my system. Now I am burning fat and it is more of a proper baseline. We will see how I go once I get a few more natural carbs in there and a more balanced diet.

Wednesday 18th Nov 15

A barefoot mile and feeling tired. My breathing is shallow and my throat itches and I have a bit of a cough. I have not had a runny nose and so it doesn’t feel like a cold. It feels like the end of one where you end up with a cough but I have not had the first part. I think that it might be related to the carbs I am now introducing back into my diet. the obvious culprit is the few splashes of milk I have had in tea but I think it might be the apples or at least the skin from commercially grown apples. Going to need to try some organic ones to compare.

I ate 2 apples and a plum yesterday and had a few drops of milk in my tea. I had an allergic reaction at about 7.30pm last night. It made me wheezy and the back of my throat itchy and I am still like it now, the morning after. I need some fresh air in my lungs. My son is having the same thing but I am not sure it is related. I am wondering if I am very sensitive after the 2 week test and it is the small amounts of milk that is doing it. I also think I might get it after eating an apple. I sometimes feel it and wonder if it is to do with things that might be on the skin. Interesting experiment.

My diet has changed out of all recognition ans I feel better for it but I no where near there yet. I need to change the percentage of fruit, veg and salad and reduce the meat and cheese and think about oils etc. I want to learn how to make salsa and guacamole and a few interesting salads. the key to success so far has been making it easy and having a few base things. I could do with writing a few base things down so that I don’t have to think to much whilst shopping. The kids are eating more healthily and my hunger is nowhere near what it was.

Feel better for getting out for a MAF mile.

Thursday 26th November 15

My barefoot runstreak has come to an end and it felt very natural. I just decided not to run. My MAF test shows me getting slower and my legs just felt like they needed a rest. I have pulled my miles back and am going to back off for a couple of weeks to see how that goes.

A barefoot mile this morning and it was good to be out after 2 days off.

I went for 3 hrs at the weekend and walked a lot of the way. My aerobic base is very poor and I am going to go back to basics. I have even pulled out my nordic walking poles and I might get out with those and work within my MAF rate for a while.

FRiday 27th Nov 15

4 barefoot miles and a MAF test barefoot at 6am on a cold, dark morning. 12 min miles about.but feels like progress because I was much more able to run in the zone. Just went over 134 a couple of times when lost concentration cresting hills.

15 min warmup

Mile 1 _ 12.01

Mile 2_ 12.01

Mile 3 – 11.55

Feeling more positive. My weight is 11st 9lbs and remaining steady. Losing little bits at a time and trying to space luch out so that it forms snack. lunch and then snack.

Dropping some of my daily runs to rest a little. Feels like the best thing to do. Stressful time at work and that will be the same for a few weeks through christmas.

Monday 30th Nov 15

Ran a MAF 7 miler yesterday on rough trails in horrendous weather. Nearly 2 hours. Slow!

I am coming to the end of November with a lot to think about. I have removed carbs for 2 weeks and am now putting them back in. Apples, pears, plums seem fine. Beer made properly seems to be OK too. Honey seems OK. I then had some homemade pastry and chocolate and sweets and birthday cake. Once I started it was tempting to continue and the morning after, I am sluggish and bloated.

I need to start trying other unrefined carbs. Potatoes and brown rice next I think. I think that my carb balance isn’t right yet.

The best thing to come out of all this is that I have dropped some weight and am enjoying fruit and that I am not hungry all the time. My sugar addiction is being managed and that feels good. I am not sure that I feel much more healthy. Not got it right yet.

I have been ill during this period too as have most of my colleagues. It is strange not running every day. I may go back to that. The overriding feeling at the moment is to est up ad not do too much.