Category Archive: Post

Aug 14

Running Log – Aug 18

Monday 14th Aug 17

It has been a long time since my last post because I had not run barefoot at all. I have enjoyed running regularly in my Bare Access and all was well. Then my calf started to niggle. It has not gone away so I was out for a barefoot mile this morning. It felt good to be back in routine. By the end of the mile, it felt much better.

It is interesting to go back to why I run in the first place. I want to build it in to my life and it be integral once again. I want it to be a bit more social and I want to challenge myself and do a few 10k across the year. I enjoy them. I also want to use running to help keep my weight in check.

A barefoot mile then. Feels like a fresh start. Like hitting the reset button. Feels good to be posting again too.

Thursday 17th Aug 17

A barefoot mile this morning and my lower legs felt stiff to begin with. Had a terrible cold over past few days which meant that I didn’t run yesterday but did on Tuesday morning. Yesterday, I went back to bed and slept until midday. Still feel pretty rough but was determined to get out and run a little. i have never regretted it.

I need to change the website to stop trying to be the centre of the barefoot world and more reflective of my own journey. This log is the core of that.

May 01

Running Log – May 17

Monday 1st May 17

10 miles to start May on a bank holiday. Running in Merrell Bare Access 4 and I really like them. I think that I have got the sizing just right at a half size bigger than usual.

Full of running an feeling fast. I ran up the steps under the railway with a spring in my stride. Last mile was quick but I could feel it in my hips a little.

Tuesday 2nd May 17

A barefoot mile on a glorious sunny morning. I could feel the knots working their way out of my legs. they have been stiff since the 10 miler at weekend.

Wed 3rd May 17

1.5 miles warmup in Merrells. Then 3x800m reps. 3 mins 20secs, 3 mins 32 secs and 3 mins 11secs. A bit of a breakthrough on the last one. I felt like the brakes had come off. It is all in my head. i am not used to running quickly. I am not used to the effort and think that I am going to either break myself or fall over. This one was a shackles off. Well almost. I could tell it was quicker from the outset. i hadn’t gone into it consciously. It just happened. The trick will be taking it into next time.

Thursday 4th May 17 

1 mile to ease knots out of legs

Friday 5th May 17

1 more mile to ease legs off

Sunday 7th May 17

12 miles on a glorious morning. Up and over Cadshaw in the west Pennine Moors. In the winter, I dream about days like this. I really like these Merrill Bare Access 4s. 

 

 

 

 

 

Mon 8th May 17

Right calf a little tender this morning after yesterday. It had raised itself very early and then I sort of managed it through the 12 miles. Still there today

Tuesday 9th May 17

4 miles around the Entwitle and concessionally path in Altras. I really like them. Calf niggled early on. I feel like I need a few days running just barefoot miles to sort this out.

Wed 10th May 17

A barefoot mile. the weather is glorious. Felt like my right calf was being helped but it is a bit tender. Need to barefoot for a bit. Maybe build back up to a 5 mile barefoot run at this time of year.

Thursday 11th May 17

Calf still little tender so a barefoot mile this morning. It feels like it is helping. The discomfort moved around a bit and i can feel the whole area lining itself back up and beginning to stretch out and work properly in a gentle pitter patter. I wouldn’t want to go any faster.

Apr 01

Running Log – April 17

Sat 1st April 17

Ran 6.5 miles from Smithills this morning. Bit of a blast because I needed to be back for a match at 10am. The long run down from the end of Coal Pit Lane was further than I thought. Battered the quads. Tried to keep it light. Good enjoyable stuff. In Altras. (0)

Sunday 16th April 17

The longest that I have not run for quite some time. I did run in the week following the first of April but didn’t log them. probably about 6 miles or so in total. I was determined to get back into it this morning. I started to get to grips with doctorate blog. cjfielding.com so have been a bit preoccupied.

5.5 miles around Entwistle and Wayoh this morning. Was hard to start with and slow but just kept going. the hills were no problem and I felt strong but slow.

Monday 17th April 17

First barefoot mile for a while this morning and it felt good to be back on it. headache from too much sugar yesterday. Just replied to Tanya who commented on 2 week test post. I need to update how I am doing, I think.

Wed 19th April 17

4.5 miles around the clough this morning in Altras. Full of running even with dead legs from yesterdays walk up Middle Dodd. Enjoying the hills. Alters coming apart at seams.

Thursday 20th April 17

A barefoot mile and feet feel robust eve in the damp. Good to get some stiffness out of calves.

Friday 21st April 17

2.7 miles around golf course on tracks in Altras. Legs feeling the walk up Middle Dodd still. Taking it easy before 10k on Sunday. Looking forward to it. Feel heavy though and bad allergic reaction in night. throat itchy and woke up sneezing which wrecked the ribs again. What a wreck I am!

Sat 22nd April 17

A barefoot mile. Shins feel achy and tense. Weird.

Sun 23rd April 17

Bolton 10k in 48 mins 40 something seconds. A good start. If it had been flat, I reckon around 45 mons would have been on. Alderley Edge 2nd July (10 weeks).  Let’s see how close I can get. 12 stone albs this morning. That will have had a bearing. 2 stones lighter would have made a big difference.

Mon 24th April 17

A barefoot mile this morning and feeling OK. Dug out the old sub 40 min 10k programme this morning. Dreaming’.

Tuesday 25th April 17

Well, the old GPS has bitten the dust. It doesn’t owe me anything, it did many years worth of service. Only need it to see if I can run a few 8 minute miles as part of 10k training.

Ran 1.5 miles warmup this morning. Crisp, cold and bright at 6am. the ran 3 lots of 800m along road. 3mins 22secs. 3 mins 33secs and then 3 mins 23 secs. I could have done another but being cautious so close to last Sundays 10k. Didn’t eat sugar yesterday but had some granary toast in evening. Know that I didn’t want it and didn’t enjoy it in the end. I was hungry but no for that.

Wed 26th April 17

Almost freezing this morning and lots of rocksalt about. Left my feet my grimy than I can remember since I last put on Mushers Delight. A barefoot mile

Thursday 27th April 17

Running 5 miles to work in Merrell bare Access 4. First impression are that they are light and much easier to get on that the trail glove. I got half a size bigger and that seems to be just right. There isn’t much cushioning which is good. I can feel support in side of forfeit a little which is odd. Read a review which talked about support in arch. I don’t feel that when walking about but we will see when I begin to run.

Friday 28th April 17

Barefoot mile feeling good.

Sunday 30th April 17

Barefoot mile to finish off April

 

Mar 01

Running Log – March 17

Wed 1st March

Wednesday starting with a one mile barefoot run and it is getting lighter. Cold though. I do enjoy running in the bubble of darkness most of the time but I was glad it was light. I like the dawn chorus. plenty of tree debris on the floor.

Thursday 2nd March 17

Woke up late and so just ran a mile in shoes this morning.

Fri 3rd March 17

5 miles in Altras and was full of running. A slight niggle in right calf during last half mile. I am a week and a bit away from talking to cardiac support group. Thoughts are that it should be about the impossible becoming possible, my character as one of life’s enthusiasts, not simply believing the experts. I also need to think about closure and reintegration back into a running club. Like the hobbits returning to the shire. I might end up with 3+3 model of running days. i thank it would work. Metronome was also the key.

Sat 4th March 17

Decided not to run this morning which felt like a big step. I had committed to running everyday for a year again but this time inches. I then thought’What is the point of that?’. It won’t move me on as a runner and I have already found out that I struggle and need some barefooting so I am now going to adopt a 3 shots +3 barefoot strategy and see how that goes.

Sunday 5th March 17

7 miles in Altras in the pouring rain. Ended up along canal and over the top of Healy Nab. Goos fun. I reckon that my talk to the cardiac group will be about my journey from impossible to possible via some stages and artefacts.

Intro – Why I run. Keeps me level. Couldn’t accept that it was over for me. Like the Yorkshire man who invented gluten free beer.

1 – Proper running shoes – Chi running and metronome (passing 2 women beaumont rd). Total fitness. Graveyard of broken runners.

2- The excitement of ordering the Vivobarefoots (Vivos) (caravan)

3. Born to run – Tarahumara – Xero shoes and then thinking that it is all about shoes. Luna’s, Chain mail, socks, Runamok, Vibrams, huaraches.

Coaches saying that you need to do it a certain way but most are selling something.

4. Barefoot Ted. Walking dog. – Exercises.

5. Readiness. Dumped the whole thing and started again. 40 second run ( leave it a day) Ken Bob’s book with Ron Hill. A role model. Don’t need to be from Mexico to do this. Wrote an ebook which has now gone all over the world.

6. The cold, Cold induced vasodilation. Thought that I had better run everyday to get feet gradually used to the cold. before I knew it, I was every day.

7. Meeting people all over the place. Carlisle. Woman at Rivington

8. barefoot marathon – Wiman at 15 miles blisters – Emotion at the end.

9. Alex’s Kasher but not for me. Back into shoes. Barefooting is not a religion. It was a means to an end. (altras). Every day for a year.

10. Got injured. Proper setback. Went back to barefoot.

11. Next step is to join a club. The road to injury free running.

12. Readiness. Impossible gradually becomes possible. What can i do rather than what can’t i do. Don’t beat yourself up.

Monday 6th March 17

A barefoot mile to ease of the right calf niggle.

Tuesday 7th March 17

5 miles in Altras with a bit of a calf niggle going on. On the surface but didn’t get any worse over the 5 miles. Spent a good while today talking about us being a running animal. Someone started to talk about a supplement you can take for your knees and I went off on one about money being the enemy. We always try and buy our way out of things. Little metronome arrived today. Going to run with it in the morning.

Wed 8th March 17

A ,ile barefoot this morning just as dawn was breaking. It would be weird to have silence at that time. Birdsong was deafening.

Thursday 9th March 17

Decided to have a change from usual 5 miler and head up to the Entwistle now that there is a little bit of light in the morning. At the last second decided to turn to leisurely run into a time trial, clicked watch and set off. No warm so was slipping onto oxygen debt quickly. Backed off and grinned. Sometimes doing the daft thing is just the thing you need to do to make you feel alive. If we listen to the experts all the time, life might become dull and common sense is a race to the bottom. Made 2 mile point in 15mins 38 secs and the whole way round in 19 mins 08. Not sure how this compares with some of other times but I was pleasantly surprises seeing as this was the first proper blast in a while. I know that on a less windy day with a warm up and better pacing, I could bring that time down. 2.3 miles.

Friday 10th March 17

A barefoot mile this morning in the daylight.

Sat 11th March 17

A rest day. It feels weird and I am not sure that it is a good thing. I think the barefooting helps keep things loose and stretched. We will see.

Sun 12th March 17

Dan’s birthday and a 9.5 mile run this morning. Spring gas sprung and it felt good. No calf issue. If anything, my left quad was protesting a it. Not sure why. Lots of thought on what to talk about with the cardiac group on Wednesday. Experts, money, human evolution, wheat changing out migratory patterns, sleep, food, toilet habits, electric lighting, seating. We have forgotten that we are animals. Need to narrow it down so i cover what I really want to say. What would my elevator pitch be or what would i say in a 20 minute car journey. It is that disbelief that I feel that want to overcome. Common sense is a killer. What is common sense anyway. Knowledge isa good thing but experts often are not.

Mon 13th March 17

A barefoot mile in the damp conditions. Feet burning after 400yds this morning. Not sure why. Rocksalt? Damp? Long run yesterday?. Felt better for it at the end even if I didn’t fully enjoy it. Moon was huge and low in the sky.

Tues 14th March 17

5 miles in Altras. Now blocked out the talk for tomorrow and run through it. 40-45 mins which is a bit long. I need to be a bit more slick.

Intro – Why I run and how broken was I. Goal, strategy tactics.

Wed 15th March 17

A mile barefoot this morning. I went to talk to Bolton Cardiac Upport group tonight. I really enjoyed it. they made me feel very welcome. It turned into a talk about rehabilitation. I bought my first running shoes. in Bolton 30 years ago. and have been trying to fix myself ever since. I also spent the first 5 minutes trying to convince them that i was not a mad man and that was Bolton though and through. the amount of money I have spent over the years on running shoes runs is high. Only someone desperate would spend £140 on shoes and then put a £100 pair of insoles in them whilst spending money each week on physic and paying for a running coach to teach you hoe run. Why would supplements containing sharks cartilage help your knees. Always someone ready to sell you a solution. Took a metronome and talked about polar bears and camels adaptations and how we are adapted to be a hun ting, running animal.

The whole business about the soles of the feet is a red herring, it is about the lower leg and structure of the foot. Experts, common sense, money, running being therapeutic rather than destructive came up. Going up and down stairs was important to them too. Good fun. I said that I was going to find a running club locally next week so i better get on and do it. I also showed them all the shoes that I have. Love them but they don’t help unless you can run right. I am going to have a go in them soon.

Thursday 16th March

5 miles in Altras this morning. I am not sure that I have go the balance right. I might need to do one of the 5 milers during the week barefoot. can’t see the point in running a mile any other way than barefoot. Might as well not go.

Friday 17th March 17

A mile barefoot. Cold and wet. Feet freezing by the end.

Sat 18th March 17

7 miles in a storm this morning. Ran in Vivobarefoot Evos because I fancied a change and wondered how I would do. Started off OK but then felt it in my calf. It begs the question. is my running therapeutic or destructive. I was asked yesterday by a runner if they should do any exercises in between the barefooting. I answered that the barefooting is the exercise in itself. it should be the things that fixes you. Was my run therapeutic this morning? i don’t think so. It felt destructive. My calf and hip were protesting rather than thanking me for the run. Running should be good for you.

Mon 20th March 17

A big moment. I went and ran with Burnden Road Runners. It is over 20 years since `I ran with them last. I had told the Cardiac lot that competing the circle involved reconnecting with a club. Burden are local and run on a Monday night. I had a few butterflies. 5miles flat we were told. Turned out to be 6.5 miles with a bit of up and down which suited me well. Good to chat to folk as I ran. Not hanging on by the end. they do a track session on a Wednesday. I might give it a go next week.

My calves were pretty tight. i think that it is running in shoes and then having a rest day. I think I need to tweak that. Was tonight’s run therapeutic. No – but it was great and worth it.

Tuesday 21st March 17

Quads sore and calves tight. Looking forward to the run this morning. A mile barefoot to loosen things up.

On a scale between -5 and plus 5, how therapeutic is the run. -5 is really destructive. +5 is really therapeutic.

Last night would have been about -3, I think. Need to do this a lot so that I can calibrate it. -3 left me with sore calves in the morning and sore muscles in the night.

I think this morning has stretched things out nicely and I would give it a +2. No niggles whilst running and calves feeling better now that I am back. A proper therapeutic run. It is not the exercises that you do between runs than are the therapy, it is the running itself that should be the thing that helps.

Wed 22nd March 17

5 miles in Altras this morning after a good night’s sleep. felt sluggish and slow to start with but ran 45 mins (9min miles) which was pretty good seeing as I was making an effort to handle form and stay steady and not too fast. Calves are OK. Therapeutic? Good question. I reckon neutral (0).

Thursday 23rd March 17

A mile barefoot. It was cold and it felt like I was up on my right foot a bit and not letting my calf stretch out. I made myself go slow and it was OK by the end. (+1)

Friday 24th March 17

4 miles round the Entwistle and Little Wayoh this morning at 6am. Glorious weather. The sunrise was amazing over Holcombe Tower and across the water. Pleasure to be out. The air was still and crisp. (-1) Feeling it in right calf a little. No issue but needed to concentrate. I had forgotten how I used to favour my left leg when going up and down steps etc and that my right quad used to be be much bigger than my right because I was worried about my hip. it was going up some steps this morning doing most of work with left leg that I remembered. Habit.

Sun 26th March 17

A mile barefoot before the market this morning. The clocks going forward made it tough to get up.

Monday 27th March 17

Another barefoot mile and the therapeutic nature of the running seemed to kick in. I feel fine and legs feel good. Felt very unwell during the night and thought I might be sick. The running helped.

Tues 28th March 17

5 miles this morning in Altras and I was full of running. Nice morning again. A few days in between with a couple of barefoot sessions seems beneficial. i think that I am not too well and sleep is catching up with me in the evenings.

Wed 29th March 17 

Going to barefoot a mile but waiting a bit until it gets light.

Thursday 30th March 17

5 miles and full of running. Set off and felt really heavy legged but picked up alter.

Friday 31st March 17

A rare rest day to finish off the month.

 

Jan 01

Running Log – Jan 17

Sunday 1st Jan 17

Jan 17 starting with a plan to run every day this year and do a 1000 miles in total. Up to Nov 29th will be in shoes and then I will have done a complete year. I am now over a month in and everything is fine. I am feeling like a runner again and using Parkrun to gauge things. The Altras are great.

A mile this morning.

Mon 2nd Jan 17

8.5 miles in Altras this morning and feeling good. Pushed it pretty much all the way and concentrated on running as quick as possible with good form. I came off the route planned and ran bridleways instead at places. It felt good. The old chap who is 97 yrs old was out again. He was clearing his path of slippy leaves by bending down and picking them up. He said that he walks the road up from Bromley Cross every day. That is a severe climb. No wonder he is doing well. Thought a bit about the Chester marathon. I might give it a go this year in shoes.

12st 2 lbs this morning.

Tuesday 3rd, Wed 4th, Thursday 5th Jan 17

A mile each day. Thursday 5th was on out first double brew day.

Friday 6th Jan 17

Parked in Chapletown and ran to Entwistle. Did a timed loop in just over 18mins. Good considering that the near side was icy and I couldn’t get going. Thought it would be 9 mins at bridge but was surprised that it was 7 mins 8 secs. Good going. Clicked watch early by accident so 18 mins 10-20 secs is a reasonable estimate. Was trying to get there in under 20mins so good going. A month ago, I was in 23 mins. It is just the hang of running faster with confidence.

Sat 7th Jan 17

A mile this morning after our works do. Good fun visiting Bunburys and having a pint of Simcoe and then on to the Ukranian Club for their Christmas Eve. A mile with a hangover this morning.

Sun 8th Jan 17

6.74 miles this morning in the cold drizzle of a January West Pennine morning. Adventurous route round the Eagley Brook area. ended up climbing muddy slopes and battling through the undergrowth. Slight niggle in left hip area. I think that lifting heavy stuff doesn’t help.

Mon 9th Jan 17

A mile this morning and everything feels fine. First day back at work this morning. 11 st 13 lbs so have managed to lose a pound or two over the Christmas and New year. It seems to be about finding a way that works for me and getting to know it. Aiming for around the 11stone mark by Easter which is half-way to the Alderney Edge 10K. Cutting out refined sugar has been important combined with the ability to run consistently with a bit of pace. I am motivated because I can feel myself getting quicker and know that bodyweight is a key part of that. Just getting lighter will allow me to be quicker. Gives me confidence when standing on the start line. I am not being draconian with stuff. I are celebrating special things with family and friends. I ate cake at parties and pudding on special occasions but I am not eating incidental cake. The cake that is just there for no good reason. The same with ice-cream last night. I just didn’t have any. I could have done but it may have given me a headache and I knew that it would make me feel rotten. I am treating sugar a bit like alcohol. Not to be hd incidentally. I did have a one of our own beers last night. It was Sunday tea-time. I fancied on and it is made with good, natural ingredients. The alcohol is by-the-by. It is the carbs that are the enemy. I know where the carbs came from and there are precious few left in our beer at the end of the process. Don’ seem to affect me to badly. I am also eating with my family and eating mostly cheese, fruit, nuts, nut butter during the day. Seems to be working at the moment.

Tues 10th Jan 17

Asleep early last night so up early ready to run. It is very cold and very wet. Vaseline on face as it has been getting chapped on recent runs. Weight heading the right way. 11 st 11 this morning.

5 miles and enjoyed it. Dreaming of 3hr marathons and 40 minute 10ks. That slight niggle in left side is still there. It is more a outer though thing than hip though.

Wed 11th Jan 17

A mile in the dark

Thursday 12th Jan 17

Up early to run to work. and then I ran home at end. Just short of 5 miles there and about the same coming back. Felt good.

Friday 13th Jan 17

A mile in the snow. Head torch needed.

Sat 14th Jan 17

Worsley park run this morning. Flat mainly with a few flights of steps and some muddy bits through the woods. Couldn’t have finished much faster but could have set off more efficiently. Ran 22mins 32 secs and then went to pick up new car.

Sun 15th – Tues 17th Jan 

A mile in the fog early each morning. Emma’s 16th birthday.

Wed 18th Jan 17

4 miles this morning. 2 miles warmup and then 3x800m reps followed by half mile warm down. 3mins 18secs, 3mins 23 secs, 3 mins 27 secs. Faster than last time. Feel sluggish at the moment and a bit lethargic and heavy.

Thursday 19th Jan 17

A mile in the dark. Stopped half way to listen for a minute. Took the foam roller in to work. Spike one which I never really used. i liked using the Grid but didn’t do much good. Big step giving it away. Also took stuff into work so that i could run in the morning. Again, a big step

Friday 20th Jan 17

Ran to work. After a couple of lethargic days where I have felt a bit sluggish and achy, I was in good form on the way there. 4.5 miles. I ran home and stopped off at Console Wizard to get phone. O pushed all the way home. In fact, i just ran easy and watched the miles slip past. The weather was clear and bright and it reminded me of running from a life long past. Not often that I run on busy roads at rush hour anymore.

Sat 21st Jan 17

A mile in the cold morning. Phil also trying to do 1000 miles in 2017. His is different than mine. he adds the miles so far and divides by the number of days so far then multiplies by 365. He was chuffed that he would inly need to do 5 miles today.

Sun 22nd Jan 17

A good run around the bridlepaths and muddy pathways this morning. ended up really pushing it through the park and up hill to finish before taking Dan to football. About 7 miles or so. The niggle in left hip/thigh has gone. Groin a bit tender after getting involved in football shooting drill yesterday ay Bolton Uni with Park.

Mon 23rd Jan 17

A mile in the fog this morning. Talking to Robert’s dad. he is getting back into his running by running every day in January. He says that he needs a rest. I go in phases. Feeling good at moment but other times, I feel weary. Every day helps me though to get out. I understand it. Just up and changed. If I was leaving it until evening, I think that I would grow to dislike it.

Tues 24th Jan 17 – Thursday26th Jan 17th

A mile on Tuesday followed by 5 miles on Wednesday and a mile on Thursday. Fallen off the sugar wagon and although I haven’t gone on a mad binge, I have eaten stuff I would not normally. I feel wheezy and my mouth itches and is swollen at the back. I can see it in my face and skin. I am 11s 11lbs this morning. I was expecting to be over 12 stones easily. Need to get back on it. I think that it started when I was dispirited with weighing myself and although I had been bang on, my weight had gone back up. Maybe it should be a weigh in day every 15 days or so and I timetable them in.

Friday 27th Jan 17 

I have been up late and getting school work done this week but managed to keep the running going. Going to run to work this morning and that will be 3 weeks on the trot that I will have done that.

First real problem so far. Ran to work OK 5 miles in the dark and enjoyed it. Set off home and felt a tightness in right achilles and didn’t think much of it. Over next couple of miles it went into right calf. I tried a few of the normal relaxation type of thing but by the end of mile 3, I had to walk as I felt it was going to go. Sore all evening. Don’t think I have a tear but it is bunched up so tight and there is a definite hot spot.

Sat 28th Jan 17

I reckon that if I ran barefoot this morning, I could melt this tightness away but I am go got see if I can do the same thing in shoes. I ran a mile and things were better than when I went out.

Sun 29th Jan 17

2 miles this morning. Everything sore when I set out but eased off. Too cold for barefooting at this stage as I haven’t been out for a long time.

Mon 30th Jan 17

A mile this morning and it is feeling better. I think that I will run as normal tomorrow.

Tuesday 31st Jan 17

3 miles this morning. Can run pretty well but didn’t want to push my luck. No point testing to destruction so I know what the breaking point is. Think that I have been guilty of that in the past. Needed to concentrate on form on downhills and it felt better on uphills. January was a 95 mile month which was more than i thought it would be, Thinking about the talk for the cardiac support group. Main themes will be readiness, support, ploughing your own furrow and making something work for you. Maybe I need to include motivation, planning and structure as well as not beating myself up if I slipped up.

Feb 25

Falling out of love with barefoot

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 rate slowing down business. My routine has gone and last year’s 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.’

The thought of being on that stretch of road at that time was just very unappealing. However, 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 and I am looking forward to it. Maybe I just need that kind of easy to understand challenge.

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.

Jan 27

Anne Rosbottom – My Journey: From Injured Runner to Running Technique Coach

Anne is a Born to Run coach offering running technique coaching in Merseyside and the Wirral. She has trained with leading figures in natural running coaching including Lee Saxby, Tony Riddle and Ben Le Vesconte. She is also a UKA Leader in Running Fitness. She is constantly learning and improving her understanding of human movement and I draw influences from Pilates, Crossfit and Movnat.

You can contact Anne through her website runbetter.wildbare.com 

Over to Anne:

I have been a runner for pretty much all of my life. I ran cross-country at primary school. Not well I hasten to add, but better than most of the others. The trend continued through high school and on to university where I briefly improved after putting in a consistent stint of training. It was then that I experienced my first injury. A tight ITB as I remember. The injuries continued on and off from there onwards. Runners knee was my favourite followed by a tight achilles. But even when I wasn’t injured I suffered from ridiculously tight quadriceps, hips and lower back. Pain was part of my daily life, not just running; I just thought it was normal. I saw countless therapists; physios, podiatrists, osteopaths. All gave me pages of exercises but not one of them watched me run and not one of them said “look love, your posture’s awful, it’s no wonder you keep getting injured!”

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The beginning of my journey towards improvement came by chance at a visit to my sister in Sheffield. Whilst out at a local park I saw a man running in what looked like climbing shoes. His stride looked so light and effortless. I was intrigued, could these “magic” shoes do anything for me?! I looked into the “Terra Plana” shoes on the Vivobarefoot website and it was then that I was first introduced to the concept that my injuries were the result of my poor posture and running form. But apparently I would need some of these shoes as the padded shoes I currently wore were part of the reason why I was in this fix in the first place. Looking back now it seems crazy but I bought a pair of Vivobarefoot shoes and I haven’t walked or run in anything except minimalist footwear since.

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So, it is nearly 4 years since that day and it is no exaggeration to say that it has been a journey of discovery. I have explored running barefoot, in sandals and in shoes but always minimalist. I have sought training from several coaches including Ben le Vesconte formerly of Vivobarefoot, Tony Riddle in London and Anna and David of Barefoot Running UK. I have also had a Chirunning day. I am a long time pilates advocate and have dabbled in the Alexander Technique. My training routine has generally included regular practice of drills prescribed as part of Lee Saxby or Tony Riddle’s barefoot training models. I have made gradual improvement leading to me being able to compete at club level over cross-country, fell and road. Last year I completed Vivobarefoot’s one day instructor training course where it was suggested that I complete the coach course. I worked with Ben le Vesconte on some day courses in 2015 and decided that I did want to take technique coaching further, both to help others and to improve my own running. So in July 2015 I completed Lee Saxby’s new Born to Run coaching course and it was here that I experience my most recent breakthrough.
Lee highlighted that whilst my running form was good, I was lacking strength. This showed in my inability to maintain good posture at faster speeds. My flexibility was poor too in spite of regular attempts to improve my woeful squat. So, off home I went to get strong and flexible. This is work in progress but the latest chapter in my story involves the sport everyone loves to hate….CrossFit! Twice weekly CrossFit workouts have improved my strength and flexibility hugely. Of course, CrossFit by itself would not necessarily improve your running, though workouts do include moves such as squats which can build strength for running. But if your weakness is your weakness (ahem!), including some general strength training can help a lot along with more running-specific strength training (running drills and er…running!)
So what have I learned from my journey and what advice would I give? I think my main message would be that there are no shortcuts to getting fitter and stronger. Obviously your goal will determine the required level of commitment but if you want to run far and fast with good form you need to be strong and skilled. Walk barefoot or in minimalist shoes (introduced gradually). Whether or not you choose to run in minimalist shoes will depend on how your feet are and your individual running goals. Become more active and improve your strength and flexibility; just running isn’t enough. And if you’re not making progress, seek coaching. A little targeted advice goes a long way. And enjoy the journey!

P.S. And whilst we’re onto coaching you can contact me on annerosbottom@gmail.com www.runbetter.wildbare.com for a 1-2-1 session!

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!

Sep 23

Some nice feedback

I have just had a lovely email in from one of our readers.

Hello Chris,
Thank you very much for the download. I look forward to reading the info. I have gone through your website already and enjoyed reading the various articles.
As far as stories are concerned, I could easily fit in the graveyard of damaged feet as you mentioned. I have spent many years dancing, fast pace walking/short runs followed by walking, or hiking for long hours. I find myself today taking it easy because no matter the shoes for dancing or the sneakers that I buy I end up discarding them because my feet are sore. I now walk slow and only for an hour. I have not danced for a couple of years, although I look forward to being on the dance floor again one of these days with new high heels 🙂
I read your post about the shoes/sandals you mentioned. I have not looked into them yet.
Once again, thank you for your courtesy. Much appreciated!
Chiara
Thanks Chiara, it makes it all worthwhile.

Sep 22

Barefooting harder for older runners? Maybe but so what?

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Daniel Lieberman runs barefoot across the Weeks Bridge n Cambride, Mass.Credit Bryce Vickmark for The New York Times

This article on the NY times blog caught my attention. It cites research that claims that barefoot running is harder to transition to when you are older. Older seems to mean over 30 and the hypothesis is that this is because older runners have years of bad running to unlearn.

This seems obvious but that doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t or can’t be done. I am one of those older runners with 25 years of cushioned shod running in my history. I was broken and at the end of the line and now I have gradually taught myself to run with good form by barefoot running (with the help of a little handheld metronome in the very early days).

I am now running every day and pretty much without injury. Harder? Possibly, but so what?

In my eyes it is all about readiness. I hit a point in my life where I was ready to do whatever it took to find a way to run in a sustainable way into my old age. It can be done!

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/04/01/barefoot-running-may-be-harder-for-those-over-30/?_r=0

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