Jan 31

Running Log – Feb 17

Wed 1st Feb 17

A mile this morning feeling pretty good and thinking that I will go back ro running 5 in the morning.

Thursday 2nd Feb 17

Set off for 5 miler early in the morning. Felt it to start with and then it went away. Running nicely and thinking about a longer run at the weekend and got big spasm in right calf that stopped me in my tracks. Got going again and then after a little while another big spasm and then found it hard to put my foot down. Pretty much hobbled home. The plan is a mile barefoot each if the weather allows and then see how it goes. I might even use the roller.

2 miles in total in Altras

Friday 3rd Feb 17

Spent yesterday limping about on my calf. First actual barefoot run since October/November time. It felt normal and good. Soles began to sing after 400m or so. It was old this morning and I have no gradual getting used to it to fall back on. My calf was sore and I had a couple of times where it was very sore but overall I think that getting out on should have helped get everything working as it should be. Next time, I will respond to niggles by running barefoot for a few days and keeping form steady. Routine of socks on inside of door so i don’t muddy the house and green sponge scrubber for by soles.

Sat 4th Feb 17

Not limped like this for a number of years. My calf is very sore. Sore is the best way that I can describe it and it is difficult to put weight on it at times. I ran this morning though and just broke into my normal barefoot cadence and stride. I even forgot about it for a while as my soles began to sing and sting. It felt cold again. I think that the little barefoot outings are dropping everything just bunching up and getting into a tight knot. We will see. the experiment goes on.

Sun 5th Feb 17

As near as I have been to not running this morning. Nothing to do with injury or not feeling like it but it was 9.30am and I knew that there would be lots of people about who have not seen me out barefooting before. I really don’t like it. I am not out there to be noticed. Sometimes, I just want to be left alone for a run. There is a reason that I run in the dark. Not complaining. People are people and they can say what they want and I have to deal with it. On most days I can and `I enjoy the banter but I just didn’t feel like that this morning and it was very close to keeping me from going out at all. If you feel the same, you are not alone. There seems to be a school of thought that we all want to shout our barefootedness to the world and be noticed. I don’t. I just want to share the benefits with the people that it might help. In a one mile stretch, I had a group of walkers telling me that there is a sale on at Sportsdirect. I then paused for a minute at the turn round point and 3 runners came past. One said ‘You’ve forgotten your shoes’ and the last said ‘Not a good look’. Bearing in mind that he was wearing black compression socks, I think that it took the biscuit. I set off after them and breezed past on the inside with a ‘Sorry chaps, coming through’ and showed them a clean (cleanish) pair of heels. I could hear them panting behind me to catch up, relaxed and pulled away. That meant that I really tested my calf out. tender and I wouldn’t have wanted to go much further but on the mend, I reckon.

Mon 6th Feb 17

Limped around yesterday more than I have for a long time. Very sore. I think that running fast like that was a mistake…but fun. I used the foam roller for a few seconds but very sore so didn’t push it. I didn’t think that I would be running this morning but woke up feeling OK. I ran a barefoot mile in the cold and dark and felt OK at the end. Less sore. I am convinced that the barefoot mile each day will help as long as I don’t do something daft.

Tues 7th Feb 17

A mile barefoot and I got there barefoot burn quickly this morning. Just relaxed and by the end it had gone away. Not limping anywhere near as much yesterday. I was expecting to be almost free of it this morning but it was still front and centre. Not a problem. I could run and I feel like it helps stretch things out and prevent it bunching up. We will continue and see. If it snows or is very icy, I will do the mile in shoes.

Wed 8th Feb 17

A barefoot mile

Thursday 9th Feb 17

Feel like I am getting there and considered going a bit further today. Will see how I am at the end of the day. Not back to normal yet but no pain. It is more an awareness that it feels different.

Friday 10th Feb 17

Feeling fine. Very cold with lots of salt down. Ran in shoes no problem.

Sat & Sun 11th and 12th Feb 17

A mile in shoes in the snowy weather. Gradually getting easier.

Mon 13th Feb 17

Long brew day yesterday. Still rocksalt everywhere and a very windy start to the day. A mile in shoes. there was a whisper of calf niggle before I set off but back to normal almost. didn’t feel it at any point and forgot about it. Longer tomorrow but not too far.

Tues 14th Feb 17

3 miles in Altras this morning. After a mile and a bit, I couldn’t remember which leg my injury was in. Felt better for it in the end. Also face booked a comment from Coiln at Footworks about Altras. He is selling them.

Wed 15th Feb17

A barefoot mile this morning. Seemed like the thing to do. Enjoyed it for the first time in ages. Think it was because my soles had need rested. Looks like it will be a mix of Altras and barefoot from now on.

Thursday 16th Feb 17

5 miles in Altras this morning and I could tell that I have not run this for for a week or two. Stiff and right hip protesting ever so slightly. I came bounding down hill at 3 miles and felt a whisper in right calf and slowed down. nearly came home but carried on and never had the feeling again. Feels like progress.

Friday 17th Feb 17

A barefoot mile and enjoyed it.

Sat 18th Feb 17

Another barefoot mile because I was up late. Been a very busy week at work and played havoc with my sleep. I need to practice sleeping at the right time for a while and stop going to sleep in an armchair early evening. Watched Laura Muir in Birmingham breaking 1000m indoor record and Mo Farah make his last indoor run with a 5000m British record. Enjoy listening to the birds early morning as the day is dawning.

Sun 19th Feb 17 – Tuesday 21st Feb. Ran before market and then other runs were whilst away at Burton in Kendal services. Found service road which was really busy. A barefoot mile each morning.

Wed 22nd Feb 17

5 miles. Really enjoys running for 50 minutes this morning around the Smithills area. Lots of mud and a few places I hadn’t seen before. Calf feels back to normal even when stretching it a bit. Thinking about ‘Barefoot and Back’. Lots of stories to tell. Why we do it. Glass, dogs, running in the dark. In Altras.

Thursday 23rd Feb 17

A barefoot mile in the face of storm Doris. Awesome. Feet coldest they have been for a while.

Friday 24th Feb 17

Ran back from garage nice and easy. Feeling good and enjoyed the uphills. In Altras. I enjoy running as transport 2.3 miles

Sat 25th Feb 17

A barefoot mile and it was cold this morning. Lots of tree debris on ground following storm. It is this kind of conditions that leads to me getting things in my feet. Picked an enormous thorn of bottom of foot. Hadn’t stuck in but it takes me back. Almost every object I have dug out of my foot has been from tree debris. A few bits of glass but they are much more straightforward.

Sun 26th Feb 17

Brewing the Stump this morning so went for a run beforehand around Entwistle. Took my time. Ended up in deep water at times. Cleaned the shoes off though. Enjoyed it. Took it easy. Calf felt really fgood. Looking forward to being back at work and some routine. Important for all sorts of reasons. I need structure. I either need to bet back to work or give up completely and build a life with a different structure. 2.34 miles

Mon 27th Feb 17

A barefoot mile in pouring rain with water running down the road. Cold, cold, cold. Half a mile in and my feet were singing. I must really believe in this. The other day I was running in shoes and I am now being heckled when i am in shoes because it is unusual!

Tues 28th Feb 17

A 5 miler in Altras in the dark. Right calf no problem. Little tweak in left but then went away. I think that stretching things out barefoot is amazing.

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.

Dec 06

Running Log – December 16

Sat 2nd Dec 16

Park run this morning in 24 mins and 48 secs. Need to start closer to the front.

Tuesday 6th Dec 16

Now run every day for the last week and am eating better. 5 miles in Altras this morning  and feel OK for it. This runstreak started on 29th nov 16 and we will see how far it goes.

Thursday 7th Dec 16

Up early but raining hard so just did a mile. Then ran 4 in the evening whilst dan was training. I was looking forward to it. 20 mins out and 20 mins back in the dark. Not even out of breath. Left calf area tensed up near the end.

Friday 9th Dec 16

Ran a mile this morning and manged to ease the tension away a little. Still there though. interesting.

Saturday 10th Dec 16

Park Run this morning in 23mins 52secs.  Went for it. Coming down first hill, I felt light on my feet and like a runner. Then went for a 25 minute run afterwards. Could feel it in my legs all day.

Sunday 11th Dec 16

A quick mile before the market

Mon 12th Dec – Sun 18th Dec 16

A 20 mile week which included a 5 miler around the village, a 2.5 in the dark round Entwistle and 8.5 miles on Saturday morning. Legs tired at end of it.

Mon 19th Dec 16

A mile at 6am

Tuesday 20th Dec 16

2 mile warmup then 3x800m reps with 3 mins between. then 1.5 miles warm down. Ran them in about 3mins 39 secs. Couldn’t go any faster but had plenty left. I reckon that I am fit enough to go faster but am not used to running this fast in this style. Will need lots of practice and gradual improvement.

Wed 21st Dec 16 

A mile in the dark

Thursday 22nd Dec 16

Up early and ready to go. The run streak is good motivation for me. i am eating OK and losing a bit of weight. I have got rid of refined carbs from most of my diet apart from one main meal of day. Then it might be pasta or pizza or pitta bread. Nothing else. Eating fruit and cheese during the day mostly.

5 miles in Altras. started off slow but full of running. Felt good and strong up hills. Not a whisper of an injury anywhere.

Friday 23rd Dec 16

A mile early in the morning.

Sat 24th Dec 16

Park run this morning in 23 mins 42 secs. Another 10 secs off. Slow but steady progress. Santa whats and brass band. ran 1.5 miles in warm up and another in cool down so 6 miles in total.

Sun 25th Dec 16

A mile this morning. Bumped into an elderly gentleman shifting leaves out of the path. He was very smartly dressed. 97 years old and out for his daily walk. I ended up thinking about my talk to the cardiac support group. I think that it all about readiness and driving it yourself rather than handing over responsibility to someone else. You can’t buy your way out of this one. Beware of common sense. Be a self-experimentor.

Mon 26th Dec 16

7 miles this morning. Fitness is coming. Speed isn’t. Passed near the end by a guy who has overweight and with a little pitter-patter stride. He just moved away from me. I could have kept up but it would have been a struggle. He made it look easy. This is going to be a long road.

Tues 27th Dec 16

A mile this morning and good fun. Pushed hard up hills. ready Guy Martin’s latest book and it took me back to old pedal car days and 24 hr racing. Good times. I need to look up the British Human Powered Association.

Wed 28th Dec 16

A mile this morning. Cold enough to take the breath away. That makes a full month of running every day and I feel better for it. Catching up on sleep too which is good. No problems anywhere.

Thursday 29th Dec 16

7 miles with Phil around Rivington. Beautiful morning. He is pushing along faster than me. Leaning from ankles then straightening up top half of body whilst imagining being pulled along from the naval helps speed things up. Go figure.

Fri 30th Dec 16

A mile this morning. Stopped to pick up a glove for a chap who had dropped it. he was walking back up a hill to get it. He said it was over 50 years old. Good piece of kit. I chatted for a bit. It might be that I was the only person he spoke to today. It might not but something someone said to me a little while ago chimed in my head.

Sat 31st Dec 16

Rounded off 2016 with a Parkrun in 23 mins 34 secs. Another 10 seconds off. I might have got under 23 mins 30secs if I had set off in the right place. Getting quicker. Entered the Alderney Edge Bypass 10k on July 2nd. 6 months away. It would be good to be a stone lighter by Easter. Exactly 14 weeks away, I think so 14 pounds in 14 weeks whilst running properly. Should be doable. Also keep the speed work up. It would be interesting to find a 10k at Easter time to see how I am getting on.

Nov 01

Running Log – November 16

Tuesday 1st Nov 16

3 barefoot miles and it felt good. I was very wheezy this morning (too much Halloween sugar last night) and did not fancy running at all. I had no plans to barefoot and walked outside at 6am to get my shoes. The morning was so mild and ground was dry. the road felt very inviting for bare feet so off I set. After half a mile, I was whizzing along. My feet felt good and I could feel a couple of knotty lower leg things smoothing out. After 3 miles I arrived back home without breaking a sweat and my breathing much improved. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

After all that about running in shoes, it is nice to have the choice.  A bit of this and a bit of that.This feels a sustainable way to run.

Thursday 3rd November

5 miles this morning in Altras. Slight headache when I woke up and struggling to shake a bit of a cough. Things get worse when I eat sugar and refined carbs. Most noticeable things about running in shoes is that his are not as enjoyable. One of the best things about running barefoot is the way hills just seem to vanish and I am at the top before I know it. Not like that in the Altras. They are OK though although perhaps too much cushioning. i wanted to see what some zero drop cushioning was like. I can feel the bounce and myself losing the energy and working a bit harder. Not much but it there.

Sunday 6th November 16

3 miles in Altras this morning with an awful cold. I didn’t feel like going much further. Feel the need to concentrate when running in the Altras and get a little more upright with hips forward a bit. When I do that things feel more relaxed. it is all too easy to end up with tension in my legs. Little strides and relax.

Tuesday 8th November 16

Still got a bad cold but up early wanting to run and get fresh air into my lungs. Headlining up to the Entwistle for a head torch run. Cut the mileage back but still keeping things regular. 2.34 miles in Altra in 23 minutes which seems slow. wen through 2 mile point in 18mins 40 secs and didn’t slow down. maybe the distance is a bit wrong. I then stood looking out over reservoir drinking a cup of tea imagining how many other people are doing this sort of thing as the sun comes over the horizon. Always feel better for it. sets me up for the day.

Thursday 10th Nov 16

5 miles in Altras feeling tired and it was hard work. Feel a little better for doing it. Mind taken over after being asked to talk to a local cardiac support group early next year. It makes you think about the main message behind my running. There are so many things to share about us being a running animal and the fact that you don’t need to be Mexican and the sham of a running shoe industry. the main thing is that you need to be pragmatic and do what works. The work out why it works and go from there. Perhaps.

Sat 12th Nov 16

Rain meant canelled football and a chance to Parkrun for the first time in ages. Most of route under water and ran in Altras. 25 mins 25 secs and it was the fastest I could have gone. Tried to keep with 24 min pacer but just couldn’t. PB on this course is 20 mins and 59 secs. I need to lose 2 stones/

Tuesday 15th Nov 16

5 miles in Altras at 6am this morning. The morning was filthy. Dark, fog and drizzle. I love it. You run in your own little bubble. I was full of running this morning and ended up running quickly. The first 100 yards and my right calf felt like things were moving around in there and settling down. After that, i didn’t have a whisper of a problem. I concentrated on form and lifting rather than pushing off. My form when running slow is good but I think that I will need to really concentrate when running quickly. Good fun.

Thursday 17th Nov 16

Up and out by 6am this morning for another 5 miler in Altras. Felt that I need to do a few weeks of consistent smiling to get some sort of base. Started sluggish. That little niggle in calf happened at same place on run again and then went away completely. Found myself thinking about Chirunning quite a bit. Probably because I am shoes and I want to run faster. Was ensure core was steady and then leaning a little. Need to play with this and find a way that works for me. Chirunning or leaning a la Ken Bob. Felt good by the end. Not as good as Tuesday but still pretty good.

Saturday 19th November 16

Feels like a bit of a breakthrough. I ran Bolton park run again and was under 25 mins. 24 mins and 51 seconds in the Altras. Then I ran another 6.5 miles to get it out of my legs. This included the park run course again. I was just ticking along in the driving rain and sleet. Felt pretty good. It feels like a breakthrough because I have run all but one run this month in the Altras and my legs feel fresh and niggle free. I am not protecting anything whilst I run. I don’t feel fast but I certainly feel like a  runner.

I passed a woman early on in the run. She had a very unusual stiff style. everything was coming from the hip and she hardly bent her legs at all. Her top half was rolling around to create the momentum she needed to keep it going. I reckon that she was in her late 50s. I thought, ‘I can help you here. If you just bend your knees a bit more and increase your cadence then you would find things so much easier.’ At the top of the the first steep hill, she breezed passed me with her funny style and vanished into the distance. It made me smile.

Tuesday 22nd Nov 16

Up early but with a few stomach problems. Set off and it soon became clear that i wasn’t going to get far. 2 miles and glad to be back.

Thursday 24th Nov 16

Stomach feeling a bit better but struggling generally. Don’t want to run this morning. Just want to go back to bed. I am going to walk instead and see how that goes. Think the fresh air will do me good.

Tuesday 29th Nov 16 – Thursday 30th Nov 16

Recovered from illness and a run streak seems to have started. Ran a mile each day in shoes. Let’s see where it takes me. If I can run everyday for a year in shoes then it will have proved that my stride has improved considerably.

Oct 30

Barefoot mission accomplished… so what now?

Well…It’s been quite a journey. I started this blog to chronicle my attempts to run again. I was broken down and at the end of the road. In short, I was desperate. My whole social life, wellbeing and so much other stuff was wrapped up in my running and the thought of never being able to run again was not one I could contemplate.

I have had this mug since the start. It felt pie in the sky and very presumptuous to put ‘The road to injury free running’ on it. But…that was the goal. This blog was meant to track my journey from broken to injury free runner. 
bb-mug1 4 and a half years later and I am running again. Injury free and without the whispering words of panic that used to accompany every little niggle and twinge. In the course of things, I ran barefoot every day for over a year and ran a barefoot marathon but the big deal for me is that I am now able to run successfully in shoes again. Yes…shoes!!

Barefooting is not a religion to me. It is a pragmatic means to an end. It can be done. It is like a pro golfer taking apart their golf swing and putting it back together again. I needed to do the same with my running form. It took time and patience for my feet and lower legs to slowly strengthen and modify to be able to handle it. Now I am back in shoes (albeit Vivobarefoot and pair of zero drop Altras) and it feels good.

It has been busy time in lots of other ways to. It started with a crazy amount of blogging. I have a personality with a need to share and blogging is a wonderful thing. I think that it will be part of my life going forwards just not in the urgent, obsessive way that characterised things when I began.

I completed a postgrad diploma in coaching and mentoring which led into a Doctorate in education. I am now into the 3rd year of a 5 year doctoral programme. The first 2 years have been about learning to write for academic publication. The blogging helped immeasurably. My writer’s voice already felt well developed and those early days churning out blog post after blog post taught me lots about the writing process as did the discipline of writing for Barefoot Running magazine as their roving reporter.

I have moved from my job as headteacher of a primary school to being the lead of Bolton’s Pupil Referral Unit for primary aged pupils. We provide education for those pupils excluded from schools. They are amazing young people making their way in the world the best they can. My thinking has been flipped on its head. These children (some as young as 6yrs) need to feel like they are part of society and they belong. The working title for my thesis is: ‘Inclusion for the excluded: Promoting a sense of belonging in excluded primary school pupils and their families’. It should keep me busy and feed my need to write.

I found a bit of the good life and started a small brewery with a friend. I now set up and run a farmers’ market stall a couple of times a month and chat all day about beer. We sell to a few local pubs. That is the buzz for me. I don’t want our beer to go all over the world. I want to be a local producer, selling my wares to local people. There is a big craft beer scene at the moment but it is the local produce scene that I enjoy.

I worked with Bolton based shoe company Walsh (Local producer thing coming out again) to create a pair of minimal zero drop fell shoes and got quite a few repeat orders which must be a good sign. I am not sure that I will ever be a shoe salesman though.

I have come out of this a different person. Life is busy but in a good way. I am no longer frantically trying to get to a mythical point in my future where I can be free and happy. I felt like I was swimming hard under water, holding my breath until I could come up for air and be free. The obsessive blogging was part of that. I was on the headteachers’ conveyer belt to retirement but look a deep breath and jumped off. I now earn less but am more content. I am not counting the days until I retire. In fact, I am now the opposite and thinking that I won’t be able to fit in everything that I want to do. Life is full of possibilities.

So…what do I do with barefoot beginner now? Do I just shut it down? I could but then I meet people who are at the end of the line like I was. Not all of them runners. Some are struggling to get out and walk as much as they used to or someone who has a niggling lower back problem. My instinctive reaction is to say ‘Take off your shoes’.

I think that the combination of my experience to date means that I have something to offer. I have no generic programme to sell but I think that I may be able to help. Most people get stuck in a loop and end up doing the same old things and expecting a different result. I think think that I could help people understand where they are at and where they want to be. To help them understand how barefooting might be one option that they have not considered before and help them experiment with it (or other things. Barefooting is not a panacea). Coaching in the broader sense of the word using sound principles.

I have always fancied putting together an ebook on Amazon. I think that might be the next step. To share my experience alongside offering a possible way forward for those who may be at the end of the line. In the mean time, I would love to hear from anyone in this position who feels like they need a helping hand.

Come and join in the chat in our Facebook group and like our page. There is also a twitter feed for those of you who like that sort of thing. 

Oct 05

Barefoot running log October 16

I had lost my running mojo and so have mixed things up a bit. I did 3 800m reps in vivobarefoot evos yesterday. I was running. 3.33, 3,44 and 3.40. This is about a minute slower than when i last really did this 10 years ago. I feel better for it and my body has not reacted badly to the efforts so i will see how I go over the coming weeks.

Mon 10th Oct 16

Deep squats this morning for the first time in ages. I ran in a pair of Altra zero drop over weekend. Bouncy but good. 11 miles.

Tues 11th Oct 16

6.15am in the dark at the Entwistle. fast as I could in Altras. Ran it in 20mins and 14 secs which is considerably faster than last time. Alters feel good. a few little niggles but they smoothed out as I concentrated on form. kept swapping between Chirunning and upright and from hips a la Ken Bob. Getting quicker. & 48 at bridge and 16.30 at 3 mile marker.

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.


May 09

Barefoot Running Log May 16

Sunday 8th May 16

I did something today which I have not done for ages. I drove somewhere for a run. I used to do that almost every time I ran but now almost always run from the front door,

I drove to the Entwistle reservoir and headed off down a bridleway in VFF Spyridons. I was watching a shepherd and dog bring in sheep when a young runner came flying past. I say flying but she was probably just going at a steady but quick pace. I set off after her for a mile down the rough and bumpy track and really enjoyed it.

I then got to the Entwistle and timed myself around its 2.34 route. 7 minutes dead for the first mile or so which is way faster than i am used to. I have running in MAF range at well over 10 minute miles. 15 mins 33sec at 2 mile point and then 19 mins 40 secs for the lap.

What do I call that? A start. This is the first time that I have timed myself around this route for 4 years. In fact, one of my first posts was about pulling my calf doing exactly this. My calves were fine but my right achilles was protesting.

Great fun and amazing that I am able to do it.

Chatted with a chap on Saturday night. His calves had gone and he was struggling to run. Physic giving him orthotics. Nightmare.

Wed 11th May

Running every day is easy to understand and I find it works for me. I am much better at absolutes than making negotiations with myself about which days I run and which days I don’t. It is the same with food. Once I start with things like eating differently one day a week, I then do 2 days and it is a slippery slope. I am back eating well and feel much better already.
Running barefoot has eased off my achilles. I think that I would still be limping around if I had not got out there and run a few barefoot miles. I am running with my daughter Em. Really good to do. We have a 6.30am morning date and head out for a bit of a run. Good to chat and have a laugh before the day starts. Hope it lasts.

Mon 23rd May 16

Went to watch the Great Manchester Run yesterday. I had forgotten how much fun a mass event can be. It has been years since I have been to watch something like this. The number of running styles and the effort on people’s faces. I  miss it. It reminds me that nobody owns running. At heart, running is a simple act and humans just love it. We complicate it and go deeper and deeper but there is nothing like just getting out with a big group of people and running. There were lots of individual stories and people running for a reason without making a fuss about it. McMillan vests with the words ‘Running for..my mum’ on them. In times of distress, it seems like a very human reaction is to run. Fair play to every single one of the red faced runners out there yesterday. Bravo!

I came home and started looking at local running clubs. Not been a member since injuries kicked in. I have been a solitary runner for too long. I need to get out there with people again.

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.