Tag Archives: Barefoot Running

A DNS and Injury


The big news  is  that I have decided to withdraw from the North Downs 100 this year. I spent a lot of time deliberating whether to withdraw now, later or see if I could get the necessary training in and hope for the best but the reality is that I don’t want to put myself through it knowing that I am not ready.

Last time I got to 60 miles but fell apart and I would have concerns over  even getting that far. I would rather take my name off the list and let someone else who wants to do the race have the chance. That said I am still hopefully going to be involved as I have offered to man an aid station if needed.

I wanted to write that the barefoot experience is a positive one but today’s run (albeit not barefoot but in my Xeros) has left me feeling quite frustrated and really coming to the end of my tether with running in general.

Running home my left knee started to hurt and progressively got worse until I had to stop, I stretched and started again after the pain went but it quickly returned. That was the summary of the rest of the run home, stopping, pain, stopping and so on.

The pain was located on the outside of the knee so can only assume its IT band related, so once again I am back to the drawing board and a frustrated runner who just wants to run!

However self pity to one side for the moment, I have a plan and am putting it out to the world to give a sense of accountability if I don’t stick to it.

I have drafted a daily conditioning plan below:

Morning

  • 200 meters barefoot everyday – 2 minutes estimate
  • Plank 45 Seconds x 3
  • Single Leg Squat x 5 each leg
  • Eccentric Calf Raises x 10
  • Side-lying Abduction x 10 each side (use resistance band as strength improves)
  • Pelvic Drop x5

Evening

  • Kneeling hip flexor stretch
  • Calf Stretch (Result Sport Calf Stretchers)
  • Hamstring
  • Groin (feet together, sitting)
  • Quad Stretch
  • Foam Roll
  • Tiger Tail

Hopefully the combination of strength, stretching and running form work everyday will slowly get me fixed and able to run. I think the problem is due to my form changing and the muscles not knowing what has happened, so I need to basically re-train myself from scratch (I sound like a broken record the number of times I have ‘gone from scratch’)

The only race I have is in June and I am going to drop to the half instead of the full marathon and that will be a ‘just get round affair’

Anyway, hopefully in a few weeks time I will be in a more positive state.

Should anyone reading this have any thoughts/suggestions please leave a comment, any advice will be welcome.

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Week 2: Building Some More


Third week has gone and well into the fourth now, last week I ran last Tuesday 2.6 miles (longest so far) totally barefoot but after that my feet were tender for a few days so I ran on the Friday and Saturday with my Xero’s with a short barefoot warm down afterwards.

Yesterday (Week 3) I ran at lunch barefoot again, feet having recovered and set a new distance record of just over 3.10 miles (5km) and other than my feet again feeling tender the rest of my body felt relaxed and at ease.

It could just be me but I do feel like my feet are slowly changing shape, my big toe on both feet seems to have more mobility and my arches seem to be more pronounced. Outside of my feet my glutes now feel like they are firing more and my calf muscles, while still not 100%, feel relaxed. It’s a slow process and there is part of me that wants to get some shoes on and go for a long run, or run at the speeds I know I can before making the change but the ‘enforced’ training limits by being led by my feet long term feels like the right thing to do.

I do have a concern over my race plans for the year, I don’t see me being ready for a marathon in June and the NDW 100 might be off the table as well. I have a line in the sand date of May 18th to make a call on the NDW 100 and already probably going to drop to the half in June but hopefully what I lose out on this year will be paid back with many injury free years of running in the future.

Still early days, but if nothing else every run is truly exciting again.

 

Week 2

  • Barefoot: 2.63 Miles
  • Huaraches: 8.23 Miles
  • Cycling: 64.89 Miles

Week 1: Building Up


This is my first week of proper barefoot running with the majority of  my runs all totally barefoot. First run was on Monday around 1.5 miles and the second on Wednesday I managed to increase that to 2  miles.

Feet are still hyper sensitive and the discomfort limits how far I can go, I guess this is a good thing forcing me to  work on my form. Running on the muddy trails is no problem at all, still have to be mindful of whats under my feet but it’s generally ok. The route I have been running has a gravel section on it and that’s a different matter, I have to practically pigeon step my way along it and will divert to the grass occasionally if it all gets too much.

Friday I went for a run in my Xeros just so I could get a reasonable distance in, however I still made sure my technique was correct and kept the pace easy so I didn’t get sloppy.

I (along with my wife) are both a week into the Paleo diet and that has been having an impact on my energy levels, going cold turkey off coffee, Haribo and Relentless and any other caffeine/high sugar product made me feel for the first few days like my head was going to explode but I am getting there and am now feeling much better. I am looking forward  to see how  this benefits my running along with the barefooting.

  • Barefoot Runs: 3.54miles
  • Xero Runs: 3.00 miles
  • Cycling: 58.00 miles

Ditching the shoes


I have always liked the idea of minimalist running but never really got  into the idea of  totally barefoot running, however recent experience with injury, plus reading Barefoot Ken Bob Saxton’s book, Barefoot Running Step By Step (Barefootrunning.com), has drastically altered my understanding and my perspective.

I was always under the impression that what I should be doing was running in the minimalist shoes to make the transition to zero drop ‘barefoot’ shoes, this seemed logical as I had always run in normal shoes before.

Kens book makes a sensible point when you sit back and think about it, essentially running in barefoot shoes is not running barefoot, they are still shoes and looking back on my time running in minimalist shoes it does ring true,  it really isn’t like barefoot because you don’t realise when you are not running correctly.

I have spent most of my time running on the ball of my foot putting too much strain on my calf muscles (rather than relaxing them), pushing off the ground (rather than lifting) and slowly overtime worn my body down to the point where it is just one injury after another.

So as the title of this post suggests I am making the  leap to barefoot only running from now on, building up the technique as the book suggests with a hope that by doing this I will be able to lead a mostly injury free running life

I have already completed my first proper barefoot run, leaving my house with no shoes and returning with no shoes and I can say that the experience was exhilarating, albeit “painful”.

I say “painful” as it’s not like pain in the classic sense, its like the feet are being overloaded with stimulation which they are not used to and it just gets to a point where the nerve endings can’t cope anymore. Also what I did notice was as per the book that if you are not running correctly you soon have to adjust as anything but correct form is uncomfortable.

So after a dry spell of blogging, I have something to write about again in my journey from injured shod runner to (hopefully) happy barefoot runner.

You can buy the book direct from Kens website, I got mine from Amazon however
You can buy the book direct from Kens website, I got mine from Amazon however

New Balance Minimus MR00BS: Verdict


I have been meaning to write a longer review on these trainers following my first impressions post ages ago, I have run a marathon in them (my first in zero drop shoes) and several medium distance road runs since, I have come to a painful (literally) conclusion; “Not for me”.

This was not the decision I wanted to come to, I love the Minimus trail range of shoes and really wanted to like their road focused brother but it was not to be. In terms of the design I love some of the tweaks that New Balance have put in place over their other Minimus shoes, such as the tongue being attached one side. I also really like the feel when you put them on, almost like wearing a slipper they do feel really comfortable which makes the issues I have had with them all the more surprising.

Wearing such a shoe for the first time on a marathon probably wasn’t the best idea, but having run in other Minimus trainers (including the trail zero drop version of this one) I was reasonably confident that blisters wouldn’t be an issue. I was mistaken in this belief, and about 3 miles into my run noticed a sore point occurring under the ball of my left foot, this progressively got worse as the race went on and although it didn’t prevent me from finishing, I was left with a rather angry blister at the end.

Post-race I put this down to the socks that I had been wearing, I couldn’t believe it would be the shoes as I had never had this problem with the others from the range. With this in mind, my next run (after blister recovery!) I wore them again with some socks that I knew were never going to give me a problem (I wore these for my Ultra) but again, same spot on my left foot a blister started forming. I persisted with the shoes for a few more runs but with no respite from the blistering I have had to shelve these for running completely.

I am still not sure why this problem occurs, it could simply be the fit of the shoe, the repetitive nature of road running over trail running, or a combination of both which gives me the issue; although I have run in the MT00 trainers on the road and have not had any blisters so I am more inclined to think it is the trainer. As I have said it is a shame because the trainers themselves from an aesthetic point of view are really nice, well designed, light weight and made with good materials.

I guess that a lesson here is that just because you have no problems with other trainers in a range, you can’t assume that they will all be alike. I am still going to wear them, as I say they are comfortable to wear so I will continue using them as casual wear.