My left foot has been feeling a lot better over the past couple of weeks. I’ve been able to walk on it without a noticeable limp. So tonight I thought I try it out on a short run. And I mean short. Once around the block was my target (500m), but it ended up being around two blocks as I just couldn’t stop myself. 1.4 k totally barefoot and I survived.
Having read Barefoot Running Step by Step, I’m fully convinced now that over training isn’t possible if you run with nothing on your feet. As your feet will stop you over-training, as coach you into landing correctly, as that’s the only way to do it pain free.
Right away I noticed a big difference without even having to try. One of the things that I’d always found hard to do was to put my heel down right after my forefoot and bear any weight on it. What I mean by this is I know from previous experience running in bare shoes that I found it hard to land my heel in time to have any weight baring relevance. Just about all the weight was being taken on my forefoot and this was probably a contributor to my overuse injuries.
Being barefoot I didn’t even have to try and land my heel. It just went down right after my forefoot with no impact. I think the reason for this is one of weight distribution. With bare shoes the forefoot planter surface is able to take more weight over a smaller surface and it doesn’t hurt. When barefoot, all those little stones on the pavement force my feet to spread their weight more to stop these stones hurting and even damaging my sole’s skin. So automatically my heels touched down right after the forefoot and spread the weight over the whole of my foot, reducing the stress and strain in not only my sole’s skin, but also I guess the musculoskeletal structure of my foot.
It felt good, which is why I did a little further than I’d originally planned. I kept in mind though what my soles felt like. I was ready to stop as soon as they started complaining or indeed if I got so much as a twinge from my injury. The injury was fine, and my soles were fine. I just tried to concentrate on my technique and before I knew it I was back at my front door. It was so smooth and jolt free, probably my best run yet, albeit short.
I’m still mindful of the fact that I’m going to Glastonbury in a few weeks and the last thing I want to do is injure my foot before then. So I don’t plan on increasing this distance until after then. In the meantime I’m going to do this distance barefoot every other day to get myself back into it.