As well as getting my legs used to barefoot running, I’ve also to condition the soles of my feet to. The skin on my soles needs to toughen up. This will be true even if I continue to wear minimalist running shoes rather than to actual barefoot. So I’ve decided that alongside the running, I should do some walking actually barefoot and this is what I did yesterday.
I took a walk up to the Common, removed my shoes and did a lap carrying them. The terain is quite varied. It goes from lush soft grass through to tarmac and gravel. Having started to get used to landing on my forefoot when running, it seemed a natural progression to doing this whilst walking, when the ground was anything other that soft. The fleshy parts of my foot can absorb small stones on a hard surface, but my heal cannot. Therefore I found my feet wanting to walk this way when the footing was uncertain.
I remember reading in Born to Run about the Tarahumara’s toes splaying out as they ran, as if they were tenticles feeling the ground in advance of the full weight of the foot being dropped. I looked down at my toes to be disappointed that my feet weren’t doing this. But towards the end of my walk (about 3 km) I noticed definate gaps between my toes as my feet landed. So they had adjusted already? Or maybe I wanted it to happen so it did. Either way it was a noticable difference.
After 3 km my feet were starting to get sore, so I shoe’d up again, before I did myself an injury. As with the running, I need to take a slow approach.
It was very liberating to do this, just as with the running. I’m not going to get all hippy about it, but I really did feel a little bit of a spiritual connection, being so directly connected with my surroundings.
I also did the last of my 1 km runs in the morning too. Tuesday will be the first of my 2 km runs. Wish me luck!