This time I decide to be a little more controlled. Fortunately I have access to a treadmill and so I thought this would be a good way to ensure I didn’t run any further than I had to once any soreness set in. I planned to run for just a mile and maybe a little more if the feet were ok.
The moment I started running I became aware that my feet were in fact slightly bruised from their earlier barefoot outing, only across the balls though; the heels were both perfectly ok.
Set off at an easy pace and gradually built up to 6.40 per mile (9mph).
Although very different to the road, the treadmill surface was more abrasive than I was expecting. My feet felt like they were getting much warmer than they had done on the road (or within trainers for that matter), it did not become a problem over this distance though.
I found the treadmill a very useful tool for the barefoot runner. Because of its constant speed it is easy to assess the effect of varying pace lengths and running actions. This was somewhat of a revelation — I’ve always held the belief that longer strides means faster running. Yet, when I shortened my stride, I moved forwards along the treadmill. Shortening my stride gives the impression that I am leaning forwards slightly and all my effort is being used to propel me forwards. This is great news because, obviously, a shorter stride is a much more barefoot-friendly style. But, is the stride shorter? It certainly feels like it, yet the cadence seemed constant and I was moving faster. Perhaps, it is not shorter at all, but more propulsive, with the result of being airborne for longer. I use the word shorter to describe the feeling of reaching forwards less. Next time on the treadmill I’ll have to measure my cadence accurately and see if it really does remain constant when my stride is ‘shortened’ in this way.
Back to my run. After a mile and a half I pressed the stop button as I could feel the telltale signs of blisters forming. This was ok, because my feet hadn’t fully recovered from their previous barefoot run and I was keen not to do further damage.