For this next barefoot run I wanted to concentrate on the anatomical, not abrasive, effects of barefoot running on my body, so I decided to wear my Vivo Barefoots to protects my soles, but stick with the distance of once around the Downs – just over 3 miles.
Now this might seem like it’s pushing it for a beginner and in all truth, it might be. But my feeling is that from all the hilly running on the very uneven Mendip Hills that I’m experiencing throughout the year, my feet are spending a lot of time on their toes in minimal cushioning shoes. Running up or downhill often means you can only run on your forefoot and the uneven terrain coupled with the minimal structure of the Inov-8 shoes means your feet are always getting a good workout.
In fact, my road running has really diminished since we moved to the Mendips, and it’s only since I started my (almost) weekly Park and Stride that I am covering any distance in them at all.
It’s a lovely sunny day – warm but with a good breeze, as there often is on the Downs. Barefoots on I pad my way up the hill and begin to slap my way around the Downs. I’m really not used to the noise of running in these yet – and it’s not me being heavy or flat footed, it’s just that without the inch of cushioning rubber associated with other shoes they are relatively noisy. I run a lot on the grass rather than the pavement…
Immediately I feel the work in my lower thighs, just above the knees. I noticed this in my last run too. I think it’s probably a reflection of my leg joints and muscles working more like a spring to absorb the impact and provide the push off.
There’s no soreness in my pads, as they are protected, but there is still an awareness that the left pad is feeling it more. Interesting.
My right achilles tendon starts to feel a bit tight, which is very unusual, so I’m guessing that these ligaments are getting much more of a work out too – now they don’t have a big heel to stop them descending all the way to the ground their range of movement is expanding.
I need to be careful with this – many an overambitious, middle-age man has snapped his achilles exercising.