I’m finding that the effects of barefoot running often only reveal themselves with time. It’s impact, in both senses of the word, is not as immediate as with conventional running. I’m used to something hurting if I’m doing it wrong and the pain or discomfort stopping when I cease to do it. Barefoot seems a lot more subtle, or at least slow to catch up.
I felt good after the hash on Monday – my first run in over two weeks. Yet the day after my pads tell me that they have done a lot of work – but it’s not something they told me on the day. This is why I think you have to be so careful planning and assessing your training, or transition into this way of running. You have to predict your body’s feedback before it gives it to you, because if you take only the immediate signals that everything is OK then you can seriously overdo it and knock yourself back by days if not weeks.
Having said all that this tenderness I was feeling wasn’t as severe as it can be when running barefoot but it’s interesting for me to note that this can be brought about just by shifting your weight in your shoes to your forefoot and shows that it really isn’t just the state of the skin on your soles that you need to be concerned about when you embark on barefoot – it’s also the tissue beneath and the anatomy above and I think they will take a long time to adjust.
This route around Durdham Down is becoming my lunchtime staple – on the doorstep, a choice of surfaces and infinitely variable. Usual routine – one side in shoes (this time Vivo Barefoots, not Inov-8s) and the other three barefoot – it’s about 3/4 of a mile shod and another mile unshod. It’s a sunny day and dry underfoot but it has rained earlier in the week so it yielded beautifully.
I passed a cyclist towards the end who said “I used to do that”, “Isn’t it great?” I replied, he said “There’s something very calming and therapeutic about it”, and he’s right.
On the way down the hill, back to work, I noticed again how the downhill seems the hardest as there seems to be quite a drag on your pads with the weight moving over them.