I’m so glad I got all that off my chest – I feel like it’s a new start between us now. Do you feel it too?
Well then, more reflections on what’s happened with all the barefoot stuff over 15 weeks starting from scratch.
Do you know what? I think the walking is playing as big a part as the running. I think the more time you can spend in your day to day life barefoot or in minimalist shoes, the greater benefit you get. Don’t leave it just down to the runs, to the extreme form of activity. Padding around on flat soles (your own or someone else’s) reinforces what your body is trying to achieve with the running. I now feel that if I have a long day on my feet coming up I want minimal cushioning, whereas in the past I would look for comfortable or padded shoes to take the strain.
So what’s going on with the left knee? I know, I know – in the earlier posts it was all I could talk about. “Oh, it’s not flexing like it used to, la la la. Well to be truthful it still isn’t, so naturally I stopped writing about it to cover up any indication of a downside to my latest obsession.
Interestingly though it seems to be constant, in that I ran a half marathon in off-road shoes and the knee was no more sensitive, no more tender at the end of that race than at the beginning. Yesterday I went on an exercise bike, as a distraction from the overwhelming excitement of the treadmills, and I think therein lies the key to the solution. The very regular controlled motion helped work my thighs while keeping the knee stable, with a very limited range of movement. Afterward the lower part of the front of my left thigh felt like it had done a lot of work but the knee itself felt more free. So maybe something in my anatomy is still adjusting and needs some help in building up the right muscles in the right places. So cycling has got to enter the routine, after years of absence, when I return home.
Other than that I can only think of the following clear changes in my body while transitioning to barefoot:
Achilles Tendons – I had to be very careful with these in the early runs – the increased range of movement created by running without a propped up heel worked them further than normal.
Lower Quadriceps – As I moved on to forefoot these took a lot more of my weight, rather than my heels.
Cowpats – don’t run through these – they stick between your toes more than you might image.
So again, the beginning of the journey has begun. I now move to my barefoot adolescence and no doubt my feet will become greasy, covered in spots and blush whenever other bare feet pass them in the streets.
I hope my beginners blog will be of interest to some of you, let’s see how my sulky teens develop over the coming months…