It’s been a long time, hasn’t it? Over a year, and a lot’s happened. BUT, most excitingly I have had a breakthrough with my barefoot technique, hence this new post.
I live in the Mendip Hills, so much of my running is cross-country, and I love it. But, I work in Bristol, so inevitably I still run around the streets. However, I was less keen on this, as the repetitive terrain always ended up with tight calves, and after the last Half Marathon this lasted for about three days. I had put it down to the lack of variety in pace and pitch, which is partly true, but from scouting around on barefoot forums I also realised that something else was to blame – I’ve been running on my toes.
Not literally, but I had taken the emphasis of forefoot running too far, and was never really bringing my heels down. This meant that my calves were carrying too much load.
From various sites I learned that I hadn’t been lifting my knees enough – when you do it lets your ankle and foot drop and your calf relax while running. I’ve also learned not to be afraid of letting my heel come down – I had misunderstood forefoot running to mean only on the forefoot, rather than lead by the forefoot.
The difference has been amazing – I can run so much further on hard, level surfaces now and don’t have the calf strain. I can also feel my thighs working harder, which is great as these muscles are a lot bigger than your calves. What’s most surprising though is the way that running with your knees up higher seems to propel you in a different manner – it’s almost as if you have to run, rather than making yourself run.
Try it – you’ll see what I mean.