Monday, 2 May 2011

Tenderfoot Trials

So anyone that has taken up barefoot running and still remembers the begining will understand my choice in post title. For those that have yet to throw abbandon to the wind and give barefooting a whirl... be warned your feet will be a little tender at first.

Actually Its not like today was my first barefoot run, Ive been running barefoot in a local forest with my kids for some time now. Today i ran about the same distance as i have been the last couple of times with the kids. Today however, was the first time that I ran alone, and hence wasnt pace restricted, It was also the first time that i ran any distance on a hard surface, a mix of ashphalt, concrete cobbles, and gravel paths. In total they probably only made up about 1km though.

So i was a little surprised to find that Ive developed a nice little collection of blisters on the pads on my toes, And the forefoot area although blister free is considerably more tender than after my runs in the forest. Having thought about it for a little while Ive come to the conclusion that its almost certainly the combination of hard surface and increased pace. neither one idividually should have had such an effect.

Maybe i could have reduced the consequences or avoided them completly if i had cut the run shorter, however my course is an out and back and the hard surface is all at the begining (and end) the middle stretch is a combination of packed earth and grass. So im not entirely sure that would have been the solution. I am also free of any tightness in my calves that you would normally associate with overdoing the the actual running.

My original plan was to switch all morning runs to barefoot starting this week. But in light of todays 'consequences' i think ill spend a few weeks alternating between a barfoot mornign run and a shod one, untill my feet have had a little bit of time to get accustomed to the new surfaces, Ill also dial back my pace a little on the hard surfaces, see if that helps.

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