With my achilles tendonitis spiralling agonisingly out of control, it’s time to seriously consider barefoot running. As I had suggested before, start with wandering barefoot round your flat, but, eventually you have to take the (stupid) step of going outside.
My first strategy was to go out in light plimsols. Find a quiet area, and slip them off. When I built up the courage to leave my secluded circuit to run home, it seemed more acceptable to have a pair of shoes slung over my shoulder – at least I could prove that I was wealthy enough to own a pair of shoes.
Still, I’d been out barefoot in the metropolis – only for 5 minutes (after a 20 minuted shoed jog)- but my feet had been naked in public
On the second run, I plucked up courage to do the whole thing barefoot. Ten minutes of very cautious padding about round the back of Stratford shopping centre, up the service ramp, round the car park, back down, round to the Mall entrance (without being seen!), back around the service route, and back to the flat.
So what are the early barefoot lessons?
- Darkness is your friend while you build up your confidence , but you need to see the ground in front of you.
- Experiment with your foot placement
- Some pavements are soft
- Some pavements are hard
- Tarmac can be hard, but some can be smooth
- Tarmac can be very nobbly and painful
- Watch the road in front of you for glass, stones and stuff that could stick in your feet.
As to the actual running lesson: make your early runs modest, say 1000m at most. Stay close to home, experiment with your foot placement. I felt this time lifting my toes a bit, and trying to put the whole foot down (perhaps with a slight ball of the foot lead) felt right, rather than heel-striking (out of the question) and staying on the balls of my foot (which felt to0 nasty on my achilles) Maybe I was POSE running, but I found myself running through some of the guidance given by Gordon Pirie.
Getting back home, you cannot take dirty shoes off, so you need to either brush your feet off, and get to the shower.
Watch out for the next instalment of this nude foot experiment