So, the second time I ran 4k I suffered a little afterwards. I think I must have stepped on a small stone* right under my 2nd metatarsal head, which is the centre of weight and first point in the touchdown of each stride. Anyway, for the next few days I didn’t run as I was a little concerned that I was pushing too far too fast. However I then ran again 4 days later with no problems at all.
So now I’m into my third week of running 4k, 3 times a week. Last night’s run was the best so far, with very little, if any, soreness on my soles, and zero joint ache the following day. I plan to step up to 5k (10 laps) next week. Not long now before I leave the saftey of running round the block and head on out onto the Common.
I am a little disappointed that there seems to be no letup in my PF though. I would have thought that as soon as I got back into barefoot running this would have resolved itself. That said, it’s much better now than when I wasn’t running only a few months ago, so maybe the running is having some effect, just not fast enough for me to consciously acknowledge it.
* I’ve discovered that stepping on small stones is par for the course if I’m going to run around with no shoes on. However when I first started this, stepping on the smallest stone would induce severe pain. Now however, it’s more like a little discomfort than full on pain, and it’s all so fast that a few strides later and I can’t feel it anymore. That combined with the fact that my proprioception is so sharp now that I’ll detect the stone under my foot before my full weight comes down on it, thus being able to take action to mitigate the possible injury.
So I’ve just ran my first 4k (8 laps of the block) in my current push. The previous two weeks I ran 3k, three times a week.
So far, so good. Although famous last words and all that, as I’ll see how it feels tomorrow. But unlike the third and final lap a month or so ago, my feet really didn’t feel like they were done on the last lap and I felt I could go on. I’m going to stick to the programme though and only increase gradually.
My feet and legs really are feeling good. Next week I’ll step this up to 10 laps (5k) and then the week after I’ll leave the block and set out around Clapham Common which is 5.5k. The plan after that will be to then build up gradually to 10k, then two laps of the Common. But baby steps until then.
So it’s week two of my new found enthusiasm for running, and trying to keep at it so that my soles don’t soften up again. This week I’ve completed 2 x 3k runs already, with just one more to go to complete the week.
I did get a bit of a twinge around my 3rd metatarsal last night about half way through the run. I wondered if I should cut the run short as the last thing I want to do is have an injury. But I remembered when I’d sprained this area before (thinking it was a stress fracture due to all the disinformation on the net about barefoot running and the dreaded metatarsal stress fracture) and it only actually stopped nagging me when I made the effort to run on it. So I just slowed down a little and really paid attention to my stride in order to make each foot fall as gentle as possible. To be fare this is what I should be doing with each stride anyway.
6 laps done (3k) and my feet felt great. I could have carried on, but again, must not push it if I want to increase this distance injury free.
So I did 3 x 2k runs last week, and this week I’ve made a good start by extending my run to 3k, or 6 times around the block. The increased regular running (as opposed to long runs more spaced out) seems to be paying off on the soles of my feet. Only a few weeks ago my feet felt tender on the last (forth) lap of my short 2k run around the block. However they felt so good last night I just kept on going and did an extra two laps, making my total run 3k. It felt so good in fact that I could easily have done more still, but managed to rein myself in and stop whilst I was ahead… and without injury.
The only thing I felt was later on was a little discomfort in the region of my 3rd and 4th metatarsal on my right foot. This is the same area I thought I’d gotten a stress fracture in a year ago. However this didn’t turn out the be the case and was probably just a sprain. It’s not a sprain this time as it was only very slight last night and I can’t even feel anything this morning.
I can feel a little tightness in my feet and ankles this morning, but nothing to worry about. Just enough of a feeling to let me know I did a run last night.
The PF doesn’t appear to have changed. Let’s see if this continued use of my feet, running 3 times a week over the next few weeks changes this. I’m deliberately not doing any stretching exercises, as I’d like to know if the barefoot running alone sorts my PF out.
So my plan three weeks ago to get off my arse didn’t exactly go to plan. Basically I started each week by doing a 2k run on the Monday with the intention of continuing this every two days. However other stuff got in the way and I ended up only doing a single run per week.
The most disturbing thing is that my Plantar Fasciitis (PF) has returned. PF is the reason I originally discovered barefoot running, and back then I originally cured it by being barefoot on holiday for a couple of weeks. This then lead me to research it and find out that the most probable reason for my original cure was reactivating the flexibility of my feet and ankles by not wearing shoes for my holiday. Later on I ditched traditional shoes altogether for heel-less barefoot shoes.
So based on that I shouldn’t get PF returning even if I never run again in my life, I just need to wear barefoot shoes. However this doesn’t seem to be the case as the PF has definitely returned.
So it will be interesting if I can actually keep to my plan of 2k totally barefoot every other day, if this will do anything to stem the onset of PF. This week I’ve ran twice, Sunday and Tuesday. Already today (Thu) I can feel a real improvement in my PF. Let’s see if this continues and if I can continue to keep up the running momentum.
I can’t believe it’s been three months since I last posted. I’ve not done much running in the past three months, what with my holiday and then doing Crisis at Christmas, it’s been a busy time and sadly I’ve done hardly any running. I’ve no excuse for January though, only that it’s that post-xmas blues period and I didn’t feel like it, or was just plain lazy.
Last night however I decided to put a stop to that and go out for a run. My current tactic still holds that I want to get the number of miles that my soles cover per week up, but split that distance between numerous short runs so that I don’t damage my soles as they’re learning to be tougher. So last night I ran around the block 4 times which is just over 2k. I’m happy with this as before Xmas I’d worked up to 3 times. There where no problems with my soles, even the day after. I’m going to see if I can do this every other day for a couple of weeks and then reassess from there.
Although I found I can run 6k barefoot without any problems, I’ve been a little bothered by the soreness the next couple of days. It’s not really a problem, but I’m concerned that my feet actually need barefoot stimulation more than twice a week to really get them toughening up.
So having strained my right calf a little on the last two 6k runs, I’ve hit upon a new strategy. My new goal is to getting my soles toughened up in minimum time. I’m going to do this by running shorter distances, but more often. I’m going to run most days, but for a much shorter distance. This way I hope to be able to cover more miles per week than I was doing, but in much smaller stints.
I’ve been on this system for the past 3 weeks and in terms of effort it’s very easy. To run around the block where my house is, is a distance of 500m. So it’s very easy to multiply up the number of laps until I’m back up to the 6k I want to be at, then I can go and do a circuit of the Common again. So the first week I did a single lap of the block each day (3.5k/week) The following week I did two (7k/week), and this week I’m up to three (10.5k/week).
This seems much less effort and is very easy to motivate myself to go out there and do it. Plus in terms of the amount of miles my soles are covering I’m doing more miles per week than ever before. As this distance increases, I will start to take a few rest days. But for now I can easily handle this, and my feet must surely be getting the continuous stimulation that will allow them to become stronger.
We shall see what happens. In two weeks time I’m off to Thailand for three weeks. I’m looking forward to running on the beach for those three weeks. I’ll keep you informed of how I get on.
So my calves remained a little sore for quite a few days after my 6k run last week, having had a 2 week gap beforehand. Therefore I was determined to get at least one very small run around the block in over the weekend, to try and ensure that my body wasn’t shocked going a whole week between runs. So having run on the Wednesday, my calves were sort-of better by Saturday morning, which is when I decided the time was right for a run around the block. Around the block is 500 metres, so even with a little calf discomfort, what’s the worst that could happen I thought. However I got half way around and thought it best to stop, walking/limping home. It was an error for sure.
However come Monday I managed to complete this short 500m with no discomfort to my calves or anywhere else. This then led on to my 6k run two days later, which aside from the normal sore soles the next day and a minute amount soreness in my calves, was absolutely fine. I think if I get in a few of these tiny runs between the big runs I’ll feel no calve discomfort at all in future.
Once thing I did notice last night after my run and also today, was that my sole recovery time is really improving. Previously I’d wear the liners in my Vivobarefoot shoes for walking around the following day, as my soles felt really sore and I almost needed this extra padding whilst they recovered. Today I’m not wearing the liners, just the virgin Vivos and it feels fine. A slight amount of soreness, but much less than ever before. So I think my soles are stepping up to the challenge with remarkable speed.
I didn’t run last week, so when I went out for a run last night, it had been nearly two weeks since my last run. This is not ideal, but was unavoidable due to an unrelated health concern last week that put me off running. However last night I went out for the usual 6k route around Clapham Common and all was well.
The thing I’ve been worrying about since I took my shoes off for running is that I don’t want my soles to have too much time off as I want them to be expecting un-shod running and continue to thicken up the skin. Too much time not running I figure could encourage this growth to recede. So it was with a little trepidation last night that I took to the streets.
In fact, if anything my soles were better last night than ever. I had a couple of dry blisters (layer of old skin rubbing off) by the end of the run, nothing to worry about and to be expected as my new toughened skin grows. Aside from that it was the best run yet in terms of how sore my soles where after the run - they weren’t that sore at all. The main sore-ish area seems to be below my second metatarsal head. I think this is where the main weight of my stride is encountered, so it’s no wonder that this area is a little sore after 6k.
One thing that did notice the two week gap were my calves. They were a little sore this morning. I think a few short runs between the long runs could be good for this, or maybe I just needed to have used the sponge roller before and after. Either way I can still walk on my calves and tomorrow they will be fine. So it’s nothing like the calf pain experienced at the start of this process. That time, even a week later I still couldn’t walk properly. I can’t believe that was 18 months ago. How time flies.
It’s been two weeks now since I stepped up to running a full lap of Clapham Common, 6k including getting to and from it from my house. It’s a circuit that consists mainly of smooth flag stones, some block paving, a bit of smooth new tarmac and a few sections of badly weathered tarmac. Overall it’s quite a smooth run, one section half way through the run the path is so badly weathered I divert to run on the grass at the side. No point in deliberately hurting my feet. But I guess I’ll be able to run on it someday, just like the gravel most barefoot beginners worry about. One thing I have noted is that even though my feet prefer the flag stones, towards the end of the run, landing my pads between two flags can be quite painful. I guess if the flags stones where perfectly aligned this wouldn’t be an issue, but they aren’t.
Anyway since my initial 6k run two weeks ago when I did it twice in three days, I did another 6k a week later and another a week after that (tonight). I had intended to do a 2k run in-between these, but life got in the way. I wanted to do the small run as I want my soles to get used to the extra wear and I worried that a week between runs wouldn’t achieve this. However I’m happy to report that even over these three weeks, I’ve seen a noticeable improvement to how it feels on the run, and also the recovery afterwards. Of course my feet are still a little sore afterwards, but as mentioned in a previous post, there is no damage and this is merely normal at this stage.
Something else I noticed on my run tonight was my technique. Following Ken Saxton’s advice to bend my knees more I’ve really noticed how this improves everything. Bending my knees so that my torso feels like it’s cruising at a slightly lower height that would otherwise be the case. Taking short steps so that my head feels as if it’s hardly bobbing up and down with my stride, but more like maintaining a constant, or near constant level. This really feels like there is then less pressure on my feet as I’m not landing on each stride, but just smoothly switching my weight from one foot to the other. As it’s still a bit uncomfortable running the mean streets of Clapham in my bare feet, the more I can do with my technique to reduce the impact and pressure on my soles the better. And this will in turn reduce the overall stress on my entire body, especially my legs, ankles and feet. This is all a good thing, as running with no shoes on is automatically teaching me to run with better form.
It is also advised to power your legs from your glutes, rather than lifting the legs. I didn’t really understand what this meant until I started bending my knees more. Now I can feel that my legs are being powered by my glutes, rather then feeling as if I’m lifting my legs with my feet. I’m unsure if this difference is just an abstraction on what’s really going on, but either way it doesn’t matter. Right is right, it makes no difference if the reason you think it’s right is wrong.
I’m still continuing my after care routine of feet on ice packs for 10 minutes immediately after the run, soak in a hot bath for an hour, feet up for the rest of the evening after rubbing in sudocrem.