It’s been a week now since I started running again, and I’ve run three times. I’m already back up to my longest distance of just under 6k. It was easy to do this, despite my three weeks without running.
I did notice the day after the 3rd run that my calves were tight and aching a little. I thought I’d left the calf issues behind right at the start of my barefoot adventure. But it would seem a gap in running of just three weeks is enough to start the atrophy. Still, no biggie, this is no worse than post-gym ache. Another week and I’ll not be able to feel them again I reckon.
One thing I have done differently on all these three runs is concentrate totally on my form. I was so bothered that I’d over do it again, I kept repeating to myself, “light and easy, light and easy”. This was the mantra of Cabello Blanco, a character from Born to Run. (I’ve since realised that his mantra was actually, “Easy, Light, Smooth and Fast”, but what I remembered was still relevant.)
I tried to made sure that every step I took was as light as possible. I kept thinking over and over, “light and easy, light and easy”. This really made me concentrate on how my feet were landing and made sure that they landed as lightly as possible. I hoped this would stop me being able to put any undue strain or pressure on my feet and having managed the complete circuit on the 3rd run, I think that strategy served me well.
I’ve noticed that I’ve also stopped obsessing about what my feet are doing. What I mean by this is worrying about exactly how they are landing, where the contact point is, if my heal comes down at the end of the stride, etc, etc. I’ve realised that they now just do their own thing and as long as I concentrate on landing as softly as possible, they do exactly what they’re supposed to do. It also helps to keep your torso upright, rather than lean forward like heal-strikers. This is easily achieved by pulling your shoulders back and pushing your chest forward. In doing this you can feel your pelvis also push forward, which straightens up your whole body and discourages over striding. Paying attention to how your hold your upper torso has dramatic consequences for how you make your stride.
So, very pleased to be back running again, and still impressed by the fact that I’m still learning all the time.