Well, despite Achilles tendon soreness and other miscellaneous aches in my feet, I’m continuing with barefoot running albeit over shorter distances (approx 2.5km). The good news is that I think I’m starting to find some progress. I’m no longer picking up new blisters and my old blisters are beginning to fall off. I’ve had a bit of pain in the front of my feet, and I’m ever vigilant not to develop a stress fracture. However, I found that I just had to pick my feet up more quickly so that I don’t ‘toe-off’. This is what all the barefoot experts recommend and I can see why now.
I’m still slightly concerned that I may just be swapping one set of injuries for another. However, in the last week or so I’ve heard so many other runners tell me of mysterious pains they suffer in their knee or hip joints, it has reinforced my view that trainers with thick heel cushioning are bad and are causing some serious injuries.
I broke my vow to run only barefoot the other week, when I put on a pair of trainers for the first time in a couple of months so I could join the rest of my running club on an away night. It involved running 10km – twice what I’ve run during my barefoot months – so I was slightly concerned how I would cope. As it turned out, it felt great. My daily cycle rides have kept my fitness levels up. The weird thing was how much my technique has changed with my cadence being much higher than everyone around me. I felt sensitive to any friction to the soles of my shoes – just as I would my barefoot soles. Thankfully the route was mostly flat because every time I went down a decline I flew down – like a bicycle without brakes – just as I do when I’m barefoot. Having no friction means having no brakes.
So after about 3 months persevering with barefoot, I think I’m beginning to reap some benefits. I’ll continue for now and see where it leads me.