I Nearly Killed a Child (3 Comments)

Yesterday, my barefoot running antics nearly killed a child.

I was out running through Caversham and got the usual comments about running without any shoes on. The level of intelligence in today's youth is truly amazing - "Hey, you've got no shoes on". "Really? I hadn't noticed. Thanks for pointing it out. I'll remember to check my feet next time I head out for a run

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Log On To Help Prevent Injuries

Are you a runner - barefoot isn't essential? Are you a stickler for recording your training runs? Are you interested in helping a PhD student with her studies in the field of running injury causes and prevention? Keen on being a guinea pig in the name of science doing what you love? Fancy showing the world that barefoot running is good for you? Well, then drop Jenny Perkins at the University of Bath an email and offer your services.

To quote the article...

A University of Bath researcher is looking for keen runners to keep an online diary of their training habits and injuries, to help find out how they can reduce common running injuries.

PhD student Jenny Perkins, from the University’s Department for Health, will analyse the information to look at links between the type of training runners are doing, distance, age and injury.

She hopes to be able to tell runners what they can do to reduce their risk of injury, such as shin splints, back problems and knee pain.

Jenny is looking to recruit at least 1,000 volunteers from across the UK to the study, to log their training and injuries into a free online training diary over 12 months.

Runners of any ability are invited to take part if they are doing a minimum of three hours of running per week. Participants must be UK residents and aged over 18 years of age.

There is no upper age limit to the study and Jenny is particularly interested to find out about age-related differences in injury and training habits.

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Happy 1st Barefoot Anniversary To ME

Oooops, I've just realised I missed my own 1st barefoot anniversary. So...

Happy 1st Barefoot Anniversary to ME

Tuesday, 1 February was the big day. A whole year since I made the big decision to run completely barefoot as much as possible. I've not run all my runs and races barefoot in that time due to sensitivity, rough terrain, extreme temperatures, shoe reviews or because I really didn't feel like it, but well over 95% of my running has been completely barefoot since then.

It's been a great year and certainly a massive learning experience. The muscles in my feet are stronger than they've ever been. The skin on the bottom of my feet is becoming more and more like tough leather. My form is good and I know my running is the best it's been since I moved over to the UK. The last year hasn't all been a bed of roses, I did suffer what was probably a stress fracture in my 3rd metatarsal

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Getting the Whole Family Involved in Barefoot Life

So you've made the jump from running in shoes to running barefoot, but you just can't convince the wife and kids (the older ones) to embrace your passion. Well how about taking them on a barefoot holiday. Yes, a barefoot holiday.

I've just discovered there are these really cool barefoot parks all over Europe (predominantly in German and Austria) that are open to the public and offer you the opportunity to go for barefoot walks. These parks actually encouraged you to take off your shoes and get one with nature (you'll have to go elsewhere if you want to really get one with nature ;-) ) and feel the earth below your feet, feel the cold water between your toes and the pebbles under your feet as you walk through streams and rivers. Some even offer playground areas specially designed for being bare foot.

What a great idea, and what a great way to get the whole family involved in your new found passion for going barefoot. Who knows, maybe after one of these holidays your wife or one of your kids will want to join you on one of your barefoot runs, barefoot.

Foot Stickers

Now this is an interesting concept: foot stickers...

Foot Stickers

Why wear a whole shoe when all you need is a little protection on the bottom of your feet? A great idea, though I think it may not be particularly practical to implement, especially for outdoor use. You'd need to invent some pretty impressive sticky stuff that is water and sweat proof and yet easily removable from the skin without the need for solvents etc. Ideally this would need to be re-usable, though not essential.

It would also need to come off fingers easily so you could actually let go of your foot stickers once you've taken them off your feet :-D

Going Barefoot in David Lloyd Gyms (3 Comments)

With Sun Microsystems' recent acquisition by Oracle, I've found myself moving offices, which thankfully is closer to home. As I would no longer be going anywhere near Camberley, I cancelled my old gym membership at Foundation Fitness (free plug: this is a great, friendly and very affordable small gym in Sandhurst that I would have continued being a member of if it were practical) and waited to see what the Oracle offering is.

Oracle's offering is a heavily discounted corporate membership with the David Lloyd gym across the road. Normally David Lloyd is way too expensive for my liking, but with the corporate discount, it's no more expensive than what I used to pay for Foundation Fitness, so I signed up from 1 December.

Between 1 December and 9 December, I went to the gym 6 times and on all 6 occasions I was barefoot for pretty much most of the time I was in the gym. I performed all my warm ups for running and swimming barefoot, I performed by cool downs barefoot and even performed my weights session barefoot (my squats are much better barefoot) without a single person approaching me or even commenting. Yes, I got some strange looks, but that's expected when people aren't used to something new. Anyway, that was until the 9th. During my weights session that day, I was approached by one of the instructors and told that her manager had told her to come tell me to put shoes on as it's "policy". I questioned this policy but she couldn't tell me anything about this policy other than her manager told her.

Not wanting to cause too much of a scene, not wanting to delay my training and clear in the knowledge she wasn't going to be able to help me further - obviously a policy the general staff aren't too aware of - I obliged and grabbed my Vibrams from the changerooms and continued my workout, but I wasn't going to let this one lie.

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First Cold Winter Barefoot Run (1 Comment)

Today I ventured out for my very first "very cold barefoot run". It's been a bit late coming as last week saw large parts of the UK covered in snow, and if your area wasn't covered in snow, it was freeeeeeeezing. My area was a bit of both - we had a light dusting of snow on two days and then sub-zero temperatures for the rest of the week.

I've been doing a fair bit of reading on cold weather barefoot running and I've drawn a line in the sand (or should that be snow) as to when I will and will not head out for a run barefoot. That line is 0°C. This is technically freezing point or water at sea-level and if the air is this cold, there's a very good chance the ground and water on it will be too - probably colder once you add the salt and grit.

On Monday I went out in Vibrams as I had scheduled a fast tempo run along the Thames which would take in quite a long section of pavement that was quite heavily gritted. It was also bordering 0°C so I didn't want to risk it. Today it was definitely warmer, so I decided I'd brave the cold and I'm glad I did. It wasn't anywhere near as bad as I thought it would be.

Following the Owen McCall's very good tips, I

  1. over dressed: tights, long sleeve t-shirt, close fitting windbreaker, beanie and gloves
  2. warmed up inside: dynamic warm ups from Brain Training for Runners with some kettlebell swings

... and then headed out a little on the sweaty side. Normally I'd strip off at this point but I held back and stayed wrapped up for my entire run. My body and feet soon cooled down a bit in the 1 mile to the field in which I did my 6x600m intervals at 3k pace. The cool down wasn't dramatic and I soon found my feet warmed up again too.

The coldest part of the run was running on grassy sections no one else had passed over that day. The grass was still a little dewy and cold, but thankfully not frozen.

Bar the very strange looks I got from people I passed, my first very cold barefoot run turned out to be a great success and provided the temperature is above 0°C on a given day and I'm not running through heavily gritted areas, I'll continue to do my runs barefoot this winter.