• Joel Whittaker

My Barefoot Adventure

We are facing some tough times ahead; continually subjected to the stresses associated with #Covid-19 and combined with isolation we really need to look out for each other and enjoy what we have. It's hugely important we all try to get out in nature, responsibly, and find some time to unwind. Nature has long been recognised as a tonic to mental #stress.

Covid-19 has curtailed Intrepid's Thames Ultra which was due to run on May 22nd but I'm still hankering to get out there and have started a new adventure; Barefoot running. Today I cracked my first real barefoot run on a 5 km ramble, and I have to tell you, it's brilliant - but with clauses! Twigs are not your friend when you run barefoot, also, I got a few funny looks but I don't mind that so much. It's extremely liberating, I've ran a lot for the last 20 years or so - I love to run, but there's something really special about running though a puddle, or across grass in your bare feet that I haven't felt since I was a child. I felt very connected to nature and rather than taking my usually path led routes I found I continually wanted to go 'off piste' and explore.

There are scant scientific articles availiable on the science of #barefoot #running so I just thought I'd have a crack at it myself and record the journey. I did start reading, all of two days ago; Barefoot Running. It really goes into technique and is all about being naked (just ya feet!) and not wearing any kind of shoes/soles. It also advises running on the rough stuff, light gravel is mentioned - for good reason.

I started running on soft wet grass and instantly understood the importance on starting on the rougher stuff as it's all about technique. I found running on the grass easy BUT I was still landing on my heels, just like I'd normally do in trainers. But, the better way is to land is on balls of feet and then the rest of the foot so that the bodies natural shock absorbing mechanism can work properly. When you run on gravel etc is really forces you to think through technique and concentrate on balls then the remainder of you feet, landing on heels here would be too painful. When I felt my technique was on track, I popped back onto the grass!

Clearly this is the beginning of my adventure and not wanting to sound too cocky but my feet and legs feel fine, no gashes from sharp glass etc. Aware that I'd be a classic case of too much too soon, I intend to rest up a little for a couple days and see if I can extend the distance a little next week. To keep my motivation up I'm planning on running a marathon around the start of June - barefoot of course!

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