The barefoot experiment!

Saturday’s parkrun. Avec shoes.

Just a short one this week as I haven’t done a lot of running and have been occupied with some pretty absorbing Test cricket!
I had a crap Masters on Wednesday night – failed to crack 4 minutes for the 1k (after having done 3:45 on my only other attempt at the distance a few weeks back) and then did 2k at close to my 5k pace (although it was a PB, being my first ever 2k!)

The previous night I did a particularly tough trail circuit – running up the bricks at Ambers Ridge (a VERY steep climb) broken up by lunges, push-ups, squats (but mercifully no sodding burpees!) which may have contributed to what happened on Wednesday night. The trail circuit (with Distance Runners Unlimited) is a new addition to my regular routine and I think it is really going to help my ability to run up hills! Maybe not so good for my ability to run fast the following day!

On Friday I went to my regular Yumigo! speed training session. This week’s session was 5 x 1000m. Normally the idea is to run each rep at a consistent pace. 

My first two were pretty consistent – 4:22 and 4:21. The next two were actually faster – 4:17 and 4:15! After the 4th rep I noticed one of the other girls had taken off her shoes. A few others had done the same, so I thought what the hell, I haven’t done any barefoot running since just before Heysen 105, so I followed suit! The session is run on soft grass, so it is ideal for barefoot training!

1k is 2.5 laps of the oval, so we ran past the ‘finish line’ 3 times. Second time past the finish line on that last rep, coach Paul commented that my form looked much better when I ran barefoot! Makes sense too – with shoes I tend to run more towards the back of my foot, and then to compensate for that I lean forward a bit (for balance). Take off the shoes and my weight is immediately more towards the front of the foot, bringing my hips forward and making me more upright. I could feel the difference instantly!

Not only that but I managed to do the last rep in 4:01 – about the same as I did on the track on Wednesday night, only this time it was at the end of a pretty intense session!

I forgot to mention what I did on Thursday. I mentioned cricket – well I was at the cricket until it finished at 9:30pm then went for some late night Chinese – I annihilated a serve of vegetarian fried rice at about 10:30, got to bed about 11:30 and up at 4:45. So I guess late night fried rice and not much sleep is ideal prep for fast running!

I did consider trying a barefoot parkrun on Saturday but chickened out – managed 22:10 though which was very pleasing, my fastest 5k in almost 4 months! Lochiel parkrun would be ideal for barefoot because it’s on concrete rather than bitumen – I presume that would be nicer on the feet! Next time maybe – meanwhile I’d better get my shoes off and back onto the grass!