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Barefoot, Marathon, Road Running, Trail Running

Illness and Injury revelations.

Well there has not been much posting of late as I was down with pneumonia.  Long story short – very sick, very exhausted, but recovering.  And smiling!

I have opted to mix my training runs with barefoot running and Vibram minimal shoe running.  I need to do this for a number of reasons:  My primary reason being my 6 inch Ultra which will be run in shoes.  Well I think it will.  I will know in November how I think I will fare.

Why choose to run this in shoes?  Well as I said barefoot running is about being sensible too.  I do not know the track, it is very narrow (hence 6 inch in the title) it is run in our very hot summer, so heat is a major factor, and if I do hurt my feet I will be a long way from finishing…

So, my last long run of 15km I opted to wear my New Balance Vibrams.  Now at the moment I am not focusing on speed running – more about getting my technique and form right and building up endurance.  So in this particular run I made a public statement before hand that I wanted to run in approximately 6min per km split time frame.   This pace allowed me to think a bit more of my run and practice some running drills.  I noted that the professionals are quite right 🙂  It is about cadence.  That is the number of times you rotate your feet off the surface, not necessarily the length of your pace, a very important issue for some one as short as me.  When I am running next to these long legged athletes I feel I am having to run twice as much with my short legs..

On  my splits graph, the paces I ran with specific thought to just rotating my feet as much as possible, although I thought I was running almost on the spot, I actually covered the distance much faster.

tendonsBut the issue I am raising today, is that my feet hurt on this particular run.  Or more specifically my arches (PERONEOUS LONGUS TENDON).  So channeling my mind to “think”  during and about my running was interesting.  Every time my arches hurt I tried to work out what or why was causing this.  After several kilometers I worked it out.  Firstly I thought it might be because I was altering my normal running pattern, but then realised that although I was changing my pace setting, my foot strike was remaining the same.   When running over the rough surfaces I could actually feel the roughness in the foot sole, so flexibility was not the issue in the shoe?  My shoes are a size bigger and fairly wide, so my toes were not cramping and had plenty of movement?

Why then did my arches hurt and specifically my right foot?  I noted that I had tied my laces tighter on my right foot than on my left foot.  So I loosened them and evened the tension.  The pain persisted, but now was equal pain in both feet arches.  Laces?  So I loosened both sets of laces again.   Improvement in pain.  I could not go much looser  without the shoes falling off, so focused on what was happening with my feet.

DISCLAIMER: Now – I am no doctor/sport scientist or any other type of running/medical professional.  The opinion I am sharing here is my OWN PERSONAL experience.  Images sourced in this blog are from the below website – Health Communities.


foot bonesAs per above, I started focusing on what was occurring with my actual foot as I ran in the shoe.   My soles were protected and had movement.  My toes had plenty of space and breathing and moved comfortably.   My cuneiform bones (top of my foot arches) were strapped down by the New Balance Vibram shoe laces.   When tighter but not uncomfortable, I was not aware of the movement in the TOP part of my foots cuneiform bones – that is the bone structure of my foot.  Only the resulting discomfort in my arches.  When loosening the laces considerably, the pain eased equally.  But now I could also feel the movement of my cuneiform bone structure under the top of the shoe lace area as I had loosened it enough for this to occur.   When the cuneiform bone structure of my foot is slightly restricted by the shoe fabric, it behaves differently.  Affecting my foot muscles and tendons, and hence my arches.

The upper part of the shoe essentially holds my foot shape in place with the shoe design.  After experimenting with this over several kilometers, at about the 12km mark, I decided to remove my shoes entirely and continue barefooted.  Surprisingly  Arch pain disappeared almost immediately.  Running slower I watched my feet and saw how my foot bones worked and how my cuneiform bones appear to spread out slightly which articulated the movement of my metastarsal bones.   After 3km I then put my running shoes back on and within 200m my arches began to hurt again..   Post run, whilst cooling off I noted that the top of my hip felt very bruised – still researching the medical terminology or description for this, but will need to visit a sports doctor of sorts to work out why.  From my preliminary research the Peroneous Longus Tendon ties into the Peroneuos Longus Muscle, which links all the way back to the hip… The dots are joining.

Now that I am feeling better, this week I will try and run with soled shoes, but ones that do not cover the top part of my foot at all (if they arrive in the mail in time).  This may actually be the trick to retaining the barefoot experience..not so much about the soles, its the shoe restriction and about the actual structural foot movement??

tendonsfootbones side

foot bones

About Dale-Lyn

Hi, I am in my mid forties and run barefoot. Mostly really barefoot, sans any form of foot protection. My claim to fame for this blog, is that I have run my first full marathon completely and really barefoot, in a respectable time of 4:16. Scroll through my posts and enjoy them - all with a good sense of humour too. My story is simply my story of running barefoot, brought about by all the various questions people ask me. I am not a specialist of any sort or any particular athlete or doctor or guru. I am an average woman who runs barefoot, enters a few club runs and a few fun runs. I run races from 5km to marathon. I love trail running, and include chats about my trail adventures. To date, although I only started running end of August 2013, I have done nearly 2000km, of that at least 1500km in barefeet. Real barefoot. No minimalist shoes. Although when I do run in shoes I use my zero drop mimimus ones (haha - they are my ONLY pair of running shoes..) The blog tells of my journey through life, on the road, barefoot. The journey my real barefeet go through when they connect with the road. The emotions my real barefeet bring out - in me, in passers by, in fellow runners. The aggressive reactions and debates as to the well being of the real bare-feet I run in. The passive acceptance of my real bare-feet and their exposure to the elements. The humour to show those real bare-feet of mine are not just a piece of running equipment, a statement, a leftie or a rightie, but real flesh and blood feet with real issues. An interesting post note..I commenced my first active run in August 2013 progressing sporadically. But it really was only from May 2014 that I started running on a consistent and slightly more serious note and slightly faster than walking pace. I am scheduled to run my Comrades Marathon in May 2015..that is a massive progression from walk/shuffle er um excuse me look at me run.. to aiming to run a World famous Ultra. Some one pinch me please!


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6 Inch Trail Marathon

Trail marathon in the SouthDecember 21, 2014
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Comrades Marathon

Up run Comrades Marathon in Durban South Africa 89kmMay 31, 2015
The big day is here.

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