Half way round my run on Saturday morning I decided to bite the bullet and take off my shoes. I ran a short distance - maybe a mile - completely barefoot on a tarmac road.
Funnily enough there was none of the pain and discomfort I was expecting and, in fact, all the cliches about barefoot running came to mind as I looked for a way to describe it...liberating, free, light...
I made myself stop early as all the evidence is that this is something to transition into slowly. Plus it was 7am in September in England and the road felt pretty cold underfoot. Given the winter is only a few months away I might have chosen the wrong end of the year to carry out this experiment. Even so my shoes felt heavy as I started running again.
I was quite keen to share my experiences but decided to wait and see what the effects of this short trial were. Sure enough this morning I felt some muscles, or rather parts of muscles, were feeling a little more worked than usual. The lower part of my calfs and the outside of my left foot felt a bit tender - nothing more - this morning. Since I'd spent yesterday afternoon jumping off sand dunes with my daughter I was prepared to put this soreness down to that and forgot about it for the day.
Later on though I went for another, slightly longer, run. Again I took my shoes off half way round. Turns out the sand dunes had nothing to do with the soreness. I could feel that lower half of my Soleus working again as soon as I started off.
Its a good ache though; an awakening, rather than a sign of damage. The main thing to come from this was a feeling of having a bit of fun, forgetting about the clock and just enjoying feeling the ground beneath my feet. I'll be persevering, but slowly, gently.