Last Saturday I did the park run. I decided that I should wear trainers, and I carried out a DIY foot taping job just to secure my foot. I wound tape over the top of my right foot, just behind the toes, over the ball of my foot and towards my ankle. I hoped that it would give support to the obvious but undiagnosed weakness.
It worked a treat. I ran the 5k in just over 27 minutes, which I'm happy with, and I had no additional pain in my foot afterwards.
On Wednesday (two days ago) I did a barefoot mile. I've been re-reading information about barefoot form, and I also posted a message on the the Yahoo! Running Barefoot forum which was set up by Barefoot Ken Bob himself. I even got a post back from Ken Bob (thank you, Ken), which, in a nutshell, reminded me that I need to concentrate on re-learning my technique so that when I run, it doesn't hurt. Sounds simple enough, but it's so easy to forget this vital piece of information.
So in my barefoot mile, I concentrated on everything I could: relax, relax, relax; bend my knees; bend them more; lift my toes - a little mind you - not too tense; let my hips lead me forward; stay up straight; look ahead; lift my feet rather than concentrate on putting them down; shorten my cadence...... it was like trying to drive a car for the first time, so many different elements to think about, and as soon as I concentrated on one I'd forget another.
But there were steps that I took that didn't hurt. For a few paces at a time I got into a rhythm that seemed comfortable, pain free and pretty easy on every part of my body. That's what I need to focus on. I will do the drills in Ken Bob's book, I will do my Asian squats and 100-ups, but when I run, I will just try and run without any discomfort.
That will take time (again), and in the meantime I have races to run where I'm raising money for the hospice that looked after my lovely mum earlier this year, so I will wear the trainers for my training runs, and do barefoot miles here and there for now until after the half marathon in October. Then I'll start barefooting again in earnest. It's disappointing, but I want to do it right.