Running Barefoot and The Preston 10

Barefoot running or minimalist running. 

Shall you or shan’t you? 

My idea of running minimalist comes from the absolute knowledge that we weren’t born with a great pair of asics attached to our feet! Big chunky running shoes, offering the idea of support and running with added technology to make it a smoother, more glided run. All the while us forgetting that our ancestors walked around barefoot, ran barefoot and hunted barefoot or as close to as possible. 

We are just cave men in modern day suits. 

The practice of minimalist running, (I wouldn’t run truly barefoot around the streets of Barnsley) isn’t something to be jumped into, you can’t expect your body to take the most barefoot shoes and constantly adapt. You wouldn’t just go out and run a marathon, with out the proper training? It is something to be graduated into. I spent most of my teenage years sporting a pair of decathlons or toms plimsoles. With out knowing it, I was educating my body to get used to minimalist running. Progressing up for sport I had a pair of Nike free 5.0’s, the most supportive of Nike’s barefoot running range (back in the day, I’ve moved away from Nike now). I then graduated myself into the free 4.0’s after a few pairs, slowly progressing onto the knitted free 3.0’s.. After I reached Nike’s most barefoot shoe, I moved over the vivobarefoot shoes. Something that looks a little more hardcore and feels it too! I use these routinely for day to day living, I spend most of my time in them, walking around, going from session to session at work. Time on foot principles. 

For my training, I’m currently in some Nike Flyknit racers or some Adios Boosts, and for trail/fell some inov-8 x talons, 192’s. All minimalist and all not offering much in terms of support. But all exceptionally lightweight, giving me that barefoot feel. I’ll find myself in these for 3 hours a day. Not a large part of my day, but my fastest and most active. 

Running barefoot, gives a lot for injury prevention by strengthening on muscles, balance and co-ordination. Have a little Google and you’ll see all sorts flagged up. Strengthening of your Achilles, decreasing the likely hood of tendinitis, increased proprioception, shifting your style of running, increasing lower leg strength (key for climbing hills), strengthening the knee joint. Doing this all by putting your body in a state of purest possible form, factory fitted. 

So if you suffer from any pain whilst running, go back to what your ancestors did. Move barefoot and free yourself up from the clunky boring running shoes! Run light.

The Preston 10 Mile


This was another quite like last week, with Clowne entries getting full, I had to find somewhere else. I really didn’t want to run Clowne anyway, I had an awful show there last year. With stomach cramps all the way round, looking for the nearest grass verge to throw up on. Really one of my worst races to date. Finished in the 1:30 mark, but really didn’t feel good. 

I entered Preston 10, two weeks ago. The 35th running of this event, so they must know what they are doing. A fast flat 2 lap course, proper PB potential, if the weather in November can deliver. Plus I’ve never done this race before so any excuse to sample something new, it’s an adventure! I’ve had a good week in terms of running, enjoyed some runs with company and some runs on my own. I re entered my speedwork on Wednesday nights, something I have neglected over the last few weeks, never really feeling fast enough or quite like it. Mainly due to the marathons! But now is the time to build and move forward. With 2 fast park runs in the last weeks, I felt confident of being able to do that. I’ve also been hitting mileage records for Monday and Tuesday, so speed was a no show Wednesday night. This week though I felt game. Even though I ran 30.4 miles on Monday!

The inevitable flu caught up with me Friday/ Saturday. With my mum and dad coming down with something in the early part of the week and the work contingent also carrying it all week. Friday’s recovery was in the snow up at dunford bridge, so that was fine and I really didn’t want to go fast anyway. However Saturday morning I woke up with the worst headache, allergic to the light kind of stuff! I tried a bowl of porridge but couldn’t keep it down, eventually throwing it up. I saw a bit of last nights tea. Parkrun was not going to be good! I wrapped up warm and headed out, aiming to shake it out of me! 

I set off really steady at Parkrun, something I am definitely not used to. Holding back and settling in, my legs felt great. Head and stomach feeling otherwise. I didn’t want another Clowne showing! It’s always the same time of year for me. I plodded on and finished 3rd in 19:07, some what surprising as it’s my slowest Parkrun for sometime; but I really wasn’t up for a race today. Secretly glad, Scott didn’t turn up. As I didn’t want a race today! I soldiered on through the day, choosing to skip my usual afternoon miles and slept through the day. 

So with this in mind, today, the Preston 10, was going to be a completely targetless day. Just going to warm up, see how I feel, and then set off at a pace I want to do, and see how I feel. With it being 2 laps, I would’ve been content in just completing the one, if I didn’t feel too up to it. 

The race started at 10, I woke up headache free but still feeling a little sick. I stomached my breakfast and headed out at 7.30. For the hour and half drive over the snowy tops to Preston. I’m really quite a fan of Lancashire, it might not be the most scenic, but all of my better races have been around here. Majority of the time being fast and flat. Apart from a few beasts! Some may be a fair drive but that’s softened by the promise of Woodhead pass! 

I got there just after 9, parking in the school car park literally 5 metres away from race registration and the gents toilets, quite like VIP parking! I went for my stomach tester warm up, adamant it wasn’t going to be a wasted journey, I felt good. Still a little weak, but better. I was on the startline for 9.55; yet to decide my ‘race pace,’ my PB for this distance being at Gilberdyke, 59:55. I was feeling good that day and really enjoying my running. So it would’ve taken something good to beat that. I really don’t think I have it in me, to do it today. I set my watch to just complete the 10 mile, not too worried about time. But in the knowledge that anything quicker than 6 minute miles and I would be in contention for a PB.

The race started, it went off pretty quick and in usual fashion everyone kicked off in the first mile, I held back, so I thought. So I was really quite shocked when I saw my watch go off to say, 5:35 for the first mile. I also had a fair few targets out in front and some rather heavy breathing down my neck. A particularly fast field here at Preston! I settled down for the 2nd mile, but again shocked myself clocking 5:52. I have my watch on a black screen near enough, it just shows me my heart rate zones in a race or sometimes I have it on the map face. I don’t really like to take a lot of extra pointless information in. Just preferring to focus on the task in hand, and that’s running as fast as I can. Until I drop, fall off and can’t hold on anymore. 

I took that into the race from mile 2 onwards, I’ll just hold on and see how I feel. Knowing that the quicker I run in the first lap, the easier the second lap will be. My stomach still feeling unsettled I carried on. 

I ran through the first lap in 29 minutes, roughly. So I could do just that. Take my foot of the gas and hope my stomach settles down. Seeing 5:47 in mile 5, 6 and 7 gave me that confidence that could do this, and I could potentially PB here. A true kick in the balls to say I went guts in at Gilberdyke and scraped sub 60! It just goes to show what can happen on the back of marathon training! 

I began to pick away at the fast starters on the second lap, gaining in confidence. I fell off after the mile 9 marker. Hitting 5:59 for the last mile, my ‘target’ pace for the day. But somewhat off my actual race pace. 

I finished in: 

58:27

18th place

A new 10 mile PB, true kick to the Gilberdyke attempt and even Askern 10! I truly shocked myself today, feeling really under the weather. Remember Bryan, your body can do many things, you once thought it couldn’t, it is your greatest machine and your greatest enemy. Treat it well.

Off I went for an extra lap (and a bit) as a cool down. 

Visually not a pleasing route, but on the cool down I explored a small nature reserve. But almost definitely a PB course if the weather allows and today it had the slightest amount of wind in your face, but it could’ve been much worse.

Strava Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/780664558/shareable_images/map_based?hl=en-GB&v=1479645510

Just Keep Running!
Note: I’ll update this when I find official results online from the race and probably some race photos! 

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