Second thoughts on barefoot racing

In my earlier post  What is a proper running foot strike? I explained how I was seriously considering actually wearing barefoot or minimalist shoes not just in training, but in the actual half marathon and marathon races.  However, I am now having second thoughts on this, following an hour’s recovery run on the road a couple of days ago.  Recovery was needed as it followed a training session the evening before that involved a tempo run consisting of five laps of about 800 metres, each including a sustained sprint for about 150 metres, all on tarmac.  The calves were a bit stiff from this and I felt that the (not especially steep) downhill sections of of my undulating route were particularly jarring and required me to really slow down.   This may be fine in training, but it clearly could have a negative impact on my race performance.

As the half marathon was just a week away, I needed to act quickly.  I didn’t want to go back to wearing my standard trainers, having hopefully adopted a forefoot strike action that that doesn’t suit them, but the compromise could be to obtain a pair of low drop running shoes, and this is what I did.  The pair I bought apparently have a drop of 5mm.  This means that your heel is just 5mm higher than the ball of your foot (regular trainers usually have a drop of over 10mm), so hopefully these will suit my forefoot running action, whilst giving me some cushioning for the downslopes.  I will be trying them out on a longish training run on the road tomorrow, so watch this space.

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