TRAINING: Barefoot evening run

0 degrees? Tarmac and foot-paths of Dublin? Bare foot? No problem as it proved. I’ve hit a real steady patch of training now, the old routine settling in (yesterday I managed to run both before and after work) and my productivity, as always, is up despite the added training volume. I’m a great believer that regular training is a “keystone habit” that generates discipline in most other aspects of life and frames each day nicely.

The travelling show

After our 20ish kilometre run Sunday, I did only a short run and our “Run injury free circuits” Monday (with some parkour thrown in around the Sandyford Industrial Estate, don’t report us please!), then a 10km test run of the new Kigo Drive shoes (review to follow) the company send me on the rough Glenmacnass Road in the morning and a 5k trail run in the evening.

I knew I had a very busy day ahead with both an important morning call and an even more important late afternoon call, so it was about 6:30 before I could sneak into the basement. I have a “Tony Riddle travel kit” in the boot of my car at all times: yoga mat, broomstick handles, weighted bar, Reebok step. So I got changed quickly before using the mat for my toe drills, broomstick handles for more toe drills and some postural work and then the usual routine of squats and hip and adductor pumps before some barefoot jumping on the concrete to get my into the right rhythm.

The bizarre smile

Body felt good but my watch died straight away so decided to just look at the clock on the car and then run for as long as I cared. Despite the streets being generally wet and cold, and some spells of rough tarmac in places, the feet had no major problems in their “exposed form”. There was one short spell where I had to put the shoes on (I carry them in my armpits). When I took them back off I noticed something a bit odd – there was a huge difference in comfort (I managed the forces much better barefoot than even with the 3mm of the VivoBarefoot Aqua Lite) and, more interestingly, as I ran barefoot I could feel I had a really annoying grin locked in my face. I couldn’t pin-point it but as I checked all the “systems”, it was quite clear – when I ran bare foot I was actually happier!

For me personally, now that I have a reasonably solid base of skill, these sessions are by far the most transformative and beneficial in terms of building both physical, mental and technical ability.


Post-training food

What does a committed “undomesticated runner” take for post-race drink? My old routine of smoothies plus Avonmore chocolate milk is obviously out. When I have an hours drive home I generally eat one Nakd Bar (cold-pressed cashew nut and dates), 1-2 bricks of very dark chocolate and some water. Today I got tempted by lovely almond milk. I eat natural sugars immediately after exercise (but otherwise not) so got one and drank half of it in the car, saving the other half for another post-exercise window.

An hour later, in the house, I reheated my home-made Bolognaise recipe (essentially I use lean mince, loads of garlic, onions, chilis, peppers, courgettes, tomatoes and lots of Italian herbs and pepper, paprika, cayenne pepper and salt). I normally replace pasta with salad (such as rocket) but yesterday I had baked some sweet potatoes in butter and olive oil and while some would take issue with the sweet taste with a Bolognaise I enjoy sweet potato with just about everything. It’s a superb food.Another night’s work done, endorphins wearing off, time for bed…