Barefoot running

Making friends with the ground again

Bush track

I’m 47, and my body’s in bad shape. I’m 112kg, my lower back aches constantly, I frequently get ectopics1 (from stress at work, drinking caffeinated drinks, and not enough sleep), I’m tired all the time, I get acid reflux on and off, and my left knee now clicks (among other things).

I need an overhaul.

And the only thing I really want to do is run—barefoot.

After several failed attempts to get back into it (about 10 years ago, I got up to running 20kms), I should have given up by now. But I’m not willing to give up on something I love, and that with a bit of patience and perseverance I’m sure I could do again and would benefit me greatly.

Exercise isn’t the only part of this equation, of course, but I find that when I’m running regularly, it helps me to make changes in other areas.

So I’ve been barefooting again. Nine short runs at this point. It’s not easy. My soles are sensitive, my Achilles are a bit sore, and the pavement where I live isn’t the most amenable to it (lots of uneven and stony sections). But I can feel the difference already. And when it’s good, it’s fun—freeing—like playing as a kid. That’s what makes me persevere. That’s why I’m trying again. 👣

1. I’ve visited my doctor about this, along with my tiredness, and after asking a lot of questions and doing a battery of tests, she concluded it was mostly lifestyle related. I do have a longstanding SVT, but that’s manageable and doesn’t stop me from exercising. In fact, the doctor says running will stabilise my heart rhythm.