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Barefoot / Guest Blog

Tom's Journey to Barefoot continues..

My second week of Merrell 'barefootness' was my first week of norm, by norm I mean that I had to work during the daytime instead of sitting by a pool and enjoying mid-day sun hill-rep session. 

However that is not to say it was not filled with surprises. Firstly I managed to spend my previous week in a new pair of trainers without injury and secondly upon my return to work, I was greeted with a box, a box of Merrell Barefoot trainers! 

This surprise delivery meant that I had a number of trainers that I could adjust too throughout the week, adjusting was a two-stage approach whereby I wore them around the office – to the amusement of some of my colleagues – and then once comfortable with them, I ran a 4.5 mile route to the train station.

The aforementioned plan I hoped would provide enough time throughout the working day in order to prepare my feet for the run post work. I adopted this plan based upon the success of my initial week in barefoot styled trainers.

So with that, I spent the week walking around the office in my trainers and managed four 4.5-mile test runs in the evening, each evening taking the opportunity to try the following models:

Ascend Glove

My initial pair of Merrell barefoot trainers (aka my orange trainers) that I have spent the most time in over the recent weeks. Lightweight and surprisingly flexible, to look at they look more like a traditional trainer but that’s mainly down to the aesthetics rather than the actual build.

They felt great to run in and rather connected to the ground whilst running on the wet London paths.Although these are a trail trainer they feel perfect for running on the hard black stuff. Although I'm not sure how long it will be before I wear the tread down, but until I do, I'll happily be using them on a weekly basis.

Bare Access 2

Initially I found these 'green ones' more of a challenge to run in, the sole of this trainer promoted me to run quite flat footed, which I now realise was intended. However due to me having always been more of a heel-2-toe kinda guy, it initially sounded like my feet were playing pat-a-cake with the pavement. Having said that, it did encourage those other people to move out of my way, which was refreshing as I was starting to think I was a 6'3" 14stone invisible runner.

These are also the only pair that I decided to run in without wearing them in first throughout the day. It is important to note though that when wearing a pair of trainers for the first time, it is never recommended to run 4 ish miles in the rain and without socks on in order to "try them out". However they have felt just as good as the various other trainers I've been wearing recently.

I think these are going to last me longer than the other pairs, the tread is obviously constructed for road running and isn't going to degrade due to over use on the tarmac, whereas the other trainers are designed for the trail and as such have a more proactive grip, which I think will get worn down by the roads. Just like I do.

 Ascend Glove GTX

Staring out of my office window on a dark, wet and rainy Wednesday evening, I desperately hoped for the chance to entertain my bored legs with a post-work 4.5 mile sanity run. Eventually, my parole was granted and the evening was mine, and with that I scanned my trainer drawer for an appropriate pair of trainers.

The more intellectually nimble readers will not be surprised to read that I chose the Ascend Glove GTX trainers for the evening jaunt. Until now, I hadn't owned a pair of Gore-Tex trainers, and I was severely hoping that maybe, just maybe they would stop my shoes becoming a paddling pool if I had been an organised person, I would have probably used a pair for the Ocean Floor race earlier in the year, however being organised is one of the many things I choose not to embrace.

Obviously these are more cushioned than a road trainer, but somehow they’re still pretty lightweight (not sure how that’s actually possible), the tread is better suited to trail or fell but they handle the road adequately.

So how did I find these trainers? Brightly coloured, remarkably waterproof and a pleasure to run in. Which lets be honest are three attributes all such trainers should have and I'm looking forward to taking these out in the Round Ripon in the next few weeks.

Trail Glove

These yellow trainers are one of my favourites, although it maybe just down to how I have laced them, they hug the sides of my feet a little tighter than the others and therefore, I almost forget that I'm wearing anything on my feet at all. Having said that be it running over trail paths in Herts, or glass in London, I'm glad that I am wearing footwear.

I think these will be my preferred trainer of choice for most of my training runs and general walking around the office whilst I'm suppose to be wearing shoes. They're just so comfortable, 

So with, that I'll wrap up my progress on the Journey to Barefoot and simply say that it is going well. My shins and calves still aren't hurting. So the plan is to up the mileage in week 3 and to start preparing for my first ultra-marathon in October. 

Thank you, and good night! #journeytothefinishline 

Please note Tom is an experienced runner having competed many ultra events. This is his story of transitioning from traditional running shoes to barefoot and as a result we would not recommend that anybody copies his training regime directly. This is what works for him and for more information on how to make your own transition please see:





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