See that gelato? Wildberry and Butterscotch, homemade on site at a little gelato shop in the tiny seaside town of Pottsville, New South Wales? That was the fuel for my first ever barefoot beach run.
I’ve been doing another Whole30 recently, so this is basically the first sugar I’ve ingested in 2 weeks. Up to this point I’ve been a very good girl, but I figured that 4 swims, a kayak, and a 4k run in one day gives me the right to indulge myself in some damn gelato.
I’d been looking forward to my run all day – after being sick and not running for 2 weeks, it was great to get out there again. Adding to the excitement was that I had a pristine stretch of beach to run on. The beach must go for at least 3k, as I started at one end and turned around at the 2k mark without reaching the other end, though it was in (hazy) sight in the distance.
I was a little trepidatious to try my first ever barefoot run – though the fact that it was on a beach meant I was pretty sure it would be comfortable enough so long as I dodged the shells and pebbles. I stuck to the hard sand as much as possible, and took off at a moderate pace.
For the first k or so, I aimed to run with a barefoot gait – that is, landing on my toes and bouncing off, without my heel even touching the ground. However, after the first kilometre of this, the back of my ankles and lower calves were starting to ache, so I had to revert to a more ‘normal’ running gait off and on, where I landed lightly on the heel/mid-foot and pushed off the toe.
Amazingly, I made a full 4 kilometres (including a couple of sprints) without stopping, and in relative comfort. My heart and legs could have kept going, but my ankles and calves were pretty much done in after the 4k. I’ll certainly be curious to see how they feel in the morning!
I have no illusions that I looked like one of those breezy and confident beach runners you see on TV shows and in the movies, but I felt strong and in control through the whole run, not feeling the need to falter at any stage.
I’m definitely looking forward to doing it again – I’ve been tempted by the whole barefoot running craze that seems to be out there (eyeing off those Vibrams) so doing it a bit more regularly is something I’d like to incorporate into my running routine – if only to work muscles differently to normal.
Experience Rating: 7/10
If you’ve tried beach/barefoot running, I’d love to hear your thoughts and advice on it!
P.S. Nick and I are currently camped up in the van in a lovely little spot on the river mouth, just a few hundred metres from the open beach. If you like the look of the place, it’s the Pottsville South Holiday Park, not far from the NSW/QLD border.