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Updated: 2018-03-06T15:25:43.544-08:00


Back with a vengeance


Needless to say, I stopped running for a period of time was fat and out of shape with cigarettes to go as well. Fortunately, I snapped out of it and have been running regularly since  mid Feb 2012.

Am in good shape now with a recent 3hr run.

Targeting 3h15m for this year's Singapore Stanchart  Marathon on Dec 2.

Update on current form and condition


Apologies to all my friends and fellow barefoot running enthusiasts for not updating for a long time due to some injuries, poor form and longer than expected time to run in with my 'new shoes'(barefeet).

The bare feet are indeed the best coach that you will ever have. But they take time to run in for most of us city folk and especially so for me. I was happy to be even running at all and am glad I persevered.

Am currently running 9.8km twice daily at a decent pace and estimate my weekly mileage to be about 100km now. I do not have a fixed rest day as there is no 'killer' speed workouts or long runs at the moment, so I rest only if needed.

Too much, too soon?


I had some pain on the top of my left foot after Saturday's run. As this has happened before, I thought that resting for 2 days should solve the problem.

During my run on Tuesday, there was discomfort in the left foot again but at different areas. Pain occurs at the back of the left heel upon pressure being exerted by the foot surface.

I also had some mild contusion(blue-black) on the ball of my left foot many days ago, but that felt good enough to continue running the next day. However the pain came back again, possibly because I exerted too much pressure at the ball due to the hurting heel.

Might be a small technical defect of the landing of my left foot. It's probably not gentle enough, and the problem surfaces after multiple days of running. Muscles at the (left?) foot are not strong enough yet. Probably a combination of several reasons.

So now I am down again for another 2 days and not recovered yet. Hmmm.....

Zola Budd's Story - By Steve Friedman


The sad, touching yet inspirational story of the most famous female world-class barefoot distance runner in the world. At 42, she still runs a good 5k cross country race in sub 18mins. Wishing her great joy and peace in her return to competitive running, and of course victories too!

I wonder if she still races barefoot? hmm

Gordon Pirie


I was deeply inspired after reading the life story of British distance runner "Gordon Pirie" and hope that he may be an inspiration to whoever reads this too.

Gordon is a fine example of an ordinary man who did extraordinary things just because he had a strong belief in himself. He did not have great talent like many top athletes did, but he made up for it by training more and harder than probably any other man on earth. At his peak, he was running 12,000 miles annually. That translates to 400km PER WEEK of varied pace running in addition to weights training and cycling.

Progress is not measured on the training track, or by the number of miles logged each week. Progress is determined by what happens when an athlete races. - Gordon Pirie (1931 - 1991)

Getting the hang of it.


Had difficulty getting back into rhythm after Borneo marathon due to loss of fitness and glad to finally find my form again.

November marks the beginning of daily running without resting and I started the week with some minor discomforts. I was cut by a small bit of glass probably, twice over the week and it felt mildly uncomfortable running through it. But as all barefoot runners know, the soles heal at an incredible rate and there was zero pain by weekend.

Week 1 of 9 months base phase ended very comfortably and I am looking forward to 80km next week. Will try to run a little lesser @ 7km once weekly as a form of rest day and at the same time, give my dog some exercise. She is getting bigger at 13 months and a pale shadow of her former aerobic fitness level when I used bring her for runs up to 20km.

Base Phase


At first glance, most would get the impression that I am going for a "long holiday" for 9 months during this period of easy running. I beg to differ.

This is a time where I will be increasing the mileage constantly, and will be running more than I ever did before soon. To top it off, I will not be resting a single day till I am done. By March, the mileage will be too high for single sessions and I will have to train twice daily.

This is where I am hoping that by running barefoot exclusively and at a moderate pace, my legs will be able to withstand running at high mileage without sustaining any injury.

By God's grace, I should in the best aerobic condition of my life at the end of Base training and possibly 2kg lighter than my normal racing weight.

New goal envisioned


My next full marathon will be during April 2011, which is 17 months from now.

Base Phase(non tiring, steady pace, 7 days weekly)
- 9 months {Nov 2009 - July 2010}
- allows me a good time frame to relearn my running, and strengthen my feet.

Tempo/Steady Runs
- 16 weeks {Aug 2010 - Nov 2010)

Long Intervals/Fartleks/Long Hard Runs
- 10 weeks {Dec 2010 - Mid Feb 2010)

Speedwork/ Fast Short Intervals
- 6 weeks {Mid Feb 2010 - March 2010)

Why I choose to run barefoot.


Running barefoot is associated with a substantially lower prevalence of acute injuries of the ankle and chronic injuries of the lower leg in developing countries. With this assumption, I would be improving faster in the long run due to minimal or no injuries. Barefoot runners have also been known to run well all the way throughout old age.

encourages the proper running form by forcing a midfoot landing as opposed to a heel strike and is the way mankind has been running for thousands of years before shoes came about. The running shoe has gotten so strong that it basically prevents any real motion from occurring in your foot, thus using only the calf muscles. As such, the muscles in the feet suffers atrophy over time.

A well trained barefoot long distance runner is in no way disadvantaged in a race against a shod runner. On the lighter side, I am a cheapo and have 1001 excuses not to buy $200 shoes. I am also multi-tasking by having a foot massage while running.

Week 12 of 12 (Borneo 09)


Tues: 7km barefoot

Thurs: 7km barefoot

Fri: 10mins slow jog(poolside)

Sun(Oct 11): Borneo International Marathon 2009

Collected my number tag 22 on Friday afternoon, and feeling the pre-race adrenalin building up already. I will be easy to spot as it's unlikely that there will be another barefoot and shirt-less runner around.

Saw Ripley and TeeLee at the stadium before the start and said hello to them.

I just went to hell and came back, so it's going to be a little short here. Left foot started to blister at 12 - 13km mark as I probably started too fast. Right knee starts to give way after 22km and bouts of walking began. As I approached 30km, I was hoping to board the ambulance and hitch a ride back, but somehow I did not. Strangely, the power-gel allowed me to make an attempt to simulate what looks like jogging during the last 8km. Finished officially 4:57:01.

Lessons learnt:-

1. As a newbie barefoot runner of less than 3 months, I am not ready to run the full marathon.

2. I did not train to run fast in shoes, and the fact seems to magnify itself so much more while running barefoot as my entire legs gave way. Soles, joints and muscles took unimaginable punishment and I still can't believe I crossed the finish.

3. The long runs of 28 - 32km I did while shod was well, simply shod. It does not help that they were done 3 months ago too. I needed them barefoot and my longest barefoot run was 20km. 3 months was without long runs while I transitioned.

Will not attempt a full marathon again probably for at least one year. Though what I did was nothing spectacular, I feel I have earned the right to call myself a "barefoot marathon runner" finally. No running for awhile as I cannot even walk upright at the moment.

Week 11 of 12 (Borneo 09)


Total mileage: 51.8km in 5 days

Mon: 19km barefoot

Wed: 7.6km { 800m up, 2.4km - 9:15, 1.6km - 6:24, 400m down, 2.4km BF - 10:28)

Fri: 9.1km barefoot

Sat: 9.1km barefoot

Sun: 7km barefoot

Started the week with a crazy run at 1330hrs, the furthest I have ever run barefoot under such warm conditions. Very sore feet and some small blisters just between my calluses on the balls of feet and toes. Glad I brought cash along for 2 cans of 100plus on the way back.

Decided to run the full marathon barefoot. Reasons: -
1. I don't have any shoes in decent condition to run the distance and don't see the point in buying a pair just for the race. Doing so is just another obstacle in transitioning ASAP.
2. I cannot get a pair of KSO's on time and just as well. Minimalist footwear will just hamper my transitioning.
3. Trying to kill myself by hoping to run 3:00 in shoes so soon does not do justice to why I run in the first place. I run because I have finally learnt to enjoy running. Running barefoot adds on to the joy and is an insurance policy that will probably allow me to continue running to a ripe old age.
4. I might or might not finish the race in a satisfactory time, but I strongly believe I will finish it running all the way. And if it takes me more than 4 hours to complete it, so be it.

Wish me luck.

Caught a cold again the second time in 2 weeks, so I have to watch my resistance level this week. But the good thing is I recovered within one day on both occasions. Running certainly has improved my body's ability to recover faster.

Uncommon Man


I choose not to be a common man. Me, it's my right to be uncommon if I can. I'll seek opportunity, not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen-humbled and dulled by having the state look after me. I want to take the calculated risk, to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed. I'll refuse to live from hand to mouth. I'll prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence. The thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of Utopia. I will never cower before any master nor bend to any friend. It is my heritage to stand erect, proud and unafraid, to think and act for myself and face the world boldly and say, "This I have done."[...]

Week 10 of 12 (Borneo 09)


Total mileage: 48.7km in 4 days

Mon: -

Tues: 19.6km barefoot

Wed: 11.2km barefoot

Thurs: Swim, Pull-ups, Sit-ups

Fri: 9.1km shod

Sat: 8.8km {800m up, 3 x 2.4km 5min intervals(9:16, 9:33, 9:45) 800m down.}

Caught a cold on Monday, left calf strain on Wednesday.

Barefoot 800m down on Saturday. Feeling good for a 4th sub 10min set, but decided to let go after 400m @ 1:25 as the calves felt tired and full of lactic acid.

I would say I have begun my tapering early with 3 weeks before the race due to a history of falling sick on race day when I was younger.

Week 9 of 12 (Borneo 09)


Total mileage: 85.2km in 5 days

Mon: 19.6km barefoot

Tues: 19.6km barefoot

Wed: 19.6km barefoot

Thurs: Pull ups, Abs, Swim

Fri: 11.4km [1.2km up, {4 x 2.4km (5min intervals) 10:12, 10:11, 9:50, 10:14}, 600m down]

Sat: 15km barefoot

Week 8 of 12 (Borneo 09)


Total mileage: 71.7km in 6 days

AM: 9.6km {4 x 2.4km(5mins interval) 10:20, 10:31, 10:23, 10:39}
PM: 10.5km barefoot

Tues: 10.5km barefoot

Wed: 7.2km {3 x 2.4km(5mins interval) 10:22, 10:31, 10:59!@#$}

Thurs: 11.2km barefoot

Fri: 8km {800m warm-up, 3 x 2.4km(5mins interval) 10:04, 10:08, 10:08}

Sat: 14.7km barefoot

Got to keep my intervals below 10:30 the next time round. Strong finishes for 10kms on Mon and Tues. Was overtaken by this thin caucasian guy on Tuesday and decided to follow him. Well, at least for quite awhile. When we were side by side for some time, he remarked "You are good!". I replied " You too!". 2mins later, my soles just could'nt take the speed anymore and I fell back. I reckon he should be of a 3hr marathon level.

Weak on Wednesday and feeling the strain on right calf and right quads due to racing with a stranger on Tuesday.

Managed to run on Saturday despite a stomach upset since Friday night, but did not want to push it. Overall a decent week and I am happy.

Week 7 of 12 (Borneo 09)


Total mileage: 72.4km in 5 days(1st totally barefoot week)

Mon: 11.2km(barefoot)

AM - 11.2km(barefoot)
PM - 10.5km(barefoot)

Wed: 16.8km(barefoot)

Thurs: 17.5km(barefoot)

Fri: Pull-ups / Swimming

Sat: 5.2km(barefoot) {2 x 2.4km(5min rest) - 10:25, 10:01. + 400m.}

No blisters this week, but soles are sore and on fire daily. Reluctantly took a break on Friday as I wanted to rid myself of the soreness on my left heel due to downhill running.

Had intended to do 6 x 2.4km(5min interval) on Saturday. Discovered a big bloody blister on one of my toes after the second run. The third run felt weird as I avoided gripping the ground with my toes, and I gave up after 400m. 7 blisters were spotted after the run, and a total of 9 visible after washing my feet around the toes region. This was totally unexpected as I had been running on asphalt for almost 7 weeks and this was just rubber.

Lessons learnt:

1. Running on asphalt slowly and gently did not condition the skin at my toes region to withstand faster running. Simply put, my toes 'sux'!

2. The 2 x 2.4km done at 10:25 and 10:01 was with minimum effort and gave me a good gauge of my current fitness level. It was unfortunate that I was unable to complete at least 6 sets.

Week 6 of 12 (Borneo 09)


Total mileage: 25km(2 days)

Mon: Rest

Tues: Swim

Wed: 14.7km barefoot (hilly asphalt)

Thurs: Swim

Fri: Swim / 10.5km barefoot (hilly asphalt) / Swim

Sat: Swim

Sun: Mt. Kinabalu Recce

Recovering well from the swelling on my right foot, and recovered full movement by Wednesday though there was some minor swelling and ache still.

Sun: Had initially planned to to ascend to laban rata at 6km+. Slipped on shoes within several hundred metres, made a u-turn @ 2km instead. Enjoyed the rest of my walk barefooted again.

Lessons learnt:-

a) Not withstanding the fact that I am new to barefooting, the terrain is uneven, full of sharp stones and a tough hell of a mountain. Don't expect a good timing if you were to do it barefooted; doing so in itself is already achieving a great feat.

b) My ears hurt terribly from the pressure once above 1.5km with 7km more ascending to the peak. Major acclimatization problem.

c) My fitness level now probably allows me to run moderately long distances on flat terrain comfortably. I lack alot of the strength that is required for hill/ skyrunning.

Full recovery from the pain in my right foot, praise the Lord! I want to enjoy my running as much as I should, and I plan to jolly well do that for the next 4 weeks before tapering instead of pressuring myself. It does not matter how fast I run this race, it's more about how much I enjoy running fast. If not I will still plod on with the biggest smile.

Week 5 of 12 (Borneo 09)


Total mileage: 60km in 5 days

Mon: Rest

Tue PM: 12.6km barefoot(asphalt, hilly)

Wed PM: 20km

Thurs PM: 12.6km barefoot(asphalt, hilly)

Fri PM: 10.7km barefoot(asphalt, hilly)

Sat PM: 4.1km barefoot

Calves aching from Saturdays' hills, so no running on Monday.

The thing about downhill running is that your toes tend to try and grip the ground, resulting in abit of torn skin on a toe.

Ran in the pouring rain on Thursday, just love it. Feet are fine and good for Friday, transitioning very well.

Stopped short of completing my barefoot run on Saturday due to sore skin and a blood blister.
Could be due to a couple of reasons:
1. Skin still sore from 2 consecutive days of running.
2. Afternoon asphalt was too hot at certain areas.
3. Too much reliance on right forefoot as I just cut a thick piece of blistered skin off the heel.

Decided not to add another shod run to make a decent weekly mileage as the top of my right foot has been aching/swelling for a few days and seems bad.

Week 4 of 12 (Borneo 09)


Total Mileage: 109km in 5 days

AM: 20km barefoot
PM: 7km (1 warm-up, 6 steady)

AM: 4km fartlek
PM: 20km (7.5slow, 5fast, 7.5slow)

PM: 20km (12 fartlek, 8slow)

PM: 28km (21km hilly)


10km barefoot (Hilly, 3km steep)

Starting the week strong with my longest barefoot run yet, with some minor consequences though at the soles. Legs feeling good and well rested, ready for some good speed sessions again.

Am also toying with the idea of running my first barefoot marathon a little sooner than planned after being inspired by BarefootJulian, a sub 3 hour barefoot marathoner who completed his first barefoot 42.195 in 2:55 after 3 months of barefoot running.

Thursday's run reminded me of my first LSD 4 months ago . 21km was 10 x 2.1km around a hilly asphalt course. Back then on my 9th round, my knees felt like they were going to break. Got the usual black toenail from the downslopes but I must say this run was a breeze compared to several months ago.

Decided to add another rest day on Friday as I will be hitting those steep inclines again. Yes, those hills that destroyed me for almost an entire week. And barefoot this time round, so quantity would be subjective as this is my first trail run barefoot.

Good barefooting on Saturday. Did only half of the steep inclines compared to 2 weeks ago. Being well rested and probably due to some slight improvement, I should ready for another fantastic week ahead. Moderate mileage this week, but a well balanced one.

Week 3 of 12 (Borneo 09)


Total mileage: 40km in 2 days

Thurs: 20km slow
Fri: 20km faster than slow

Was down and out since last Saturday's hill running for 4 days. Basically almost every muscle and joint ached in the legs, especially the quadriceps and the knees.

Only 30mins of barefoot running on warm asphalt on Thursday. Was glad I stopped short of the initial plan of 1 hour, as the heat and rough surface is a good formula for blisters. Trying to walk barefooted whenever I step out of home.

Was asked by my hill running friend for another session on Saturday but I politely declined. The hills will do more damage than help for my marathon preparation. But I am very sure I will be back regularly to tackle those steep slopes after my marathon; will need them to become a more balanced runner.

No training on Saturday for me, a long weekend rest. Planning on coming back in full force on Monday.

Week 2 of 12 (Borneo 09)


Total mileage: 149km in 6 days

Mon - Fri
AM: 7km barefoot
PM: 20km

Sat - Hill runs around 8km, total - 14km

About time I increased mileage. Feeling tired but great in general, getting thinner each time I look in the mirror. Maybe it's my mind playing tricks on me.

Thurs PM: 7km fast, 13km slow.
Although joints felt the increased mileage, legs seem to be getting stronger.

Fri AM: Getting used to barefooting, steady pace.

Sat AM: Met up with a new friend for some steep hills. Never thought downhills could be so hard, he was pretty impressive. This certainly adds a new dimension to my workouts. If I do this often enough, I think I might even surprise myself for the marathon. Had initial planned to run around 160km for this week, but the downhills totally annihilated me. Good progress so far.

With regards to barefooting, I can feel the ankles getting stronger. This protected me from a sprain many times when I stepped on uneven ground.

Week 1 of 12 (Borneo International Marathon 2009)


Total Mileage : 112km in 6 days ( incl 24.3km barefoot)

Did some 1km intervals on Saturday. Was feeling fairly strong throughout and did some varied paced running at times during the week.