Tonight's run (a theoretically easy 3 mile one) was a disaster. I was in a good frame of mind and I warmed up properly, but within five minutes of running I knew that something was wrong. It started in my achilles tendons (both of them) and then moved to my feet, ankles, calves, left hip, right glute - all of them ached and cramped and tightened and, in general, just hurt. Not all at the same time, mind you. If that had been the case, I would have sat down by the side of the road and waited for Bassman to come looking for me.
Instead, I tried slowing my pace down, I shortened my stride, I stopped and stretched, I walked...nothing helped. I did manage to finish the run, although describing what I was actually doing as 'running' probably contravenes the Trade Descriptions Act. I felt like crying by the time I got home. I've had no pain and even very little discomfort over the past couple of weeks, and I was starting to believe that I had moved on to a different stage of fitness. So what happened?
Thinking back over the day, I realised that my achilles tendons had been twingeing on and off since this morning. And why might that have been? Today was the first time in ages that I wore my very flat ballet-type Rocket Dogs, which are pretty much equivalent to going barefoot. In fact, I can't remember the last time that I wore footwear that didn't have at least a small heel to it - winter boots, biker boots (not the proper ones, the fashion ones), work shoes...all of them have heels.
Walking barefoot (or in very flat shoes) does put extra strain on the achilles tendons. So, if they were feeling aggravated by being stretched out more than usual, then that would go some way towards explaining why it felt during the run as though my ankles weren't bending. And that would have put strain on my calves, which would have put strain on my hip flexors...anyway, that's my explanation and I'm sticking to it.
I'm not unfit. I haven't over-trained. I'm just not cut out to wear sensible shoes.