‘Coffins Progressing to Barefoot’

Is it possible to run mid-foot in the squat/scoot wearing ‘coffins’? In a word, yes. Is it easy & practical? In a word, NO. The biggest problem is that ‘coffins’ weigh too much. The other problem is they’re heel-dominant. Thus, as your body is trying to work vs. gravity to prevent ‘pounding’, the ‘coffins’ are contributing to the downward ‘pounding’ & deadening of the feet. In other words, get the hell out of the ‘coffins’ immediately. Progress as follows:

* run your finger lightly along the sole of your ‘coffin’ whilst wearing it

* do the same thing with only your sock on

* then, do the same thing barefoot

What do you notice? Make note of the sensory difference & discover what this means re: your running safely & efficiently.

There is nothing to replace the sensation of the neurons of the feet firing in sequence whilst caressing Mother Earth barefoot. Gradually, work your way out of the coffins into a zero heel-drop shoe then to the Tarahumara Sandals then the Vibram FFs then barefoot. Not everyone needs to go this route BUT most probably should…to be on the safe side. Personally, I simply went barefoot & then adapted tot he Canadian winter as needed re: protective foot wear (Nike Frees, Vibram FFs). The difference going BACK from barefoot to ANY kind of running footwear is dramatic.  You immediately lose all sensory feedback, muscle firing from the feet to the calves etc., balance over your centre of gravity & the protective instinct of your mind over your body.

First, strengthen your feet off-road by doing all of your drills barefoot. You don’t need a fancy gym for this. Second, gradually build up the skin by roughing it up on gravel &/or pavement before running on these surfaces barefoot. Third, once you feel that you can CARESS the surfaces, then start with a few 100 metres barefoot. Finally, with patience & gradual progressions, you will  get to the point of no ‘coffin’ return.

Contact the coach @ coach@naturalrunning.ca for the next barefoot running clinic in Port Credit, Ont., Canada. You can also book specific one-on-one training or group training with the coach.

coach jeff



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