With our Canadian winter showing no signs of letting up (-18C with cold, strong north-west winds and 1 metre of snow with ice) as I post this, my thoughts go to the off-road barefoot drills that help prepare you for actually running outdoors…BAREFOOT!
My Team Over The Top clinic members train in the gym once every 2 weeks and combine that with specific hill and flat road workouts during the alternate week. This gives them the opportunity to work barefoot whilst improving hill & flat terrain running within the same clinic. It’s the best of all worlds when winter is truly winter. Heck, my own barefoot running outdoors this winter has been essentially curtailed…I am fortunate to get out once or twice every 3 weeks. Hopefully, the frequency will increase as we head into February and March.
As far as my off-road barefoot running drills go, they are broken down into 4 components:
- core bracing
- strength endurance
- power endurance
This will be the 1st of a series of 4 blogs with the focus on BALANCE. By doing the following drills 3 to 5 times per week, you will improve barefoot balance that will translate directly into better centering (and safer movement) when road running – whether barefoot or shod. The drills are:
- 1-legged standing with knee bent to 45 degrees, hips square, weight centered over mid-foot. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds and repeat on other leg
- as above BUT with eyes closed. Try to hold steady for at least 15 seconds. Repeat on other leg
- 1-legged standing with a slow forward lean to parallel and hold for 30 to 60 seconds (Stork stand). Let arms reach toward floor. Return to upright and repeat on other leg
- 1-legged deep squat with raised leg behind body bent knee, arms held in proper running position. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds. Repeat on other leg. Hips MUST be kept square at all times
- 1-legged drop-downs from a step, bending the support knee to 90 degrees whilst keeping the hips square. 15 reps per leg
My runners do the circuit twice at least 3 times per week. You can add free weights to make the drills more difficult as you progress. Thus, do NOT let the severe winter conditions totally curtail your barefoot running/training. The above circuit will set the stage for my core bracing routine (see my next blog the week of February 5).