With each passing week, especially over the past year, I have been getting phone calls and e-mails from injured runners desperate for help.
These are adults who are new to running, adults who are ‘veteran’ runners and parents of youngsters who WANT to run but get no specific coaching in school or at their track club as to HOW to run safely.
Interestingly, they want to know about the merits of running barefoot.
Almost without exception, those contacting me have developed what I call ‘avoidable itis’ running injuries. Without exception, they have been running in ‘coffins’ (standard running shoes) or minimalist footwear (which I call ‘mini-coffins’!). They have NOT been taught HOW to run safely and efficiently no matter what IS or ISN’T on their feet.
I finally felt it was time to put a blog out about the plethora of calls I get from people begging for solutions to their running injury challenges.
Here are a few examples of comments I receive:
“You are the 5th running coach that I’ve contacted BUT the 1st who has stressed the need to work one-on-one together.” (I know, this sounds unbelievable!)
“My daughter actually loves to run but gets no technical running advice at her school nor her track club.” (I know, just let the kids run!)
“My son gets injured (IT-Band pain, runner’s knee pain, foot & heel pain) at the start of every cross country running season. Please help him run injury-free.” (I know, they are only teachers or volunteers who do the ‘coaching’)
“I’ve tried going to minimalist shoes or barefoot; heck, even a combination of the two and still get all kinds of Achilles Tendon problems. Nobody seems to help me overcome this.”
These are but a few examples.
In virtually every case, I am able to shift the ‘injured’ runner to safe, efficient, injury-free running within 45 minutes to 1 hour of ‘face to face’ evaluation and training.
Even those too far away to meet with me personally benefit from my blog posts and social media interaction. From there, we fine tune technique, lock in muscle-memory, practice PERFECTLY on a regular basis and build to more powerful running. However, the essence of the shift is made within the 1st hour of our work together. My commitment to the Squat-Scoot style of mid-foot running and the 4 pillars of safe running (tight, light, compact, forward) makes the difference.
Running barefoot only reinforces the power of sensory feedback through the feet, proprioceptive firing from the feet through the whole body and muscle memory of the importance of total body bracing.
The youth in my current Team Over The Top clinic (ages 8 to 18) that is in Week 3 have already progressed to quiet, low, efficient running with NO injuries. They are running from 4 to 8 kilometres at sub-5 minutes per kilometre and we still have 6 weeks left in the clinic. Many are already going barefoot on the track and all of them run the drills barefoot in the gym and track infield…no injuries, no complaints, simply faster and technically better running.
To all the coaches, parents, runners, ‘coffin shoe’ companies…what I do is NOT rocket science. It IS science BUT any of you can transform into effective proponents of SAFE, INJURY-FREE running. You simply need to make the commitment!
Contact Coach Jeff for one-on-one, group or team coaching via firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, register for a current clinic via my website at www.naturalrunning.ca