My summer 2017 Natural Method Training (NMT) clinic began in mid June and wraps up on August 9. I have featured the programme in a few previous blogs but have not made the association with safe, efficient BAREFOOT running…until NOW! As you will notice in the photos below, running barefoot
over ALL types of terrain leads to better balance, focus and reactivity to Mother Nature’s energy. Thus, within my NMT clinic, I isolate drills that lock in safe, efficient and, ultimately, powerful running. The foundation remains my Squat-Scoot method of tight, light, compact, forward motion from mid-foot impact with minimal foot-to-ground contact.As you can see above from the shot of my barefoot running client, John, we do NOT simply run up and down hills. I find one that is rough-hewn, uneven and covered with thistles. Then, my clients run it backwards up and down, forward at increasing speed (barefoot and shod in minimalist footwear),
angled sideways up and down the hill, hopping on both legs and 1 leg only and doing the Sumo Squat up and downhill.
We normally finish with a full pace downhill on ultra-rough terrain to lock in a fast turnover and perfect balance – not easy!!!I also mix in upper body and core drills (using the ground, benches and dug up
trenches) randomly along with balancing drills with eyes closed to help brace against the downward pull of gravity when running.
This, of course, facilitates injury-free running whether barefoot (a few of my clients) or in minimalist footwear – Vibrams, Sockwas, Nike Frees, Xero Prios etc. (most of my clients). As you will notice, I use whatever is available in the bush or fields of Mother Nature (and MAN-made!).
I am a big believer in the importance of explosive power to help the body perfect my Squat-Scoot method of safe running. This includes using fences and benches to incorporate plyometrics (a slow progression to ensure safety) and anti-gravity squat jumps. These are most challenging but rewarding as they apply to the running action.
Further, my clinic members are taken through a series of drills over rough terrain, wood chips and soft, deep sand to activate the synergistic (support) running muscles to better guard against avoidable running injuries. The drills include 1-legged hopping, backwards weave running and forward weave running.
I most often also include 1-legged balancing drills with eyes opened and closed on rough surfaces to better lock in the bracing, squared-up body position so important for injury-free running and use of slides. ladders and beams to improve total body response whilst out of one’s comfort zone.
We finish with unlocking and Extensor Chain activation drills in the gym before calling it a night. Without exception, the team feel stronger, better balanced and prepared to run injury-free…BAREFOOT or OTHERWISE…after every session.
Go ahead and incorporate the Natural Method of Training into your running regime – and reap the rewards!!