Minimalist Running Tips:
Strengthen your feet! You have to have a strong foundation to build a house. Feet should be super strong to absorb shock as they are meant to. You don’t need no stinkin’ shoes for that! 🙂 Some of my favorite exercises are toe walking, eccentric calf lowering(rise up over big toes on both feet for regular calf raise, change to single leg stance, slowly lower down on one leg), the Janda “Short Foot” exercise and golf ball toe grabs. Also, search YouTube for Minimalist Mondays videos, lots of good tips and drills. Sanatan Golden, DPT and barefoot running specialist with Therapeutic Associates in Portland is responsible for these wonderful videos along with a community outreach program also called Minimalist Mondays. Here is a link to the Minimalist Mondays Channel. And here is one of my favorite drills that he suggests, the calf raise 100’s:
When running, think about lining up your body. Straight strong back, slight forward trunk lean, tight abdominals, slight posterior pelvic tilt or neutral pelvis, knees bent upon landing for shock absorption, landing midfoot to forefoot , feet should land underneath your body and NOT out in front for shock absorption. Small steps, high cadence, take more steps than you think you need, lift your foot instead of pushing off (kick your butt). Legs should be spinning underneath you. Aim for 180-200 steps per minute. (To count your steps, count how many times your right foot comes off the ground in 20 seconds. Multiply that number by 3. Then multiply that number by 2 to include both feet in step count.) Here is a video of Sanatan Golden demonstrating perfect barefoot running form, in his Downhill Delight video:
Also, remember that when changing/improving your running form, it’s NOT going to be easy, it is a constant work in progress. It takes a long time to undo a lifetime of wearing funky shoes! Our feet just aren’t shaped like that!
The problem is, we’ve been so inundated with the idea that we need more support under our feet for so long, we’ve all developed these wimpy, weak feet. So the transition to barefoot running (style) has to be done with the proper knowledge and awareness to avoid an injury during the strengthening phase. Avoid “too much too soon syndrome.”