I have been running barefoot or in minimalist footwear for 3 years or so now, and I when ever I see videos online teaching good running form I think to myself “yup that’s exactly how I run”. But until recently I had never actually seen myself run, so I thought it was about time I got some video analysis of my running to see if my form is quite as smooth and athletic as I imagine it to be. So last month I made the trip down to the VivoBarefoot Training clinic for their “learn the skills day”. In my opinion VivoBarefoot have the best online resources for Learning proper barefoot running form and transitioning to minimalist shoes so it made sense that its VivoBarefoot I would got to. (If you haven’t done already you should visit the online training clinic and download the FREE e-book) The day was broken down into 4 main parts.
- Education on barefoot running, why barefoot, comparison of running forms.
- Learning and practicing some exercises to help with form, “toga”, deep squats, and jumping/skipping to name a few
- Playing with the plantar pressure plate (A separate blog post will follow on this)
- Putting what we had learnt into action on the treadmill, to see how our form had improved.
On the treadmill we started with simply walking, and every now and again doing 4 jumps, something as simple as 4 quick jumps was surprisingly difficult on the moving treadmill, but once Ben gave me the cue to do it asif I was skipping (standing tall and using my bodys natural elasticity) suddenly it was a lot easier and we could move onto the running. As you run on the treadmill there is a Head up T.V display showing in real time the recording of you form the side, which is certainly a little surreal to begin with. However it gives instant feedback which is great, allowing you to see how straight your alignment is, how much your lifting your feet and make small adjustments until its how you want it. One of the guys decided he didn’t like it the feeling and closed his eyes. Bad idea. He slowed right down, and as you would when you can’t see where your going and fell off the back - luckily considering he couldn’t see it was quite an elegant dismount and he was still standing. The main things for me were to run tall, which once I saw myself on the screen in front I did almost immediately, beer fore hand I had an almost seated posture, the other was to have a less lazy trailing leg, with a more circular and faster movement, to get me to do this Ben (The coach) got me to do quick full circles with my heel coming very close too if not touching my backside. On both legs as well as on alternate legs 2 or 3 times in a row. Eventually I got it, it’s certainly feels like a more athletic movement and as if I am now running rather than shuffling along. "A long lazy trailing leg causes two undesirable outcomes:either it tilts the body forward or it allows the leading leg to travel too far forward, increasing the chances of a heel strike" - Lee Saxby
Below you can see a on parison of my new and old running form as well as the new me against the “skilled barefoot runner” from he VivoBarefoot app. New (left) Vs Old (right) Running Form
Me compare to lee saxby
There were also 6 or 7 others on the day all of whom made significant form improvements on the day, and all seemed very happy with the progress that they made. I would recommend the VivoBarefoot learn the skills day, to anybody with an interest in barefoot running or improving running form, especially if you’re currently experiencing problems / pain whilst running. But even if you can’t make it, or afford it. Get down to the local gym and get somebody to record you running on a treadmill, I think a good percentage will be not quite as smooth or athletic as you imagine yourself to be. You can then make tweaks or get the VivoBarefoot Coaches to asses your form on Facebook. A quick thank you to Ben le Vesconte and Nadine Horn the two coaches on the day. Nadine will be running the U.K from bottom to top, If you want to Get Invoiced check it out here Click here to book a place on the “Learn the skills of barefoot running” day in London.