April 24, 2011

Announcing Living Barefoot Coaching

I am super excited to announce the creation of Living Barefoot Coaching. It's taken a couple of weeks of intensive work but the Coaching website is now online with descriptions of the two types of clinics I am going to offer (to start with), a Coaching Calendar, and an online Registration for clinics. I even have an Introduction to Natural Running clinic already booked for the end of May! (Thank you Richelle and Tri It Multisport!)

I was thinking earlier this winter that I'd like to start teaching people how to run barefoot or with a natural stride but I didn't know where to start. Then I found out about the VIVOBAREFOOT Coaching Program and I got my answer. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to learn how to coach from "the world's best barefoot running coach" Lee Saxby. Now I can share my passion for barefoot/minimalist running to groups of people who are interested in learning how. I can't wait for May!

April 18, 2011

The Sweat Collective Workout #1

I have joined The Sweat Collective, an interactive community of bloggers, athletes, artists and those who recognize life is the ultimate endurance sport. The Collective is in support of Melanie Jones' RunWomanShow ENDURE, opening in New York City in July and coming to Alberta in August for a number of performance.

The first workout as part of The Sweat Collective is to share who you are and why you decided to be involved in the Collective. Therefore, this blog post is dedicated to my first Collective workout.

Who am I? The answer to that question is, to me, an existential quandary that depends on one's perspective. From the perspective of the writer of this blog and a member of The Sweat Collective, I am:
  • A runner
  • A barefooter
  • A minimalist shoe enthusiast
  • A soon-to-be natural running coach
  • A sharer of a passion for pain-free movement
  • A friend to the great and talented and inspiring Melanie Jones
Why did I decide to be involved in The Sweat Collective? Because it gives me yet another opportunity to share my passions for natural running as well as the joys and celebrations in pain-free activity. Because I want to share in the journey of ENDURE and learn how other people feel about enduring and endurance. Because I believe in Melanie's vision and want to support its inception into the world.

To learn more about The Sweat Collective and the ENDURE RunWomanShow, check out the Facebook page. You can also read more at Follow Your Bliss: about how ENDURE's team and the project grew exponentially from a simple idea, and The Courage to Cross a Zillion Start Lines: on everyday endurance and transitioning to natural running (and a humbling mention of me). #ENDURE

April 16, 2011

Running Two Days in a Row

It's not very often that I run two days in a row. I went for a run yesterday in the sunshine and today, well, see the picture below. We're having a bit of a spring blizzard at the moment, not cold, just snowy.

Me covered in melting snow after spring running

During yesterday's run, I had a bit of an epiphany: a faster cadence really is easier. My right foot was hurting a little about three quarters through my run. I thought it might have been from landing too hard. Then I thought if I had a slightly faster cadence, maybe it would land more softly. And it really did! My foot stopped hurting, my arms dropped, my back got even straighter, my knees lifted a little higher all from speeding up my cadence a little. I'm pretty sure my heart rate went up a bit but I don't really know because I don't run with a heart rate monitor anymore.

This morning, my calves and feet weren't as tired and tight as they usually are the day after a run so I thought I'd go again. Just a really short run, though. I tried the faster cadence the whole run and it went really well again. Very comfortable. And I tried Angie's breath trick: in in in out out out with my steps. I liked it when I read it and thought it was really easy with the higher cadence.

A note about cadence, I counted it a couple of times last year and it was always 84 BPM. When I tried to run at 90 BPM my heart rate shot up (that was when I did wear a heart rate monitor). At the time, I didn't think it was worth the higher cadence but now I think differently after yesterday's and today's experimenting.

I've read that a cadence of 90 BPM is the optimum turnover for maximum utilization of your body's own elastic capabilities. I'm certainly willing to keep trying to achieve 90 BPM to test if this works for me. After three years of running in minimalist shoes, there are still new things to learn. I CAN'T WAIT to learn from Lee Saxby next month in the VIVOBAREFOOT Training Clinic!

April 14, 2011

Spring Firsts

In the last couple of weeks I've done a few 'Spring Firsts' that I'd like to share and some realizations that came with them.

First Spring Barefoot Walk
  • Warm concrete is much more pleasant on the soles than cold concrete
  • Ice really is as cold as it looks to walk on
  • Pea gravel (the stuff they coat the roads with here when it snows) is NOT comfortable in the slightest
  • My already pansy feet got pansier over the winter (not surprising realization there)
  • I really can't wait for it to warm up here so I can go on more barefoot walks because, despite the above complaining, it felt WONDERFUL to be free of socks and shoes

First Spring Road Run

  • After several months of running completely barefoot on treadmills and the indoor track, my feet got wider AGAIN (my feet are now too wide to comfortably run in my VFF TrekSports :( )
  • The VIVOBAREFOOT Evos are the most comfortable road running shoes I own at the moment (they are the best at accommodating my newly wider feet)
  • I need to be careful running across pea gravel-strewn roads, they are really slippery
  • Running with wet feet in shoes is not as bad I thought it would be

First Spring Trail Run

  • It would be lovely to have a shoe as comfortable as the Evo with a little more traction.
  • Trail running is MUCH more fun than road running (not really a realization, just a reminder)
  • You get an incredible foot workout when running on trails in minimalist shoes (again, just a reminder)
  • Again, I can't wait for it to get warmer so I can enjoy some more (slightly drier) trail runs

It's nice to be reminded about how great warm, sunny weather is. I was reminded that it's spring by Angie Bee's latest blog post with flowers picked for her by her sons. I'm looking forward to spring flowers and warm weather. In case you're wondering why the lament, this is what I woke up to this morning:

Spring in Alberta

Thankfully it melts fast these days. The latest spring snow dump should be gone in a few days. Bring on the warm Alberta weather (it's fleeting but it does happen on occasion).

April 12, 2011

WOODWAY Treadmill Day

While in the process of writing my barefoot appropriate treadmill comparison review, I had the pleasure of spending several hours at Stenia Health & High Performance trying out their WOODWAY Curve and Desmo treadmills as well as chatting with the head coach and owner, Kelsey Andries. Kelsey was a fountain of information about her treadmills and a pleasure to talk with. I'm currently in the process of writing a WOODWAY treadmill specific review and the helpful information Kelsey shared with me. Stay tuned for the link to that review when it is finished. :)

The WOODWAYs were the first treadmills I tried out for the barefoot treadmill review. They also turned out to be the best. Hands down. No contest. The BEST! I liked running on both of them because of their total lack of temperature increase of the running surface and the ideal suspension. The Curve was my favourite though because the workout running on it was so hard. The non-motorized, curve design forces good form and mindful running because you always have to be aware of your driving your pace.

I could go on and on about the Curve and Desmo but I think I'll just share some pictures of them share the full-length review when it comes out on Living Barefoot.

WOODWAY Curve and Desmo
Curve Running Surface
Close-up Curve slat
Desmo Running Surface
Close-up Desmo slat

April 7, 2011

VIVOBAREFOOT Coaching Course

I'm super excited to share that I will be attending the first VIVOBAREFOOT Certified Coaching Course next month in New York. The instructor is international barefoot running expert Lee Saxby, who also hosted the 'Learn to Run Barefoot' video linked in the Resources section above. The course will be a week long and based on the eBook recently published by VIVOBAREFOOT called Proprioception - Making Sense of Barefoot Running.

And one of the best parts about going to the course, is I get to learn along side Barefoot Angie Bee! She's a true pioneer of barefoot running and an inspirational woman.

If you or your organization is interested in having an experienced and soon-to-be newly certified coach teach a seminar or class on barefoot/natural running, feel free to comment on this post to let me know.