I have been running intermittantly for 15 years, keep getting injuries.  Have gone through dozens of "stability shoes" and finally had the eureka that it is my style, not the shoes or my "pronation", etc.  I am a heel striker, way out in front.  Admit "Born to Run" helped convince me. 


Question is, what is the best way to start re-inventing my running, other than just hopping on a treadmill in more reasonable shoes without such a big heel and trying to correct my center of gravity, foot strike and all that?  Little hesitant about ditching the shoes all-together to learn, but if this is what it takes, then will do it. 


I love running more than any other exercise despite all of the knee pain I have suffered all these years and just want to be able to go RUN and worry only about how tired I am.


Any advice helpful.  Happy to come to Jackson for a few days if you can help me, just want to run pain free (or even just minimal pain).

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I am a massage therapist, personal trainer, and barefoot running coach in Austin, TX.  I specialize in chronic pain and injury management utilizing deep tissue massage and corrective exercise.  

The number one place I would suggest starting your running program is through soft tissue therapy.  Hiring a well qualified and experienced therapist that specializes in manual therapy of the fascia, such as myofascial release and trigger point therapy would be well worth the investment.  I have treated many people with complaints of knee pain when they run or walk with great success.  They are usually pain free within 4-10 sessions.  

You can get started on soft tissue therapy by doing it yourself with self myofascial release and self trigger point therapy using simple tools such as a foam roller and a ball.  If used every day, it will change the way you manage pain, and will change your life.  

Following up massage with a full body flexibility program is also of vital importance.  

The next place to start is training the foot, ankle, and hip for mobility, stability, and endurance.  The musculature of the lower leg, namely calf and intrinsic musculature that makes up the arch of the foot do not get full activation in most shoes.  Because of this, they become weakened and atrophied, and are unable to support the rest of the body.  Shoes also change the bio-mechanical nature of the hips and shoulders as well.  Regardless of the type of shoes you wear, or the style of running you decide to take up, training your body to absorb the constant pounding (not a bad thing by the way) of running is paramount.  

My last piece of advice for now is RUN PAIN FREE.  If it hurts... STOP!  Get on the roller and massage then stretch.  Take it slow and listen to your body.  

If you have any further questions, feel free to contact me.

Good Luck,

Jesse James Retherford


Why a treadmill? That's no fun.

I too am a heel striker.  I started running 3.5 years ago.  I was dealing with shin splints and such.  During injury and 3 weeks off running I found "chi running" (much the same, forefoot strike, all that).  When I started running again I had to start barefoot.  I only ran 1/4 mile barefoot and would then really concentrate on maintaining that same form while in my shoes. 

Its been 3 years since that time.  After seeing pictures at the finish line of a certain race, I still heel strike.  UGH!  LOL  I thought I wasn't.   So back to barefoot running more.

The key to the barefoot thing, for me, was I only heel strike ONCE bare foot!  It hurts so I don't do it again!! 

I just found this web site after listening to Eric on Ultra Runner Podcast.  I'm hoping learning to do the strengthening exercises and drills will help me get my form right.  I also purchased the DVD's on Amazon to help me get started.


Good luck!




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