The MOST Important STRENGTH for ALL RUNNERS: (No more Orthotics or Flat Feet)

Join coach Eric Orton, author of THE COOL IMPOSSIBLE and World renown coach in Born To Run, as he discusses training, performing, and all things running. ---...

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Comment by Stan Chaplin on September 23, 2020 at 8:20pm


I threw out the orthodtics, got rid of all the clunky shoes, purchased Hattoris, and Kinvars, since I just didn't have any place to actually run barefoot. Of course this was the result of reading BTR. I'm strictly an Altra runner and wear mostly the Solstice and Kayenta, but also the Escalante, Duo, and Torin. I ran over 100 miles a week the last couple years and last summer begin having pain in my left Tibialis Posterior which either became or was a 1.5 cm tear in the tendon. My Podiatrist injected me with stem cell and put me in a walking boot for 3 weeks, after which he gave me an ankle brace for running. However he suggested orthotics, which he had custom made. The idea was to support the tendon to prevent a recurrence of the tear. I did start with the orthotic, and got rid of the brace as well as some compression things I have been wearing and am doing pretty well and getting back in the 100 mile/week. I also started the Rock & Roll VR series and did the !/2 marathon, 5, and 7.6 last weekend for the Philadelphia. 

I have/had been doing a lot of heal raises on my resistance slant board for strenghthing which I believe has helped. I purchased the kit from fREO and got everything the other day. I just watched the video, and I will follow your advice. It looks like I need to pick up some 2x6 ot 2x8 to support the slant board and wobble board and then get my balance going so I don't end up with another injury from falling (just joking).

I do love your insight and try to utilize your wisdom and coaching skilll. I will admit that all I want to do is go out and start running but realize the value of strengthing my feet, gluts and other things. I'm also focusing on speed work rather than just thinking about distance as a standard. That is a great value of the competion provided by programs such as the R & R VR.

Thanks again

Comment by Alli Clinton on September 15, 2020 at 10:13am

I struggled with plantar fasciitis on and off for years and thanks to your foot strength work, was able to kick it completely AND get rid of my orthotics that I used 100% of the time. The podiatrist told me to never walk barefoot and not wear flip flops because of the lack of support. Now with strong feet, I do both all the time. 

Comment by Eric Orton on September 12, 2020 at 9:22am

Thanks Robert for being such a steward of the Cool Impossible and great Courier of the message.

Keep running strong and bring on a new cool Impossible for 2021!

Comment by Robert Burpee on September 11, 2020 at 7:46pm

Hi everyone, I can attest to Eric's training messages and philosophies, as before I discovered Eric I had orthotics for every pair of shoes I owned from my work boots to my runners. I had very flat, weak feet and the only time I didn't have shoes on was either in bed or in the shower, I was even warned off running by the medical profession because I was constantly incapacitated with plantar fasciitis. Though I must admit I am not as strict as I could be and should use my slant board more than I do, what Eric has shown me has been a revelation and I have enjoyed injury free running for almost 10 years.                  It was very challenging for me to transition out of my orthotics and it took time, it seemed I was taking one step forward two steps back but if you persist with it and don't give up, the rewards will come. Now I don't use orthotics at all, my feet are healthier, stronger, I am no longer incapacitated with plantar fasciitis and my running is a constant source of pleasure, discovery and growth. 

Comment by Cindy Scott on September 11, 2020 at 5:43pm

Thanks so much Eric, yes , hilly Rocky Mountains, snowy but amazing. Bucket list, Jackson Hole, I have been practicing my hill works. 

I really appreciate you answering me. 


Comment by Eric Orton on September 11, 2020 at 5:28pm

Hi Cindy - Calgary that is right, forgot!  Someday I will get up to your mountains!

I would look at the Inov8 X Talon. These are a wonderful shoe with deep lugs for snow. They will not be great on hard surfaces, so very snow specific. Inov8 has a few different versions based on heel/toe drop and distance of your running. 

You might also look at the Salomon Sense pro 4. This is great shoe that could be a hybrid between dirt and snow. The lugs are not quite as deep as the Inov8.

I will also be getting the new Dynafit Sky Pro, which is a high top/zip up, for all conditions. It is pricey, but could be good for the mountains.  I have not used it yet, but love the Dynafit Feline Up Pro, which is the exact shoe minus the zip up covering.

Hope this helps.

Comment by Cindy Scott on September 11, 2020 at 5:02pm

Hi Eric,, I live in Calgary, so it can be very cold and since I have started your program, I am on the hills, Runuphill!! We have paths that are groomed as well but mostly I like the hills now in the park. I am a lighter woman and I have to watch my circulation , I can have that be a problem in my feet. Thanks Eric, for any names or ideas. 


Comment by Eric Orton on September 11, 2020 at 3:55pm

Hey Ken - Good to hear from you and yes, form and foot strength will have a profound effect on alignment because how we use our feet directly relate to how well we use our stabilizers and glute medius. If we have poor stabilization from poor form and poor foot, this will cause other areas of our body to compensate and therefore cause alignment issues.

I mainly see runners who over use their hip flexors, which then pulls on the back, causing a load of issues.

Hope this helps - E

Comment by Eric Orton on September 11, 2020 at 3:52pm

Hi Cindy - My shoe suggest for winter will be based on where you live and the type of snow/winter weather you have. Like will you be running on snow, or slush or wet roads. High humidity or dry and low??

Let me know and I can answer this better for you.

Comment by Cindy Scott on September 10, 2020 at 7:41pm

Hi Eric, you mentioned running with a less 'clunky' shoes, what are we looking for in a winter  runners? I don't want to fall and do not want to freeze my feet. After watching today's video on flat feet, I must say that my feet are a tad wider now that I have been following your running methods. I sure would like to get some miles in the new winter runners  before the snow flies. 

Thanks for making running a joy Efic, I am grateful! 


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