It's Time to Come Out of the Closet

Now that all of the shoe company's are NOW claiming to be experts on barefoot running and making a good run form transition, many in the industry are asking me how my program differs.  Below is one of my recent email responses to this question.  See you on the Naked Tour - E

My approach is to build foot, leg, glute, core strength thru a potent strength program that can take as little as 5 minutes or up to 30 minutes several times per week based on the runners time frame.  The aim here is to strengthen the feet, which in turns creates strength up the leg, thru knee and glute stability, firing the core appropriately.  I also incorporate barefoot running as a way to continue developing foot/leg/glute strength and to help develop better form. These runs are done as recovery runs within the weekly program.  But what everyone is missing is how important it is to develop economy and efficiency.  This is the holy grail for running and improving, whether it be speed, injury, endurance, etc.  Improving strength and run form is just one part of this, as my programs really focus on economy and developing what I call speed-strength and this is done by executing run workouts: sprints, hills, strength intervals, strength endurance run, etc.  I design this based on HR and pacing zones, so the runner is always working within their ability, as most runners don’t run fast enough or slow enough – just somewhere in between.  So this not only improves their run fitness, but develops fat burning efficiency, raw speed improvements, and creates muscle equilibrium throughout the running gait so there is less muscular-skeletal breakdown when endurance or weekly volume is increased.  Most runners are taught to develop a base of long and slow miles FIRST, but I believe you need to develop strength and muscle integrity first and THEN build volume so each step is a “good” step.  If they build volume first without muscle integrity, every step is muscle break down – which was Chris’s problem.  Once I got him strong with appropriate run intensity training, he went from 90 min runs to 5 hours.  Most people never quit running because they are out of breath, they stop because something hurts….but most people take this to mean they should just shuffle or not work on speed-strength, just the opposite. 


All this dysfunction leads to improper muscle firing patterns that lead to issues, IT Band pain, tight hip flexor, PF, poor core and glute activity….my aim is to eliminate this dysfunction with proper form, strength, and run training.  OVERLY tight muscles are a sign of poor muscle firing patterns that lead to muscle overload dominance, which is why stretching may feel good but very rarely eliminates the tightness over time.

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Comment by Eric Orton on May 3, 2011 at 10:33am
Thanks Nadya - it was great meeting you in Asheville.  Thanks for coming - E
Comment by Nadya on May 3, 2011 at 9:44am
"If they build volume first without muscle integrity, every step is muscle break down" - this is so true, yet not many people talk about it. They talk about indurance, volume of running per week... and not about making the tools for it - muscle streangth! Thanks for this highlight!
Comment by Eric Orton on March 28, 2011 at 7:01pm
Hey paul - you will love the new DVD series then.  This will have much more foot strengthening work as well as leg and core - all in a series to build athleticism.  Should be launched in April - am hoping in the next week or so for the Naked Tour.
Comment by Paul J. Russell on March 28, 2011 at 2:55pm
When are those videos going on sale???  Thanks for your commitment on teaching form, strenght and muscle integrity on this site.  It is amazing to me that when I start to feel tightness your "core strength routine for runners" followed by a light run  will make my legs and back feel better! Tnanks again.
Comment by Brad Gantt on March 23, 2011 at 6:12pm
Right-on Eric!


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