Can a Tenderfoot Run Barefoot?

February 11th, 2011

I often hear the following:

  • How do you toughen up your feet to walk/run on rough surfaces such as pavement and gravel?
  • I am such a tenderfoot that I can’t imagine running on the street or gravel, or in fact anything except a lawn or a beach.
  • My feet are really tender when walking outside barefoot.    I can’t imagine running when I can barely walk now.  Did this go away after a while?

The answer is that with time several things happen simultaneously:

  1. The pad on the ball of your foot will become thicker and denser (not callous, but soft and supple like a fine leather).
  2. All of the muscles, tendons and ligaments in your foot and lower leg will strengthen (NOTE: this takes time and cannot be rushed without causing injury).
  3. And, most importantly, you will learn to use the feedback from the nerves in your feet to develop a new light style of running with good form (upright posture, high cadence, forefoot strike, bent knees, light steps).

As it turns out, streets are easy and are probably the best place Read the rest of this entry »

Running Coach Lee Saxby Clinic

October 24th, 2010

Lee Saxby image courtesy of

Last Thusday evening Lee Saxby came by ZombieRunner in Palo Alto to give a running clinic, and I had the good fortune to hear about it and participate.  Lee resides in London, comes from a physical rehab therapist background, has solid knowledge in fitness, anatomy, physiology and biomechanics, and in working with Dr. Nicholas Romanov is now a Level IV Pose coach.  He was in  the US with Terra Plana shoes giving clinics and made an extra stop.

Lee’s normal process is to work with an individual for about an hour.  He videotapes them on a treadmill so he can watch them at 30 frames per second.  The human eye can not see everything going on at full speed.  Then with a few simple exercises and thoughts, he can get people headed on the road to better running, as long as they are prepared to listen.  Better means pain and injury free, more enjoyable, and potentially faster, although that is not the focus.  Since we were a group of about 10 and only had 2 hours, Lee picked one individual to videotape.  He then spent time going through his process and the methodology behind it.

Here are some of the points I took away from the clinic, Read the rest of this entry »