Feet first

This week at Up & Running we’re cranking out certificates for our awesome Summer 5K and 10K graduates while simultaneously preparing for September 2nd, when we kick off our Fall courses.

Many newcomers try and prepare for the beginning of the 5K course by doing some running on their own. I don’t discourage that, but there’s something better that you can do. Something that will help your running right away, that takes very little effort. And you don’t even have to move to do it!

Activate  your  feet.

My paws
My paws

More than aerobic conditioning, more than strong quads, you need to have strong feet and ankles. Most women wear constricting shoes for the better part of their work day, or worse, high heels. When they start running they have problems with shin fatigue or the achilles tendon because they’re just not used to using their feet in the same way you need to when you run.

This girl is rockin' it with that push off!
This girl is rockin’ it with that push off!

Most of us naturally knew how to use our feet properly when we were young. I mean, look at this sweet girl in the photo above; this was a fun kid’s run. No training, just go… and yet she has perfect form and is using her feet properly.

Try this!
Try this!

If you want to start running you have to begin from the foundation. The easiest and most convenient exercise I know of to condition your feet is The Stork. I push it on my athletes so much I have hundreds of photos of myself demonstrating it in different scenarios. If you want to give it a try here are the instructions:

  1. Take your shoes off
  2. Lift one foot off the floor and balance yourself on your other foot without putting the other foot down no matter what. If you feel yourself losing your balance HOP.
  3. For easier balance concentrate on your big toe and stare at one spot in front of you.

A beginners programme could be 10 x (30 seconds left foot/30 seconds right foot). As you progress length your time but keep the total to 10 minutes.

Also works as a quad stretch

You’ll feel your feet, ankles and hips at work. I usually hang onto one foot so that I’m not tempted to put in down for balance. When I do it this way it doubles as a quad stretch.

Rope for assistance
Rope for assistance

If you’re not able to grab your ankle you can use a rope or your pant leg for assistance. Or go back to the first photo as an example of just keeping it in the air. Just remember to hop around if you need to find your balance again rather than using your other foot.

We’re really looking forward to having a new group in September to share all our running secrets. They’ll be our final courses for 2013 – please come be a part of it!

  1. Anne
    I'm inspired to paint my toenails.....and to stork, of course.
  2. Pingback: Even crazy desert ultra runners do The Stork | Up & Running