Shoes and running technique

Some shoes are better at promoting an efficient running technique thus reducing impact and injuries. When it comes to running easier and injury-free, we here at Wholistic Running believe learning proper running form is essential and the correct shoes can help promote efficient technique.

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To help you get started, here are some tips for choosing shoes that promote a healthier way of moving.  Most shoes have an elevated heel which promotes a heel strike (think high impact).  We recommend shoes with ‘zero-drop’.  A zero-drop shoe encourages a full foot landing.  A full foot landing has been proven to reduce impact in several studies (2010, 2011). Zero-drop shoes also promote correct posture and alignment as well as engagement of the core when we stand, walk and run.

Altra shoes are zero-drop and have another benefit, a wide toe box:

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Remember, to most effectively reduce and recover from injuries as well as run easier, learning efficient running technique is essential and the right shoes can help. I teach efficient technique because it is the easiest and the most effective way to run efficiently (farther, faster, injury-free).

-Damian Stoy is a professional ultra marathon runner, founder of Wholistic Running, biomechanics specialist, running coach and has been injury-free for over 10 years.

To receive more tips from Damian, sign up for our free emails HERE.

Online Running Video Analysis

No matter where you live, you can run better, easier and pain-free with Damian’s expertise.  Online video analysis is easy for you and very effective!  You can run injury-free with increased performance with Damian’s expert advice.  As a running biomechanics specialist, respected coach, certified Chi Running instructor and elite runner, he has helped hundreds of runners reach their goals.  Every level of runner benefits from Damian’s online running analysis.

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What is Online Running Analysis?

  • Submit a 30 second – one minute video of you running.
  • Damian analyzes your running biomechanics using the latest athlete analysis software including super slow-motion, grids and postural alignment lines to see exactly how he can improve your running technique.
  • Damian then provides you a comprehensive technique improvement plan with easy to do lessons, tips and other suggestions that will greatly improve your running.
  • Damian provides in-depth answers to any questions you may have regarding running technique, injuries, nutrition, racing and performance.
  • Before and after video comparison is free of charge and recommended.

Cost:  $75      Pay here

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FAQ’s

Is it easy to send videos?  

Yes, it is very simple.  Send a video of you running using your phone or camera.  Video clips from both the side and the front are beneficial.  Run your normal pace.  Then email the file to Damian at wholisticrunning@gmail.com

What results does Damian get for runners?

Read some of his testimonials HERE

Can I see before and after comparisons of myself running?

Yes, this is included for free.

Do I video myself on a treadmill?

If you need to you can.  However, the reason why Damian is so effective is that he provides expert advice that stands out and actually works.  Video of you running on the ground is much more accurate than on a treadmill.

What technique tips does Damian give?

This depends on each individual and what will benefit you specifically.  The tips are easy to do but have tremendous benefits.

What are Damian’s qualifications and expertise?

Damian is a biomechanics specialist, respected coach, certified Chi Running instructor and accomplished runner.  Hundreds of runners have benefited from his expertise and many years of experience.

More questions?

Email Damian at wholisticrunning@gmail.com

Wholistic Running and Yoga

Wholistic Running and yoga are perfect complements to each other. Both strengthen body and mind and create balance with basic exercises and relaxation techniques. By bringing attention to correct postural alignment and body awareness, they also reduce injuries and help you move with more ease and greater joy.

Wholistic Running and yoga help calm and strengthen the mind bringing greater awareness to the body, which will translate off the mat and onto the trail or road.  When the mind is calm and you are in the present moment, a meditative state occurs. This increases joy, clarity and purpose. When muscles are released and the core engaged, you will perform better and longer. Learning how to let go, culminate peace and move effortlessly will allow you to live an active lifestyle with greater happiness and optimal health.

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— Damian Stoy is founder of Wholistic Running, professional runner, renowned coach and yogi

 Read about many more benefits of yoga for runners in a previous POST.

Must Read Books for Runners

Damian Stoy is a professional ultra runner, coach and founder of Wholistic Running. He has been injury-free for over 10 years using his methods. Here are his must read books. Read his bio and race results as well.

Eat & RunScott Jurek is one of the world’s greatest athletes. He is 7-time winner of the Western States 100 and the U.S. record holder for the 24-hour run (165 miles). He is also vegan and explains why eating whole foods is most beneficial!  ‘Eat & Run’ will inspire and educate everyone.  Scott includes recipes and tips to help get you started on your path to greater health through running and eating.

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Marshall Ulrich ran 60 miles a day for 52 straight days in a record setting run across America at the age of 57.  I was fortunate enough to coach with him this Summer!  ‘Running on Empty’ is the story of his 3,063 mile run that will make you laugh, cry and want to start your own adventure.  Marshall has also won Badwater four times, is the only person to ever do a Badwater Quad and has climbed the highest summits on all 7 continents.

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thrive-book

Brendan Brazier, a professional Ironman triathlete, wrote ‘Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life’.  As an elite athlete, Brendan tried every diet out there.  He found eating a whole foods, vegan diet made him feel the best and perform optimally.  ‘Thrive’ is full of recipes, tips and reasons why eating a whole foods, vegan diet is the way to go for athletes and non-athletes.

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chirunning book

Danny Dreyer, founder of Chi Running, transformed the running world with his revolutionary technique and book.  Thousands of runners around the world are running with fewer injuries, more efficiency and greater joy.  The book is full of lessons and exercises to understanding the fundamentals of the Chi Running technique.

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born-to-run-cover

‘Born to Run’ changed the way we look at running. Humans are truly born to run, if we do it correctly. Christoper McDougall’s book includes incredible characters, amazing athletic achievements, cutting-edge science, and, most of all, inspiration. These amazing stories will motivate you to run simplier and with a deeper connection to your self and nature.

Race preparation

Here are some quick tips to help you have your best, most enjoyable race day experience.

Pre-Race

  • Hydrate well. Be sure to drink enough so that your urine is clear the entire week before the race.
  • Eat well.  Forget carbo-loading!  Don’t change your diet too much.  Eat healthy whole foods and keep it simple.  Humans have enough fat stored on us to run much farther than a marathon.  Check out my other blogs about specific performance enhancing foods.
  • Do not eat too much the morning of the race!  Before 50 and 100 milers, I eat a banana for breakfast and drink a coconut water and that’s it.
  • Rest:  The less you do the week before a race, the better!  Run very little and easy!

Race

  • Try to drink 8-20 oz./hour of water during a marathon depending on how hot it is.
  • For races half-marathons and shorter, I suggest not consuming any food or water.  You should be sufficiently prepared before the race and not playing catch up.
  • For marathons and longer, consume 140-200 calories/hour of easy to digest foods during the race.  Look for gels, drinks and carbohydrate dense foods.  This reduces the chance of ‘bonking’ at mile 20.  Minimize hard to digest foods!
  • Consume electrolytes during the race from quality sources.  Hammer Nutrition’s Endurolytes and Saltstick are two great options to use during the race.  I also pre-load a few days before the race by taking 3-5 a day.
  • Go slower than you think, especially at the start.  Use the first few miles to warm up.  A consistent pace is more enjoyable and usually faster than going out too quickly.
  • Focus on relaxing both mentally and physically.  Practice your  running technique and use positive affirmations and mantras such as “I am strong, I am light” to take your mind off of any discomfort or fatigue.

Post Race

  • Within 30 minutes of any run, consume 8-16 oz. of water and 200-300 calories of a high-quality recovery drink such as Recoverite or Shakeology.
  • A natural anti-inflammatory such as Tissue Rejuvenator will help reduce soreness and help you recover quicker.

Special Considerations

A common question I have been getting lately is how to have your best race if you feel under trained.  The most effective way is to breathe easier and slower by focusing on relaxation and running with an efficient technique.  Chi Running addresses both of these!  An efficient running technique will allow you to breath easier.  Allow yourself to be ‘pulled by gravity’ by leaning from the ankles (not the waist) to reduce effort.  Watch this video to learn how.  Be ok with going slower than you are used to.  Focus on having fun and forget about your time.  Chat with other runners, enjoy the scenery and stay in the present moment.

Use positive affirmations, mantras and breath work to reduce energy usage.  I suggest you don’t try to control or judge your breath.  Instead, watch it and allow yourself to breath easily and deeply.

Finally, after the race, be sure to eat foods high in anti-oxidants and cleansing foods to help reduce fatigue and soreness.  Fruit, veggies, wheatgrass, Tissue Rejuvenator and Chia seeds can help reduce inflammation and help your body heal quickly.

Most importantly, listen to your body.  Practice accepting the conditions, where you are at and enjoying the present moment.  By going slow and having fun, you may be surprised at how well you do!

–Daman Stoy, elite ultra marathon runner, founder of Wholistic Running and Certified Chi Running instructor

Previous posts:

Community, support, faith and losing my Self

My passion and love for running and community continues to grow!  I really enjoy racing for it encourages my Self-Realization.  For me, races aren’t about competition, time or winning.  They are about meeting new friends and deepening existing friendships, pushing my limits, breaking my boundaries, being inspired by others and doing what I love to do.  Racing is an exploration of my Self and this place we call home, Earth.  I am so grateful to the wonderful family of running friends I have and being able to run.

I recently ran Bozeman’s Run to the Pub Half-Marathon and didn’t have any goals other than to have push my boundaries and have fun.  And did I ever!  I had such a great time chatting with other runners, checking out goofy costumes, cheering runners on and enjoying a beautiful day!

I do have to admit, I was surprised at how fast I ran and how effortless it was.  The past five months I have run an average of 2-3 days a week.  By far, most of it at a 8-12 minute/mile pace with 1 day of speedwork in 5 months.  But somehow during the race, I ran over 13 miles at almost sub-6 minute pace finishing at 1:19:54.  I keep asking, “how is that possible?”.  I believe it is a result of my very efficient technique, relaxed mental state and overall health from eating well and practicing yoga.  Chi Running continues to amaze me!

Six days later I ran the Buffalo Run 50K on Antelope Island.  This gorgeous island is on the Great Salt Lake and has unique geology, plants and bison on it.  Not to mention being surrounded by water and magnificent, towering mountains all around.  My goals for this race were to have fun and again, push my limits.  I went into the race feeling ill prepared and under trained.  Running 20-35 miles a week for 5 months is not great preparation for a 50K.  But I relied on my efficient technique, mental strength and health to guide me along.

The few days prior to the race, I was having stomach issues.  I wasn’t able to eat much or as well as I would have liked.  The morning of the race wasn’t much better.  I didn’t eat much breakfast but hoped I could rely on Chi to sustain me during the race.  As we began to race, I had the privilege to run with many close friends.  Some from Bozeman, some from Wyoming and Utah and others from surrounding states.  We goofed around and I said awkward comments and bad jokes.  I loved it!  Running with friends is very special to me and we laughed and enjoyed the magic of another day on this beautiful planet.  I ran the first lap (about 16 miles) completely with two good friends.  We were feeling really strong that first lap.  About a mile into the second lap I started to pick up the pace relying on Chi, efficiency, gravity and relaxation.  I focused on less effort to go faster.  A strange concept for many but it really works.  Relaxation equates to speed.  After a mile, I took a wrong turn to hear a friend yell “wrong way” and was teased for my mistake.  My excuse:  “I was in the zone!”

I continued to push my limits and relax even more.  I found this deep place of peace and freedom.  After the second aid station, I proceeded to get lost once again but this time for real.  I took a wrong turn and ran up a ridge to find myself looking hundreds of feet down to the correct trail below.  I stopped to assess the situation, breath and prepare for the adrenaline and joy of bombing down the mountain.  I finally got back on track, losing about 5 or 8 minutes in the meantime.  I passed a few runners for a second time, each of them asking “what happened?”.  My response, “I was in the zone!”.  My poor excuse for not paying attention.

I continued to push the pace, running as fast as I could while relaxing.  I’m amazed at how effective this can be.  I began to have pretty severe stomach and digestion issues.  After mile 20, I wasn’t able to consume any calories or liquids.  This can have devastating consequences, especially considering the heat of the day.  75 and sunny, which for a Montanan in March feels like an oven.  I was able to sneak a couple Hammer Gels and luckily Endurolytes saved the day which prevented me from cramping.

I ended up finishing with a smile on my face and the lack of ability to walk straight because of severe low blood sugar and dehydration.   I asked the EMT’s to keep an eye on me so I didn’t pass out or get lost once again.  A little Mountain Dew fixed everything within minutes.  Totally gross but I was so out of it that it tasted like heaven in my mouth.

My second lap split was about exactly the same as my first lap, I actually sped up the second half since I got lost.  I was very happy about this and how well I ran.  I finished in 4 hours and 21 minutes for 4th place.  Not bad for a Montanan in March with very little training.  Chi Running continues to amaze me!

So really, what do I love about racing?  It’s the community, support and love that abounds at races.  Especially at ultramarathons.  Egos are checked at the door and we are grateful for doing what we love.  I suggest volunteering at or running an ultramarathon and I guarantee you will be inspired.  Over and over again actually!  I’ve run quite a few and continue to be amazed and inspired by the stories of others and seeing others overcome personal struggles, pain and mental boundaries.  I look forward to my next race, whatever it may be.

Previous posts:

Reduce fatigue, race faster and perform better

Damian Stoy is a professional ultra marathon runner, biomechanics specialist, respected coach and nutritional consultant.

You may believe that you need to train harder and very often to perform well.  However, I train infrequently and perform very well (see my race results) because I run smarter not harder and I use these tips I am sharing with you now.  Eating well and an efficient running technique can greatly reduce fatigue, improve your performance and make for a more enjoyable running experience.  

What causes fatigue when you run?

Energy inefficiency:   The most effective way to have a less fatigue when you run is to reduce energy expenditure. If we can run more efficiently, we can run faster and farther with less effort and more joy. Running can literally be easier.  An efficient running technique reduces energy expenditure and increases performance. Damian teaches efficient running technique for runners of all levels.  He also offers online coaching and online video analysis with individualized technique guidance plans..

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Oxygen debt:  Muscles require maximum oxygen to function optimally.  How do we increase our oxygen capacity?  One way is consuming adequate iron.  Iron, a component of hemoglobin, is what transports oxygen throughout the body.

Foods to consume daily for optimal iron levels in the blood:  chlorella, blackstrap molasses, dark leafy greens

Metabolic waste buildup:   Waste products build up in the muscles causing fatigue (i.e. lactic acid).  Having a healthy body pH is crucial for overall health but also to handle the excessive waste products accumulated during running.  An alkaline body will feel much less fatigued during a race than an acidic body.

  •        Alkalizing foods:  Fruits and vegetables, wheatgrass
  •        Acidifying foods:  Meat, excess protein, dairy, sugar, alcohol, coffee

Impact and stress on muscles:  Impact causes injury and fatigue during races.  Reducing impact is crucial for increased performance especially for longer distances but is helpful for all races.  The best way to minimize impact is an efficient, low impact running technique. 

Inflammation:  Excessive inflammation also causes fatigue.  We can reduce inflammation by going into a race with a ‘healthy’ inflammation response.  Consuming omega-3’s and other natural anti-inflammatories daily helps decrease inflammation during races.  I recommend flax oil and Tissue Rejuvenator daily.  High daily antioxidant levels as well as during a race reduces muscle damage and fatigue.  Incorporate goji berries, wheatgrass, fresh juices and lots of fruits and veggies for high levels of natural antioxidants.

Pre-Race:  I taper/rest 7-21 days before a race, depending on the specific race.  You can rarely rest too much but you can train too much before a race.  As I taper for a race, I also make sure I’m eating plenty of alkalizing foods including fruits and veggies.  I make sure to have sufficient electrolytes in my body by consuming Endurolytes for a few days before a race.

Race:  The morning of the race, I eat very little.  People are surprised to hear I eat a banana or two and that’s it before a 50 mile race.  I don’t want my digestive system taxed during the race.  If prepared properly, my body should have plenty of stored glycogen already.  Please be advised, I am pushing myself harder than the average runner and therefore am very picky.  Also, do not try any new food right before a race.

An easier and lower impact running and walking technique

Damian Stoy is a professional runner, coach & founder of Wholistic Running. He offers personalized Online Coaching and Injury Prevention Plans. Find out more HERE.

When you run, do you feel like water flowing down a mountainside?  Is it effortless, easy and peaceful?  Are you rarely or never injured?  I ask because running can be all the above and pain-free.

Think of the last time you rode a non-motorized scooter. To propel yourself forward, you would place your foot flatly underneath you and kick back.  Of course you wouldn’t reach your foot out in front of you with a straight leg, heel strike and then kick back to propel yourself.  It doesn’t work because an extended leg acts more like a brake. But this is exactly what I see most runners do. And when I say most, this MOST likely means you.

This is what I see most runners doing with their feet and legs and the same is exactly true when I see people walk!  The jamming impacts your knees and back and you are running as if you are constantly applying a brake instead of letting gravity do the work for you.  The only way to create movement is to push off with the back leg which wastes energy and causes fatigue.

So what exactly are most runners and walkers doing (think you)?  With their legs, they are reaching out in front of them.  They may or may not heel strike and usually land with a pretty straight leg and sometimes with a locked out knee.  This results in a lot of excessive impact (think of the jamming of the scooter) and needless running related injuries.  What is important is where the foot lands in relation to your hips or center of mass.

This is how many people run.  Notice the foot landing in front of the hips and heel strike creating excessive impact especially on the knees and back.

A more efficient, less impactful and more natural way to run is to have the feet land mid-foot and underneath the hips.  The faster you go, the more they will actually land behind your hips, same as when riding a scooter.

Proper running technique.  Notice how the feet land underneath or behind the hips just like how children run.

Please don’t think you accomplish this by thrusting the hips forward when you run.  You accomplish this by leaning slightly from the ankles with proper posture allowing the legs to open behind you.

I teach a very effective way for runners to easily learn how to run in a way that is more natural, reduces impact and therefore, reduces injuries.  Because you are using gravity instead of your own energy, you’ll also run more efficiently, easier and have more fun!

So much attention is being made about heel striking and how it is ‘bad’.  It is, but what is more important is where the foot lands in relation to the hips.  It is almost impossible to heel strike if your feet are landing underneath your hips.

For a more efficient, low impact way of running, try these quick tips: 

Have your feet land more underneath the hips.  You can accomplish this by having a shorter stride or higher cadence (steps per minute). Think smaller, shorter steps.  You will not lose speed because you can open up your stride behind you and relax to increase your stride length therefore your speed.  Also, with good posture and long spine, think of leaning from the ankles and letting gravity pull you forward.  The key is not leaning from the hips or head.  You may not get it right away and feel the difference at first, but ideally you will progress gradually.

Poor technique resulting in fatigue and injuries.  Don’t lean from the hips or neck.  Proper alignment, an engaged core and good posture is key.

Barefoot running can accomplish some of these goals.  But still, many people run poorly and have poor posture resulting in fatigue and injuries while barefoot running.  Also, I have some runners who come to me saying they have practiced running technique and it has made running more difficult.  The problem is that they are doing the technique incorrectly without knowing it.  This is why it is important to learn from an experienced teacher and runner.

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