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.

Free Running Technique Diagnostic

Do you wonder if you heel strike or have other inefficient biomechanics? Want to find out what may be causing your running injuries or pain? Want to learn how you can run faster and easier? A free running technique diagnosis from Damian Stoy, a biomechanics specialist, respected coach, certified running instructor and professional runner is exactly what you need.

Step 1:  ‘Like’ our Facebook post and leave a comment about why you enjoy running. Feel free to share the post as well which will ensure that you get your results quicker.

Step 2:  Email Damian a 30 second to 1 minute video of you running with side and front views.  Videos must be received by 4/14/14.  Email files to wholisticrunning@gmail.com

Step 3:  Damian will email your results and analysis including pictures and specific, detailed information about your running technique.

Questions about Online Video Analysis and how to send a video can be found HERE

Online Coaching

Are you training for an upcoming race?  Are you unsure how to train and prepare?  Would you like to be optimally prepared, stay healthy and have your best race ever?   Damian can help you achieve your goals no matter what level of runner you are.

Damian shares his vast experience as a sponsored elite racer to help you accomplish your goals while maximizing enjoyment and success.  He has coached with some of the greatest endurance runners ever and shares his expertise with all levels of runners. Damian can even help you achieve your goals of running a faster or longer distance race with his proven, easy to learn methods.  Believing in quality over quantity, Damian gets results for runners of all abilities.

  • Specific & Detailed Weekly Training Plans: Maximize training for your schedule
  • Technique Guidance Plan:  Run better, easier & pain-free
  • Pre-Race Planning: How to optimally prepare and perform well
  • Runner Specific Exercises:  6 simple exercises every runner needs
  • Optimal Nutrition: Recover faster and feel more energized
  • Efficient Technique Lessons: Easy to learn and designed specifically for you
  • Professional Expertise :  Specific tips for you to run your best
  • Online Video Analysis for runners all over the world

Read how Damian has helped so many runners here…

Online Coaching includes specific and detailed weekly training plans, online video analysis with comprehensive technique guidance, unlimited email communications and a weekly phone or Skype consultation.  Everything you need to perform your best is included.

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Monthly Package   Cost:  $250      Pay here

6 Months Package    Cost:   $950     Pay here

3 Months Package    Cost:  $500     Pay here

30 Min. Phone or Skype Consultations (included in packages)   Cost:  $50    Pay 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

Run easier, not harder

I’m here to share with you an approach to running that is very effective, enjoyable and has long term benefits.  The concept is to view running differently than you probably currently do.  I am suggesting you set a goal for running to be easier, not harder.  Do you view running as a workout or mundane, exhausting activity?  Keep reading because I want you to enjoy running as a life changing, effortless, soul satisfying journey.

You may be saying, “But I don’t want running to be difficult, it just is.”  I am here to say it doesn’t have to be that way!

Why do you run?  Maybe it is to stay in shape, lose weight or get a workout.  Do you have specific running goals?  To get faster, run a specific race or run farther.  Well, I’m sure you have been told and believe that in order to reach these goals and have specific results you need to run more, burn more calories, run faster, work harder and sweat more.  To be a better, faster runner you need to train more, train faster.  Well, this approach isn’t very effective, leads to burn out and it sure doesn’t sound fun.

There is an alternative approach that is more effective, fun and will have long term results.  Running can be effortless, fluid and enjoyable.

This is what I recommend.  Decide to transform running into an enjoyable experience, even a moving meditation, by changing a couple of simple things.  Choose a different purpose for why you run.  Maybe to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors.  Or because you love the feeling of movement.  The feeling of setting a goal and accomplishing it.  Maybe you can run for a good cause, a specific goal or higher purpose.  Or maybe just because you truly love to run.  I also suggest focusing on your technique, breath and the feeling of how you move. This can really transform running into a moving meditation and into a practice.  Instead of running being a mundane workout, it becomes a lifelong journey full of lessons, incredible benefits and pure enjoyment.

I also suggest giving up the watch, the GPS and heart rate monitors.  Skip the treadmill, the workouts and instead, head into the hills, mountains, woods and abundant beauty of Earth to play.

Instead of work, transform running into play by changing your mindset.  Many successful elite runners approach running this way.  Sure, they run very intensely.  But it is approached as a playful, challenging and rewarding gift.  Not painful work that has to get done which results in burn out and boredom.  Learn to love running by changing why and how you run.

Finally, I recommend finding out more about Wholistic Running and learning from a certified running instructor such as Damian.  Damian can teach you to run more efficiently so it is physically easier and transforming your running into an enjoyable meditation and not a painful workout.  You can learn to run more relaxed and effortlessly. Wholistic Running is easy to learn and the results are very rewarding and long lasting.

Sub-2:30 marathoner Dr. Mark Cucuzzella runs easier, not harder.  Check out         Natural Running Center

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:

An easier and lower impact running and walking technique

Damian Stoy is a professional runner, coach & founder of Wholistic Running. He offers 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. 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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Would you like running to be easier and more enjoyable?

I would like to share how you can transform your running so it is a more enjoyable and satisfying experience resulting in more benefits and greater happiness.  Running with a more efficient technique results in less effort and is the foundation to finding more joy in running.  Also, if you change how you approach running, it can be a more meditative, relaxing and effortless experience instead of just a workout or a way to stay in shape.  You still get the results you want but with more freedom, joy and energy gained.

Practicing a more natural and efficient technique has many benefits.  By bringing awareness to your physical body, you are more likely to be in the present moment.  And instead of thinking about your worries and stresses, you will be able to experience and find joy in this moment.  The present moment is truly a gift, for it is the only moment we have.  Also, running more efficiently is easier, obviously.  This alone makes running more enjoyable and fun.  I have found Wholistic Running to be the most effective way to run efficiently and naturally.

Why do you run?  Is it to stay in shape?  To get a workout?  I suggest letting go of those ideas.  Instead, run because you want to.  Because it is truly a gift to be able to use our physical bodies to move through space.  Run to get outside and see the beauty this world has to offer.  Run to say hello to other runners and smile because we are lucky to be able to do what we love.

Running can be a moving meditation with similar benefits to yoga and sitting meditation.  With mindful practice, remind yourself to bring your mind into the present moment.  You can do this by focusing on your form and the physical body as well as your breath.   I recommend just noticing the breath and not trying to control it.  If you are relaxed and efficient, your breath will be optimal.  Running can be more enjoyable by being aware of and appreciating the beauty of the places you run.  Appreciate the little things: seeing an old friend, the textures of trees, the smile of a child, the feel of the wind against your legs, the sound of your soft foot falls…

Remember, the choice is yours.  If you consciously allow running to be more enjoyable, you will open a door to allow running to be just that.  Focus on the physical body, technique and breath.  Allow your mind to find the present moment and give thanks for doing what you love.  Allow your spirit the freedom to enjoy this movement by giving up expectations, time, goals and just appreciate the movement and joy of what we are born to do.