About Angie Bee Hotz
I am a mother to four sons and one of whom has autism. After the birth of my fourth son in 2008, I had a strong desire to move my body for stress relief, alone-time, and to burn off that baby weight. Running seemed the best way to do so. Running is an activity that takes care of many needs. It’s cheap and something that can be done right outside my door.
Running makes me a better person overall as it has a positive effect on all aspects of my life. It makes me a better mother, wife, coach, blogger, and friend. Through the process of listening to my feet I have applied that to the rest of my body and lifestyle.
I began barefoot running over two years ago after running in shoes was halted due to injuries. I found myself not being able to run over 5 miles without constant shin splints and chronic lower back pain that persisted even when I wasn’t running. My husband suggested I try barefoot running after I had decided I needed to buy yet another pair of supported, cushioned trainers. Something had to change. That same week, the book Born to Run by Christopher McDougall came out and I was the first patron to get the copy at my library. I read it in a day and was thoroughly inspired and ready to try something new.
I run barefoot with my husband and as a family we are barefoot during most all of our time. I think that my boys being barefoot will strengthen and teach their body how to move from the start and they won’t have to relearn how to run like I have had to do as an adult. Besides, I can barely get them to keep their shoes on anyways so why not just go with it!
In late spring of 2009, when I ditched my shoes, was the day my life changed and improved profoundly. I was able to run pain-free and believed that the miles were limitless. I ran and beat all of my shod race times barefoot including a barefoot marathon road race and even a barefoot marathon on a treadmill. In the spring of 2011, it became evident that I had hit a plateau and was no longer improving and refining my running skill even though I thought that barefoot was the only way to go. I was still having fun but not getting better at my sport.
At the VIVOBAREFOOT Coaching Program I attended in May of 2011, I learned from Lee Saxby how to run with good form regardless of what was on my feet. The day after the coaching course, I ran 32 miles in brand new shoes and had no pain, blisters, and next to zero recovery time all thanks to this new found running form.
I still prefer to run barefoot as I enjoy the sensation and freedom it brings, however, when I run in shoes due to the weather, terrain, or tired soles, I still enjoy myself and am able to maintain the same good form. Now I also have the skills to teach others how to run with good form and, in turn, reduce the incidence of injuries.
Running is about form. To me barefoot is the best way to find said form and practicing barefoot keeps it fresh in my mind but it’s not the only way. Now the miles really are limitless since I can incorporate minimal shoes into my toolbox for running. I have the freedom to run any distance, terrain, in any kind of weather, and not have to worry about my form being what stops me from reaching my goals.
Winter is a runner’s reality with its slippery surfaces and colder temperatures. Rather than lament the chilly time of year and long for spring to arrive, I choose to embrace the snowy and icy terrain and use it to work on improving my running form. There are so many aspects of good running form that winter can help us with; I’ll expand on a few of them here.
Flint has posted his third and final article on FlintLand‘s Natural Running Series called Natural Running Technique: Analysis. In this article, he shares his thoughts on the basic principles of Natural Running and the coaching he participated in at In-Sport Fashions, Inc. in Montreal. I love his ‘simple rule’ for running: “Run like a five-year-old. Smile. Breathe. Enjoy.”
Flint has posted his second article on FlintLand‘s Natural Running Series called The Natural Running Technique. In this article, he covers the basic principles behind Natural Running as well as shares his Before and After coaching videos and exercises we covered during the session. Feel free to ask questions in the comment section and Flint and I will reply to them as they come in.