“With my decision to go unshod, I decided to do more research and find out about barefoot running and what that means. I interviewed many barefoot running coaches including Tina Dubois, but liked her style and the fact she was not trying to bleed me dry of my finances for her coaching.
I wasn’t sure about coaching from a distance, but it turned out very well. The coaching sessions done through Skype and communications via email worked out well. It’s worked out so well that I’m going to keep up with the coaching. My running has improved significantly: gone is the pain experienced in the glutes, IT band, knee etc… The temporary pain in the calves, shins, and feet were the adjustments my body was making to running barefoot and now have disappeared, and I feel comfortable with increasing my mileage and speed. Recovery is so much faster especially when I go barefoot and walk around.
I’ve thrown away all my conventional running shoes and find minimalist shoes to wear if I need to wear anything at all and go barefoot much of the time. At first I wasn’t so sure, but now I’m convinced. I listened to Tina and her words of wisdom and it’s paying off. The speed and times are coming back as I once had while running in conventional running shoes and it only seems to be getting better. I’m looking forward to my many marathons and ironman triathlons next year including trying my first ultra running race.” — Samantha Joseph (accomplished endurance runner including Boston Marathon Finisher), Ajax, ON, Canada
“Tina Dubois has transformed my experience of running. Before Tina, I was injured and missing essential coaching cues. “Listen to your body” just wasn’t working for me. Tina took me through a series of questions, conversations, and observations—the fundamental functions of a running coach—but she also went way beyond standard coaching practices. She assessed videos of me running and thoroughly educated me, using helpful cues that changed the way I think of running. She shared essential suggestions and insights that I haven’t heard in natural running workshops or read in books. Anyone who has a conversation with Tina quickly learns that she is incredibly smart, so dedicated to natural running, and committed to doing the best job educating her clients. She is trustworthy, informed and articulate, and I highly recommend her as a natural running coach.” — Caity McCardell, Oceano, CA, USA
“After many years of recreational running, I had to quit because my plantar fasciitis got too severe despite the closet full of orthotics I had been prescribed by doctors. Later I heard about the barefoot trend, and so I researched every fact, strengthened my feet, and started running again. I soon considered myself a knowledge expert with perfect running form. Not long after, I heard about Tina and arranged to have her analyze my ‘excellent technique’. Tina was immediately able to identify my flaws, correct them, and save me from inevitable injury down the road. Months after our session, I had some questions pop up and Tina again expertly set me on the right path. Tina was the best running investment I’ve ever made!” — Gary S., Calgary, AB, Canada
“Tina, in a word, was terrific. She met me at my needs. And superbly. Technically, she is top notch. Having studied running mechanics myself, everything she suggested and explained made complete sense. But where she really shines is in her ability as a coach. She sees what’s going on and if she’s not finding a way to have it make sense to you, she’ll try another way, and yet another until it’s clear to you (me) what the change should feel like. She has a deep technical tool kit, a patient and easy-going approach and a true passion about natural running that’s infectious. As for results, for the first time in almost 40 years, I’m running comfortably, smoothly and injury free – and I understand why. Had I known, I would have invested in a lesson with Tina long ago!” — Larry H., Calgary, AB, Canada
“My coaching session with Tina Dubois was informative, insightful, and beneficial. Her in-depth analysis of my running form literally left no stone unturned. Running form concepts were thoroughly explained and even demonstrated until it was clear that I understood. Tina’s coaching session is highly personalized to the individual. When she sees something that you need to work on, she hones in on it, and gets you to do repeated drills so you really feel what you should be doing. I had a number of “AHA!” moments during our session. My session with Tina was very valuable—she gave me the tools to be a better, more efficient runner, as well as how to be an injury-free runner!” — Julie Anderson, (multiple Ironman triathlon finisher), Crowsnest Pass, AB, Canada
“The exercises and techniques I learned from Coach Angie helped me greatly. Her teaching allowed me to reach new goals and I enjoy running even more than I already did thanks to proper form and fewer injuries. The stretches she recommends, the balance drills, and exercises all gave me the strength to maintain my newly improved form. I would recommend her as a coach to anyone interested in improving their running experience, barefoot or not. She teaches with a kind smile and she cares about reducing your injuries to help you love running as much as she does.” — Brooks L., Manhattan, KS, USA
“I was a heavy heel-striking, overstriding runner who wore orthotics and anti-pronation runners. With Tina’s coaching, I now run midfoot, have better posture, wear minimalist runners, and no longer require orthotics. Tina’s video assessment is so effective in showing how the proper technique transforms you into a fluid, effortless runner. I highly recommend Tina’s assessment and coaching. She helped transform me into an efficient, relaxed, natural runner.” — Esther O. Cochrane, AB, Canada
“Angie helped me quicken and lighten my stride by incorporating some barefoot drills with my regular running. This helped get rid of a nagging pain in my foot. Whether you intend to go full-barefoot or not, spending time with Angie will help you improve your stride!” — Dave M., Des Moines, IA, USA
“Tina’s instructions are very effective and easy to follow. She provides valuable insight into your running technique and means to change it. Tina is also very thorough. Since my coaching, I’ve been able to adapt to her technique on my own because she provides more than enough reference material. Whether you’re frequently injured or you just want to learn a more efficient way to run, I highly recommend giving Tina a call.” — Michael Kirby (ultramarathoner), Calgary, AB, Canada
“During the spring of 2011, while training for Ironman Wisconsin, I found myself unable to run due to excruciating pain in my left knee. After numerous training sessions ending in complete disaster and finding myself near a breaking point mentally, I thought that my season was over before it had even begun. A close friend and training partner recommended that I seek the counsel of Angie Bee Hotz, a local barefoot running coach. I had never explored barefoot running before and was unsure of how this was going to help my knee but at the same time had nothing to lose. I consulted with Angie for an hour session where she performed video analysis of my initial shod running form and eventually my unshod running form. The results achieved during that one hour were astonishing!
Within the one-hour consultation, that included instruction on barefoot running technique and a variety of supplemental barefoot running drills, I was transformed and my Ironman training was saved. I know how drastic this may sound and the fact is it was that drastic. I immediately began barefoot running around a quarter mile a day pain free and was gradually able to increase this distance weekly until I was back to normal training without any knee pain. Angie was able to teach me how to run like my body was meant to move and then it stopped screaming at me.
I continue to choose barefoot and minimalist running for the majority of my training and when I do decide to take a shod approach to training, I notice a huge difference in my running gait, style and efficiency. Barefoot running saved my triathlon career, made me a better runner, and reminded me why I love to run… It just feels good.” — Aryn F., (Ironman traithlete), IA, USA
“After one coaching session, with video analysis, there is obvious positive changes in my running alignment. Tina provides clear instructions for ongoing improvements and is passionate about experiencing the joy of running. Whether in shoes or barefoot, I’ll continue to use her coaching tips.” — Dave Gilbertson, Cochrane, AB, Canada
“Angie had me run while she videotaped me. Then she had me look at it. You could see that I was still heel striking. Angie took me through some exercises. She had a weight bar and I put that behind my neck and tried to do a squat without losing my balance. It was so I would eventually be able to do a squat and have my heels touch the ground without losing my balance. She also had me do some cadence work. She had a metronome and I was to keep my cadence up with it at 180 bpm. It is not as easy as it sounds. I tend to land on the outside of my feet and she was able to show that to me on the video. She than showed me where I should be landing on my foot. I should land on the forefoot between the big toe and the next toe than have a nice roll out to the rest of the foot and heel. She then had me doing some more running and she gave me pointers to work on.
Angie was great to work with. She is a wealth of information when it comes to running. I value her advice.” — Penny Frey, IA, USA
“I have been running for five years and really enjoy the sport. Unfortunately, about a year after I started running I developed serious plantar fasciitis. I tried orthotics and courses designed to modify my stride but I was unable to run without discomfort. My experience working with Tina has been very successful. Tina analyzed my running form and demonstated changes I could make to run more easily and efficiently; reducing the stress on my feet and legs. The one-on-one feedback, homework exercises, and follow-up runs have helped immensely, thanks Tina! I strongly recommend Tina’s program.” — Lana Ellis, Cochrane, AB, Canada
“Wow—what fantastic and practical information!! I can’t believe how your session improved our form and function almost immediately. You definitely have the wisdom, enthusiasm, and eager tips to set anyone up for running success. Thanks again!” — Catherine A., Cochrane, AB, Canada
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.