Kesh Patel, EVO’s expert in a special interview to help you improve your running.

Do I need to be really fit to run?

In order to answer this question, it’s important to understand that running is a skill that we learned as young children, but have since forgotten as adults. Therefore, when trying to improve running, it’s important to first teach the skills of good posture, optimum cadence, and adequate relaxation. As these skills improve, muscular strength, endurance and cardiovascular fitness will also improve. Interestingly, many fit individuals will still have to improve their cardiovascular fitness in order to run with good technique.

So what do I need to focus on first?

As with almost every upright movement, running begins from the ground up. This means that having strong, mobile and elastic feet and ankles is the most important asset to improving running technique. Unfortunately, modern footwear and prolonged seated postures has largely resulted in weak, immobile and inelastic feet. Therefore, it’s important to restore function to the feet/ankles first – then develop good posture, cadence and relaxation.

With that in mind, is footwear important?

Absolutely! The best footwear is that which closely resembles the structure and function of a healthy foot – flexible with a wide toe-box, has good ground-feel (thin sole) and is flat (no heel) – these are called barefoot shoes. However, if your feet are not strong, elastic and mobile, and you have poor running technique – you can increase your risk of injury by running in a barefoot shoe. For the majority of individuals who want to improve their running, use of a minimal shoe (some cushioning but not much) will be a good starting point, alongside technique coaching.

What about going barefoot – will that improve my running?

In modern society, running barefoot is not always viable (or socially acceptable), due to adverse environmental conditions. Therefore, use of a suitable barefoot or minimal shoe will offer a safer alternative. However, the value of barefoot conditioning cannot be overstated, and for this reason, all of our running technique specialists will use barefoot training as part of a running technique program. As a general tip, the more time you spend standing and moving in bare feet, the stronger your feet will become!

What is EVO’s position?

At EVO, we consider running to be a fundamental movement skill that all humans should master. As small children, we ran skillfully. As adults, many have lost this ability. However, through proper barefoot conditioning and technique training, we can restore optimal structure and function from the ground up, which can positively impact not only running, but all movement. If you are serious about improving your running technique, contact an EVO running technique specialist, who will guide you through foot/ankle exercises, instruct you in proper running technique, and provide a progressive plan of improvement.