Natural Running Techniques and Tips

  • The goal of Dr. Hoopes’ “Natural Running Protocol” is NOT to make anyone into a marathon runner (who isn’t already one). It is to provide a single activity that combines and automatically balances/customizes the functional rehabilitation for a patient that can tolerate it.
  • Note: Patients engaging in this protocol should be thinking about running for a certain number of SECONDS and FEET (NOT minutes/hours nor miles).
  • The key is to run PERFECTLY and correctly for a very short distance/time. You will be surprised how sore you will be the next day after running such a short distance, when you have good form. This is because you have probably never used these muscles/bones in this way before and they will be getting a better workout in a much shorter time than ever before.
  • LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. If you’re sore, DO NOT RUN AGAIN until you are not sore. You need healing to outpace this new and purposeful injury so that you can tolerate the next stage of transition.
  • You can ignore your body’s protective pain signals for a long time. You cannot, however, choose the natural outcome after micro-damage outpaces healing rate, which is called injury (stress fracture or muscle/tendon/ligament tear). This is a standard program; any unusual circumstances noted by MD or therapist should be clarified and protocol modified as warranted.
  • Female runners: See this page for more information about what might be causing your injuries.

The videos in the next link below will help you evaluate if you are ready to begin running with correct form. If you transition too quickly you will set yourself up for injury. If done correctly injury rates have been shown to be lower than running with a typical heel-strike form. It is definitely worth the effort.

Learn the Skill of Movement (from Vivobarefoot website)

Evaluating and Preparing Yourself for Natural Running (by Mark Cucuzzella)

Good Form Running (by New Balance)

Be sure to see my page on:

Chronic Running Injuries and Natural Running Techniques