When runners want to add quality to their training they usually run to the gym. They start out with the hardest and most complicated strength training exercises for “instant” results. It’s squats and lunges as if there were no tomorrow along with push-ups and pull-ups to aesthetically balance everything out. If you really want to change your running and save money on that gym membership you need to focus on another part of the body: your feet.
I can probably bet that on your typical day you get up in the morning and slide into a pair of house slippers. For work you choose a pair of sturdy and protective shoes to keep you comfortable for the whole day. If it’s ladies night out a pair of high heels will give you legs a lift whereas the gents can choose a pair of loafers. Lucky dudes! In other words, from the time you get up in the morning until you go back to bed your feet are always in a shoe. They protect your soles but at the same time they don’t allow your feet to move naturally. When we go out and run we’re not able to use our feet efficiently. Using your feet when run can improve your running like nothing else. The exercises for feet activation are really simple, you just need to be diligent and patient to get noticeable results.

• Go barefoot at home. Leave your house slippers in the closet and start walking barefoot at home. If you have hardwood or tile floors put on a pair of a wool or cotton socks. We floor heaters installed so we could go barefoot all year long!

• Practice the Stork daily. Balance is a skill that needs to be trained every day ... forever. Doing the Stork exercise will strengthen your feet and ankles which is important at any age no matter what you do. Start by taking off your shoes. Stand without support and raise your right foot off the ground while remaining balanced on the left foot. The first time start with just thirty seconds and then change feet. Repeat five times for a total of five minutes. Work up to one minute per foot five times (total of ten minutes). Click here to see a video of the Stork. It can be done at any time, even while watching television so you have no excuses!

• Simply pay attention to your feet. While your running (and only for a few seconds) concentrate on your feet. What are they doing? Do they make a thudding noise as you slam them on the pavement or do you quietly hum along? Can you feel where you land as you run? Do both feet move in the same way? This is the only exercise that you need (for now). Simply concentrating for a few seconds how you run and where you place your feet will create change. For the better.