My name is Tina Dubois and I live in Alberta, Canada. I started running in 2000 in an effort to get fit and live a healthier lifestyle during my university years (where I completed a BSc in Genetics and an MSc in Neuroscience). What developed from my extracurricular exercise regime was a passion for finding the most efficient and pain-free form of running, and a desire to share this with runners who might be looking for the same things.
I have competed in numerous races including the Canadian Death Race, the Easter Seals 24-hour Relay, Melissa’s 10K Road Race, as well as some sprint triathlons and numerous 5 Peaks Trail Running Series. In the first few years of running, I suffered many of the typical runners’ injuries including plantar fasciitis, shin splints, knee pain, IT band strain, as well as hip and low back pain. For every injury, I would go to physiotherapy, be prescribed stretching and strengthening exercises, rest, recover, and eventually start running again. None of my health care practitioners ever suggested I improve my running form to keep from getting injured.
After suffering with running-related injuries for eight years, I thought that there had to be a better way to stay injury-free. I applied my research skills and amongst my reading discovered You Walk Wrong by Adam Sternbergh in the New York Times in May of 2008. Reading that article dramatically changed my life. It suggested that the pain I had been suffering might have been due to the conventional shoes I had been wearing with arch supports, hard soles, constrictive fit, and a raised heel, which had lead to weak feet and poor posture. That month, I bought my first pair of minimalist shoes.
Since reading that fateful article, I’ve become an advocate of healthy products for our feet as well as regaining strong feet and developing good posture. In 2009, I started writing this blog, then writing minimalist shoe reviews for Living Barefoot, which developed into co-hosting the Living Barefoot Show podcast with Al Gauthier. I researched barefoot and minimalist running, joined forums and discussions, and learned all I could about natural movement.
In 2010, I attended the All-Star Barefoot Running Clinic sponsored by Vibram FiveFingers in Boston, U.S.A., with presenters and coaches Corrado Giambalvo (an Italian track coach who advocates the benefits of barefoot and minimalist training), Christopher McDougall (author of Born to Run, the inspirational tale of the Tarahumara, the Copper Canyon Marathon, and arguably the impetus of the current ‘barefoot revolution’), and Dr. Daniel Lieberman (Harvard University evolutionary biologist whose influential Nature paper on running foot-strike patterns changed the world of running). This inspired me to learn more about natural running form and how to share it with others.
In 2011, I attended the first VIVOBAREFOOT Coaching Program, instructed by the world renowned biomechanist and barefoot running coach Lee Saxby, and endorsed by Dr. Daniel Lieberman. The coaching program gave me the skills to achieve and coach the most biomechanically efficient form of running, the proper techniques to diagnose and correct running form, and underwent extensive training in biomechanics to comprehend the physical and mental components of running. Upon completion of the course, I became the first Canadian VIVOBAREFOOT Certified Coach.
The biggest lessons I learned from the Coaching Program were that proprioception is key to learning proper biomechanics, running is a skill made up of micro-skills and motor skill milestones, and that once you learn the skills of running it doesn’t matter what you wear on your feet—it’s ALL about FORM. I started Natural Running Coaching to share my natural running knowledge and enthusiasm with other runners as well as endeavour to continue learning about coaching and achieving the best biomechanically correct form of running that we can achieve.
This blog includes stories about where I’ve been and what I’ve done with my minimalist shoes, reviews of the shoes I wear, race reports of races I’ve completed while wearing them, and hopefully be somewhere that I can share my minimalist footwear and natural running findings with websites, products, and blogs from other writers and bloggers.