Questions & Answers

Runner and Coach- new to Toe Salad

Hello! I'm a newly converted barefoot/chi runner who's very happy to have found this group. I also coach track and cross country at the University of Hartford in Hartford, CT. Using myself and my husband as guinea pigs, I am often trying new training techniques, nutrition, etc. We're currently using Phil Maffetone's MAF heart rate training as well as following the "Two Week Test" nutritionally. The MAF has worked great for me, and I am running faster at a lower heart rate. I'm not convinced on the low carbohydrate nutrition though! I already eat really healthy, and have found this to be a little extreme. 3 more days and then I will give a full report! :-) For those not familiar with Maffetone's work, he has great information on his website as well as in his books.

I look forward to learning from others, and hopefully contributing as well.


Answers and Replies


Nice to have you join us Kathy! When you say low carb, are you referring to the primal craze that is going on right now? I am not much of a fan myself...


The two week test that we followed is just a way of eliminating most carbohydrates (you still eat all the vegetables you want) in order to stabilize your insulin production and increase fat burning for fuel. It is like the "primal eating" in that you can eat a lot of meat and eggs and full fat dairy products. I am a vegetarian, so that proved to be a challenge. Although I didn't feel that I had many of the promised results such as increased energy, reduced weight, or clearer thinking... I did learn that I should try to incorporate more protein into my diet, that I need even less carbohydrate (in the form of grains) than I thought, and that eating frequent small meals is important for me. I also re-emphasized that I feel best and am happiest on a vegetarian, gluten free diet.

As a coach, I watch the young athletes eat so much processed food. I talk to them about it frequently, but I can't control what they eat all the time. Even when they THINK they are making healthy choices, they are often packaged granola bars or white flour crackers and bagels. It's very frustrating, and I was hoping to find a "tool" that I could implement to get them off of the processed carb. roller coaster. For some kids this might work, but it would be tough- particularly in a school cafeteria/pizza eating environment.

For the most part, I'm not a fan of primal eating either, except for the fact that we should avoid all packaged foods.



That is how I generally eat, and you are right- it works much better for me! This was an experiment- I wanted to experience how I felt for "research" purposes. :-)


Hi Kathy,

How long have you been Chi Running? I am always curious to see how people are combining the technique with bare-footing. I have been incorporating some barefoot and vibram runs into the week and have enjoyed it.

How are the high school athletes taking to it?


Hi Jeff-- I only began barefoot and chi running in October. This was after being diagnosed with severe arthritis and told that I probably should switch to walking and cycling. I do bike alot during the warmer weather, and I love it, but walking just wasn't enough for me. Living in New England, I needed an outdoor activity that I could do year round. I ski XC and snowshoe, but there's never consistant snow so you can plan on that as a form of regular training.

In October, after not running for several months, I started barefoot running on our turf soccer field. When I got to 25 min pain free (started with 5 min), I bought a pair of Vibrams and a pair of Saucony Kinvaras. Honestly, I have not run in the Vibrams or barefoot much because by November it was too cold. I run in Kinvaras or Newtons.

I coach college track and field and I have one kid on the team who trains almost exclusively barefoot in the warmer months. He's been very successful and by adapting his stride has improved significantly, now running 26 min for 5 mile races. He's hoping to break 16 min on the track this year in the 5K. I don't try to make drastic changes to my athletes form unless there's a problem (don't fix what isn't broken sort of theory) There are those that need help with their form and we talk about chi principles and get them in more minimal shoes, but there are others that are running 90 miles per week and sub 15 for 5K and really don't want to change anything. These athletes are already running properly for the most part, and call it chi or not, that's what they are doing. :-) Kathy

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