I love running stairs. I seek out long, expansive outdoor staircases in the sun. I plug in the headphones and rock it for 30 minutes, followed by a plank and some stretches. My body is toast – and I love it.
I typically run stairs barefoot – when it’s a clean staircase that I’m running on – which has taught me the value of my toes. Whether you choose to run barefoot, in your Vibram FiveFingers, or another minimalist shoe that offers 5 toe pockets, you’ll value yours too.
Connect on each stair on what what I refer to as the “landing pad”: the metatarsal heads meet the phalanges (toes). It’s a mound under your big toe, and spans across the foot to the pinkie toe. When landing, allow all 5 toes to spread out – giving you a wide base to propel from. As you push off the landing pad, use your 5 toes as accessories – each little toe tip should push down into the step.
The connections are the same – bring your landing pad to the edge of the step, and wrap those little toes around and over the edge. Use your toe tips to “flick” the stair away.
- Begin slowly. The first time you hit a baseball, your goal was not a home run. Technique builds a solid foundation – add speed as you become proficient.
- Land without a sound. Without cushioning in your shoes, you need to keep your core engaged so that you are not pounding on the small fragile bones in your feet.
- Exhale and relax. Envision yourself floating up and down the stairs. Release any white knuckles.
- Progress properly. It’s smart to give yourself 2 days between stair climbing workouts initially, and progress to one day or rest between these bouts. Stretching on your rest days, and adding some trigger point therapy to sore calf muscles is a proactive and intelligent approach to keeping your body feeling strong.
This workout is another reminder that you don’t need fancy equipment or a gym membership. You don’t even need expensive athletic shoes! All you need is the willPower to make it happen. Just do it.