Barefoot Workouts

May 18, 2016 Posted By: Barbara Mitchell

For as much as I love running, I also love other forms of working out. Maybe it’s because I’m a personal trainer. Or, maybe it’s because I know that other forms of exercise make me a stronger runner. Even though I’ve had some unfortunate injuries in the last few seasons, I continue to be able to race longer distances every year and improve my race times on repeat distances.

Here are three forms of physical activity that keep me strong between races:


Most bootcamp classes are a combination of cardio and body weight exercises. Classes range from 20 minutes to a full hour. Body weight workouts will help improve a runner’s form. Spending the last two years teaching bootcamp has made my core far stronger. Plus, improving strength in my chest, shoulders and back has made dramatic improvements to form in my upper body.

You don’t need to be a barefoot runner or use minimalist shoes to appreciate what a barefoot workout can do for you. Exercise classes like yoga, Pilates or barre can help to improve a runner’s ankle and foot strength. You can also improve flexibility and both of these benefits will help with injuries.  Plus, because these workouts focus on balance, you can identify muscles groups that are stronger on one side and weaker on the other. Spending this spring in yoga class helped me work on a strength imbalance in my hips. It was easy to pinpoint when I was holding poses standing on only one foot.

bootcamp - mt climber


Find some trees and rocks and a good incline and you’ll have yourself a great hiking workout. Hiking can help to strengthen your glutes and calves and can give you an intense cardio workout. I also recommend hiking as a workout for runners because it’s good mental training. Sometimes we can get very wrapped up in pace, always pushing for a faster time. Heading to a trail to walk instead of run can be an amazing escape from worrying about speed.

Remember that with any type of cross training, you’ll see the most benefit if you’re able to consistency and regularly practice these exercises. Just as one speed workout at the track doesn’t instantly make you a faster runner, one yoga class won’t make your ankles injury proof. Dedicate yourself to your non-running workouts and I promise you’ll be a stronger runner in the long term.

Hiking in Mizunos

Morgan bio Mizuno

Morgan Shuker is a personal trainer, owner of Wildly Fit and teaches women’s bootcamp in Toronto, ON.She found her love of running in recent years and is a big champion of the run-walk-run method. Morgan loves the track and the trail equally, but what she really loves is convincing her friends and clients to try running and racing for the first time.


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