Small Spaces, BIG Results – Utilizing the TrueForm in Private Sports Performance Facilities

Lack of space doesn’t have to limit your run programming anymore.
Finding an indoor running solution for sports performance training that doesn’t alter the functionality of running, or that does not require large investment in space, are familiar problems for many sports performance trainers who are moving their training services to their own indoor location. Motorized treadmills are a solution, but often interfere with athletes’ natural running ability, and motorized treadmills are notorious for high maintenance costs. Large spaces are a solution too, but high cost of ownership is a common barrier for many sports performance trainers. Many settle for smaller spaces without treadmills, and opt to commute to a track and/or field for run training.
This model can certainly work for some, but there is no doubt that it requires a lot of time and resources to sustain.
Jaxson Appel, owner and coach, of Jaxson Appel Speed and Agility Training, was in this familiar dilemma as he and his wife, Courtney, began transitioning their sports performance business indoors to a small facility.
Knowing how vital running longer distances and durations is to all athletes that play on a field, court, or track, they had to find an indoor model that would support running above all other aspects of sports performance. They knew a section of indoor turf, a staple in modern day sports performance facilities, would not be enough.

They began looking into treadmills for their model, but chose only to consider curved non-motorized treadmills due to the functional impact it has on the user versus motorized treadmills. JASAT opened their doors almost a year ago, so I reached out to see how things were going. I was not surprised to get a reply that things were fantastic, and that TrueForms are excellent tools for his athletes to train on, so I dove a little deeper.
Me: "What vision did you have for using the TrueForm treadmills? Were they designed to be the cornerstone of your model?
Jaxson: "Originally, when I first bought them I envisioned using them for all of our longer sprint work to compensate for the lack of space we had. They were the first pieces of equipment I bought for the gym. So the gym was really built around them. Now, that we have them, we use them for so much more, gait analysis, self correction, data collection, and recovery!
Me: "We get that a lot, it’s way more than a treadmill if you know how to use it. How is the expansion of use that you have mentioned helping your athletes?"
Jaxson: "Our athletes are able to self correct so much faster, and they move through progressions much much faster. We give external cues to athletes based on what we see real time while they’re running, but in my opinion the real learning comes from the intrinsic feedback the TrueForms give to the athlete. To put it simply, if you do not strike the belt right, it won’t move, so athletes have to self correct and when they learn how to self correct the can continue to improve even when they are not in our gym"
Me: "Wow, that’s powerful stuff! A trainer’s nemesis is always what the athlete does after he or she leaves the gym, whether that be a pick-up game with friends, the next competition, or life in general. In that respect, having the learned behavior of self correcting translate from the treadmill to the ground is invaluable.
Me: "How is your model serving the other side of the equation…the coaching?"
Jaxson: "With the TrueForms we are able to analyze our athletes gait and movement patterns to identify any deficits they may have that could be contributing to a loss of efficiency/power/force production which all makes the athlete slower. When deficits are identified, we are able to alter that athlete’s programming to fix them."
Me: "Yes! Utilizing the TrueForm as a baseline screening tool and re-assessment tool throughout the progression of a program is spot on.
Me: "Do you think you could achieve the same level of success in programming with any other treadmill?"
Jaxson: "Absolutely not. The TrueForms are what our programming is built around. The success our athletes achieve would not happen on normal flat treadmills."

Me: "It’s very exciting for me to see the impact trainers and coaches are having on their athletes with the TrueForm Runner. I’m eager to see the all that JASAT has ahead. Thanks for your time and feedback Jaxson."
Here is snapshot of JASAT website listing some of the improvements athletes make in 30 days of their JASAT programming.

For more on JASAT’s sport performance check out their website here.

Training & Education Sponsorships: The Whiteboard Project & SEAL Future Fund

Some really cool projects underway here at TrueForm as we are currently supporting the badass humans of The Whiteboard Project and the SEAL Future Fund with access to TrueForm Runners, and orientations to our training & running education. Both organizations have a mission to positively impact the lives of military veterans who need help transitioning back to civilian life, especially in the arena of mental health support. In effort to raise funding and awareness for their campaigns, both groups have created adversity challenges for themselves to complete in the fall of 2018. Coincidently, each will involve running for up to 24 hours! The Whiteboard Project team will be running on TrueForm Runners locked inside of shipping containers with no light or biometric feedback – like a watch, heart monitor, or treadmill display. Three individuals will participate; John Witzig & Josh Chessman(founders of TWP), and brother in arms – Brian Chontosh of Crooked Butterfly. Each man will be in his own container for a 24 hours running as far as possible while night vision cameras capture and stream their efforts for viewers. The event, titled – Locked & Loaded 24HR, will benefit Soldier On, and take place in Canada’s capital city – Ottawa during the annual Army Run.
About a month after LL24HR, and over a thousand miles away in San Diego, CA, three Navy SEALs will attempt to complete the first event in the organization’s Specter Series: a 102 mile journey consisting of a two mile ocean swim and one hundred mile run in body armor over the span of 24 hours. TrueForm is not the only major brand behind Navy SEALs, Jonny, Moe, & Caleb support their training efforts; other include – WHOOP, Virginia High Performance, Concept2, Thrive Proactive Health, Sorinex, and more.
Earlier this month, part of the TrueForm team went down to meet the SEALs in Virginia Beach to introduce them to the application of the TrueForm Runner in their training, as well as, instructional sessions on heart rate training, foot strengthening, and properly fitting running shoes.

We are honored and stoked to be a part of the training solution for both of these groups, as well as, the treadmill of choice for the Locked & Loaded 24HR challenge. Please help us support the success of these events by donating to their causes, sharing their events, and following along their journeys.
If you are interested in training like these badass homosapiens we will soon be releasing virtual training access! Stay up to date by subscribing to our Weekly Workouts list!

4 Benefits of Barefoot Training in a Running Program

1. Full Range of Motion – the feet are home to a quarter of the body’s bones, and 20 of the 33 joints found in each foot are articulating joints, meaning movement is their function and can help to preserve their function. Training barefoot allows these articulating joints to go through full ranges of motion. So program accordingly! Walk, hop, skip, run, lift…there really isn’t any limitation of movement for healthy feet.
2. Improve Proprioception – the body has three primary systems to send balance and coordination information to the brain and Central Nervous System. These systems are the visual system, vestibular system, and proprioceptive system. Training barefoot allows for optimal proprioceptive function from the feet, which would otherwise be dampened if covered with shoes. The most direct path of stimulus, as it pertains to balance, being received by the CNS does not come from the eyes or inner ear, it comes from the the bottom of the feet. Training barefoot on the TrueForm, balance beams, slack lines, logs, airex pads, and moving barefoot across constantly changing surfaces at varying speeds are great ways to stimulate the proprioceptive function of the feet.

3. Reaction Time – without the added weight of shoes, one can optimize reaction time, which is effective in training quicker ground reaction times by reinforcing the elastic nature of the connective tissue found in the feet and lower legs.
4. Strength – leg day includes the feet! While there are plenty of isolated exercises for improving foot strength, they can also be strengthened by being kept bare during lifts and dynamic full body movements; for instance, overhead squatting, farmer’s carries, sled pushes, push presses, burpees, planks, bridges, etc. The list goes on. Want to improve your running program? Train strength head to toes.

Does Form Win The Race?

Well, sometimes, but not all the time. It depends who shows up that day. Below is a series of pictures captured during the homestretch of a 1 – Mile road race. The lead runner in white led from the start and the runner in black trailed in second from the start. You’ll see sound technique in one and not so sound technique in the the other. The winning time was 4:45. Who was it?
In all out effort against his own anatomy, the runner in white wins the race by 2 seconds. So if the runner with sound form doesn’t always win the race, why is it beneficial? Three primary reasons you want sound form despite not winning the race:
– less energy expenditure to go the same speed as someone without sound form. The runner in black who exhibits impeccable technique through the finish line, walked comfortably upon finishing, looked like he enjoyed himself, and woke up the next morning for 16.5 mile run in preparation for an ultra-marathon. The runner in the white, immediately went to the ground upon finishing the race to recover prone on his back, grimacing with his eyes shut while he caught his breath.
– less energy expenditure and moving with the anatomy of your body (not against it) equals less stress. Less stress equals less time needed for recovery. Less recovery means more time to do what you enjoy doing. Winning.
– less risk of injury and burnout. When the systemic systems of the body are taxed with the added stress of unsound movement patterns repetitively, the risk of injury and burnout rises.
If you are unfamiliar with what it feels like to run sound or unsound technique, get on a TrueForm Runner. It will only takes a few minutes for you to learn the practical application of technique. For more information on how to use the TrueForm Runner in running training go to our training videos page and read more posts on our blog! Oh, by the way, the second place runner with great form uses a TrueForm 😉

Coaches Corner: Plasticity – Using the TrueForm as an Environment To Elicit Changes in Running Gait

I used to think of a coach as someone who always used verbal instruction to create change in behavior, and I believe that comes from growing up playing team sports and having coaches verbally instruct during games and practices. However, now I understand that verbal instruction is just the educational piece of athletic coaching. It is the conversation between teacher and student, and if done well, the student learns a lesson conceptually and uses the learned concept as a gauge during performance. In this aspect of coaching, the coach has created a mental change in the student, which in my opinion is the best use of verbal instruction. Outside of education, verbal instruction should be limited. So if verbal instruction is educational at best, how do coaches create physical change in their athletes? I believe the answer is by creating physical environments that require the desired physical behavior from the students. It is student’s own interaction with the environment that stimulates the physical change desired by the coach. A good coach can create this environment, trust it, and keep his or her mouth shut with little or no verbal instruction while the students adapt on their own. This aspect of coaching hinges on the process of plasticity.
Plasticity – n – the quality of being easily shaped or molded.
Biological definition – the adaptability of an organism to changes in its environment or differences between its various habitats.
No population is more plastic than youth, as they are in the midst of the most rapid phase of their physical development. If we could remove all the environmental stresses that inhibit or negatively alter the natural function of their body (chairs, cellphones, stiff – narrow – overly cushioned shoes, refined – processed foods, etc) there would be little to no need to talk to them about running technique. Efficient biomechanical and physiological running technique is within our DNA, as it is a natural gait pattern learned without instruction. But alas, in this day and age there is a plethora of environmental aspects and lifestyle choices that inhibit or alter their innate function to run efficiently.
Coaches and trainers can still win the day though by forming a plan that will help them undo the muscle imbalances, and subsequent inefficient motor patterns, and return them to a state of natural function in which they can continue to flourish on their own. And I am happy to say, there is one such environment that is already created for coaches to use, and that is the TrueForm Runner. And it is no surprise to me that I am seeing such success by coaches and trainers who are already using the TrueForm Runner as the environment in which the majority of the running is accomplished (versus the road/track)because it naturally elicits the biomechanical and physiological responses needed to create more efficient preferred movement patterns due to increases in strength and endurance. Yes, the TrueForm can be (and should be) used as an ancillary tool for learning elements of running technique, but I think the more powerful use of the TrueForm is making it the preferred environment for running. After being taught the motions of technique, the elements of good running form will naturally emerge as the relative strength and endurance is acquired over time by adapting to the TrueForm.
Let’s take everything I just spit out above and apply it a recently shared video from one of our clients.