Matt Wallden | FC2O Episode 23 – Helen Hall Show Notes
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FC2O Episode 23 – Helen Hall Show Notes

Helen Hall – ultrarunner, run coach and much more!

3:01 Introduction… where Helen and I met: Olympia Back Pain Show, 2007.

  • Seeing the light!
  • Ten-Point – triathlon store
  • Military (football team)
  • Nairobi, East Africa – physio assistant
  • Sports Therapist
  • Manual Lymphatic Drainage

8:28 MBT adventure

Bare your sole
  • Opened Ten-Point 2004
  • Newtons 2006
  • Vibram Fivefingers 2007
  • Early Adopter!

10:42. Helen’s early running career

Ironman Austria – Helen Hall, first “barefoot” ironwoman!!
  • First woman to run an Ironman in barefoot / minimalist shoes
  • Robin Davies – 1stperson / man to run an ironman in barefoot / minimalist shoes
  • “The Back Lane”

12:54. Stratford-Upon-Avon Marathon

  • Or half…
  • Airforce Running 
  • Selling bikes
  • Fitting bikes
Helen as healer…

15:52. Trigger Points

  • It’s all about bringing blood through the area…
  • The common denominator is always flow
  • The Rule of the Artery
  • Unkinking the body – irrigation

22:56. The soleus (calf muscle) is the 2nd heart


24:04. Barefoot running

A) Heel strike creates an impact transient (see jump in graph)
Bi) Forefoot strike results in the centre of mass passing over the foot before the full weight of the body has descended (Bii)meaning there is no impact transient.
  • The forefoot strike
  • Eccentric loading and the Achille’s tendon
  • Calcaneus – designed for loading?
  • Ground reaction force
  • Tendon attachment

31:29. Tendon function and our energetic niche

33:00. Substrate discussion.

Helen’s amazing new book!
  • Even with your shoes on (Helen’s book)
  • Efficiency rather than right or wrong
  • Running off-road is hard – natural surfaces are treacherous
  • Protection on “hard ground” and less protection on “soft ground”
  • Africa has got wetter over the last 2 million years!
  • Spread of the rays and structure of foot is endlessly inspiring
  • Giving your feet more credit
  • Comfort + Function or…
  • Comfort with restriction?

38:40. Helen’s athletic endeavours

Whether the ground-lying object is under the big toe (or ray), the second toe (or ray), the 3rd ray, or the lateral rays, the architecture of the foot is such that it will remain stable and none of the leverage will go into the ankle joint risking a sprained ankle. (Image borrowed from Wallden, M. 2016 “Toe-Tal Recall – What on Earth are our toes actually for?” Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies 20, 418-431)
  • Finding shoes for Cape Wrath
  • Sometimes your feet just need protection
  • Leveraging effect of a standard shoe into ankle joint
  • Force plate treadmill
  • Barefoot vs shod… shod = greater forces
Cutting edge technology – Helen’s force plate treadmill with 4D motion analysis

45:20. Helen’s right foot as her nemesis and the tale of the African thorn!!

  • If you have something in or on your foot that your nervous system wants to avoid… you will!
  • Check your feet!

48:56. Running – not landing on heel

Helen smiling all the way to the finish!
  • Just done 8th Ironman
  • How far have you run?
    • Ironman
    • Ultra
    • 83 miles over 3 days
  • 100k in one go
  • 400k in 8 days (Cape Wrath coming up)… in the wilderness
  • Running fuelled by nuts
  • Nose breathing
  • Nausea when doing endurance events
  • Helen’s Metabolic Type was “Parasympathetic Dominant” = requires higher level of proteins and fats.
  • Prediabetic since teens
  • <15g of carbs = stays in keto
  • Digestion optimized – poopie policeman (see image below)!
  • No wipe required!!
  • Becoming an accidental carnivore
Paul Chek’s Poopie Line Up, with the ideal Poopie Policeman at the end…
Helen Hall & Kirsty Hawkshaw; the genius duo behind Barefoot Audio

1:11:26. Barefoot Goddess Trilogy Series

  • Kirsty Hawkshaw
  • Cadence (just right)
  • Apollo Trilogy

Albums available at:

To find out more about Helen’s work, or to get your copy of her amazing guide to running for all levels and all ambitions “Even with your shoes on”… head over to her site here.