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Schaefer Adaptive

The First Step Running Program

The First Step Running Program

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The First Step Running program is designed for anyone who is new to running, returning to running after an injury or long layoff, or anyone looking for a low volume program to practice running technique

In this eBook you will get a program and video support to work into building up to a 12 minute unbroken run, as well as basic information to establish good habits to enable you to take your running well past 12 minutes in the future. Information about technique, prep, and recovery to get you started without being overwhelming. 

My name is Sam Schaefer and I took an unusual path to get here but I am going to focus on my motivation to start Schaefer Adaptive Methods and write this ebook. On September 6, 2011 I was on active duty, training in Biloxi, Mississippi, when leaving for a run that would be my last moment out of pain for the next 9 years. After a fall I developed Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), a very intense nerve disorder that unfortunately owned my entire 20s. I was treatment resistant, and my main characteristic was that my pain literally never turned off, I would go weeks without my pain ever being lower than a 4. Being treatment resistant forced me to learn the hard way how to really focus on everything I could control. I could take control if I moved and trained, even if the pain wasn’t going to let me do certain things, impact exercises like running being a prime example. I learned that the stronger and better I moved, the less impact the pain had, so it was on me to maintain my ability to get and stay strong or I would in fact lose it. As I lost options due to declining function in my left foot I was left with dwindling options on how I could train *insert the opportunity to keep learning new methods*. By the end of 2019 I had decided I was going to pursue an elective amputation as my last shot to get out of pain and get my life back. August 26, 2020 I woke up without pain for the first time in almost a decade. Almost ⅓ of my life at that point.

That’s how I got here, now here is why. I had learned a lot of things about human movement and proper function due my struggles pre amputation, and luckily for that knowledge taught me how to figure out how to find optimal movement as an amputee. Schaefer Adaptive Methods was started because the overlap in what information I could find and what was being given to me compared to what actually worked to develop my abilities to walk, hinge, and more was very little. There was something I was doing that had 10 year amputees messaging me on Instagram asking how to learn movements before I was 12 months in. I felt compelled to start figuring out how to share this information so more amputees could get off to a better start in their amputee journey. Earlier in 2023, I was the recipient of a running blade from Levitate from the non profit Less Leg More Heart. I was soon asked to provide some instruction for a room of 30 amputees on how to run. What I learned is that I had a system that worked for varying skill levels to develop a quality running stride. I soon took it back to where I coached and these drills and concepts kept working on amputees and able bodied athletes alike. I also began my own training for running (I hadn’t run in 12 years, but understood the movement side of it), I designed a foundational level program to help me avoid bad habits, build confidence in my technique, while avoiding overworking myself for no reason. That is this program.

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