When I was young, I used to run around and exercise all the time. Then life got busy and there was no time for such things. So running around became one of those “I should do it”, and after a lot of effort/pain I would do it 1-3x per week. Having created more time in my life, I now fancy running again, just for fun.
The Problem: running gives me pain
Now it’s important to point out that time AND injuries were the reasons why I stopped running. After 2 leg operations, 6 months on crutches for a knee issue and a truly awful back, I did not fancy the pain associated with running again. Swimming is just not practical where I live and though I sometimes cycle to work, I wanted the challenge of running.
The Plan: try running a different way
Sometimes things happen for a reason, fate you might call it. I had been thinking about there must be some better way to exercise that would not hurt me, when I I heard about this book called “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall from a friend of mine. It initially sounded ridiculous, how could we be running the wrong way? After hearing more about it, I picked it up and read it in a weekend. By the Monday morning I was online, obsessively looking at running techniques videos, and that night tried out my first run in the “Barefoot” technique…
Running like our ancestors ran, back to basics, interesting theory.
The Result: comfortable running
Now, what is strange when you try Barefoot running, is that once you have been going for about 1 minute, you start getting the technique, it feels natural. If you were to spend a bit of time thinking of technique (1-2 runs) then you will be amazed at how you sort of just glide along effortlessly.
If you have questions feel free to contact me. The key 3 points are:
– Make sure your feet land below your body whilst leaning a touch forward
– Your lower legs will move faster, so pick up your heels
– Try to keep your head flat, there should be minimal up/ down motion
As I said, I did not run at all anymore when I started this, and 6 months later I can run 20km at a time easily. I now run through parks, in the countryside, by the sea, to or from work… great way to use the commute in a healthy manner. Running is a great way to clear your mind of daily stress.
Quick point to note: we only started running with longer strides since shoe companies invented cushioning of the heel in the 70’s, before that people ran with the “Barefoot” technique, in fact humans have always ran with the barefoot technique. So nowadays shoe companies are cashing in and creating new models. I’ve gone for the most “foot like” shoe possible, the Vibram 5 fingers, with individual toes… looks weird but feels great. Make sure you try them on and buy from official shops, some fakes floating around.
Take your shoes off and run, you will quickly and naturally run in the “barefoot” technique. If our prehistoric ancestors managed to run around without getting injured, surely they must have known how to do it best!