What I’ve learned about running by reading about running

posted by Russ, August 14 in outside with tags , ,

1 comment so far

There are a few things that I’ve recently learned about running that have me excited. I’ve always been a casual jogger, but have never been all that thrilled about it. Really it has been more of an activity to stay active than something that really intrested me. But after reading the book Born to Run, I have a renewed interest in it. I have been taking tips and drawing inspiration from where ever I can, including the book, a DVD called Chi Running, and some of the Superatheletes that were written about in the book Born to Run.

And so far, I’m happy to report that it seems to be working. My issue is still with my conditioning, but my runs — short though they may be — have been more enjoyable and with no apparent issues. One of the biggest things I have learned is about how our feet are intended to function, and how wearing high performance running shoes changes that. According to many sources, running shoes generally hurt running performance rather than help. This is for several reasons. Apparently while wearing shoes, the ability for the foot to feel the ground and thus ensure that we are running with proper form is hampered, in turn causing bad form that can lead to potential injuries that would be prevented if running barefoot or with very flat or thin soled shoes. Heel striking is a common injury that wouldn’t occur without these “performance” shoes. Also, with feet kept continually in shoes and supported, many of the muscles of the foot are allowed to weaken, which further increases the chance of injury. I have read of people whose running injuries have totally disappeard within months of starting to run barefoot! Additionally, I have heard accounts of people with so called flat feet (like me) who adopted barefoot running and subsequently lost the flatness and developed an arch.

It’s just amazing what our body can do.

The biggest thing that I repeat in my head now as I run comes from Caballo Blanco, who was introduced to me in the book Born To Run: Run easy, light, and smooth. Amazing how much that works.

Also what I am focusing on:

  • Keeping my knees bent to help absorb the shock of landing, rather than letting the shoe do it
  • Avoiding heel striking by being lighter on my feet and taking shorter strides
  • Trying to lift up my feet from the ground as opposed pushing down to propel, to make the movement easier, as taught by Danny Dreyer of Chi Running
  • Posture – keeping my shoulders over hips, and my hips over feet
  • And while my hips stay aligned with my feet, I picture my feet as wheels doing a smooth circular motion rather than scissoring

I am still a beginner at this, but I definitely have a new outlook on running…

Originally posted on Friday, August 14th, 2009 at 6:21 AM .

One Response to “What I’ve learned about running by reading about running”

  1. Hi,

    I've been learning about Chi Running lately too. It's encouraging to know there might be a better way to run.
    Happy trails!

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