Friday, March 15, 2013

How To Run

"How do elite athletes run? If you were stripped of your shoes and asked to run barefoot on the road, would you run the same way as you did with shoes? Why not? Because unless you already run Pose-style, or like Haile Gebrselassie or Michael Johnson, you probably run with your foot landing in a manner that quite destructively sends shock waves up your legs into the ankle, knee, and hip joints. In most cases, your foot will land in front of you (photo 1). Think about this for a second. If a car were traveling down the street would you stick something in front of it to speed it up? When an object is in motion, if something lands in front of its center of mass, it will either slow down or stop quite harshly.

"The human foot is designed with enough padding on the ball of the foot for the Tarahumara Indians, certain indigenous peoples of Africa, and our ancestors to get around without Nike Shox. It is not designed for the heel to strike the ground first and to roll through to the toes. Take off your shoes and jump up and down barefoot on your heels. Do it! I dare you! Wait, no don't, you didn't sign a waiver! What you should do instead is to jump from and land on the balls of your feet as if you are jump roping. Then give it a whirl with those heels, or even from "mid-foot.""

I get to attend this author's seminar this weekend, and I'm looking forward to the learning.

When I'm teaching POSE running, I often recall the line from a Jimmy Buffet song:
"It was so simple, like the Jitterbug, that it plumb evaded me."

But with persistence and the desire to run with skill, one can find better movement and more pleasure in running. Hopefully this weekend will help me as a runner and in my ability to coach individuals and groups in this sublime skill.

I ran six miles a few days back, something I've done only four times since 2001.  It was not a PR but it also wasn't a bout with misery.  As I was on the return leg, I had some knee discomfort.  As I played around with my positioning, I found a way of "leaning" with the hips that made the knee pain disappear.  I realized that skilled running would be like any high level skill - there's always room for improvement, and if you are not working on the skill with some discipline, you are probably getting worse.

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