Posts Tagged ‘barefoot running’

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Get “Up”!

June 23, 2012

Anyone can be a runner. Lace up some sneakers (or not) and put some bounce in your step. It is that easy, right? We agonize over everything from footwear to underwear to nipple-wear. Hydration, nutrition, and compression are meticulously prepared. The problem is that we rarely stop to think about how we are running. It is easy to focus on tangible things- objects that can be acquired and then strapped on, taped up, or rubbed over various body parts. When injuries still occur, it is easy to blame a faulty or worn out product. Not to worry, we all do it. I do it plenty.

This is not to suggest that those things are not important. They are all crucial in their own ways. What we need to realize is that once we start calling ourselves runners and logging increased mileage, we also have to pay attention to the mechanics of that motion. Even a novice runner should be able to notice differences in posture between the start of a run and its end. Form can change throughout a run, and throughout a lifetime. Runners should try to focus more on their movements than on what their GPS watch is displaying. Paying attention to form has the potential to reduce injury, maximize efficiency, and increase speed.

Doing the 100 Up exercise on grass after a speed workout (should have ditched the sneakers, I know)

The importance of form in running is why I recently started doing the 100-Up exercise. There was a challenge that began in mid-April 2012, hosted by a Richmond store that specializes in minimalist sneakers and natural running. Folks from all over joined the aptly-named Natural Running Store to find out whether performing one drill for 30 days could change the way they ran. For me, this repetitive motion exercise would focus on better posture and leg motion. It would also help teach my legs a better technique for how to land on my feet. With plenty of recent knee and Achilles pains, I had my share of skepticism. But having read the New York times article by Born to Run author Christopher McDougall that supported the exercise, I was optimistic about the potential to help my form.
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My First Barefoot Experiment

January 17, 2012

All of us runners are a little strange in one way or another, right? Our non-runner friends always inquire why we would want to be on our feet for so long only to end up at the same place we started, exhausted and malodorous. At times, I cannot figure it out either. We keep at it through cold weather, extreme fatigue, dehydration, and stomach problems. Then there are the injuries. Oh, the injuries. Sore knees, twisted ankles, angry IT bands, and pulled hamstrings to name just some of the common runner ailments.

Recently, I wrote about hurting my Achilles by stupidly running on sneakers with worn out support. It started feeling better after a week of rest, ice, and a healthy (but safe) does of ibuprofen. Then I ran on it for about an hour on a nearby trail with a buddy. Though it felt good during the run, by the time I got back home it was screaming once again. That was a Monday. By the subsequent weekend I was fed up with the prospective of this once-a-week run pattern. Or worse. Read the rest of this entry ?

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