Monday, February 1, 2010

How to Run

I came across this site a few weeks ago and it has really rehabilitated my capacity for running. I'm not a big time runner but I try to run at least once a week and once a month I like to go at least 5 miles. The problem is that my knees haven't been very happy about this project for quite some time. In fact this summer I was trying to ramp up for a half marathon and by the time I got to 8 mile training sessions my knees (one in particular) really laid down the law. Basically they said stop that. I would end up taking ibuprofen and doing hot/cold treatments for a few days. This did not seem like a very wise course to continue and so I backed off.

So I've been trying the idea of barefoot running for the last month or so and the change is striking. I'm not actually going "barefoot". There is about a foot of snow in my front yard currently, but the running style is still the same. The idea is essentially to run on the front pads of your foot rather than landing on your heel. Rather than sending a shock straight from your heel to you knees and hips, you absorb most of it in the front of your foot.

I did my 5 mile route today and instead of finishing in agony and limping into my house I feel like I could easily go and do it again tomorrow.

It definitely takes concentration and practice to run this way and it doesn't feel completely natural quite yet, but at this point I don't think I could go back to "normal" running again. The main difference currently is that my calves get much more of a workout and I can still feel that and the front pads of my feet are just a little tender. They are absorbing a little more impact so I'm not surprised. It's not the feeling of my foot being abused just the tenderness you feel as you are developing tougher skin.

My wife has also adapted this style. She has suffered from plantar fasciitis for quite a while and she has noticed a huge reduction in foot pain.

So the question is, how is this just now getting around? I sure wish I knew about this 20 years ago. I could have saved my body a lot of wear and tear (possibly removing the need for my knee surgery of 6 years ago). Has this been known forever and I was just oblivious? I'd honestly never heard of the idea but now it seems sort of obvious.]

You can't help but wonder how many other easy fixes for modern problems there are out there.

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